Weird Norns audio output problem

So I just got the weirdest glitch out of Norns so far:

I was recording audio to Cranes, which I then routed to Intellijel Mixup via the outputs. Sound was coming out normally, but when I plugged a cable to another Mixup input the audio completely disappeared from Norns. The Norns output meters would show that audio is still going out, but nothing came to Mixup any more. I also plugged my headphones into Norns, but still it was silent. I had to reboot Norns and thought that it was just a random glitch (after reboot the audio worked again normally, both from the headphone as well as the stereo output), but then I repeated the same steps and it happened again. The audio disappeared immediately at the point when I plugged another cable (whose other end was not connected anywhere else at that moment). Both the modular setup and Norns are connected to the same power socket strip.

Is this something that has happened to anyone else before? Any logic as to what’s going on around here?

Has happened to me a few times. No idea.

Could you describe your setup in more detail with specifics on all connections?

“Plugged another cable” is a bit ambiguous.

Heh I guess you’re right, sorry about that. On Mixup channels 4L and 4R I had Norns inputs, while outputs of Mixup went to Zoom H4N. Once I connected a cable from WMD/SSF ADSRVCA the audio went off. There was no connections to the vca yet at that point.

So, what are the Norns outputs connected to?
what are the Norns inputs connected to?

Can you simplify your situation at all and replicate it?

To where?

can you specify if this is a norns or shield?

are you mixing line level and euro level signals?

It’s Norns, and yep, I’m mixing line and euro level audio signals on Mixup.

The vca also goes to the Mixup, channel 1. I can try to see if I could make this happen the third time.

I will test this later today, but I am guessing it’s because you are mixing line level and euro level signals. I’d bet the line level signal is getting cut out when a euro level signal is introduced on the Mixup. I use a Listen IO to bring norns audio up to euro levels before sending it to the Mixup. Will let you know how my testing goes.

i would absolutely discourage mixing euro and line level signals. you’re likely submitting your norns to possible damage.

use a level translator (as suggested above) when going between line and euro levels.

I supposed this to be a problem only for inputs. What might be wrong with outputting line level to modular aside from quiet audio?

I hear you on that, what just strikes me odd is that since nothing was patched into the vca input at that point, there shouldn’t have been any actual voltage coming into the Mixup input yet, right?

I’ll anyways pay careful attention to this from now on just avoid any damages. I wouldn’t normally even mix Norns in eurorack, but due to the circumstances I have to make music at home for the time being :slight_smile: Thanks everyone!

Edit: I forgot to mention that nothing was patched into Norns input when the problem arised.

I have had a similar issue happen with the output volume cutting out completely, and can’t seem to find much of a pattern.

The first time it was after removing the output cables and plugging back in to another set-the audio cut out, but meters showed output. A reboot fixed it. It happened at least one other time randomly(not while I was plugging or unplugging cables), and was fixed again by a reboot. One night I was recording with a group, using Norns strictly as an output source and I had it happen numerous times, to the point that I had to stop using it. That night, I would get about 30 seconds of output and then it would cut out. Initially I thought it might have been an issue with the file I was using with Gemini, but on reboot I tried both different files in Gemini and different sound generating apps and had the same problem. Eventually it would produce no sound on reboot. Headphone out also would produce no sound. The meters consistently showed output, however.

When I started it up again a few days later, all was normal and it played for hours with no interruptions. At that time I was on the most recent firmware(there has since been an update I have not yet installed.)

That was the last time I used it, so I just booted it up to check its behavior today and, after initial startup, it would not respond to any button presses. A reboot has fixed that. Mine is an actual Norns unit, not a shield. I purchased it used and have had it for a couple months. It’s generally been reliable, these are the only issues I have experienced.

who knows. we don’t have mixup schematics. there could be something for normalling or IDK. with a dangling cable you could get a DC offset (+ hum or whatever) mixed with (small) norns signal in the DC-blocking part of the mixer, and sure, that could end up rejecting the norns signal. like others have said, its not a good idea to mix -10dbu and +10v signals, at minimum be very careful, attenuate the 10v, and understand what your mixer circuit is doing.

i cannot think of a scenario where changing the connections of the norns audio outputs would affect the software, except for Extrmely Bad things involving a splash of 10v current coming back to the norns audio codec - because of some weird normalling scheme (eurorack outputs are generally designed to handle 10v input from normalling or erroneous/transient connections; norns outputs are not and can be damaged like any other line level device), or because of bad power system wiring - and causing the codec to be nonfunctional until next reset and reconfigure.

if you are generally experiencing a cessation of output audio, with meters showing, then it seems likely to me that the JACK server has crashed for some reason. that could include nasty electrical things happening to the codec causing a safety reset there, or it could be utterly unrelated (like supercollider hanging/crashing after network time sync with a large delta since the last one.) if such issues are hapenning, please take them to direct support channels. at minimum we will need stack traces from system components to have any chance of knowing what has happened, and generalizing is not going to help.


This issue (output meters still showing while there is not sound) has happened quite a few times (at least once a week) here without any obvious reason. Are you suggesting sending it back for repair? What I had in mind was to do a fresh full iso setup in case the hard reset (that I used so many times because if this specific issue) has caused problems. I don’t know if that makes sense. Also last time it happened the new sequence reset didn’t work, so I had to reset it again the hard way…

yes i would first suggest a full disk flash.

i’m suggesting that we address your issue separately and with as many specifics as possible. you have reported a lot of issues that don’t seem to correspond to anyone else’s experience, so that indicates to me that it’s time to take it to direct support over email.

i’ve never seen something like that on my units, and it doesn’t sound like it shares a causality with the OP. i also agree with brian that flashing the disk image would be a good step if you’ve done many many hard resets in the past - there is a good chance of filesystem corruption.

Card flashed. Let’s see…

Updates after card flashed. it seems stable or it seemed until crash happened again. Cause: grid hot swap.

are you hot swapping on battery power? definitely wall power the norns if hot swapping

and try to replicate the problem, and post a maiden log

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