Norns without a grid?

Is there anyone here who uses a Norns/Fates without a grid?

I know it’s possible, but I’m wondering how much the experience varies between a grid and gridless setup. Would I be mildly inconvenienced? Would I continually encounter obstacles that only a grid could overcome? (I’m pretty sure MLR is out of the question and that’s kind of a bummer)

I’m asking because I recently realized there’s a touchOSC template for Cheat Codes right around the same time the Norns Shield kit was back in stock, and this is pushing me over the edge I’ve been standing at for some time now. It’s a perfect storm of “what if the kits sell out again?” mixed with “wow cheat codes sure looks like fun!” :see_no_evil:

Also, a grid is definitely something I’d like acquire at some point, but that point feels pretty far off at the present time.



i have a grid but the apps i use most don’t require it…aside from MLR and cheat codes, which apps interest you?

i recommend you go ahead and get the shield asap
there is plenty to do but just depends on your workflow and performance practices


I do not have a grid and got a shields yesterday. I can say it is not needed at all… do I still want a grid to pair… of course. But so far I would most def agree with @glia. Compass is blowing me away and its just full of so many possibilities of clever workflows and all the great things that the MONOME approach bring to the table. dooo it.


To be honest I’m not even sure of which apps (aside from the ones I’ve mentioned) I’d really want to use at this point. I have at best a pedestrian awareness of what’s currently out there app-wise.

Part of the attraction is that I’ve worked as a developer for a long time (old) and this looks like a fantastic playground to exercise those skills in a creative way. It also seems like a great tool to have for performing.

Really, just reading through the 5 studies was enough for me to know that this is something I’d enjoy.


in that case i recommend you get it and make your own gridless apps :wink:

start here if you’re curious about what can be done

you won’t need a grid to play orca, compass, otis, wrms, nor cheat codes


:wave: I have a Fates, and do not (yet) have a grid.

I’d +1 what’s being said above - there are a lot of great scripts for the platform, and some of my favorites don’t even use a grid at all. IMO, Otis is a great example of a gridless, yet totally playable script.

Also, as a fellow developer, I’ve found that most scripts are pretty short to read and easily modifiable! I’ve modified a few of my favorite scripts (Cranes comes to mind) to take QWERTY keyboard input to substitute for grid interactions :slight_smile: You don’t get the visual feedback of a grid, but you get the interaction without needing to spend too much $$$.


Not to discourage but I’m sitting on my hands because @tehn re-assured that the goal is continual availability as long as the product is part of the line-up. Granted occasional stock-outs are always possible.

Norns without Grid is an interesting question to think about though, thanks!


I’ve been messing around with my DIY shield for a couple weeks now and I’m blown away by how powerful it can be without a grid. The way ‘tape’ works, you can print from one script and then keep building on top of it from other scripts till you have an entire song, just like on an OP-1. I only use a 64, so that limits the applications that I can use with a grid. Reels is amazingly fun and I end up throwing most samples through it to explore new possibilities. There are some light sequencing apps that don’t require a gird, and a good amount of FX processing that doesn’t require a grid like pedalboard or pools. I made two full asynchronous ambient tracks before I even plugged in my grid.


Well, 40 minutes later and that’s settled. Norns Shield it is!

Thanks everyone! :heart:


our goal is to keep this kits in stock. if they run out, it should be short term.

take your time evaluating! lots to read and see first.


Yep I probably should have mentioned that one other element of the “perfect storm” is that I’ve found myself with enough financial padding at the moment that picking up a Norns Shield isn’t going to instantly make me feel guilty about it…and I can still get my daughter that clear acrylic cat-head kalimba she really wants. And then we can jam. :slight_smile:

If anything I feel guilty saying that given the current situation out there, but it is what it is.


buy norns shield, sell all other belongings, live in a cave


Cranes is a wonderful script that works with and without a grid. I’ve only used it without grid so far. Probably my favorite looper


…Oh, and Compass works well without grid too!


And Otis as well as wrms. As far as loopers go you don’t need a grid at all. Pedalboard is also a good script that does not need a grid.


I have a grid, but very often find myself using Norns without it (because I usually have the grid plugged in to my Ansible instead). Definitely loads to do with it even if you’re gridless!

But… you will end up wanting one… :wink:

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I used norns/crow without a grid for months and loved it, but I must say that once I got a grid it completely changed the way I use norns, and it’s a lot more fun and tactile

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Norns without a grid, you’d be standing by the shopping window, looking in, wondering about all the wonderful lights and stuff going on there.

Not at first, perhaps. There’s plenty to do outside the window as well. An entire world, as it were.

But in time, you’d wonder. You’d look. And you’d want it.


Orca is another wonderfully deep app that runs without a grid.


Oh I’ve already looked through that window! And the window with a Norns behind it. At first both windows seemed difficult to open, but the one with the Norns behind it recently became much easier to open, and so that’s that one I’m going through. First. :slight_smile: