Toss the Nord Lead. Discovery Pro is on Mac.

The Clavia Nord Lead is one of the virtual analog synthesizers that I thought had a unique sound. I’m in the camp of people who feel synths should not have built-in effects and the original Nord kept with that recipe. My original Nord Lead was built like a tank and I couldn’t help but smile when touching it’s stone mod wheel and wooden pitch bender. When the late 90′s turned into the early 2000s, I as with many of you sold off any hardware that wasn’t working overtime. I always regretted selling my Nord and as a Mac user never found a real replacement. I always had an eye on Discodsp’s Nord emulator+ called Discovery and the Pro version is finally available for Macintosh.

“12 oscillators Virtual Analog VSTi and Audio Units Synthesizer featuring 4 layers, WAV and SoundFont (SF2) support, 2X oversampling/undersampling, built-in arpeggiator, sync, FM, 12 filter types, panning modulation, stereo delay and gate effects, graphic envelope modulation. Imports Nord Lead 2 SysEx data.” – discodsp.com

Discovery pro is 149€/$199, there is a free demo and the manual is online available for download: discodsp.com

Still want the real thing? Visit: nordkeyboards.com

When your intro has to be your soundcheck.

I always like to have a proper soundcheck. In my contract I state that I have to be driven to the venue before the event starts and test my set up. However, in the real world there are many times I don’t get the chance. Sometimes my flight lands so late I have just about enough time to get to the venue to make my time slot. So how do I avoid sounding weak? More importantly how do I make sure I sound better than anyone else during the evening?

I have a special pre-recorded intro which I simply call “Soundcheck Intro”. It’s about thirty seconds long, starts with a dirty pad sound and then two loud kick drums play. After the two kicks go boom da boom I scream “Check Check!” and this repeats. During this time I’m making sure those booms are loud as f___’n possible and my voice at its loudest is not clipping the music or any limiters attached to the house system. Lastly, a snare comes in so I check the high end. A few other things worth screaming include the city your in, the name of the event, your record label’s name and whatever year you happen to be in. Be warned that if you mess any of those slogans up your screwed!

I also use this intro time to double-click the title bar of my video window on the second screen being displayed by my LCD projector. This brings my live show video that is running in Ableton Live full screen. A quick touch of the projector’s size and focus rings and the wall behind me is ready to entertain too.

Of course this is a painfully obvious thing everyone should do but think about how many times you see a band start and they sound bunk. Clearly they are not “braining on it” and doing any little intro diddy warm up. Another positive side-effect of a soundcheck intro is you clear or refresh people ears away from whatever monontanus boring DJ who was on before you. Yes, it’s a competition and the best act of the night gets paid the most, signs the most autographs and get’s the best looking ladies. The runner up can have all the booze.

related post: Soundcheck checklist. Are you ready?