Norns Distortion, Captured!

Hey All! I’ve written a few times about a strange almost bit-rate crunch distortion that happens on norns from time to time. Well, I caught one in the wild while preparing to record!

[the thing is, it kind of sounds awesome :grinning:]

A reboot fixed it, as usual. I’ll attach a recording and the maiden readout. All is well, just wanted to pass along in case it was helpful. Thanks!

Maiden Readout



# script load: /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/cheat_codes.lua

# cleanup

# script clear

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/cc_pattern_time.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/help_menus.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/main_menu.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/encoder_actions.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/arc_actions.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/zilchmos.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/start_up.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/grid_actions.lua

including /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/lib/easing.lua

pset >> write: /home/we/dust/data/system.pset

# script run

>> reading PMAP /home/we/dust/data/cheat_codes/cheat_codes.pmap

lua: /home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/cheat_codes.lua:2005: attempt to index a nil value (global 'step_seq')

stack traceback:

/home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/cheat_codes.lua:2005: in global 'grid_redraw'

/home/we/dust/code/cheat_codes/cheat_codes.lua:869: in field 'event'

/home/we/norns/lua/core/metro.lua:169: in function </home/we/norns/lua/core/metro.lua:166>

Engine.register_commands; count: 0

___ engine commands ___

___ polls ___









# script init

pset >> read: /home/we/dust/data/cheat_codes/cheat_codes-01.pset

output[1] initialized

output[2] initialized

output[3] initialized

output[4] initialized

Sounds good indeed… I love Oval and Microstoria


Clearly one of the aliens from Duke Nukem is attempting to reach you through your device!

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i have 2 factory norns units and several shields. one of the factory units exhibits this problem once in a great while. (probably experienced it 3 or 4 times.) only a reboot works to fix it.

the other factory unit has never had the issue and is used a lot.

haven’t seen it on the shields, i don’t think i’ve used the shields enough to be confident in saying that it never occurs.

i have to assume its some kind of driver initialization problem… anyway its on our radar.


Well, lemons and lemonade and whatnot…I slapped a filter on it and it’s now the bed for the track I’m working on. :grinning: Being that it was feed fed audio from the Arbhar, it’s got this lovely stereo spread and rhythmic quality to it…


I’ve had this same issue and can confirm that it only goes away after a reboot. “Generally”, this happens immediately after i turn norns on (never experienced this issue if it boots properly).

Personally i feel like this issue happens only when i have audio heading into norns’ inputs while i turn norns on. But maybe its just a coincidence!


I’ve had something similar from cranes and external input on my shield. Though in my case changing script to Otis helped

I get this all the time - ive never been able to replicate it using the tape (ie ive tried to record it to bring it up but it doesn’t get recorded which leads me to think is power related), and it seems to have gotten better. the past couple of firmware updates, glad im not going mad. Im not using an external PSU and I really think thats the problem - be interesting if everyone having problems mentions stuff like that to nut it out as its a real bummer
And yeah a reboot cures it

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This happens to me all the time when using a lower wattage psu or lower wattage usb cable.

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FWIW, I’m using the stock PSU/cable on a factory norns.

Next time it happens try to ssh on norns and run this :
vcgencmd get_throttled

+1 for this.
Kernel log (dmesg) might also be useful.

Awesome sound - I feel like the proverbial diner who wants a fly in my soup, too!


I will do my best! Honest to goodness only happens once every few months at most.


It happens to me probably 33-50% of the time (agreed with other comments that it only seems to affect audio in)… I’ll see if I can vcgencmd get_throttled next time it happens :+1:

a softcut glitch in a broken version of the max port made one of my favorite pieces of audio ever


@matthewdavid I wonder if this is u !

I’ve been having a reoccurring issue with the audio quality on my norns (Monome produced 2019).

When I turn it on, the start up tone sounds bitcrushed and distorted. I will load up MLR and when I play audio through it, it is very distorted/bit crushed.

I then restart Norns and unplug the audio inputs and generally the start up tone will sound better. I the will play with MLR and the audio in sounds fine, but over time the audio starts to get distorted again.

Anyone know how I can fix this? Thanks!



any chance you’ve attempted a clean image install?

is the startup tone always distorted? or just sometimes?

any changes depending on what’s plugged in via usb?

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