Clavia Nord C1 on the road

I’ve had the C1 in nearly 4 years now, and here are my views on how it’s been working for me. The C1 isn’t being sold anymore, but the not so different C2 is still being sold, as well as the soon to be released C2D (with drawbars).

Travelling with the nord C1

I bought the C1 in 2008, and today I simply cannot understand how I could live without it before. At almost every concert up to then I used a big B3 organ. I still prefer to bring the B3 when possible, but it is so convenient to use the Nord for a rehearsal, or for a gig when I have to fly to get there. In 2007 we actually hired 4 chinese guys to drive my B2 from Shanghai to Beijing (about 1200km) with car for a couple of concerts up there! Crazy.

Excess Luggage in Hong Kong

For me the total weight of the whole setup is essential. I understand this might not be the main point for people that normally bring it in their own car, but when you’re flying you sure want to avoid paying the price for excess luggage (yes that’s where that band name comes from).
I have been able to bring the C1 organ together with a Roland Pk5 one octave midi pedals down to just above 40kgs which is still too much in many case, but are normally working out for me.

On the road sound experience
I’m sure the C1 could sound very close to a B3 if you had a leslie 122 connected to it, I have never gotten around to trying that. The issue is, why would I bring a leslie 122 and not the B3? Yes, it would require a smaller car, but it would require wheels and a good system to get it into the car, and I couldn’t bring it on a plane or in a cab. So it’s either B3 and leslie or the C1 and whatever amp/PA the venue has. Through some PA monitors the sound from the C1 can be really good, but most often I get a bass amplifier which tend to sound not that good. A keyboard amp is normally the best, but it can be hard to get the right balance of bass/highs. The Roland KC550 is one a good alternative, but it can often be too bassy even when EQ’d. The highs go more straight forward while the bass gets around wider, and this make the placement of an amp very critical, and it can lead to that if I can hear myself good, then the drummer can’t hear very good. This is much easier with a leslie, where the problem normally is that the drummer complains it’s too loud.
If there is good sounding monitors with enough bass, then it can work pretty well for everybody, but then there is a risk that there will be too loud organ on stage. If the organ coming out of every monitor it fills up the whole stage with thick organ sound, and that’s also no good in my ears. I prefer if the sound coming from one place.

So, finding the right speaker is the main challenge with the C1. The different in sound depending on what amplifier I have available is huge. And this is of course nothing clavia or hammond suzuki can address. Except for maybe including a 12 band EQ. But then it gets kind of complicated.

In this following video I’m playing on a bass amp, I can’t remeber the brand, it’s one of those electric bass towers with one 18 (or 15 was it maybe) inch cabinet and one 4 x 10 inch cabinet. Pretty good amp, on the recording it sound OK, but I remember when I was sitting there some frequencies was all to loud, sharp and uncomfortable. I have the bass pedals there also, not sure how much I use them. On some amps the bass pedals can get all too loud. I think I adjusted the volume for them to 6 or 7.
Bjørn Vidar Solli on guitar and Nicholas Mcbride on drums, recorded september 2011 at “East Shore”  in Beijing, – a really cool jazz club.

The nord products are really sturdy. I have brought the C1 with me on many many flights, at least 100, and it still lives! I only have the soft bag that clavia sells for it, which of course isn’t ideal, but it has worked well for 3 year until sometime last year it got a big bump in transit in New York. The metal was bent, and some of the knobs were stuck. But it still works! I played some tours and gigs with it like this (the percussion button was stuck so I couldn’t turn perc on/off) until I finally opened it up and tried to bend the metal back. Now it works perfectly again. It looks a bit damaged but I don’t mind that.

I’m on my third bag, they tend to last a year, but i’m currently looking into getting a flightcase in PVC like this which could maybe make it light enough. I did actually put some 5mm wood boards inside the case in place of the plastic PVC that comes standard with the nord case, but now I’m actually wondering if it makes any difference.

The wheels on the C1 bag are good, but will fall off after 15-30 flights, which might be sufficient for most people. I know that this bag is not actually ment to be used for flying, but having a heavy wood flightcase has not been an option for me.

11 thoughts on “Clavia Nord C1 on the road

  1. This is what I do, and it’s working well. The Motion Sound Pro-3x Rotary Horn amplifier is the ‘top’. The Pro-3x divides the sound adds Leslie sim to below 800 hz part, and that can be fed to a bass amp, keyboard amp, or house PA. For small venues, I use one Peavey KBA100 (15 inch 80watts) keyboard amp as a bottom, for larger, I use two. I am looking now for a two-way 15 inch powered speaker to use as my ‘bottom’
    No, a Motion Sound horn is not as ‘sweet’ to my ears, as a Leslie horn. But it is, to my ears, much better than any ‘sim’, in a normal situation.

  2. This gives me a ‘rig’ which will fit in a compact car, which I can handle myself, and presents me with a playing field (2×61, drawbars, etc.) I am comfortable with. It also takes up little stage room, and is pretty much plug-n-play.
    If necessary, I add another weighted keyboard for piano, etc.

  3. “The Roland KC550 is one a good alternative, but it can often be too bassy even when EQ’d.”

    I have recently discovered how essential it is, when playing organ through a keyboard amp, to get that amp up, off the floor. Helps in every way, especially with ‘booming’ You may know this, but I didn’t. The change from floor to stand is very gratifying.

    • Thanks for that advice. Yes, I normally do that with leslie speakers, but I haven’t done it with an amp when using the nord. i’ll try that next time!

  4. I am sorry for the multiple comments.

    If you wear out a Nord gig-bag a year, and have sustained damage to your C-1, you could look into

    I purchased a lighter-weight hard case from them, which is perfect for everything short of ATA requirements (where guys throw your stuff into airplane holds). It fits like a glove, locks, has draw-down latches, and was delivered for half the price of the Nord bag. Seems like a good option. It does not have all the bells-n-whistles (wheels, stand compartment, etc.) of the Nord bag, but it’s hard, and weighs about 17 lbs.

    • I did actually just order a hard case from Thomann, but haven’t received it yet. It’s made of 5mm pvc, so I hope it should be quite light. Wheels are necessary! So is a place to put the legs and vol pedal. My plan is to put them on top of the lower manual (in a soft bag or something).
      17lbs of the bag you linked to does seem good! My currect setup with the nordbag including everthing (legs vol pedal cable) is 31kgs.

  5. Hi, thanks! I have used the flight for a few gigs, will have the first flight with it on Sunday. Then I’ll know the weight of it all included with the legs and vol pedal. I definately think it is lighter than the nord softcase. I’ll write an article about the case soon.
    The Nord bag weights 31 kgs. I haven’t had to pay any extra charges for it, but this depends on your frequent flyer program and the airline. Most european carriers have a 23kg max rule now, while american have 32kg if you have a gold card (in eco class). In china I some times bought first class tickets which came with additional 20kgs (and a nicer seat), at a very low surcharge.

  6. i just bought mine today…. i am very exited to get this on the road ;) i also want to use the bass in the left hand :) lets see… might turn out good :D you play delightfull :D

    best regards