Norns: help



Saponneen y’all. So I’m in the market for a nice synth, with a good, stable system and a plethora of sound generation, manipulation, seq, and fx.

How do these two boxes Norns/MOD Duo X compare? Ive read several accounts of the X just dying, a fatal freeze. What’s good?


Hi! I’ve been thinking of buying a Norns to have an external unit apart from my modular setup to play with. I already have a Grid and a Teletype and I find all Monome gear fantastic. The thing is that I could sell my OP-1 and buy a Norns right now (I already have several buyers) or wait several months to have the money for It (I always prefer to sell equipment that I don’t use to buy new things … I’ve used my OP-1 for my tracks and I like It, but I don’t love It. The thing is noisey and the possibility to create custom LUA scenes is making me think about the more options with Norns. I’m doing esentialy experimental and musique concreté.

What do you think?


it sounds like you want somebody to validate your opinion, so I will say: yes, do this. It sounds like the Norns fits better with your musical goals, and you want reassurance about ditching the OP-1


If you don’t love it, your decision is made.


Whenever I think I am tired with a piece of gear, I put it away for a while, and more often than not when I take it out again I find I see it with new eyes, and discover something about it that I hadn’t appreciated before. Or you could just do what you want to do.


Yes … I think it’s better to put It aside for a couple of months and then think of it again. I said that I don’t love It, but if I’m asking this and thinking a lot about selling it ir not, probably there is something …

Anyway, is the Norns capable of creating different and complex sounds by itself? I’ve seen a lot of videos of MIDI controlling apps for the Norns (like LOOM) and sampling from different sources, but not so many FM or sound generating apps. Any links or app names I should look at?


Definitely. You just simply adjust the parameters of the particular sound engine the script is using. norns allows for this with the keys and encoders and screen. You can also hook up a MIDI box and have norns “MIDI Learn” the CC values from the box.

I currently am using the pads on a KMI QuNeo to adjust the params (filters, etc.) and have been really blown away at the death and breadth of what is produced. Some use the MIDI Twister. Any suitable MIDI box that sends out CC values should work if you want dynamic control.

Plus, you can set params you want and save them as a preset to be loaded in later right from norns.


hello hello

i apologize if this is the wrong place for a thread like this. i was wondering if i could get some advice as it relates to norns.

i haven’t been around the community a lot lately, i’m mostly a drummer and since my drumming work has picked up, i’ve been doing much less with my grids and max. i just started playing in a band, though, whose leader wants me to have some electronic things to play with during this band’s more spacey textures. i’ve wanted to augment my drum set up with electronics for quite some time, but without a real focused purpose, it’s been hard for me to get started. what do you do when everything is a possibility?

after considering multiple electronic setups, i’ve basically found myself stuck between getting a hardware sampler and getting norns. i’m aware they’re very different things! i’ve had some hands-on time with the elektron octatrack mkii and i love it - it’s just expensive enough for me to be hesitant. i have a walnut vb 128 (and 64 for that matter) so the idea of being able to use my grid as a control interface makes norns seem like it would be a good alternative and possibly easier for me to control as i will still be drumming with 1/2 to 3/4 of my body.

i used to have an aleph. i was really excited about it, really enjoyed tinkering with it, but ultimately i just wasn’t enough of a programmer to justify keeping it - so you can understand why i might feel a little cautious and silly about even thinking about what seems like the aleph v2 - of course i think it’s cool. i just have already tried and subsequently sold with a very similar device.

essentially my question is this - those who know norns, is it reasonable to expect that little box to be enough on its own to augment a set of drums? i want to do textural things with samples, this band has a lot of improvisation built in so i want to feel like i have a lot of control over what i’m doing electronically. it needs to be user friendly enough that someone like me - with intermediate coding experience - can tinker and feel satisfied (i know not everyone here is a coding whiz!).

i know this is a lot maybe without saying a whole lot. i’m happy to clarify anything that i’m not asking clearly enough. thanks to anyone willing to help me out with this.


Aside from interacting with a grid controller, are you thinking of any other ways for your drumming to interact with the electronics you’re envisioning? I feel like you preferences for interface must be a large consideration given the context of playing percussion at the same time.


that’s a great question. i’m not interested in having my drumming itself interacting with my electronics in any way really - i don’t have triggers and don’t particularly want them. a lot of people do really cool things with drums talking to electronics through triggers, i just don’t think it’s for me or really works with the specific way i play the drums.

i do kind of want the electronics to be separate, and any direct integration with the drums is done by me doing both at once - a la technoself.


Considering Norns, if your not a programmer you either have to feel that the growing bank of scripts is suited to your needs or be prepared to dig into writing your own. Whereas OT is a flexible but ultimately closed system. Another consideration is UI ease of use. As a drummer who’s owned both an OT and Norns I couldn’t imagine trying to play an OT while playing drums live. Something like MLR is much more intuitive and performance friendly in my view.


thanks for the response.

i do a little programming but it’s all self-guided, aleph’s code was just a little too advanced. i’d enjoy learning norns’ scripting environment.

“playing both at once” is maybe a little misleading. i definitely wouldn’t be expecting to do much physically to the ot while playing. for this band, he really wants the electronics - mostly - where there’s not much if any drumming - i’m just also thinking ahead to what else i would use these devices for in the future. i’ve wanted to expand my tonal palette for a while, even if just to make my solo sets more interesting.

“performance” is definitely the operative word, though - i’ve loved using mlr on my laptop, i just don’t really want to tour with what is essentially my work computer - also i’ve had some stability and saving issues with mlrv lately.


as i’m feeling the tide pull me a little closer to norns - can anyone tell me - can norns support two grids at once?


yes it supports two grids but you’d need to write your own script that uses two grids.

i’d highly recommend just looking through the norns studies beforehand. yes, the library of scripts will grow over time but the overarching design goal of the device was to encourage customization.

mlr is also presently quite different on norns than mlrv. it will continue to evolve as i have time, but again, this platform is perfect for customization for those willing to dig in and shape it.


absolutely, i really value that you all take the time to put out these study guides. i’ve done just about all of the grid ones, they’re super useful.

the bees tutorials were fantastic as well.


To me, norns is Supercollider in a box. An audio coding box. Almost unlimited.

The benefit of one of the standalone synth/sequencer/sampler boxes is the finite feature set - designed to do what its documented to do. No questions. No coding. No significant customization. But if you like what it does, you’ll likely be satisfied for some time.

With norns, when I run/interact with one of its available scripts, I almost immediately wonder what else it could do and start looking into its code.


i’ve been sold. norns has been purchased. very excited to jump back into the monome community.

lua looks really elegant.


I’ve yet to go through most of the Studies. I went through the first one, and had some trouble because Norns / maiden had been updated but the study didn’t reflect that update (this has since been fixed, I believe). That said - does anyone get the sense that it’s OK to go through the rest of the studies without significant issues, or would it be better to wait for the forthcoming Norns 2.0 with all its revisions? Though once 2.0 drops, it might be the case that all the studies break, and it could take a month or more for them to be updated…


I’ve had a norns for a couple weeks and went through all of the studies without problems, except those caused by my typos, etc.

There might in fact be some changes that 2.0 brings. You wouldn’t need to update your norns right away and wait until you feel things have settled down a bit. It’s pretty interesting as is.


good to hear you went through them recently with no issues! thanks, that should solve my main concern - not knowing if it’s user error or something else when things don’t work right :slight_smile: