Nord Electro 6 HP-73 Review
The digital piano world is plagued by a unique problem. Most of the affordable digital pianos have a lot of features but do not excel in any of them while the more expensive digital pianos are too focused on being good at one or at the most two things which is great for people looking for a limited feature-set. However, musicians, especially the ones that have to perform live need a bit more versatility in their instruments and that is where Nord comes in. They are known for making premium digital pianos that excel at multiple avenues.
Nord also releases multiple models that have minor differences and allows musicians to hone in on their very specific requirements. One such digital piano happens to be the Nord Electro 6 HP-73. This one is aimed at the versatile musician who prefers a realistic piano feel along with great sound and customizability options. We thoroughly vetted the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 and here are our findings.
In typical Nord fashion, the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 looks different but gorgeous. It will easily stand out in a sea of instruments. The HP in the name is a call-out to the fully weighted hammer action keys and keys looks amazing. It looks and feels quite high-end. The build quality is amazing and this is an instrument that you can rely on for years. The top-half of this digital piano has been modelled in such a way so as to facilitate live playing. This is evidenced by the rather large faders, buttons and knobs.
The screen does feel small in comparison but it has great clarity which sort of compensates for its size. The clear focus is on live playability which means that all the primary functions you would need while playing live is easily accessible but for any in-depth changes, a little menu-hopping is required.
The overall looks is one department where the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 scores really well. It looks very professional from every angle. It is quite portable too and should last a long time if it is carried around in case. We also need to point out that the Nord 6 has some minor improvements over the Nord 5 but if you already own a Nord 5, these minor changes do not warrant an upgrade. You can wait for the next iteration to be launched.
One common complaint encountered in this segment is the lack of focus on the organ and synth sounds. Nord has addressed that and all the tones sounds equally good. There are 3 main sections as you wold have deduced by now – piano, synth and organ. The piano sounds are true to life and on par with what is available in this segment. The synth and organ sounds are very good which means that you can pull off a palm slide just as easily as a parallel arpeggio.
Even though this is a digital piano, you are not restricted to just the piano sounds in a professional setting but can make equally impressive use of the synth and organ sounds. Nord achieves this feat by having independent sound engines for these three sections which means that you will always get a sound that is as close to authentic as possible and will not sound cheap or digitally faked in any way which we really loved. However, this might be an overkill if you are just a pianist and don’t care much for anything beyond the piano tones.
The extended polyphony capabilities are also great and the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 never felt overwhelmed even when pushed really hard when using heavy layering. There are 400 presets available across 8 banks and you can find pretty much any sound you need. Most musicians shopping in this segment would not really care for the default presets and would rather have the option of making their own sounds. The Nord Electro 6 HP-73 does not disappoint in that case either and allows you to dial in great tones exactly to your liking. The only downside is the interface. Using the default presets are easy enough but editing sounds can at times become tedious.
The Nord Electro 6 HP-73 is marketed as a digital piano with fully-weighted hammer-action keys and they perform quite well. They aren’t the best keys in this segment but are authentic enough for even the most consummate pianist to feel at home. Nord has also found an innovative solution for a common problem associated with hammer-action keyboards – the inability to provide a fluid feel when primarily using synth and organ sounds. They have included multiple dynamic curves that can tune the response in such a way that the graded hammer action does not inhibit organ and synth playing.
We tried different piano pieces and we were able to play with ease and feel without any issues. The great thing about the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 is the ease with which you can transition from one tone to another. The change is seamless without any drop in quality and allows you to have a much nuanced performance with ease. Again, this is a feature that would be too much for just the pianist and is meant for the musician who has to have multiple facets to their performance.
The keys feel pretty good though one area where the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 suffers like many of its contemporaries is the way in which the black keys feel in regards to the white key. There is a subtle but noticeable difference and this does take some time getting used to if you are transitioning from an acoustic piano. However, if you are someone who has honed your skills on a digital piano or a keyboard then this won’t be an issue.
The sliders, knobs and buttons offer great tactile response and using them in a live situation is a hassle-free situation. Overall, we were quite satisfied with the way this digital piano feels. It is perfect for anyone who is not looking for a great and authentic feeling digital piano but wants a versatile digital piano that can handle multiple styles and techniques.
Additional features, usability and effects
Special attention has been given to the organ section as is evident from all the stuff you get in this section. There is everything from authentic reproduction of the B3 Tonewheel, Classic Transistor Organs, Pipe Organs and vintage rotary speakers. They are a treat to use. In fact you will almost get the sensation that the piano section took a backseat to the organ section. The synth section is pretty great and quite usable too.
There are a lot of sophisticated synth features like Mellotron and Chamberlin. In comparison the piano section doesn’t offer as many bells and whistles. It seems almost ordinary in comparison. Don’t get us wrong. It is still very good for the price and the tones are as good as they are going at this point. It is just that instead of being a digital piano with organ and synth capabilities, the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 feels more like and organ that has piano and synth capabilities.
Coming to the effects, the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 features almost all the best stompbox effects you would ever need. All the effects can be applied to all the three section and in stereo which is excellent. Layering and splitting is also as good as it is going to get. Multiple sounds from all three sections can be combine with each having its own set of effects and split points with crossfade effect thanks to the independent sound engines.
Connectivity, usability, and portability
All the standard connectivity options are available including the capability to connect up to four external keyboards, each of which can be assigned to one of the sound engines. Usability is a mixed bag as certain features of the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 are quite easy to use while others feels a bit overwhelming at first. Overall, the Nord Electro 6 HP-73’s interface feels quite unintuitive and could have been better. Portability, however, is something that Nord have nailed with the Electro 6 HP-73. The 73 keys are perfect and do not sacrifice much of the real estate while still keeping it quite portable.
Final thoughts on the Nord Electro 6 HP-73
The Nord Electro 6 HP-73 is a digital piano with a mistaken identity. If you are a pianist who would just like a few additional options then you can take a look at some of the other options from Nord itself that are more focused on being a full-fledged digital piano. The Nord Electro 6 HP-73 is one of the most authentic digital organs and synthesizer out there but the acoustic piano samples aren’t on the same level, however the Rhodes and Wurli sounds are top class.
If that is what you are going for then choose the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 by all means but if all you are looking for just a digital piano and do not need such a powerful organ and synthesizer then you could save quite some money by going for one of the other options from Nord itself. If you are a versatile musician who does not want to be limited by a certain type of sound then the Nord Electro 6 HP-73 is perfect for you.
– One of the best synth sections ever seen on a digital piano
– Great build quality
– Independent sound engines for piano, synth and organs
– Customizable split and layering options
– Great selection of effects
– 73 keys offer the great middle ground between portability and playability
– Super gig friendly, only 11 Kg
– Piano section feels a bit underpowered compared to organs and synths
– Some of the in-depth customization takes a bit getting used to
– Small screen
– Interface is a bit unintuitive
– Not much of an upgrade over the Nord 5 series
- Rated 5 stars
- Nord Electro 6 HP-73
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Categorised in: Product Reviews