Yes, I do want a Clavia Nord Modular G2 or the now discontinued G2X. Unfortunately, I’m all tapped out and I can’t afford one at the moment. For now, the old one will have to suffice. Needless to say, it’s an extremely powerful synth in itself and whenever I use it, I never regret the money I shelled out to get one a few years ago.
However, since it’s been discontinued, I’ve noticed various resources for users disappearing. That’s too bad as I’m sure there are still quite a few users out there looking for new tips and tricks for their machine.
First place to go if you are looking for sounds is the Clavia site itself. There’s a patch library, containing all the original factory patches as well as quite a few that were commisioned by the company and others that were contributed by users. I’ve used a few of these patches on recording myself, many of them are excellent.
If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, prepare to be overwhelmed. Electro-Music has a huge archive of patches, all downloadable as a single ZIP file. You can download them from Electro-Music’s Nord Modular Pages. The patches are available in two forms, the first is the entire morass containing, I believe every patch every submitted to Electro-Music’s mailing list for the Nord Modular. More useful are the categorized patches which are sorted neatly into different folders by instrument type. The library also contains the FM For Xmas project, which converted all publically available Yamaha DX-7 patches into Nord Modular format (I still can’t bear parting with my DX-7 nontheless.)
The Nord Modular Yahoo Group also has some patches available.
Many of the RUNE patches are found in the main patch library (first link in this section.) However, they are also available for download independently.
References & Tutorials
The next high-priority site to check out is a free e-book titled “Advanced Programming Techniques for Modular Synthesizers.” The book was written to demonstrate techniques that are applicable to all modular synthesizers, but every example is worked out on a Nord Modular. Also included are patch files for loading on your own Nord to try out the techniques and to tweak them. The book itself is also downloadable in PDF form as are all the associated patches. The author, James Clark, has done a great service to the entire musical community by producing this book and if you enjoy it too, you should drop him a thank-you note.
If you are looking for a more basic introduction to the synth, Wizoo published a fairly comprehenstive guide to the synth a few years ago. Unfortunately, it’s out of print now, but it’s worth tracking down on eBay or perhaps from a used bookstore.
Electro-Music has some workshops, i.e. tutorials, on basic synthesis and how to achieve some classic sounds with the Nord Modular.
Electro-Music also proves itself an invaluable resource with its Interesting Threads. The threads are usually concerned with how to achieve a specific effect on the Nord. It’s a good place to look when you are trying to solve a specific problem.
Not directly related to the Nord, but to synthesis in general is Sound on Sound’s Synth Secrets, a series of articles on synthesis that was published in the magazine over a three year period. It’s an excellent introduction to the synthesis techniques, but you will need to stretch your mind a little to apply it to the Nord.
There is an active project a SourceForge to create an alternative to the Clavia editor. The project is called nmedit, and it looks like it is moving along.
The Blue Hell site has a wealth of software utilities for the Nord Modular. Here are the offerings publsihed from this site:
- Complexity scans a director of patches and gives summary info on the patches
- Dubbele compares patch information so you can remove duplicates
- Nordler is completely unique as far as I can see. It’s a composer software for controlling MIDI devices (specifically for the Nord Modular)
- Patcon allows conversion among the various patch format versions.
- Patnot is a tool for adding Metadata to patch files (suggested use: copyright messages)
- Raw2pch is also completely unique. It can take a low-res sound file as input and generate a patch file (presumably through granular synthesis.) A very wild pushing of the limits of the machine.
- Stylop is a program for sending MIDI controller messages to a synth using the mouse.
There are a few others at the site, but those are the most useful ones.
NME is a patch morpher. It will take two patches and create morphs between them.
NordMap allows easy assignment of MIDI controls to the Nord Modular. Patch Utility allows you to create templates for much the same purpose. nordctrl is another piece of software for assigning MIDI controllers to patches. (When I get a chance, I will try these out and let you know which I think is the best.)
Patch Resetter does exactly that.
Forums & Mailing Lists
Electro-Music still has a fairly active Nord Modular forum.
Odds & Ends
I found this paper which analyzes the Nord Modular interface as a visual programming interface.