Nord Lead A1r/4 or Novation Peak?


I want to replace my microKorg because I am sick of the knob matrix.

Now I am having a closer look at the Nord Lead A1r/4 or the Peak. What is your opinion? The NL would be around 800€-900€ and has 24 voices compared to the peak with 8 for 1100€ new. Also 4 part multi timbral with split. To me it seems like the NL has some huge advantages over the Peak overall.

What could change my mind to get a Peak instead of a NL (besides being black and thus fitting visually better into my setup :nerd_face:)?

i think it depends on what other gear you have and the music you make.

if you dont have much gear , I’d go with nord …
they sound nice and lush , nice bass , FX are simplified but sound nice too.

i guess having more notes , when its multitimbral , is also preferred as you are likely to do pads , leads and bass at the same time. …

i’m not sure how different A1 / 4r are , it’d be better to try youtube but i suspect theyre both good . I have a 4r and i like it a lot.
I suspect Nord is easier to resell closer to the price you pay.

both have a small degree of menu diving , probably a bit more on peak but the screen it ‘better’ as the nord only has an led.

Quick question on the 4r: I’ve heard that there is some ambient transformer noise that comes from the unit? Does yours make that transformer hum when it’s powered on?

mine is basically silent … running on uk 230v.
the only very very very slight hum can be heard if i put my ear up against the grill on the back nearest the mains lead … not the best way to use a synth though…

its quieter than my imac.
definitely quieter than my alesis usb2 mixer… thats annoyingly buzzy.


What is your need?

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Thank you for the report. Good to hear it’s basically silent. It’s a shame they discontinued the desktop/r version of the 4. I’m sort of in the market for a digital poly as well. I tried the Peak (had a faulty one/returned) but didn’t love it.

I love pads and bass …evolving sounds. Both machines are very capable to do this. I’ve watched hours of youtube videos.

What’s really nice about the NL is the morphing and mutate function - I guess that’s a huge plus (haven’t seen this on the Peak).

Right now I do ambient, techno and a lofi hiphop kindof.

Thanks for the input so far!

I had an A1 keyboard for 8 months or so. Sequenced from my Digitakt. I’m no expert but I quickly hit some limitations that I couldn’t workaround on the A1. The first was getting the lfo to restart on each note to get a punchy bass patch. The lfo is free running. i could have used the lfo as a one shot but then mod options are limiting. Also, only one lfo.

I loved the 4 multitimbral parts but It always felt better to me when playing the keyboard than sequencing.

I think the nl4 has more mod destinations and lfos and separate oscillators instead of preset oscillator configs.

Nords are built like tanks if that’s a consideration for you.

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Novation KS5, poly 16, parts 4.

Check If you Like the general Sound Charakter of each synth. NL is more classic sounding. Has less Options to Go crazy, more of a Keyboarder/Players synth. The Peak has a broad range of possibilities for sculpting Sounds and can do Classic but also more wild and crazy modern Sounds. For your Genres both Synths fit very well.

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You can also use the extra four midi tracks of the Digitakt to create resetting LFOs mapped to CC that can be applied to any of the four A1 parts.

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do you own one of them?

I own a Peak and really like it. In particular I like the interface, where many functions are up front with dedicated knobs. Other features are pretty shallow in the menu, so things are accessible and intuitive. I researched it before I got it, and a complaint that I saw on other forums was that the sound was not interesting. I think that this is because the digital oscillators need have some drift and detune applied to sound like classic analog synths, and that the default patches it comes with are not that great. I find that I can get some really rich and subtle sounds out of it even without much modulation, so now I think those complaints were not based on experience. And I never use the factory patches – why bother when a great sounding patch is so easy to build from scratch? I think the new 1.2 firmware will improve it quite a bit more – most obviously by providing a lot more wavetables (though two more LFOs and effects modulation sound pretty awesome as well).

I have not used a Nord A1r, but it looks like it would also be straightforward to use based on the front panel.

One difference to consider is signal path. Both seem somewhat similar, in that the oscillators are digital, with analog filters. Peak has a filter per voice, and it seems the Nord has a single filter based on a description I read. I suspect there are some other details that make the Peak nicer, like a fuller mod-matrix, but also more expensive.


Yeah, I did try this but I found that it didn’t work. Probably user error but midi from the digi didn’t work as expected for me.

I Had NordLead 3 and A1 for a few years, and have since day one the Peak.

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I’ve owned all 3 and they are all great.
Probably my 3 favourite hardware synths at the moment.
I prefer the Nord 4 over A1 due to more modulation ability and full adsr envelopes.
I probably prefer Peak over Nord 4 due its amazing reverb, analog filter and filter fm which sounds sublime


I find the Peak UI much more attractive to play with than the Nord Lead ones. It feels like much more appealing to me than the Nords, though their Interface is Not Bad at all! It must have something to do with the Parameter Ranges Chosen. Quite tamed on the Nords, crazy modular Like on the Peak. I Like that a Lot.

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If Peak was 2-to-4 way multitimbral I would really consider it, sounds great in demos.


I personally don’t have a preference for user interface between them.
They are all the best in their class imo, and all built like a tank.

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IIRC (my A1 and L4r have been boxed away for months) the OSC’s are also free running, unless you’re in one of the unison modes, and then they reset in sync, and the bass is as punchy as any moog/DSI/Elektron I’ve ever used.

A benefit of the L4 over the A1 is the multiple “impulse morph” buttons, which are kind of like having several after touch options for every patch. But no actual keyboard after touch on either.

And they are faultless! They just work. I got mine because the Subsequent37 and Rev2 were going through multiple returns/replacements till July this year.

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