Layer Scene Button
The layer scene button allows each patch to have two independent layer configurations, where individual layers of complete sound sections can be switched on or off with just one button press.
Split Keyboard Mode
As well as layering sounds, it is also possible to assign sounds to different zones of the keyboard by using the SPLIT function. Activate the SPLIT keyboard mode by pressing the SPLIT ON/SET button. You can then assign each sound part to a specific area of the keyboard using the KB ZONE buttons that you'll find within each sound section. You can also adjust the octave shift of each sound too.
If you hold down the SPLIT ON button, it is possible to activate all three split points, known as Low, Mid and High, and this allows you to divide the keyboard into a total of four distinct zones to which any Layer can be freely assigned.
As with previous Nord keyboards, the split points are preset to specific locations on the keyboard, and these are clearly indicated by little LEDs. I know that some people would prefer to have complete freedom to place the splits wherever they like on the keyboard, but having used a Nord Stage 3 in a professional setting on stage for six years, I honestly haven't yet had a problem with the predetermined split points. The LED indicators to show the split point are extremely useful on stage, and personally I am not sure that I would be comfortable going back to a keyboard that doesn't have these!
Each split point also has a crossfade parameter. Normally the transition between two keyboard zones is immediate, with no overlap between the sounds selected for each zone. However, by adjusting the crossFade setting for a split point, the sounds can instead be “cross-faded” across the split point with an overlap of up to six semitones, giving a smoother transition between the sounds.
A good use of the crossfade function is with one of the most-used sounds for many keyboard players - the piano & strings layer. If, like me, you like your strings to be active in the lower and mid-range of the keyboard, leaving the solo piano space to sing out on its own in the top octaves of the keyboard, this can be achieved using the split crossfade function. This is just another Nord feature that I feel shows these keyboards have been designed by musicians who have knowledge of what live performers really need in an instrument.