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Reviewed By 4damind [read all by] on January 17th, 2012
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by 4damind on 18th January 2012.

The Nord Lead Editor is a controller plug-in for the Nord Lead 2(x). Ok, a device panel in Cubase for the Nord Lead can do similar things but there is no handling of sysex data.

If a new instance is loaded, the internal memory with 99 patches will contain the default factory patches of the Nord Lead. Program selector up/down switches will transmit the patch to the Nord Lead's edit memory. Creating new patches or loading sysex files from disk will be stored in the internal memory of the plug-in and also with the project! The internal memory bank will be restored with the project to have something like a "total recall". A bank with 99 patches or a single patch can be exported/imported to/from disk as a standard sysex file. The difference with the internal memory and the stored format (sysex): the internal patch can have a own name while the imported/exported patches will not have a patch name and there will be used a default name like "sysex patch" inside the plug-in.

The good things:

  • The controller works without problems and so the Nord Lead can be programmed inside the DAW.
  • internal memory with place for 99 patches is stored with the project so there is no needs to handle sysex bulks inside the track to restore patches.
  • standard sysex files, so the files can be handled with all sysex tools.
  • the plug-in will receive controller messages and the GUI elements will reflect the moving on knobs on the Nord Lead.

The bad things:

  • No handling of receiving MIDI dumps: receiving dumps from the Nord Lead needs other tools.
  • No library handling or a good patch manager to sort or tag patches.
  • The default bank cannot be changed, IMO it would be more useful to have a own bank as the default instead of the factory patches.
  • No extended format to store additional data like a patch name, style etc.
  • plug-in needs a bit routing in the host with extra MIDI tracks this can be a bit confusing the first time.
  • No support for performances.
  • No handling of system/special settings of the Nord Lead.
  • Text labels sometimes bad to read with todays monitor sizes about >22".

Does it make sense to control the Nord Lead with the plug-in instead of using the knobs? Sometimes it's not bad to have it inside the DAW instead of doing such stuff on the Nord Lead. It's the same if Virus TI users will use the Virus TI plug-in and not using the external knobs... But because the plug-in will receive controller messages it's no problem to use the knobs on the Nord Lead and have the settings reflected in the plug-in.

Most interesting usage will be the storing of patches with the project. For receiving existing patches from the Nord Lead it needs a (free) tool like Bome's SendSX (Windows). The dumps can than be loaded with the plug-in.


  • Bigger or resizesable GUI.
  • internal handling for receiving dumps.
  • patch manager.
  • support of performances.
Reviewed By 4damind [read all by] on May 18th, 2011
Version reviewed: 1.3.455 on Windows.
Last edited by 4damind on 19th May 2011.
As a long time Nebula owner, I'm not very happy with this plug-in.
It was a nightmare to get all up and running, find the needed libraries, get the keyfile and such stuff. Ok, since some time they changed the website, so it's easier to find all downloads. But this is not the best solution for a commercial plug-in. Acustica should provide something like a better installer and maintaining tool to install the free libraries later. A idea of such a good tool is the Imageline library tool.

The GUI is average and for most things not very usable. This is the problem with such a GUI which should be usable for many different sampled devices. EQ, compressor, tapes... All have the same faders only with customized labels for the parameters. Better would be a GUI description "language" or a XML file where the libraries could load there optimized/own interface.
The library and the short names are a bad idea. I had to ask the developer of the R2R libraries to get an idea about the meaning of the short names. This is a very big limitation not to have longer names and a description.

I bought Nebula in the past because of the Doc Fear EQ (D.W Fearn). But because of the limitations of Nebula3 it's not usable like a "Pultec clone". I wished it has a interface with all knobs like the D.W Fearn on one page and all settings there. So I must search in the library with the cryptic names and load a part (only the shelf EQ or a combo provided by the author).

CPU usage and latency is very high. I tested also to change the internal buffer size but this will not help. So it's more a plug-in I use for 1 or 2 instances.

The sound is ok but I prefer a good emulation instead of the sampled devices. The limitations of Nebula are for me a show stopper.
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