Nord Stage 3 VS Korg Kronos (Comparison)
Our pick: The Nord Stage 3
While both are solid keyboards, the Korg Kronos outguns the Nord Stage 3 on the spec sheet with a ton of sound engines, and a solid take on realism with Multi-dimensional Synthesis technology (MDS). Yet, it's not our preferred pick in this comparison, unless we're talking about a recording studio context. The Stage 3 does less, but does a better job doing it, especially if you're after a performance or piano-focused keyboard.
Comparing any keyboard to the Korg Kronos workstation isn't entirely fair, just because the Kronos can do so much. Even a stacked offering like the Stage 3 looks a little anemic because you go from the nine sound engines in the Kronos to only three in the Stage.
We would argue the comparison can still be made because you're getting more quality and a nicer overall instrument in the Stage 3.
This is why you can't just look at specs sheets to make a judgement.
Yes, the Kronos can do more and has a wider range of functionality, but quality is more than counting effects and presets.
We'll dive into our comparison between the Nord Stage 3 and Korg Kronos, then give some grades to help provide a little bit of context.
Major Differences Between the Stage 3 and Kronos
There are some significant differences between these two keyboards that are hard to appreciate until you actually play them. Please keep in mind, playing them is critical to making a decision between the two. Our church owns the Nord Stage 3, and we've had some contributors test the Korg Kronos at a couple different music shops.
Here's where they differ most significantly.
- Sound engines, presets, and effects: Kronos has more of all of these
- Control/reliance on touch screen: Kronos has more touchscreen functionality
- Music production VS performance: Between these two, we'd put the Stage 3 as far more of a performance keyboard, while the Kronos is more of a recording companion
We'll explore these differences in the comparison section and the comparison table below. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out in the comments section.
Compare to Similar Keyboards
In this section we've linked to the Stage 3, the Kronos, and a couple other similar keyboards. If you decide to do some shopping, consider using our Sweetwater links (the orange buttons), which cost you nothing extra. They're just a simple, non-intrusive way to support our site.
Nord Stage 3
Nord Piano 4 (Piano 5)
Roland RD 2000
Nord Stage 3 VS Korg Kronos: Bells and Whistles Don't Tell the Whole Story
In this section we've done a bare bones spec comparison. Again, it's important to keep in mind that numbers don't tell the whole story. To be transparent, if I could choose one of these keyboards, I'd take the Stage 3.
Sure it doesn't have as many bells and whistles, but it's a nicer, more thought-out keyboard that feels better in your hands.
Just keep that in mind as you browse the spec sheet.
Digital stage piano
Oragan, Piano, and Synth
Onboard Audio Interface
Zones, Splits, and Crossfades
88 weighted hammer action
88 real weighted hammer action 3
120 piano notes, 34 synth notes
Variable per engine, dynamic allocation
400 programs with 8 banks
1792 memory programs, 78 drum kits
16-track (MIDI), 16-track (Audio)
1 x 1/8" (monitor in)
2 x 1/4" (mic/line)
4 x 1/4", 1 x 1/4"(headphones)
2 x 1/4" (left, right), 4 x 1/4" (individual outs)
1 x Type B
2 x Type A, 1 x Type B
4 x 1/4" (channels 1-4), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
3 x 1/4" (damper/switch/pedal)
While the Stage 3 only "wins" one category (the pedal inputs), it's still a better keyboard given the right circumstances. We'll reflect that in the grading criteria below, where we give certain scores for different contexts like recording and playing live.
Every grade like this has some subjectivity attached to it. But we're just trying to give you a feel for where we'd recommend using each of these keyboards. In general, the Stage 3 is a better performance keyboard while the Kronos is a better studio keyboard.
Feel of a Real Piano Grade (playability)
Nuance capturing grade
Ease of use/learning curve grade
Non-piano sound grades
Effects and sounds
You can see that all of our grading is close and we've had to do a little bit of hair splitting. This is what makes the Kronos and Stage 3 such a hard comparison. They're both great keyboards, with a lot of functionality and without a context of how you'll use them, it's hard to say that one is better than the other.
The Kronos often sounds more synthetic and "electric" compared to the Stage 3. If that's what you're looking for it's a far better (and cheaper) choice.
Nord Stage 3
On the other hand, the Stage 3 is a more natural-sounding keyboard, that does a better job mimicking the sound of an acoustic piano. One is not necessarily better or worse than the other - it just depends on what you're looking for.
Concluding our Comparison
Comparing musical instruments, whether they're keyboards, guitars, or something else, is difficult because it's not just about a specs sheet. It's about how you'll use an instrument and the context that instrument is being placed in.
Are you more of a piano and keyboard player or do you prefer the recording capability and functionality of a workstation?
Ask questions like these before buying.
It'll help you make a choice that'll be better suited to your situation.
Questions about these two Keyboards
Do you have questions about the Korg Kronos or the Nord Stage 3? Or maybe you've owned one of the two? If so, drop us a line in the comments section below to share your question or story.
It's always good to chat.
See you there.