Is there anything that norns/fates can't do that an organelle v1 can?

Looking to possible make the switch, with the work @TheTechnobear has done is seems like perhaps norns is an organelle without build in keys – but please correct me where i am wrong!!

Norns is supercollider + lua

ORAC / Organelle are puredata on the backend.

You can run ORAC on norns/fates, but you can’t run norns on Organelle.

In practice there’s going to be a number of things each system can do well and perhaps some things it won’t do well.

Organelle may have a larger community of scripts/synths/etc since it’s been around longer.


I’ve owned both (now just own a Norns/Fates). I haven’t tried running ORAC on Norns yet. Keep in mind there’s at least 4 separate things going on here:

  1. Norns/Fates/Shield running Norns scripts (on-board knobs and buttons are already mapped to behaviors in the script)
  2. Organelle running Organelle patches (built-in keyboard and knobs are already mapped to behaviors in the patch)
  1. Organelle running ORAC (built-in keyboard and knobs are already mapped to behaviors in ORAC as well as behaviors in one or more “plugins” that ORAC uses (i.e., inidividual Organelle patches that have been repurposed for use in ORAC’s modular system)
  2. Norns/Fates/Shield running ORAC (only some default mapping of knobs/buttons to behaviors for ORAC - others have to be mapped yourself to a MIDI controller, I believe? Not clear to me)

If your goal is to use ORAC, an Organelle is probably your best bet because everything’s been designed with the Organelle’s interface in mind. If your goal is to use individual Organelle patches, Organelle is your only option (I think? I may be wrong here). If your goal is to use Norns scripts, Norns is your only option. If your goal is to use Norns scripts extensively and ORAC occasionally but not extensively, Norns might be the ticket.

There are definite advantages to having both and using them for the separate things they’re each well-suited for.

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thank you for the reply! Makes things clearer – i was under the impression that norns could run organelle patches.

what about this though? Norns Mother (Organelle Patches on Norns)

this seems like maybe i can run organelle patches – Norns Mother (Organelle Patches on Norns)

TL/DR: yes, the organelle has more buttons and an HDMI port.

in the other direction, yes, norns has a bigger screen and (i believe) greater encoder resolution.

besides those, and strictly speaking: no, but it certainly is simpler to run organelle stuff on the intended platform.

they are both linux computers with similar specs, and in a broad sense they will both run the same programs. this requires lesser or greater degree of DIY linux preparedness. contributed projects like mother will require more than the “vanilla” workflow. even the vanilla workflow is (i’m told, and believe) a little less accessible for norns, assuming you want to make patches and not just run them.

probably the biggest functional difference is that the organelle retains the HDMI port of the raspberry pi, and ships with a window system, encouraging you to perform PD patching directly on the device using keyboard/mouse and monitor. norns is more predicated on text-based and networked interactions with the device and is tricker to get into.

the other major differences are form factor. norns has minimal UI elements and encourages each script to have an idiosyncratic interface. organelle has a small screen but more keys/knobs, encouraging a more standardized model of interaction. perhaps one of these simply appeals to you more than the other.

uh: to clarify, the screens are the same resolution, norns screen is literally bigger, and generally scripts rely on it more i’d say.


the keyboard on the organelle isn’t great, and it seems like with fates i can just use another midi keyboard , so that isn’t a big concern to me – the hdmi port would be missed for the video synth and for patching on the organelle itself, for sure.

i have the linux knowledge so i am not all that intimidated by that. you make good points about workflow. it just seems that maybe i can get the best of both worlds on fates/norns – would you say that using the monome grid or a launchpad pro is needed for the norns experience?

thank you!

would you say that using the monome grid or a launchpad pro is needed for the norns experience?

here i would encourage you to use the forum search feature, as there have been many opinions expressed on this. (on balance: not really?) i don’t really have an opinion; “the norns experience” is just “the computer experience…” sometimes i use a grid with the computer, but usually i don’t; others build very complex instruments around the grid and rely on it extensively.