Back in 1995, the original Nord Lead was the instrument that proved that virtual analogue synthesis could sound as good as real analogue synths. In other words, the beautiful sound that springs from the Nord Lead 4, is the result of digital signal processing rather than analogue electronics. The advantage is that you can produce a huge array of sounds that would require a room’s worth of modular analogue boxes.
And, I mean, just take a listen to these samples:
Sounds righteous, amirite? What’s particularly cool about virtual analogue synthesizers is that they make “multi-timbral” sound easy. That means you can pile the sound of an organ on tip of the sound of a flute, and throw in some cello, because why the hell not? The sound of the synth is basically endlessly tweakable with buttons and knobs. Nord took pains to make this an instrument you could customise on-the-fly in a live setting, but honestly, you’re gonna need to freaking study before you master this panel.