[solved] Thunderbolt 3 Connectivity

How do I go about connecting my Norns and/or Grid to my Macbook when all I have is Thunderbolt 3 ports?

Im sure the answer is a simple adapter or hub of some kind but I wanna hear whats working for everyone before I purchase anything! Thanks guys

Also would love to know how people are using their Norns when connected to Ableton. Always used Norns as a standalone unit and have no clue what the possibilities are once I get a DAW involved. Thanks everyone!

Your Thunderbolt 3 ports also operate as USB ports. You can plug any USB device into them. Such as keyboards and mice etc.

You can use a USB to USB-C cable or adapter. Quite inexpensive on Amazon.


What @XiXora said. Thunderbolt 3 is also a USB-C 3.1 connector. (Very importantly, the reverse is not true; USB 3.1 is not in any way Thunderbolt).


  • Grid to Mac: get a USB-C male to usb type A female, and use the cable that came with your grid. (I have a few of these kicking around for all my legacy peripherals). They are a few dollars each, and cheaper in multipacks. Or: one of those USB-C multi-dongles that has a usb-A socket on. Or, you can find a B-mini to type-C cable, and just use that.
  • Norns to Mac: not really over a cable at all (unless you are using the TTY terminal); norns is a computer, and thus also a USB host.
  • Regarding Ableton connectivity: Link support is now available, so clock/timing info can be sent between devices on the same network. For MIDI connectivity, you’ll either need a host adapter type board, or just use five pin DIN adapters at either end. Audio is audio: connect the Norns audio IO to your audio interface IO.

I either use the adaptor dongle (I bought three when I got the macbook pro and just keep one in my computer go bag with charger etc, and the others with any critical grandpa’s-printer-USB gear) or cable that has USB-C on one end and grandpa’s-printer-USB on the other.


So something like this would be fine?


I have a USB C dongle with multiple USB A ports but it doesn’t work for some reason. Who knows. Might try again.

Is there somewhere in ableton where I have to activate the grid? Like you would an interface or what have you

Entirely new to ableton, so thanks for the patience.

That thing you’ve linked would probably work, but it’s an expensive one designed for an iPad Pro. These sort of things are available easily and cheaply and work fine. I paid about $10 for a three-pack of a different brand.

Hang on a tic - how are you planning to use the grid with Ableton? There’s no direct support for it inside Ableton itself (by which I mean: you are not going to use it to launch clips, nor as a MIDI controller, because grids don’t speak MIDI).

The documentation page has full details on setup: you need to install serialosc, and then other software that supports grids will be able to communicate with your hardware. A common way to use a grid directly with Ableton is via one of the Max4Live patches that support it (several are linked on that documentation page). M4L is part of Live Suite edition, or can be purchased separately.

The grid can also talk directly to standalone Max patches, and you can run these on a trial version of Max just fine - but you won’t be able to save/alter the patches.

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Had not installed serialosc. Did that and now my gris is working just fine Ableton and with the dongle I had mentioned.