sections: beginawakeaudioconnectupdatehelp



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 K1 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 that will hard power-off the device. The only time you should ever use the bottom button is if your norns UI is completely unresponsive and you cannot use the SLEEP or SYSTEM > RESET menu functions. SLEEP safely turns off the norns with a proper software shutdown, but the bottom switch is essentially like pulling the power cord on a desktop computer and runs the risk of disk corruption. Use it only as a last resort – always instead use the menu to SLEEP or SYSTEM > RESET.


A changing melody will play.

E1 changes the mode. K1+? means hold K1 then push ?.


  • E2 navigates position, E3 changes position.
  • K2 toggles the sequence to edit. K1+K2 clears all steps.
  • K3 morphs the current sequence. K1+K3 randomizes.


  • E2/E3 set loop length.
  • K2 resets to play to zero. K3 jumps to random position.


  • E2/E3 adjust selected parameter. K2/K3 move selector.


  • E2 adjusts BPM. K1+E2 change division.
  • E3 changes root note. K1+E3 selects scale.

(bonus: try plugging in a grid.)


Tap K1 quickly to toggle between PLAY and OTHER.

You are now at HOME.

In OTHER mode:

  • E1 moves between pages.
  • E2 scrolls up/down.
  • K2/K3 move back/forward.

Page layout:


At HOME press K2 to toggle additional system information display:

From top-left:

  • BAT: current battery %
  • mA: battery’s current power draw; negative values indicate discharging
  • DISK: available disk storage
  • CPU: current CPU utilization
  • c: current internal temperature
  • IP: current IP address if connected to a network

The installed software version will be listed under the script’s name (eg. 191101). The format is YY-MM-DD.


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. Quickly tap K1 to toggle between PLAY and OTHER.


  • AUDIO - 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 AUDIO section below for details on the parameters available.
  • DEVICES - This is a list of connected USB hardware with their associated port number. Most scripts address port 1. See norns study 4 for a scripting guide to multiple ports. This section lets you re-assign connected devices to specific ports.
  • WIFI - Networking settings. Requires USB WIFI interface. See CONNECT.
  • UPDATE - Checks for updates. Internet connection required. See UPDATE.
  • RESET - Quickly resets the audio system.


Powers down cleanly, saving current state.


Scripts can define their own parameters. Note that some scripts may have no parameters.

  • E2 scrolls.
  • E3 changes values. Hold K3 for fine tuning.

HOLD K1 to access parameter set saving and loading:

  • E3 scrolls set number (0 is default, with 1-99 available).
  • K2 loads the selected set.
  • K3 saves the set to the selected position.

Enable MIDI-mapping with E3 while the MIDI-map item is selected. Release K1 to return to the Parameter list, but now you see MIDI CC assignments. Push K3 to enable MIDI-learn, whereupon the next incoming MIDI CC will be mapped to this value.

Get out of MIDI-mapping mode by holding K1 and toggling off.


On this page you can record and play directly to and from disk.

K2 toggles focus between REC and PLAY.


  • K3 to arm recording.
  • K3 again to start.
  • K3 again to stop.


  • K3 loads file.
  • K3 again to start.
  • K3 again to stop.

PLAY expects stereo 48khz files. WAV, AIFF and other uncompressed header / sample formats supported by libsndfile will work (including raw). FLAC also.

To share / sync audio files between norns and your computer, you’ll need to use a file-sharing client. Learn more in our guides for WebDAV (Mac) and STFP (Windows).


Mixing and VU display happens here.

  • K2/K3 to change selection, which is highlighted.
  • E2/E3 modify the respective highlighted levels.


Audio routing is shown below:


Control of various audio parameters happens in SYSTEM > AUDIO. Note that the topmost levels are also controlled via the LEVELS page.

output[-inf, 0] dboutput level
input[-inf, 0] dbinput level
monitor[-inf, 0] dbmonitor level (input mix to ouput)
engine[-inf, 0] dbengine level (ie, supercollider)
softcut[-inf, 0] dbmultivoice sampler level
tape[-inf, 0] dbtape playback level
monitor mode[MONO, STEREO]MONO = mix input 1 and 2 to both channels
headphone[0, 60]headphone gain
reverb[ON, OFF]reverb state
rev engine input[-inf, 12] dbengine input to reverb
rev cut input[-inf, 12] dbsoftcut input to reverb
rev monitor input[-inf, 12] dbmonitor input to reverb
rev return level[-inf, 12] dbreverb return level
rev pre delay[20, 100] msdelay before reverberation
rev lf fc[50, 1000] hzcrossover frequency between low and middle bands
rev low time[1, 32] stime to decay by 60dB in low band
rev mid time[1, 32] stime to decay by 60dB in mid band
rev hf damping[1500, nyq] hzfrequency at which high band decay time is 1/2 of mid band decay time
compressor[ON, OFF]compressor state
comp mix[0, 1.0]dry/wet mix. 0 = dry, 1 = wet
comp ratio[1, 20]compression ratio: for each N dB increase in input level above threshold, output level increases by 1dB
comp threshold[-100, 10] dBamplitutde above which the signal is compressed
comp attack[1, 1000] mstime constant (1/e smoothing time) for compression gain to exponentially approach a new lower target level
comp release[1, 1000] mstime constant (1/e smoothing time) for compression gain to exponentially approach a new higher target level
comp pre gain[-inf, 30] dbgain pre compression
comp post gain[-inf, 30] dbgain post compression


Scripts can be created and edited using a web browser when norns is connected to a network. These scripts will appear in the SELECT list for later play.


The WIFI nub must be inserted before starting.

To connect to your local network router:

  • Navigate to SYSTEM > WIFI.
  • Select ADD.
  • Choose your network from the list displayed.
  • Enter the password. E2 toggle between top and bottom row, E3 scrolls character, K3 selects character. Select OK when complete.
  • With success, you should be assigned an IP address shortly after.

If you do not have access to a router, you can turn the norns into a WIFI hotspot. This will create a new network which you can then connect to with your computer:

  • SSID: norns
  • password: nnnnnnnn


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, open a terminal and type:

  • screen /dev/tty.usb
  • then, press TAB to autocomplete your serial number
  • then type 115200

So, in total: screen /dev/tty.usb[TAB KEY] 115200

If you see a blank screen, press ENTER.

You’ll be asked for login credentials. Login is the same as SSH above.


Updates to the core norns software can be installed easily via the SYSTEM menu. You must first be connected to the internet via wifi and have at least 400M free disk space. If a new version is available you will be prompted to continue installing. Audio will be disabled during this time. Note that the download time may be a few minutes, have patience. Upon completion you’ll be notified of success or failure, then the unit will shut down after confirmation.

If you are running 181101 or earlier it’s recommended to do a fresh install.


See the dedicated help page for solutions to common problems.

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.