January 23, 2012

Nord Drum – Analog Drum Synthesizer – NAMM 2012

Nord’s booth at NAMM was, naturally, a very red affair. The new kid in town was standing front and center; this was probably a good move for a device that is dwarfed by its older siblings. The Nord drum is a brain sized, mono affair, that Jim from American Music and Sound kept touting as “made for the guy that doesn’t wanna get too involved with the programming stuff.” The unit is built with the usual Nord architecture: sampled based with a range of editable synthesis controls.

I feel like the way it was being introduced was a hit and a miss. Jim’s playing is a pleasure to watch and I was definitely able to see that this was a unit that, like all of Nord’s gear, is meant to do beautiful things in the hands of a competent player. This one definitely is focused on a drummer integrating analog style drum synthesis into an existing set up. It could definitely make a great argument for finally buying those trigger pads. Unfortunately, I walked away from the demo wondering about the unit’s deep editing capabilities and will really have to wait until I can play with one a quieter environment to find out how well suited it will be for the finger drumming studio goons and control freaks of the world. The projected street price is around $499.

I only wish Nord had taken the opportunity to add some kind of step/ pattern based sequencing to the unit. I think this is one thing where a drummer could step in and say “Paul, shut up, this thing is rad, What’s wrong with you?” I just can’t help it because I am selfish and I would love to see a full stop old school influenced drum machine from Nord at that price point. I’ll be looking forward to taking this thing in on my own terms and deciding if I am crazy about it, telling drummers about it, or going on all year whining about Nord needing to make a drum machine.