Norns: alternative grids

Back on this issue today as I would like to have the two grids working separately.

My monome clone with FDTI chip does works in norns (tried earthsea and it does receive button presses) but does not have a visual feedback (hence no lights) so I am wondering if there is an easy fix, a parameter change, that could allow me to use this 64 grid with the DIY norns.


Is your grid mono-bright? That could account for it.

I do not think so as I can change the intensity in the Grid_how_to in max.
Or if this is not the right way to check, I do not know…

Monome Home patch in Max is very good for testing all grid features.

If your grid_how_to test is intensity for the entire grid, that’s different from individual grid button variable brightness.

ok thanks, so in the case it is mono brightness, it cannot work with norns?

It can - but the specific script needs to support it. Most scripts are written with the current vari-bright grids in mind.

See this thread - Norns Scripts for a 64 Grid - for some references

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thanks a lot.
You are always really helpful!
I might find my way then now.

hey everyone,

having just built my diy norns yesterday i’ve stumbled upon this thread, got excited, tried getting this to work with my decades old launchpad mk1 and quickly figured out that it won’t work. oh well.

i’d very much like to write scripts and engines myself, ideally to a standard that it makes sense sharing them with the community.
but realistically i won’t have the funds to get myself a grid anytime soon, so i was wondering whether getting a launchpad mini mk2 (they go for 50€ new now!) would be a reasonable substitute or create more trouble in the long run (like having to rewrite scripts to work with grids, which i don’t have).

i very much understand the decision to have norns tightly focused on the original grid, that sort of common ground makes a community in which sharing is at the center possible. the world being what it is, i also fully understand the pricing of the grids (and am forever grateful that monome makes the DIY shield available).

nonetheless i’m a bit puzzled about where to go next, the neotrellis RGB drivers being out of stock certainly doesn’t help. if anyone has some advice i’d be more than happy!

psst… adafruit had 22 neotrellis driver boards in stock (buttons too) :grin:

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well now there’s 14 left :grin:

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I’ve just assembled most of the pieces of a Norns Shield (I need some different pots, really) and have thus spent the day diving in to all the various available scripts.

What I don’t have yet, however, is a grid of any sort; I’ve read through the above, but am still unsure whether the best option is a Launchpad Mini Mk 2, a Mini Mk3 or an APC Mini. Is there any particular reason not to just get the Mini Mk2 (or a couple of them) or is the Mk3 significantly more useful for the Norns Shield? Or is the APC mini a btter selection for any reason?

I don’t have any other special use for a Launchpad or APC mini, not being that interested in Ableton, so any advice about which might be the best choice would be very much appreciated.

Now, back to trying out Norns scripts… thanks everyone for all the useful information here which lead to this new audio adventure.

this is the best option, imo

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Thanks for this. The UNZtrument does look fantastic, though my DIY skills may not yet be up to it - and it also seems to be discontinued, sadly.

So not sure if you read the thread, but all of the parts needed are available. Also, the soldering is pretty straight forward.

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Right, I see, yes; it’s worth investigating for sure, though maybe at a later date (hence the wondering about the easily available Launchpad / APC Minis for the immediate short term).

Does anyone have any experience with the Novation Launchpad series of controllers + Norns?

There’s just no likelihood I’ll have money for a Grid anytime soon and the Launchpad Mini is $149 CAD.

More to the point, if you’re using any “off-brand” grid-based controller, what scripts are you using on Norns?


i used my launchpad pro with midigrid to run mlr64, less concepts, awake, zellen, a few others i think. it works fine, but it’s not really the same as using a grid

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I have seen @TheTechnobear talk about using substitutes for grids, and i believe launchpads are 1/2 off rn.

That said if I only pick up a norns/fates – how much am i missing out on?

From my perspective (owning just a Norns) it’s very difficult to work your way around the scripts on the Norns interface. It reminds me of sending a text message on an old flip phone crossed with a kind of crypto-Apple “guess what’s in Jony Ive’s brain” fetishism of sleekness and minimalism at the expense of, well, everything else.

The Elektron Octatrack is 9 years old and, excepting a few minor updates, if you bought one 9 years ago or you bought one yesterday it’s the same. You don’t need to worry that hobbyist developers updating their software will render unstable something you depend on for a live performance.

Maybe the Grid is the thing that unpacks it all, but that is 800 of my Canadian dollars to find out.

i don’t really think the grid will make a difference there. just different tastes / needs i guess. one thing has a fixed function, manifested in fixed UI choices, and the other thing doesn’t. generic interfaces will probably always be a little weird, and unspecified functionality probably tends to be less stable and of more uneven quality. (like trying to run someone else’s 15-year-old max patch.)

oh well.

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