Clavia Digital Musical Instruments was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1983. Founders Hans Nordelius and Mikael Carlsson developed their first device, the Digital Percussion Plate 1, in a suburban basement in Stockholm. One year later, the device was updated with distinguishable red coloring, EPROM integration, and a new name: the ddrum. Subsequently, the Nord Lead virtual analog subtractive synthesizer was released in 1995; this synth emulates the qualities of analog synthesis and features the ergonomic control layout that would become a staple of CDMI’s later designs.
Three years later, the company released the first ever digital modular synthesizer, the Nord Modular. This legendary device is renowned for its nearly unlimited variation potential, which proficiently simulates subtractive, additive, FM, and physical modeling synthesis alongside a plethora of other processing and sound generation capabilities. This was followed by further incarnations of the Nord Lead, the Nord Electro, Nord Stage, and the Nord Wave 2 wavetable synthesizer, among others.
Clavia’s instruments are immediately visually apprehendable due to their characteristic red color, distinctive pitch stick, and conveniently-located modulation wheel. Performance-wise, the pitch stick is one of the most intriguing features, as it avoids dead spots typically associated with pitch wheel movement. In fact, many Nord users are fans of the instrument because of the pitch control and its subsequent effect on their playing.