How to sync two USB MIDI hosts

I’ve been toying with the idea of playing a set only with norns and organelle. But both are USB hosts AFAIK. Any idea on how to sync them to a common tempo? Can it be done internally or do i need some kind of external device?

a thing that crosses my mind. Current theories:

Implement Ableton Link for Norns - I’ve looked, should be do-able, haven’t gotten around to it due to lack of time

iConnect Midi box - I’ve not tried this but in theory it should work

Route via Ableton - what I do in the studio but obviously not going to work in the wilder world because you’d need a laptop

Common clock - are there boxes that do this? basically a little box that sends clocks out - should be dead easy to make in this day and age and you’d think they’d sell…

(edit - I reckon Link is the future here - Organelle already supports it, no reason Norns can’t )


posting so I remember…


the beat clock.lua picks up midi clock ticks

should be easy enough to add in to that I think.

Given the major overhaul of midi of late @tehn may have plans for this…


MIDI clock would probably be the easiest way, but afaik there’s currently no way to sync the clock on norns to it (or have norns be the master clock). Don’t know about organelle.
For reference

If you want something that’s possible right now you might be able to get one of the netjack options to work, depending on if Organelle uses JACK, if it uses the same version of JACK as norns and if you know your way around Linux/JACK :slight_smile:

With the supercollider UGen I linked above - how easy/hard is it to make that available to Lua on Norns?

Does there need to be some other glue or would it just be “available” to an engine?

(FWIW - I have no idea so far how the SC side of things works on Norns)

1 Like

Hardware wise, I do this with an iConnectMidi4+. It has three usb-b ports for hosts.


Scripts that use beatclock should sync fine over a host-host MIDI connection scheme like the iConnectMIDI+.

Regarding Ableton Link, there are some thoughts on that in issue 129.

Summary is that I think the long term way to do it would be with the Link C library, though an experiment with the Supercollider Link UGen would certainly be interesting. I have been poking at this and don’t want to discourage anyone else from trying to tackle it, but I hope to have something later this month. I think Link is about to be a lot more useful, if you’re at Knobcon look for Ed from

1 Like

I was trying to compile the Link UGen earlier, but it didn’t seem to work. I think it fails because it needs to be compiled against supernova now and the CMake file does not account for that.

however, this is way above my knowledge level so I’m taking shots in the dark. :exploding_head:

I use Pisound and iConnectivity Mio2 for connecting the two. Depends on the patch on both device, if available one can be sync with another.

Ableton Link would be wonderful!

I agree, Ableton link would be really nice, reduce hardware clutter and help norns integrate well with a diverse setup.

1 Like

Has anyone had the opportunity to circle back on this Ableton Link thing (UGen or otherwise)?

EDIT - answering my own question I guess…

The github thread @Dewb linked above mentions that SC 3.11 will have Ableton Link support. Yay!

1 Like

This is all you might need…

1 Like

I’m finally getting my hands dirty on poking around Ableton Link support. My current thinking is that the first pass ought to consume the Link C library from matron and integrate with beatclock; a better, sample-accurate system might be eventually possible by moving all master clocking to Supercollider post SC 3.11.


Any dedicated souls out there still tinkering with the idea of Ableton Link support?

I’m dreaming of a day when Norns and Organelle might play in sync alone together…

Just an update: I don’t own an Organelle anymore, but I have two Norns. I haven’t managed to synchronize them yet, even with the Sevillasoft USB-USB thingy, but I haven’t tried that hard. Whenever I switch them on, ideas come up and I forget about syncing. :grinning:


Mine arrived today and working great norns->aleph. Meant to test both directions, but got carried away making music obviously


I was wondering if anyone is working on getting Norns to support Ableton Link? I don’t have the chops to do it myself, but I would find this extremely useful.

1 Like

:wave: hey hey!