If you’re looking for a Stage-Piano that offers pristine, studio-worthy sounds, portability and aesthetics that feel like a cherry topping on your investment, the Nord Electro 6 and Stage 3 are definitely worth considering. This Swedish brand have established themselves as an industry standard of sorts for digital pianos and synthesizers.
The premium, hand-made keyboards have been winning awards and musicians’ admiration alike for a while now. Their overall approach has been an uncompromising dedication to the quality of both their hardware and software, coupled with an intelligent design that combines authenticity with portability.
In summary, both keyboards excel in terms of quality and functionality. Needless to say, while the Nord Electro 6 is a very high-quality keyboard that offers great value, Nord Stage 3 has a lot more options to offer. But at a price difference exceeding a thousand dollars, that should not come as a surprise.
Before you read any further, though, you should know that these instruments are aimed primarily at professional musicians looking for a high-end versatile axe that delivers reliable stage and studio performance.
If you’re on a smaller budget and looking for a digital piano with in-built speakers instead, (to practice or teach at home), you might want to look at the following options instead.
Deciding upon the right Stage Piano for yourself is a very personal decision. Every musician has unique needs and goals. So what it boils down to eventually are your individual preferences, requirements, and taste.
Here’s a comparison of these two models to help you make that decision.
Design and Build
The Nord Electro 6 series comes in three sizes.
- The 61 and 73-note 6D models with the Semi-Weighted Waterfall keybed perfect for playing organ,
- And the 73-note Hammer Action Portable keybed that strikes a compromise for a more pianoesque action.
Note: The ‘D’ in the first two models refer to the physical drawbars meant to simulate those of an actual organ. Small caveat though: the Nord’s drawbars work in reverse so if you’re used to regular drawbar settings on a Hammond, you’ll have to relearn your diagrams!
Nord’s flagship Nord Stage 3 comes in three different sizes as well. But slightly different from the Electro series.
- The full-sized 88-note fully weighted hammer action piano keys (Nord stage 3 88)
- The 76-key weighted hammer action (Nord Stage 3 HP76)
- And the Nord Stage 3 Compact, which uses a 73-note Semi-Weighted Waterfall keybed.
Note: Only the Compact model comes with drawbars. The other models use buttons.
Both series include the wooden paneling on the sides which give these instruments their unique, sophisticated look. But the wooden pitch-shift stick and stone modulation wheel are only included on the Stage 3.
All the keyboards come with an OLED display. These may not compete with certain workstation keyboards in similar price categories. But are still easy enough to navigate once you get a hang of the system.
You may also check here the Nord Electro 6 Comparison Chart.
Let’s have a look at the Electro series first.
These were originally aimed at musicians looking for a legit high-end substitute for electromechanical keyboards like Rhodes, Wurlis, Clavinets, and Hammonds in addition to acoustic pianos.
However, recent models have also started to include a sample synth section. This includes sounds from the legendary Mellotron and Chamberlin synths, exclusively licensed to Nord. Not to forget the more ‘bread-and-butter’ standards like strings and brass, all of which are studio-quality as well.
The award-winning Nord C2D Organ simulations (B3 Tonewheel, B3 Bass, Vintage Transistor Organs, and Pipe Organ models) deserve special mention. They have made the Electro a staple for many organ players looking for a portable solution.
The 6 FX sections include Reverb, Delay, an EQ with a sweepable mid, and two other sections dedicated to vintage effects like Rotary Speaker, Tremolo, Auto Wah (great for those funky Clavinets).
Then there’s Choruses and Flangers. And Nords very own ‘Vibe’ effect, which aims for a ‘tape’ feeling. This can be quite effective as well. All of the above can be combined to suit your taste as long as each effect comes from a separate section.
Let’s look at the Nord Stage 3 now.
The Stage series are Nords flagship. At the risk of oversimplifying, it includes all of the features of the Electro, but adds the Nord Lead A1 Synth Engine to the arsenal. It also comes with double the memory for piano samples (2GB), and the ability to layer categories. It’s almost like two electros in one. The result is a sonic beast. This is an instrument at home in pretty much any musical situation.
The Nord Electro 6 comes with the following outputs:
The Nord Stage 3 comes with these:
- 4 Assignable Audio Outputs
- Stereo Headphone output
- 1 Monitor input
- Sustain Pedal
- Sustain input compatible with Nord Triple Pedal (sold separately)
- Rotor Pedal
- Organ Swell Pedal
- Control Pedal
- Program Change Pedal input
- MIDI In
- MIDI Out
- USB - type B connector (for USB MIDI, Software Update and Sound Transfer)
- Power Cord
If that’s too much tech-talk, the main takeaway here is that the Electro comes with pretty standard stereo outputs, but does offer a monitor input (not included on the Stage 3). This can be used to connect your phone or an external source if you’d like to jam to a playalong, for example.
The Nord Stage 3 on the other hand, offers separate outs in addition to the standard stereo ones. This lets you route each engine separately. So you could route a synth bass on its own into an amp for example, and route piano through the stereo outs. It also give you a couple of pedal control options that you don’t get on the Electro.
Note: Neither come with built-in speakers, so do make sure you have a pair of monitors! Nord makes its own Nord Piano Monitors for this purpose as well.
Here are the complete specifications of Nord Stage 3.
In conclusion, the main differences between the Nord Electro 6 and Nord Stage 3 are as follows:
- Piano Memory (Winner by far: Nord Stage 3).
- Outputs and routing options (Feels like a tie. Nord Stage 3 offers individual routing but no monitoring).
- Sound Library (Nord Stage 3 offers more).
- Pitch-bend stick and Modulation Wheel (Nord Electro 6 doesn’t have any)
- Price (Nord Electro 6 wins hands down).