My Go-To Board
The best way to think about Nords is purpose-built for live performers -- sounds, controls, packaging, etc. And that's what I do.
This is my 5th Nord board, and I'm a bit sorry I waited so long to step up to the Stage 2. I've gone through all the Electros (now have a 4D 61), as well as have a Nord Piano 2 88. The Stage 2 is a superset of both.
The 76 uses piano weighted keys. Great, if you're into heavy acoustic and electric piano sounds as I am. Not so great if you're heavy into organ, synth, etc. -- if that's your deal, go with the Nord Stage 2 73 which has waterfall keys. I can use a low-cost MIDI controller with this if I want to split things out, but haven't done that yet.
Even though the board is extremely easy to play and program, I never seem to have enough time to explore its many capabilities: synth programming, arpeggiator and the unique morph function. Oh, yeah, and there's about a bazillion downloadable sounds and samples for this thing. I can't see myself outgrowing this board anytime soon.
I love the sounds when I play live: the APs, the DPs, the organs, the samples, etc. -- either alone or in layers. Some boards sound great in the showroom or on headphones, this one sounds great onstage.
Keep in mind that this board will sound poorly through substandard amplification, especially the acoustic piano samples. Be prepared to invest in a serious portable self-powered PA (QSC K series, EV ZLX, Yamaha DLR or similar) to go with this board -- anything less would be a shame.
Ergonomically, all the knobs and buttons you want are right there -- no menu diving. It's got a great schlep factor (35 lbs.) and there are enough connectors that you can split outputs, get crazy with MIDI, footpedals galore, etc. Go nuts if you want.
The only limitations are (a) 76 keys which was my choice vs the 88, (b) only one organ model at a time when your doing splits, and (c) no drawbars like the Electro 4D 61. No big deal.
Every Nord product I've purchased has turned out to be a great investment musically. Resale value is also very good as well.
Now that I'm playing in two bands, I may have to get another one :)