Nord Piano 3 88-Key Stage Piano Review

Electric pianos, digital pianos, and stage pianos all have the same basic design: a keyboard that plays samples that can be combined with effects. However, the potential features that an electric piano can hold vary greatly. One such electric piano is the Nord Piano 3, a high-end instrument.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Digital Piano

There are hundreds of different digital pianos on the market and each one has a totally unique set of features and tones. Some are for performance, others for recording, and still others for learning and practice. You need to decide what kind of piano you need and how much you can afford to spend. That will tell you where to look and what models will go onto your shortlist.

Introducing the Nord 3

The Nord 3 is a professional-quality performance piano with a price tag to match: $3000 not including a stand, bench, or other accessories. That might seem like a high price, but the Nord 3 is meant to be used on stage and in high-pressure performance environments, and it's built to last for years under those conditions. The Nord 3 is among the most expensive digital pianos that you will see online. However, if you have the background for it and you will use it professionally, it becomes a personal investment. This is much more than a learning tool- it is a way to perform on stage just like a touring guitar or a drum kit. Its samples, design, and price are all in accordance with that fact.

Pros

  • A thousand high-quality samples
  • Easy interface
  • Portable

Cons

  • High price
  • Limited automated tools
  • Limited ports

Features and Benefits

Samples

Nord Piano 3 88-Key Stage Piano

Most digital pianos choose to specialize in either a few samples that are very high-quality or many that are lower-quality. The Nord 3 takes the best of both worlds by using 1 GB of storage space to include a thousand different voices that all maintain a high standard of sound quality and clarity. The most exotic voices tend to fall off a bit and it's clear their quality is not as high, but the user of this keyboard truly has a full library of useful sounds. This is for performers who never know what they are going to need or want in advance, so they would rather err on the side of caution.

Features

Some electric pianos have more features than the Nord 3, but what it does, it does well. It has plenty of onboard effects and EQ for tone control. It is also possible to set up to 6 different split points and assign a different set of voices to each split zone. The potential for creative composition and performance is high because there are so many different combinations. Whether it is creative improvisation or careful planning, the Nord 3 makes it possible. There's also a fast transpose, three pedals, and realistic key weight.

Value

At prices this high, value becomes a bit of an academic question. However, it is undoubtedly true that Nord has done a good job at filling the 3 with samples and features that are ideal for performing without sacrificing durability. A performing keyboard needs to be a little tougher for the incidental bumps and scratches of the road as well as easy on the fingers. The Nord 3's many splits are particularly appealing, as is its interface of buttons and switches that speeds up control usage. It is a standout for how much you get for your money.

​Rating

Design

4

Performance

5

Construction

5

Value for the Money

5

User Satisfaction

4

Alternatives

Yamaha Arius YDP-V240

Yamaha Arius YDP-V240

The YDP-V240 is the top end of the Arius model series from Yamaha. It is a piano-style keyboard with about 500 voices and 160 styles. The 240 costs $2000, which places it in the same ballpark as the Nord 3, and it comes with a stand and bench. It can split, layer, and record, and the USB port allows it to connect to computers, mobile devices, or instruments for more recording and playback support.

Comparison

Yamaha Arius YDP-V240

Price: $2000

Voices: 500

Style: Recording

Nord Piano 3

Price: $3000

Voices: 1,000

Style: Performance

Casio PX860

Casio PX860

The PX860 from Casio provides a very different type of play. It costs $1000 and is meant to function as a piano simulator. It has advanced simulation tools for string resonance, key off, resistance, damper resonance, and other aspects of real analog pianos. It can perform, but its primary role is to mimic the experience of playing piano. With just 18 top-quality piano styles, the focus is clear.

Comparison

Casio PX860

Price: $1000

Voices: 18

Style: Piano

Nord Piano 3

Price: $3000

Voices: 1,000

Style: Performance

Williams Symphony Grand

Williams Symphony Grand

The $1300 Symphony Grand Piano from Williams is a piano-style keyboard that has a fairly large selection of good samples as well as excellent speakers. Not only does this increase the quality of the piano sound, but it also makes the Symphony a playback tool for a laptop or mobile device via USB or Bluetooth. Essentially, the Symphony works like a keyboard mixed with a home speaker system.

Comparison

Williams Symphony Grand

Price: $1300

Voices: 174

Style: Piano/Playback

Nord Piano 3

Price: $3000

Voices: 1,000

Style: Performance

Final Thoughts

The top end of the keyboard market might seem overpriced, but there is usually a feature set that justifies the high prices. In the case of the Nord 3, it's the vast sample library and the performance tools. For the other alternatives, it might be an outstanding piano simulation or some other key draw. This models are significantly more expensive than the average keyboard, so make sure you know what they can do and that you want their particular features before you commit to a purchase. They are often best-in-class for their intended roles and designs.

Stephanie Su
 

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