Friends of norns: gear, accessories, etc

That did it! I stupidly assumed that the website saying there was no audio over USB meant no MIDI either. Thanks for that simple yet helpful suggestion.

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small warning that nymphes does draw significant current and could cause issues powering from norns (such as starving the norns CPU.)

specs are contradictory though, one place says the draw is 1.5W (300mA, possibly OK) and in another it says it requires a 1000mA supply (probably not OK)

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Good to know. I just tested it for a little while with no troubles but I haven’t really put it through its paces just yet.

Although it only offers TRS-A (I wish it were switchable) the Retrokits RK006 has been a very useful Norns addition for me. Even if you ignore the bonus of flexible routing, it’s a very compact way to get a lot of TRS MIDI ins and outs over USB in a very small package. https://retrokits.com/shop/rk006/

Another super flexible TRS option is the CME WIDI range. Their Bud Pro USB works great with Norns and can pair with one or more wireless Jack units to talk DIN or switchable TRS A/B to any other device. It also speaks standard Bluetooth MIDI which allows any laptop, phone or iPad to communicate with no additional hardware. WIDI Bud Pro - CME - The MIDI Experts

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As it turns out, you were correct. Over the span of about 2 hours I had to restart once due to scripts not loading and suffered a hard reset at another point. So powering the Nymphes works, but not for long.

Thanks. It looks like RK006 is the solution I’m looking for. The CME is a good insight as well as I’ve been looking for a way to connect to my ipad.

If you’re going to order the RK-006, may as well pick up a couple of these TRS-A to TRS-B switching cables, as well: https://retrokits.com/shop/trsabdongle/

I have a few of these, and they are very useful in these situations.

Edit - sorry, I see that these were called out already above :).

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yeah, symptom on classic norns is that it would i guess work fine but drain the battery even while plugged in, then cause Bad Things to happen when the battery dies. (up to and including corrupting disk contents if you’re unlucky.) on raspi+shield it would starve the norns processor. (also Bad.)

if the nymphes can only be powered from USB, one solution is to use a little gizmo to split USB power and data.

like this

or i guess like many devices marketed as "ground loop eliminator"s

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that looks FRACKEN awesome!!!

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No kidding, debating bothering some of my more savvy friends to build one for me!

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This would be a good MPE- euro interface. Only downside is 0-4v on the velocity. Def building one of these soon.

Another easy solution is to use a powered USB hub with norns. Plenty of hubs have a place to plug in a power adapter, and it’s usually a cheaper and more versatile hack solution than buying yet-another-specialty-audio-peripheral.

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Also, since some others didn’t know this when I brought it up - cheap little usb dongles work on the norns to extend it a little bit.

Thought some of you might like to know I was able to connect the arc to the monome on a sabrent dongle from like 8+ years ago.

YMMV by dongle and not sure how far this can go.

oh yeah that’s a good point. (my standard advice here is predicated on embedded hosts like aleph/TT which have missing or limited hub support.)

let’s be accurate though. a simple data/power splitter is the simplest and cheapest solution; it consists only of cabling / connectors and can be purchased for $4 or DIYd for nothing (from any typical cable ratsnest.)

whereas i have personally not yet needed a powered USB hub in my life and would not acquire another throwaway computer for this particular need.

I’m thinking of getting a compression pedal, to use when I play live. Something to give my shield a real boost, give it some oomph…
I’m already playing through 2 Boss guitar pedals; a delay and a reverb.
Anyone playing their norns through pedals in a live context?
Thoughts? Tips?

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Maybe consider using the Norns builtin compressor instead?

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Yep have considered that but would probably put the pedal after a small mixer, so that my ipad and other bits (organelle etc) would be included in the routing.

I’m not near my shield right now - is the built-in compressor something I can mess around with? Change the levels I mean?

Yep, the builtin compressor is fully configurable in the Norns settings menu.

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As @toneburst said, the built in one is quite good.

I have an SP Compressor in my guitar pedalboard and I love it. No idea how it handles synths or a mix though.

https://xotic.us/effects/sp-compressor/

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When it comes to oomph I usually prefer a good DI (ideally with a gigantic transformer) over a compressor, especially if you’re looking at end-of-chain placement. It might be worth experimenting with something like the Radial JDI (portable, indestructible, what I use on tour) or if you have room in your life for another box with a power cable the A-Designs KGB-II.

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