current version: 181101

version 2.0 is quickly approaching! (by end of march). many many improvements. arc support will be included in this update.

  • beginning guide is a one-sheet quick introduction.
  • dust docs is documentation on individual engines and scripts.
  • update instructions.
  • studies – series of tutorials for creating scripts



The mini-USB plug provides power and charges the internal battery. Use the cable and power supply provided. (The included supply supplies 2A via USB connector).

Hold KEY1 for three seconds.

Be still, and norns will awaken.

There’s a small light near the power plug. ORANGE means power. WHITE means disk access.

On the bottom of the norns there is a tiny push switch will hard power-off the device. For general shut down use the sleep menu function. This fully turns off the norns with a proper software shutdown. Use the bottom switch if something in software went wrong.


A changing melody will play.

  • ENC1 changes the tempo.
  • ENC2 navigates position, ENC3 changes position.
  • KEY3 toggles the sequence to edit.
  • KEY2 morphs the current sequence.

  • HOLD KEY3, then:
  • ENC1 changes transposition.
  • ENC2 and ENC3 change sequence lengths.
  • KEY2 resets sequence positions.

  • HOLD KEY1, then:
  • ENC1 changes scale mode.
  • ENC2 changes filter cutoff.
  • ENC3 changes release time.

(bonus: try plugging in a grid.)

TAP KEY1 quickly to enter MENU.

Tap KEY1 to toggle between PLAY and MENU.

In MENU mode:

  • ENC2 scrolls up/down.
  • KEY3 is forward.
  • KEY2 is back.


Explore the collection of scripts. Selecting a script will show a description. Forward again will run the script. The play screen will return upon running. Tap KEY1 to toggle between PLAY and MENU.


Scripts can define their own parameters. ENC2 scrolls and ENC3 changes parameter values.

HOLD KEY1 to access parameter set saving and loading:

  • ENC3 scrolls set number (0 is default, with 1-99 available)
  • KEY2 loads the selected set
  • KEY3 saves the set to the selected position

Note that some scripts may have no parameters.


Like the parameter list, but for the global audio settings. Includes output and input levels, headphone gain, aux send (reverb), and insert (compression).

See the REFERENCE section below for details on the parameters available.


This is a list of connected USB hardware (currently MIDI and grids) with their associated port number. Most scripts address port 1. See norns study 4 for a scripting guide to multiple ports.

This menu lets you re-assign connected devices to specific ports.


The WIFI nub must be inserted before starting. Here you can set up a hotspot or connect to an existing network.

OFF will turn off an existing network connection.

Hotspot will create a network:

  • SSID: norns
  • password: nnnnnnnn

On your laptop, connect to this new norns network. Then point your web browser at to see the maiden interface.

Connecting to an existing network requires a few steps. Upon entering the SYSTEM menu a WIFI scan is initiated. Once entering the WIFI screen and scrolling to NETWORK, use ENC3 to select among available networks (indicated on the bottom right). If you have WPA networking active on your network, you will be requested to enter a password. Use ENC3 to select between DEL/OK and alphanumeric input; and enter in the password for your network. When completed, use ENC3 to select OK, and the norns will complete the connection. Once connected, you will see information about the network connection as well as the IP address that the device has on the network. Now, you can point a browser to that address (i.e. - to get to the maiden interface.


A USB disk must be connected. Here you can sync your scripts/data/audio to an external disk, or copy scripts/audio/data from an external disk.

This is the current method for getting sound and scripts on and off of the device.

  • Format a USB drive with a FAT32 file system.
  • Execute SYSTEM > SYNC > TO DISK (this may take some time, be patient)
  • Eject the disk and insert it into your computer. You can now retrieve your TAPE files, etc. Copy new audio files into the dust/audio folder for use with scripts.
  • Put the disk back into norns and execute SYSTEM > SYNC > FROM DISK


This searches the USB disk for update files.


Powers down, getting rest for later.


Go BACK from home to see the LEVELS screen.

Here you have VUs and mixing capabilities.

  • ENC1 output
  • ENC2 input
  • ENC3 monitor (input to output)

Battery percentage level is indicated in the upper right. Hold KEY1 to see current consumption.


Within LEVELS you can record and play directly to and from disk.

HOLD KEY2 for all. ENC3 toggles REC/PLAY.


  • KEY3 to arm recording.
  • KEY3 again to start.
  • KEY3 again to stop.


  • KEY3 loads file.
  • KEY3 to play.
  • ENC3 to toggle PLAY/STOP.


DUST is the collection of scripts, engines, and sounds on the norns. it is a public repository and contributions are welcome.

See the dust docs for documentation on individual engines and scripts.


note: be sure you’ve run the system update

maiden is the web-based editor for norns. first turn on WIFI (connect to your norns via hotspot) and try opening a web browser to:

  • http://norns.local

(if not found, try or the appropriate IP address displayed in your SYSTEM screen.)

More documentation coming.

file management

File management is best achieved via SFTP, so you’ll need to first connect norns to your laptop via wifi (see above).

See this guide for further details.

other access

When connected via WIFI you can SSH into norns at the IP address shown in SYSTEM.

  • user: we
  • password: sleep

Without WIFI, you can connect to norns via USB-UART by connecting the power cable to your computer. On Mac/linux do:

screen /dev/tty.usb(tab) 115200

Where (tab) appears hit TAB to autocomplete the serial number. Login is the same as above.


The community forum has various informative threads. Please join us!

Check the known bugs list for problems and solutions.

If you’re experiencing hardware problems contact and we can help right away.


norns is the result of generous contributions by many people, and the ecosystem continues to evolve. We welcome discussion and code to help further the goal of an open, dynamic instrument creation platform. check out the github repo.

We’re also always looking for help with documentation, if your skills include design, instruction, or proofreading. Collective efforts have created numerous exceptional projects over the years, and there’s more to a project than just code!

Found a bug? Let us know. Please file a github issue or let us know on lines.




  • output: main level (stereo, affects both main outs and headphones)
  • input: input level (stereo)
  • monitor: monitor level, passing input to output
  • monitor mode: STEREO/MONO. stereo: L input to L output, etc. mono: L to L/R. R to L/R.
  • headphone: gain, 0-64. set according to your headphone preference and impedance.

AUX (Reverb):

  • aux fx: on/off
  • aux engine level: engine output -> aux input
  • aux input 1 level: input 1 -> aux input
  • aux input 2 level: input 2 -> aux input
  • aux input 1 pan: pan for input 1
  • aux input 2 pan: pan for input 2
  • aux return level: aux output -> main output

  • rev pre delay: reverb delay time
  • rev lf x: reverb low frequency crossover
  • rev low time: reverb low time
  • rev mid time: reverb mid time
  • rev hf damping: reverb high frequency damping

INSERT (Compressor):

  • insert fx: on/off
  • insert mix: dry/wet (dry = 0.0, wet = 1.0)
  • comp ratio: compressor ratio
  • comp thresh: compressor threshold
  • comp attack: compressor attack time
  • comp release: compressor release time
  • comp makeup: compressor makeup gain