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The Nord Stage MIDI Tutorial

the basics of understanding MIDI and how to setup your Nord Stage (Classic, EX, and Nord Stage 2)

written by Henrik Larsson ( with additional input from mjbrands and Johannes from


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Preface ................................................................ 3 The fundamentals of MIDI ................................... 3 MIDI Channels ................................................ 3 Master and Slave, Send and Receive ............ 3 Control Change messages (cc) ...................... 4 Program Change messages ........................... 4 The Nord Stage architecture ............................... 4 Different MIDI Sections ................................ 5 About the Dual KB mode: ............................... 5 Nord Stage MIDI menu walkthrough ................... 6 MIDI Control Local .......................................... 6 MIDI Global Channel ...................................... 6 MIDI Panel A/B Channel ................................. 6 MIDI Organ (Piano, Synth) A/B Channel ........ 6 MIDI Dual KB Channel .................................... 6 MIDI Prog Change Mode ................................ 6 MIDI Control Change Mode ............................ 6 Send MIDI Ctrl ................................................ 6 Nord Stage Extern menu walkthrough ................ 7 Extern MIDI Mode ........................................... 7 Extern MIDI A/B Channel ................................ 7 Extern MIDI A/B Volume ................................. 7 Extern MIDI A/B Prog Change ........................ 7 Extern MIDI A/B Bank Sel cc0 ........................ 7 Extern MIDI A/B Bank Sel cc3 ........................ 7 Extern MIDI A/B CC Value .............................. 7 Extern MIDI A/B CC Number .......................... 7 Extern MIDI A/B Send (Wheel, A.Touch, CtrlPed, Swell) ................................................ 8 Extern MIDI A/B Vel Curve .............................. 8 Extern MIDI Send on Load ............................. 8 Extern MIDI Soft Thru ..................................... 8 Examples of MIDI setups .................................... 8 Simple NS2 setups ......................................... 8 Control other gear with the NS2 ..................... 8 Play the NS2 from outside............................ 9 General Examples .......................................... 9 Example 1: One slave, monotimbral mode ..... 9 Example 2: Two slaves, monotimbral mode ... 9 Example 3: One slave, Multitimbral mode ....10 Example 4: Using the Nord Stage with a Sequencer (maximum multitimbrality) .......... 11 How complex setups can be made? .............12

Some words about Volume and Expression ..... 12 MASTERCLOCK............................................... 13


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The purpose of writing this manual was to shed some light over what MIDI is and how to use your Nord Stage keyboard in different MIDI situations. There has been, and still are, many questions about this on the Nord user forum. Hopefully this document can help you to understand the basic ideas of MIDI and how it works. MIDI can be as complex and complicated as anything. I have no intentions digging too deep into it within this manual. This is just a basic introduction to start you up. May, 2011 July 2013: Various updates and corrections, including the Nord Stage 2

The most basic setup - One master and one slave

So what are the requirements for being a MASTER? Well, your keyboard has to have a MIDI OUT jack. This doesnt necessarily mean the particular keyboard owns a black belt in mastering slaves. Just that it has the ability of doing so. In the same way a SLAVE has to have a MIDI IN jack. To connect two devices, use a MIDI cable between the MASTERs MIDI OUT and the SLAVEs MIDI IN. Now, youre the telephone operator. Make sure the MASTER sends MIDI data on the same channel as the SLAVE receives MIDI data to have them communicate.

The fundamentals of MIDI

MIDI Channels
Think about the MIDI technique as a telephone operator. If the operator connects all calls to the one and the same person, it would be one messy conversation. The situation would end up intolerable when everyone speaks at the same time and to wrong persons. The telephone operator avoids situations like these by putting through the first call on one line and the next call on another line. In MIDI language we call these lines CHANNELS. Our MIDI operator has 16 channels available for simultaneously chats.

On the Nord Stage 2, Nord introduced also MIDI over USB. Using the standard USB cable, you can thus use the Nord Stage 2 immediately as MIDI device from your PC/Mac. Make sure to select a USBx channel in the MIDI settings where x denotes the number of the MIDI channel.

Master and Slave, Send and Receive

To get anything out of the conventional telephone call one person has to talk while the other one is listening. In MIDI language we call the talker a MASTER and the listener a SLAVE. However this is not very much of a conversation. The MASTER tells the SLAVE what to do and the SLAVE arent supposed to have any opinion about it. The topics arent very diverse either. They dont talk about the weather or some distant uncle they have in common. Its more like the MASTER says: -I am playing an E minor here and youre about to do the same! Or: -When I turn this knob you will increase your volume! When a MASTER talks, it SENDs MIDI data. And when a SLAVE listens, it RECEIVEs MIDI data.

More complex setups - One master and several slaves

In order to use more than one SLAVE, we need to introduce the MIDI THRU jack. Connect one MIDI cable from the MASTER MIDI OUT to the MIDI THRU jack on the first SLAVE. Connect another MIDI cable from the first SLAVE MIDI OUT to the next SLAVE MIDI IN. To make this setup work out well youll need the MASTER to send MIDI data on two different MIDI channels. You also need to setup the SLAVEs to receive on different MIDI channels. If your SLAVEs dont have a MIDI THRU jack, you can solve this by adding a MIDI THRU BOX to your chain.


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More complex setups - Several masters and one slave

There may also be situations when you want two MASTERs to control one SLAVE. For example if you have one sound module and dual keyboards. In this case youll need to add a MIDI MERGE BOX to your chain. The MASTERs should send on the same MIDI channels as the SLAVE (sound module) receives.

You can locate the specific Nord Stage cc messages in the manual, chapter 15; MIDI controller list. The Nord Stage are set to send and receive MIDI cc messages by default. This means whenever you press a button or turn a knob on the front panel a MIDI cc message is being sent. If you use your Nord Stage as a master and your slave are set to receive MIDI ccs the sound characteristics will most likely change in some way when using the controls. What will happen to the sound depends entirely on the MIDI controller list for your slave. The bottom line is that the Nord Stage can send MIDI control change messages to any other synthesizers. But there is no guarantee that, for example, the amount of reverb changes just because you turn the reverb knob on the Nord Stage front panel.

The MIDI language

MIDI is the common language between devices regardless of brands. This makes it possible for a Nord to communicate with a KORG or Roland synthesizer for example. However that is not entirely true. But i will come back to that later. All MIDI supported synthesizers with a keybed sends NOTE ON/OFF. Meaning that every time you press or release a key on the keybed a MIDI message is being sent. This is necessary for playing sound modules or other keyboards. Beyond the note on/off messages, there are another two fundamental categories; CONTROL CHANGE messages and PROGRAM CHANGE messages.

Program Change messages

I dare to say that all synthesizers on the market today have the ability to save sound setups. These setups may have different names such as Patches, Voices etc. depending on what the manufacturers want to call them. In Nord language we know them as PROGRAMS. It is possible to send a MIDI message to switch Programs on another device. These messages are named Program change messages. There is a numerical limitation within one MIDI message. No values higher than 128 can be sent and today's devices can easily store more than 128 Programs. Therefore we will need yet another MIDI message, the Bank Select message. By combining these two messages we can cover the needs of today (128*128=16 384 Programs).

Control Change messages (cc)

Control change messages are pretty much everything that affects the sound. Modulation wheel, filter settings, volume, organ drawbars etc are typical control change messages. There are 120 (0-119) destinations available for cc messages. Some of these are standard for all MIDI devices while others are model specific. Cc messages, such as Modulation wheel (cc001), Breath controller (cc002) and Volume (cc007), are standard and works regardless of brands. A list of this MIDI standard can be found here:
Note! Pitch bend and After touch are not classified as cc's. They are another type of messages, but they are also standardized.

The Nord Stage architecture

Before we proceed I shall briefly explain how the architecture of the Nord Stage is built. Unlike many other keyboards on the market, the Nord Stage always works in a multitimbral mode. Multitimbral means you always have the opportunity to play the different instrument sections simultaneously. Also the different instrument sections don't have to share polyphony. The Nord Stage are built from three different sound engines (Piano, Organ, Synth) which produces their own polyphony.


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SLOTS responding Split settings respected Instrument responds if all LEDs off TRANSPOSE Global/Prog Knobs, parameters (CCs)

GLOAL Only active slots YES

SLOT A/B SLOT A or B (even if inactive) YES

Instrument SLOT A or B (even if inactive) NO (always full range) YES



YES Always applied to the section in focus

YES To the corresponding slot

YES To the corresponding instrument

All the piano samples are exchangeable. You can download these samples for free from The Piano section is the only instrument section that is possible to upgrade. The Organ section and the Synth section are not. All these instrument sections can be run through the effect section of the Nord Stage. Together with the Extern section these instruments and effects creates a PANEL. There are two Panels available within one PROGRAM. You can play the Panels one at a time or together in a layer or a split. The Program can be stored (and named) in the Nord Stage flash memory. The Program also stores the system effects (reverb and compressor), which affect both Panels equally. The Extern section is affected neither by the instrument effects nor the system effects.

For the NS2, the different MIDI channels can be illustrated as follows:

Different MIDI Sections

The Nord Stage can distinguish 3 (NS2: 4) Midi sections allowing a detailed configuration, as it can be seen from the following pictures:

About the Dual KB mode:

This particular mode will allow you to use a second keyboard to play SLOT B of the Nord Stage while the Nord Stage keybed will control the Instruments of Slot A. This is thus ONLY useful if you have this setup, to play, e.g., the Organ via an external unweighted MIDIkeyboard. One particularity of this mode is that whatever MIDI channel you set it up to will make the NS NOT respond to any incoming MIDI messaged on this channel, whatever the other MIDI settings are. So if your instrument does not respond to incoming MIDI, it is a good idea to check if the Dual KB channel is set to an unused MIDI channel.

For the NS2, the MIDI configuration of different messages can be confusing at times. The following table summarizes what MIDI messages are transmitted/received over the different sections:


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Nord Stage MIDI menu walkthrough

Now, let's find out what settings can be made in the Nord Stage MIDI menu and what they mean. To enter MIDI menu hold down [SHIFT] and press [MIDI]. Where a MIDI channel needs to be selected, options are channel 1-16 (NS Classic/EX) while for the Nord Stage 2, the options are Range: MIDI 1-16 and USB1 USB16 referring to the MIDI interface via standard MIDI plugs and the USB cable, respectively.

synth on your MIDI keyboard.

I recommend setting these values to <Off> when using the Nord Stage as a Master keyboard.

MIDI Dual KB Channel

This sets the MIDI receive channel for Panel B when using the Dual Keyboard function. You don't have to dig into the menus. Just hit the Dual KB button and the whole Panel B will be playable from another Master keyboard. Read more about this feature in the manual.

MIDI Control Local

Here you set whether the front panel knobs and buttons should control the internal instrument sections or not. The default setting is <On>. Setting this parameter to <Off> won't prevent the Nord Stage from sending MIDI cc's, but the internal sounds will be left unaffected.

MIDI Prog Change Mode

Here you set how the Nord Stage should handle Program Change messages. If you want your Stage to receive Program Changes from another keyboard, set this parameter to <Receive>. If you want to control other devices programs, set this to <Send>. There's also possible combining these two <Send & Receive> and to disable this feature <Off>.

MIDI Global Channel

The Global Channel transmits all keyboard, pedal and panel actions as MIDI signals. It can also be used as a receiving channel with full control of the entire Stage 2. This sets the transmitting and receiving MIDI channel for the Global Channel. Default value is USB1.

MIDI Control Change Mode

Just as with Program Change messages, you can control how the Nord Stage handles Control Change messages. Options available are <Off>, <Send>, <Receive> and <Send & Receive>.
Example: You want to use the Nord Stage as a Master, controlling an external sound module. 1. 2. Set MIDI Panel A/B Channels to <Off>. Set MIDI Control Change Mode to <Send>.

MIDI Panel A/B Channel

You can choose to set a fixed MIDI channel (1-16) per Panel. The Nord Stage will then send and/or receive MIDI data on this specific channel. This option may come in handy when you want to use your Nord Stage as a Slave. But it may also cause you trouble when using the Nord Stage as a Master. Therefore I recommend setting both Panels to <Off> initially.

With these settings your sound module will respond to General MIDI cc's such as Pitch bend, Modulation wheel, Sustain pedal and After touch. But it won't respond to cc's from the knobs and buttons on the Nord Stage front panel (since they are disabled).

MIDI Organ (Piano, Synth) A/B Channel

Here you set the MIDI channels per instrument section AND per Panel. This can be used when the Nord Stage works as a Slave.
Example: 1. 2. Set Organ/Piano/Synth Panel A = <Off> Set Synth Panel B = <3>

Send MIDI Ctrl

You can select Panel A or Panel B and once you hit the STORE button, a dump of all Controller settings of the selected Panel is sent via MIDI. This can be very useful if you use a sequencer and recorded some tracks including the Controller changes such as Filter sweeps or drawbar changes (if your MIDI Ctrl Change Mode is not set to OFF (see last item). In this case, you might want to set all settings to the original values and you can do so by recording in your sequencer at the beginning of the song and while recording going to this menu and hit the Store button. This way, your Panel will be set to the values you choose every time you playback your song.

3. Layer a Piano and some Synth strings on Panel A. Route them to all keyboard zones. 4. Enable a Synth lead sound on Panel B. Route it to NO keyboard zone. 5. Setup the MIDI Master keyboard to send on MIDI channel 3. 6. Layer Panel A and Panel B.

The result is Piano with strings on your Nord Stage and the lead


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The last three functions in the MIDI menu (Dump Program Source, Dump Synth Sound, Instrument SysEx ID) I have no intention to involve in this document.

Settings. GLOBAL is more suitable if you have a standard MIDI setup.

Extern MIDI A/B Channel

This sets which MIDI channel <1-16> the Nord Stage sends MIDI data through the Extern section. You can set one channel for Panel A and another for Panel B.

Nord Stage Extern menu walkthrough

The Nord Stage Extern section is used when you want to use your NS as a Master. This section is a simple but sophisticated interface to any MIDI connected Slave. Let's start with having a look on the front panel to see what we can operate from here.

Extern MIDI A/B Volume

The Nord Stage can send Volume (cc007) for Panel A and B on Program load. If you want this, set a value <0-127>. Otherwise set this parameter to <Off>.

Extern MIDI A/B Prog Change

If you have set MIDI Prog Change Mode (in the MIDI menu) to <Send> or <Send & Receive> you can send Program Change messages to your Slave from here. Set a value <1-128> to send a Program change on Program load. Otherwise set this to <Off>.

Extern MIDI A/B Bank Sel cc0

By now we know the Program Change value gives not enough information to complete a successful program change. We need to add information about the bank selection. Check the user manual of your Slave device to find the right Bank number (MSB/cc00). Select a value <1-128> or set this parameter to <Off>.

At the top there is a Rotary Encoder. This can be set to control one of three messages; Volume (cc007), Program Change or any optional MIDI Control Change message (cc001-cc127). Use the [PARAMETER SELECT] button to cycle between the options. Use the [ON/OFF] button to toggle between whether the NS shall send these messages or not. The [ON/OFF] button will also work as a keyboard zone selector when holding the [SHIFT] button.
Note! Turning the External Section OFF wont prevent the NS from sending MIDI messages to the Slave if a value is set in MIDI Panel A/B Channel which corresponds to the receive channel on your Slave. Avoid this by setting the MIDI Panel A/B Channel to <Off> in the MIDI menu.

Extern MIDI A/B Bank Sel cc3

Similarly, for the program within a bank, you can choose the Program number (LSB/cc32). Select a value <1-128> or set this parameter to <Off>.

Extern MIDI A/B CC Value

This is explained in the next section, (Extern MIDI A/B CC Number). Value <0-127>.

Extern MIDI A/B CC Number

Remember you were allowed to control any optional MIDI Control Change message (cc) with the Rotary Encoder on the Extern section? Here you select which cc number <0-119> you wish to control. With the previous function (Extern MIDI A/B CC Value) you set the amount.

The [OCTAVE SHIFT] works exactly as for the internal instrument sections. Holding [SHIFT] and pressing [OCTAVE SHIFT] controls how the Slave shall respond to pitch bend and sustain pedal (cc064). Now let's move on to the Extern menu.

Extern MIDI Mode

Settings made in Extern menu are either saved per <PROGRAM> or <GLOBAL>. This can become handy when you use different MIDI setups and thus have different programs/patches with different MIDI External

If you want the Rotary Encoder to adjust Breath Control, do following. 1. 2. 3. Set Extern MIDI A/B CC Number to <2>. Set Extern MIDI A/B CC Value to <64>. Exit Extern menu, turn on External section, select MIDI


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CC function with the [PARAMETER SELECT] button. 4. Turn the Rotary Encoder clockwise or anti clockwise to change the sound.

Extern MIDI A/B Send (Wheel, A.Touch, CtrlPed, Swell)

Select whether Modulation Wheel, After Touch and Control Pedal message will be sent or not. <Yes>, <No>. With Control Pedal referred to the pedal that can be plugged into the CONTROL PEDAL jack on the Nord Stage rear panel. 3)

assign up to 9 MIDI channels using different channels for GLOBAL, both slots, and the three instrument in each slot. This way, you can record your MIDI tracks, and by choosing the output channel, you can assign it either to the full instrument (GLOBAL), two different sets of sounds (SLOT A and B) or one of the six individual instruments. If you want to control an external sound source, just use the EXTERNAL section. This allows you to setup also sending volume, CC, or Bank/Program select messages as specified in the EXTERNAL menu.

Extern MIDI A/B Vel Curve

Use this setting to adjust the velocity curves for the Extern section. Choose between normal <Norm>, soft <Soft> and hard <Hard> responding.

Control other gear with the NS2

If you want to control other keyboards, modules, software instruments, or record your playing into a sequencer or your preferred DAW software, you need to set either a Global MIDI channel to the corresponding channel of your slave or use the External Section. The main difference is that over the GLOBAL channel, all note data but also control changes etc. are transferred whereas the External Section only transmits note data, Aftertouch, PitchBend, ModWheel, and the parameter you choose to control in the EXTERNAL section (Volume, Prog Change, or MIDI CC). The EXTERNAL section also allows you to set it to send note data only on a split area of your keyboard. One important difference is the different velocity curve that is used. The note data on the GLOBAL channel corresponds to the main standard velocity curve of the NS2. The EXTERNAL section, on the other hand, has its own built-in velocity curves and in the menu you can choose between Soft, Normal, and Hard. IMPORTANT: The standard velocity curve is NOT equal to the Normal setting of the EXTERNAL section. That means that if you want to playback a recorded MIDI track on your Nord Stage, it is advisable to use the GLOBAL Midi channel since only in this case the played back sound will be exactly as you played it! Broadly speaking, the Nords internal standard velocity curve is harder than the ones in the External Section, so your Piano would reach much faster the maximum velocity. Also the TRANSPOSE settings are transferred differently: While the notes transmitted over the GLOBAL channel are always the ones you play, the MIDI note data transmitted over the EXTERNAL channel are transposed both according to the SYSTEM transposition AND Program TRANSPOSE settings. A general rule of thumb is therefore to use the GLOBAL channel if you want to record and playback

Extern MIDI Send on Load

As I wrote earlier all these functions above will be saved per Program in the Nord Stage. Setting this variable to <Yes> will make the Stage send all Volume, Program change and Control change data when you bring up this particular Program. To prevent your Nord Stage from sending these changes, set this parameter to <No>.
Note! Values for Program Change and Program Bank should be set to the Panel which is active on Program load.

Extern MIDI Soft Thru

Incoming MIDI that matches the Global or Slot A/B channels can be re-routed on the Extern channel to the Stage 2s MIDI OUT jack or via USB, if EXTERNAL is on. Set it to <On> if you want to have an external controller also control the controlled instrument thru the External Section.

Examples of MIDI setups

Simple NS2 setups
1) For a start, setting a GLOBAL MIDI channel while leaving all others OFF, and making sure that the Dual KB is set to a different channel will get you a standard full two way connection e.g., for recording, playing back etc. If you want to have the most flexible way to use the NS2 as a multitimbral sound source controlled via your sequencer hard- or software, you could



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MIDI from your NS2 in a sequencer, whereas using the EXTERNAL section can be useful if you want to use split settings and control external tone generators only over a certain range of the keyboard.

Connection map:

Play the NS2 from outside

There are three different MIDI channel categories that can be setup for the NS2 to respond to incoming MIDI messages. The GLOBAL MIDI channel will, if set, always respond to all incoming messages and the NS2 will react exactly as if you were playing it from the keyboard itself. You can also set different MIDI channels for SLOT A and B. In this case, only the corresponding SLOT with all three instrument sections will respond to incoming MIDI messages, e.g., allowing to playback two different MIDI tracks on each section. Finally, you can set different MIDI channels for each instrument (Organ, Piano, Synth) in each section (up to six different channels) to make only selected instruments to respond to your incoming MIDI data. This allows you to record and playback up to six different MIDI tracks each playing back on a different instrument. This setting also allows by double pressing the ON/OFF button of an instrument to make it ONLY respond to MIDI messages while not being assigned to the NS2 keybed.

Sound Module setup: Connect the SM to the Nord Stage. Set up the SM to receive MIDI data on channel 1. Make the monotimbral mode active. Search the manual for the Program Bank value and Program Change value representing the string patch.

Nord Stage setup Bring up Program 1:1 with the internal piano sound. Select Panel A. Make sure the keyboard are not divided into several Zones. Turn ON External Section. Press the Parameter Select button to set Rotary Encoder to control Volume. Disable pitch bend responding and enable sustain pedal responding. Enter Extern Menu
Value 1(A), 1(B) 0(A), Off(B) See SM manual(A) See SM manual(A) Off(A), Off(B) --Yes(A), Yes(B) Yes(A), Yes(B) ----Yes

Function Extern MIDI A/B Channel

General Examples
Now, I will give some more detailed examples of how you can use the Nord Stage as a Master keyboard together with a sound module/rack synth. The following conditions apply to all examples.
MIDI menu settings: Function MIDI Control Local MIDI Panel A/B Channel MIDI Organ A/B Channel MIDI Piano A/B Channel MIDI Synth A/B Channel MIDI Dual KB Channel MIDI Prog Change Mode MIDI Ctrl Change Mode Value On Off (A), Off (B) Off Off Off 16 Send Send

Extern MIDI A/B Volume Extern MIDI A/B Prog Change Extern MIDI A/B Prog Bank Extern MIDI A/B CC Value Extern MIDI A/B CC Number Extern MIDI A/B Send Wheel Extern MIDI A/B Send A.Touch Extern MIDI A/B Send CtrlPed Extern MIDI A/B Vel Curve Extern MIDI Send on Load

Exit Extern Menu. Make sure Panel A is active. Save Program 1:1. Result When selecting Program 1:1 Panel A will be active with a piano sound. The SM will load the string patch and set Volume=0. When you reach the chorus, turn the Parameter knob on the Extern Section clockwise to bring in the strings.

Example 1: One slave, monotimbral mode

Task: I want to blend an internal piano sound with a string patch from my sound module (SM from now on). The strings should be loaded along with Program 1:1, but they should not be audible until the chorus. The SM should respond to modulation wheel, sustain pedal and after touch. But not to pitch bend.

Example 2: Two slaves, monotimbral mode



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In the verses I want to layer an internal electric piano with a synth pad from my sound module 1. In the chorus I want to play a split (internal organ and acoustic piano) and layer the piano part with a synth lead sound from my sound module 2. Volume should be controlled by the parameter knob on the Extern section for both sound modules independently. Start Volume 60 for the synth pad and 120 for the synth lead. The synth pad shouldn't respond to any controls. The synth lead should only be responding to after touch and pitch bend. Everything should be loaded together with Nord Stage Program 1:2. Connection map:

Exit Extern menu. Activate Panel A and save Program 1:2. Result When loading Program 1:2 you will have the following setup:

Sound Module setup: Connect the SMs to the Nord Stage. Set up the SM1 to receive MIDI data on channel 1. Set up the SM2 to receive MIDI data on channel 2. Make the monotimbral mode active. Search the manuals for the Program Bank value and Program Change value representing the synth pad/synth lead patch.

Use the Parameter knob in the Extern section to adjust Volume for the active sound module (Panel).

Example 3: One slave, Multitimbral mode

So far I have showed two examples of how to work with sound modules in monotimbral mode, that is when the sound module can only receive MIDI data on one channel. In this example I will use my sound module in a multitimbral setup. This of course requires that the module supports such feature.
Task: I want to layer an organ (NS) with some synth strings (SM) in the verses. In the chorus I want to bring in synth brass (SM) and control the volume of the brass with the modulation wheel. The synth string volume should be fixed to 80. The synth brass volume should vary from 0-127 with start volume 0 (zero). Everything should be loaded together with Nord Stage Pragram 1:3. Connection map:

Nord Stage setup Load Program 1:2. Divide the Stage into two zones and set a split point. Activate Panel A and set the electric piano on both zones. Turn ON the Extern section for both zones. Set the rotary encoder to control Volume. Disable pitch bend and sustain pedal. Activate Panel B and set organ on the lower zone and acoustic piano on the upper zone. Turn ON the Extern section for the upper zone. Set the rotary encoder to control Volume. Enable pitch bend and disable sustain pedal. Enter Extern menu

Function Extern MIDI A/B Channel Extern MIDI A/B Volume Extern MIDI A/B Prog Change Extern MIDI A/B Prog Bank Extern MIDI A/B CC Value Extern MIDI A/B CC Number Extern MIDI A/B Send Wheel Extern MIDI A/B Send A.Touch Extern MIDI A/B Send CtrlPed Extern MIDI A/B Vel Curve Extern MIDI Send on Load

Value 1(A), 2(B) 60(A), 120(B) See SM manual(A/B) See SM manual(A/B) Off(A), Off(B) --No(A), No(B) No(A), Yes(B) No(A), No(B) --Yes Sound Module setup: Connect the SM to the Nord Stage. Engage multitimbral mode and set up the mix with a synth string sound receiving on channel 1 and with a synth brass sound receiving on channel 2. Set volume for synth strings to 80. Set volume for synth brass to 127.

Nord Stage setup Load Program 1:3.

Activate Panel A. Turn ON the organ section and make the registry settings. Turn ON Extern section and set the rotary encoder to control MIDI CC.


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Activate Panel B. Turn off all instrument sections. Turn ON Extern section and set the rotary encoder to control MIDI CC. Morph the rotary encoder to the modulation wheel. Set the interval from minimum to maximum. Enter Extern menu

Function MIDI Control Local MIDI Panel A Channel MIDI Organ A Channel MIDI Piano A Channel MIDI Synth A Channel MIDI Panel B Channel

Value On 7 1 2 3 8 4 5 6 Off Off or Snd&Rcv*

Function Extern MIDI A/B Channel Extern MIDI A/B Volume Extern MIDI A/B Prog Change Extern MIDI A/B Prog Bank Extern MIDI A/B CC Value Extern MIDI A/B CC Number Extern MIDI A/B Send Wheel Extern MIDI A/B Send A.Touch Extern MIDI A/B Send CtrlPed Extern MIDI A/B Vel Curve Extern MIDI Send on Load

Value MIDI Organ B Channel 1(A), 2(B) MIDI Piano B Channel Off(A), Off(B) MIDI Synth B Channel See SM manual (B) MIDI Prog Change Mode See SM manual (B) MIDI Ctrl Change Mode Off(A), 1(B) 11(A), 11(B) Yes(A), Yes(B) ---(A), ---(B) ---(A), ---(B) --Yes *This setting depends on whether you would like to record CC messages such as Drawbars, any Synth sound settings etc. If you prefer to adjust the sound afterwards, set it to OFF in order to avoid that the changes you make during recording get recorded. If on the other hand wou would like to record things such as changing drawbar registrations etc., put it on Snd&Rcv.

Exit Extern menu. Layer Panel A and Panel B.

Exit Extern menu. Layer Panel A and Panel B. Make Panel B active and save Program 1:3. Result On program load you will be able to play the B3 with layered synth strings. Since Panel B is active you can now control the Expression of the synth brass with the modulation wheel. The synth strings volume are fixed to 80. But if you feel like control the expression of the strings, you just have to press the [PANEL A] button and turn the rotary encoder on the Extern section.
Note! If you don't want your synth strings to respond on volume / expression changes at all you will need to block those MIDI cc's from being received within the sound module.

In your sequencer/DAW, create 6 or more MIDI tracks. Assign them to receive MIDI IN on all Channels (should be the default setting), and set the Output channel of Track 1 on Ch1, Track 2 on Ch2, etc. From track 7 on, you can use for instance virtual Instruments (VSTis). Result Now you can start recording in your sequencer/DAW by arming any track of the ones just created while the order will be from left to right and Panel A to Panel B: Organ A will be on Track 1, Piano A on Track 2, Synth A on Track 3, Organ B on Track 4, Piano B on Track 5, and Synth B on Track 6.

Example 4: Using the Nord Stage with a Sequencer (maximum multitimbrality)

In this example, we assume that your Nord Stage is connected with any sequencer, like any DAW software and you want to use all instruments of the Stage along with VSTis.
Task: You want to record and playback various tracks using your Nord Stage sounds and other instruments such as VSTis while using the internal sounds on seperate tracks.

Nord Stage Setup Load the program of your choice. Enter MIDI menu

Just decide which instrument to record first and arm the corresponding track (Track 3 in the depicted example, i.e., the Synth section of Panel A). Once you are finished recording, double click the ON/OFF buton of the instrument you just recorded so that if will be active and respond to MIDI but not anymore respond to the Keyboard and thus you can start recording another instrument. So just arm the next track and record the next instrument etc.
Note: One way to avoid the activating and deactivating of the instruments after each track is to set in the MIDI menu MIDI Control


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Local to OFF. If at the same time you have in your DAW set Monitoring to AUTO or ON (see the manual of your DAW), you will still be able to play and immediately hear the sound of the selected track.

part only. Playing at normal and hard velocity level will trigger the string part and cut off the guitar. Finally when hitting the keys hard a brass part kicks in. In other words, very complex setups can be made only from one competent sound module (slave) and one Nord Stage (master). Adding yet another Nord Stage as a master gives you control of up to 4 MIDI channels. Adding several sound modules gives you the opportunity to layer more sounds to existing MIDI channels. What can be done is entirely up to you, your fantasy and your creativity!

In the end, you can record the six instruments independently from eachother and, if you do so in a loop, you can easily build up a track using all six internal instruments and simply add, say, a drum track.

How complex setups can be made?

The limitation when working in multi timbre mode is 16 MIDI channels. The multi timbre mode can be compared to a 16 channel mixing board. That gives us the opportunity to play back 16 sounds at the same time. The MIDI receive channel can be set to 1-16 for each sound. Setting all sounds to the same channel will result in one big layer of 16 sounds. When using the Nord Stage as a master you have the ability to set 2 different transmit channels. One for each Panel. Below I show an image of what a setup could possibly look like when using only one sound module and no internal instruments from the Nord Stage.

Some words about Volume and Expression

Now when we know what a Multitimbral mode stands for I think the time has come to explain the similarities and differences between VOLUME and EXPRESSION. Volume is control change message 007 and Expression is control change message 011. They both affect the overall loudness of the sound, but in a different manner. Volume (cc007) is a main channel volume. It sets the level of the MIDI channel. Let's say you've set the level for the guitar at 90 on the scale of 0-127. This is as loud as the guitar will get compared to the adjacent parts.

Here we are using 10 (out of 16) sounds layered and divided across the keyboard. Split points need not necessarily be specific notes on the keyboard. Sounds can also be separated by different velocity layers. Pressing the keys very soft will play one sound while hitting the keys harder will play another. Have a look at the picture below for an example.

Expression (cc011) can now be used to adjust the level of that part from 90 down to 0. A foot controller (swell pedal) assigned to cc011 on this channel will be 90 at the toe-down maximum position and 0 at the heel-down minimum position. You have set a maximum volume with controller 007 and you set a performing volume with the pedal assigned to controller 011. In this example we're only using Panel A and the sound module together with an internal organ and an acoustic piano. The piano zone are shared with the sound module. The Nord Stage piano sound will be audible for all three velocity layers, soft, medium and hard. Playing the keyboard soft will trigger the guitar


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Dial or use the tap-tempo button. The display will indicate the BPM that is used internally when no External signal is received. When an external module is sending Master Clock, this tempo is used instead. The Arpeggiator (Press SHIFT + Arpeggiator Button), Delay Effect and Effect 2 (Press SHIFT + Effect Select Button) and the LFO of the Synth Section (Press SHIFT+LFO Waveform Button) can be synced to the Master Clock. Once synchronized, the selected element's speed is not anymore set in absolute values but relative to the Master Clock signal. Changing the speed now affects the meter subdivision (or note values) that the arpeggio should play. For instance, 1/4 is now half the speed of 1/8. A T after a numerical value indicates triplets.

Have a look at the picture above. Here I have routed the guitar part and the piano part to MIDI receive channel 1 and the brass and string parts to MIDI receive channel 2. If in this case we would choose to send cc007 (Volume) on channel 1, the guitar and piano would jump to equal levels. That would be a bad thing, since that should devastate their internal mix. Expression (cc011) is similar to the main out faders of an ordinary mixer. So in order to maintain the proportion of the mix you should rather send Expression than Volume. In summary one can say that Volume (cc007) is absolute volume (0-127) and that Expression (cc011) is relative volume (0-127). A swell pedal connected to the CONTROL PEDAL jack on the Nord Stage will always send Expression (cc011) through MIDI (if enabled in the Extern menu). This cannot be changed.

When you connect your Nord Stage to a sequencer, software, or other Synth, it can become useful to synchronize the time dependent elements such as LFOs, Effects (notably the Delay), and the Arpeggiator between your keyboards and software, including the different elements within your Nord Stage 2. The Masterclock / MIDI beat clock feature is designed to allow keeping various MIDI devices in Sync. Basically it consists that the Master sends a MIDI signal every 96th note using the set bpm tempo. All slaves that are synced with the Master will have their bpm-dependent elements automatically synchronized to the received tempo so that effects, LFO and Arpeggiator are in sync with the Master tempo. The Nord Stage 2 only receives Master Clock so that your external keyboard, module, or sequencer need to act as Masters. However, it also serves as to keep the different elements of your Nord Stage 2 of both Panels in Sync amongst each other. To enable Master Clock at the Nord Stage 2, press the Mst Clk button once and dial in a tempo with the Value


Doc.version: 2 / 2013-07-15