shields are back. it’s been quite a journey.
order at the normal place.
we’re offering a kit variant which includes a pi4B (2GB ram) and official pi usb-c power supply (US plug, works internationally with a plug adapter).
pi’s of all types are in shortage— we managed to secure these a few months back. there is no wholesale discount: we paid full price. we’re adding a modest markup which is roughly equivalent to shipping costs if you were to order them separately.
the standard shield (w/o pi) is compatible with the pi 3, 3B+, 4B. norns only uses 1GB of RAM, so don’t bother paying more for a high-RAM version. it’s also imperative that you get a high quality power supply, otherwise you’ll experience all sorts of seemingly confusing problems which have a very simple solution.
SD CARD STILL REQUIRED — we chose not to bundle an SD card based on their wide availability and varied user preference for different sizes.
prior to the pandemic-related semiconductor shortages the audio codec used in the norns (and norns shield) was already scarce, and as many DIY builders discovered, they simply have not been available for a long time from reliable sources.
we redesigned the audio section (again) with a different codec, which required both hardware prototyping and also kernel updates. the new codec has additional conditioning circuitry (five op amps) and a ton more passives. the levels have been tuned slightly (louder), and we believe the noise performance is good. but generally, most people will not notice a difference from the previous generation— all of the extra engineering was simply to overcome the global supply crisis.
as a result of all of this there’s a very meager price increase.
those watching the project closely know that the main sourcecode is currently not compatible with the pi4. we chose to put the extra time into supporting the pi4 simply because pi3’s are in such short supply. this does, however, present a problem with community sharing continuity, as all existing norns have the slightly lower CPU capacity of the pi3. we’ll be writing more about this later, but we plan to enforce compatibility across all versions in the main maiden catalog.
i’m not going to immediately publish the hardware schematics and boards. i’ll write more about this at some point.
thank you for your continuing support. the parts all came back in stock just in time— we’re about to invest heavily in moving our workshop to the street level, where we’ll be able to host workshops and performances and also carry less boxes up and down so many flights of stairs!
(if anything here is confusing please post so we can clarify!)