The Nord Electro 3 73 is a keyboard designed to accurately simulate the sounds of vintage electromechanical and electronic keyboards. It has a 73-key F-F semi-weighted keyboard with curved sharps and "waterfall" naturals similar to that found on a Hammond B3. It also has enough resistance and response to allow for expressive playing when using electric piano or Clavinet sounds. There are no synth-style performance controls - no pitch-bend or modulation facility, even via MIDI. But that's not what it's about.
The Electro's sounds are categorised into two sections; piano and organ. Only one sound can be used at a time.
Piano sounds include Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Clavinet, all meticulously sampled to give the correct response. The Clavinet even has options corresponding to the D6's pickup and filter settings. Additionally, there are sections for acoustic upright and grand pianos, harpsichords and the rather vaguely-named "Samples". These include a wide range of Mellotron, synth and orchestral sounds which, along with alternative piano sounds can be downloaded from Nord's website for free.
The organ section uses digital modelling rather than sampling to generate the sounds of a Hammond B3, a Vox Super Continental and a Farfisa Compact Duo. The sounds can be modified in each case by a set of "drawbuttons" - each is a ladder of 9 LEDs with two buttons to "pull out" or "push in" the virtual drawbar. The Farfisa model uses the buttons as on-off switches rather than faders. The organ sounds can use two settings simultaneously via a keyboard split or an external lower MIDI keyboard.
There is a comprehensive set of digital effects including reverb and an equaliser. Arguably. the most important part of this section is the amp and speaker emulation which includes a very convincing Leslie simulator with adjustable overdrive and various speed options. It also has a "small speaker" setting designed to emulate the speakers on a Wurlitzer 200 electric piano and simulations of a Roland Jazz Chorus and a Fender Twin. This section can be used alongside two other effect sections, one offering tremolo, auto-pan, auto-wah, pedal wah or ring modulation, and the other providing phasing, flanging or chorus.
It's not cheap, but if you want access to a warehouse full of vintage keyboards, this ticks every box. Just remember - you're only allowed to use one instrument at a time!