Has anyone explored a library/mod that would allow other modules to pretend to be Crow?

I would love a Crow so that my Norns could control my modular. Since they are currently in short supply and high demand, I was thinking: Would it be realistic to create a translation layer similar to midigrid that allows other USB-enabled modules to “speak” Crow? Or at least mimic some subset of a Crow’s many abilities.

For example, I built a Betweener recently. On paper, it has all the right hardware (i.e. USB, 4 CV in/out, plus 4 trigger ins). I believe the i2c bus is even free (not sure because I have no use for it personally). Currently I am able to direct MIDI messages out of Norns that get translated to CV and vice versa. However, this requires configuration for every script, which gets tedious, and doesn’t always work as expected.

It would be amazing to be able to tap into all of the thoughtful integrations script authors intended for Crow - at least until the real deal is readily available and I can pay the Monome folks a fair price for one and not jacked up prices online. I’m not even thinking of porting/mapping/whatever Crow’s Druid/live-scripting abilities. I imagine some subset being made available, but I don’t even know where to begin.

Before I go on a wild goose chase, has anyone already gone down this path? Is it even possible/realistic?


I haven’t really looked far enough into what’s possible yet, but I’ve also been a bit curious about creating something that would either be a module or little i2c desktop unit that could route norns messages to cv like crow.

Don’t think I have any helpful advice yet but will let you know how it goes once I have a chance. I was thinking it’d be amazing if I could use a raspi pico and an adafruit DAC to rig something up but no clue how difficult that is yet

1 Like

Wouldn’t the Expert Sleepers FH-2 serve your needs, especially since you don’t want the scripting capabilities and Crow is not available (I am not sure if the FH-2 is)? You would just send MIDI from the Norns, and it would convert and translate to CV. Plus, it acts both as a USB host and a USB client, so you can also plug other hardware sequencers, synths, etc. into it.

If not, I don’t really understand the function of Crow, which can certainly be the case.

1 Like

Betweener looks like a good option. I started an app for Ornament and Crime to at least enable direct i2c output via serial USB control. I didn’t get too far since I didn’t have a use case, but I just got a disting ex so am planning to pick the project back up.

Creating some shared Arduino libs for this could be grand, so different teensy projects could implement similar functions.

Caveat, I don’t have a crow either.

1 Like

The FH-2 is a powerful device for converting MIDI to CV and vice versa. It would be an excellent general solution. The difference with Crow is that it is more opinionated. Instead of making all the things possible, it provides a very specific feature set. As such, it enables script authors to include those specific features in their scripts. This means users simply have to connect Crow to a USB port on their Norns to take advantage of the integration. A general MIDI to CV to MIDI device requires the user map MIDI features on a per script basis. Not terrible, but tedious. And in my experience, something you have to do every time you load the script (someone please tell me I’m wrong here and there is a way to save per-script MIDI mapping on Norns - this might actually solve the entire problem).

Anyway, the difference boils down to the specific capabilities of Crow vs. generalists like FH-2 and so many other excellent MIDI to CV modules. At least, that’s the difference as I understand it.

I’ve used an Endorphin.es Shuttle Control as my pseudo-crow quite a few times. Doesn’t get you any i2c access, but it does a pretty bang up job of converting usb midi to CV and gates. You can also set it up to output random voltages per trigger, or even use AD and pulsar envelopes instead of gates. Requires some fiddling, but I find their web editor pretty painless.

Yeah I honestly need to check out the Expert Sleepers modules more. I use an Apollo Twin as my main audio interface, which unfortunately doesn’t actually have an optical out. So I’m under the impression that to use any of the Expert Sleepers module I’d have to solely use that as an audio interface since I can’t do aggregate devices on Windows.

EDIT: Didn’t realize the FH-2 is actually just a USB MIDI/CV device as opposed to a full interface. That might solve my problems, thinking more on the max msp end of things too

I do not know if this is of interest for you, but I started building my own MIDI CV device. It is not finished yet. Here is the post: USB (MIDI) to CV - DIY Device where others have also posted alternatives (mostly DIY). Maybe you’ll find something of interest there.

1 Like

I have the FH-2 and love it. Incredibly flexible, IMHO, especially as it is able to act simultaneously as a USB host and USB device.