Norns: alternative grids

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).

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?

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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I’m about 3 months into owning a Norns Shield without a grid, and I’m completely in love with it. Not once have I thought “ugh this would be so much better with a grid”. I sure would like to have a grid someday, but I’ve been saying that since around 2008 or so. One day. One day…


I’ve got the midigrid script working with the Linnstrument. It’s a little flickery, and scripts with heavy activity bog it down, but it works for simple grid applications.

Spend $10 on touchosc and try all the grid apps with oscgrid! You guys are missing out unnecessarily.

I did (on the Android version with a Shield) and unfortunately the latency makes it all but unusable in practical terms, which appears on both a phone and a tablet. I don’t have an iOS device to try it on.

Has anyone else encountered similar problems with Touchosc and Norns?

See this thread: TouchOSC templates for Grid and Arc

Some scripts work better than others.

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Thanks. I’ve read through that thread a good few times already, and tested the Android TouchOSC extensively with things like Awake and the very useful Grid-test script, which is where the latency is most visible.

I also got hold of a Launchpad Mini Mk3, which some above have indicated works with Midigrid - I’ve not had much luck with that as yet. Midigrid is reporting the device as present (I fixed the name in the config to match that shown in the MIDI device menu on the Norns) when midigrid.lua is called by a script, but no buttons light up (except as triggered MIDI notes) on any of the scripts I’ve tried so far.

I spent a couple of days with the Launchpad mini trying to get it to work, trying both the @beepboop and @JaggedNZ forks - it is the former which gives the most response in Matron when midigrid.lua is called by a script. Which of those is most up to date, by the way?

This for example what gets reported by Beepboop’s latest midigrid (edit for clarification: when called from within a script):

midigrid.device is:
dev userdata: 0x6af0e080
event function: 0x3bd240
port 4
name Launchpad Mini MK3 2
id 2

Pressing some keys on the Launchpad mini results in “missing coords!” messages in Matron.

I tried rewriting the grid_notes in launchpadmini_config.lua to match the note numbers for both the Programmer mode and default custom mode 3 layouts in the Launchpad Programmers Reference Manual to no discernable effect, but I wonder if this is where the answer lies?

I’d dearly love to get the Launchpad Mini working with the Norns Shield, but for now I’ve switched it to controlling Axoloti patches via MIDI CCs as I’ve seemingly hit a brick wall with Midigrid.

Any advice from those who’ve had more luck than me would be gratefully received.

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My fork is only tested with lp mini and should work on a few other devices. Still has some bugs (unexpected lights)
Does not support MK3 yet, mostly as I have no way to test.

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Rereading you need to add the midi grid to the scripts you want to use, not launch midi grid directly

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