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LinnStrument....gimmick or game changer?
Old 28th February 2016
  #1
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LinnStrument....gimmick or game changer?

This seems interesting to me as a guitarist who has tried many guitar synths over the years, but never really found them to be adequate for PCM sample sounds (Roland and EHX have made great strides w/ non-MIDI synth emulation).

Make sure you watch at the 8:50 mark where he demos "strum mode".

It seems like a very expressive input device that is geared towards "guitar wired" brains like mine and I'm sure many here. Think it will catch on? I'd love to try one, but at $1500, it's pretty steep for just a controller.


Old 28th February 2016
  #2
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donsolo's Avatar
I don't think I'd enjoy a non-tactile experience of a touch screen personally
Old 28th February 2016
  #3
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto ➑️
This seems interesting to me as a guitarist who has tried many guitar synths over the years, but never really found them to be adequate for PCM sample sounds (Roland and EHX have made great strides w/ non-MIDI synth emulation).

Make sure you watch at the 8:50 mark where he demos "strum mode".

It seems like a very expressive input device that is geared towards "guitar wired" brains like mine and I'm sure many here. Think it will catch on? I'd love to try one, but at $1500, it's pretty steep for just a controller.


I think it's potentially huge, if I had the time at this point I would jump on it and master it!! For me though it would be counterproductive at this particular time, but in a perfect world I would pursue it
Old 28th February 2016 | Show parent
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donsolo ➑️
I don't think I'd enjoy a non-tactile experience of a touch screen personally
But a touch screen by definition IS tactile.

For me, I'm a pretty good guitar player, and a pretty crappy keyboard player. But I LOVE analog synths. I have tried just about every guitar synth out there to control my hardware synths....recently sold my GR-55 because the MIDI control over PCM sounds and hardware still isn't there, although the guitar synth engine is great.

I still have a GP-10, which is more geared towards their property guitar synth engine, so at least I have an expressive guitar synth option, but it can't control my hardware synths.

The keyboard for me is still the best option for playing synth, but I'm just not as familiar with the keyboard as I am with the fretboard....this may be a good compromise.
Old 29th February 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donsolo ➑️
I don't think I'd enjoy a non-tactile experience of a touch screen personally
Hi-- I'm the maker of LinnStrument. It's not actually a touchscreen because a touchscreen can't sense pressure. The touch surfaced is a molded silicone rubber sheet with 200 raised square pads of 17 by 17 mm, spaced 19 mm apart (with 2mm indented channels between them) because this is the average spacing of fingers. The rubber is slightly soft and translucent so the LEDs below can shine through. It senses 3 dimensions of each finger's movement, polyphonically, for independent control of note loudness (pressure), pitch (left/right) and timbre (forward/backward). The main reason for the stringed-instrument note arrangement is that a piano note arrangement doesn't permit sliding from note to note. You can learn more at www.rogerlinndesign.com. -- Roger Linn
Old 29th February 2016 | Show parent
  #6
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Herr Weiss's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger_Linn ➑️
Hi-- I'm the maker of LinnStrument. It's not actually a touchscreen because a touchscreen can't sense pressure. The touch surfaced is a molded silicone rubber sheet with 200 raised square pads of 17 by 17 mm, spaced 19 mm apart (with 2mm indented channels between them) because this is the average spacing of fingers. The rubber is slightly soft and translucent so the LEDs below can shine through. It senses 3 dimensions of each finger's movement, polyphonically, for independent control of note loudness (pressure), pitch (left/right) and timbre (forward/backward). The main reason for the stringed-instrument note arrangement is that a piano note arrangement doesn't permit sliding from note to note. You can learn more at Roger Linn Design. -- Roger Linn

Well, welcome to Gearslutz Mr. Roger Linn!!



~HW
Old 29th February 2016 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger_Linn ➑️
Hi-- I'm the maker of LinnStrument. It's not actually a touchscreen because a touchscreen can't sense pressure. The touch surfaced is a molded silicone rubber sheet with 200 raised square pads of 17 by 17 mm, spaced 19 mm apart (with 2mm indented channels between them) because this is the average spacing of fingers. The rubber is slightly soft and translucent so the LEDs below can shine through. It senses 3 dimensions of each finger's movement, polyphonically, for independent control of note loudness (pressure), pitch (left/right) and timbre (forward/backward). The main reason for the stringed-instrument note arrangement is that a piano note arrangement doesn't permit sliding from note to note. You can learn more at Roger Linn Design. -- Roger Linn
Hi Roger

Thank you for posting and providing additional information, I am a big admirer of your work going back to the first drum machine and Linn 9000!

How would you describe learning curve for a skilled guitarist with some keyboard skills? I am truly inspired by the design but concerned about the time it would take to become fluent and expressive. And that being no reflection on the design but more on the limits of my own free time :-)
Old 29th February 2016 | Show parent
  #8
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donsolo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger_Linn ➑️
Hi-- I'm the maker of LinnStrument. It's not actually a touchscreen because a touchscreen can't sense pressure. The touch surfaced is a molded silicone rubber sheet with 200 raised square pads of 17 by 17 mm, spaced 19 mm apart (with 2mm indented channels between them) because this is the average spacing of fingers. The rubber is slightly soft and translucent so the LEDs below can shine through. It senses 3 dimensions of each finger's movement, polyphonically, for independent control of note loudness (pressure), pitch (left/right) and timbre (forward/backward). The main reason for the stringed-instrument note arrangement is that a piano note arrangement doesn't permit sliding from note to note. You can learn more at Roger Linn Design. -- Roger Linn
Thanks for clarifying. That was my only concern as I've gone to these touchscreen devices and Apple has force touch. I must have missed that in the video. I can see myself using this for midi programming in the future as well as integrating it into my live synth rig.

Also, thank you for your contributions to the music world.
Old 29th February 2016 | Show parent
  #9
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John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger_Linn ➑️
Hi-- I'm the maker of LinnStrument. It's not actually a touchscreen because a touchscreen can't sense pressure. The touch surfaced is a molded silicone rubber sheet with 200 raised square pads of 17 by 17 mm, spaced 19 mm apart (with 2mm indented channels between them) because this is the average spacing of fingers. The rubber is slightly soft and translucent so the LEDs below can shine through. It senses 3 dimensions of each finger's movement, polyphonically, for independent control of note loudness (pressure), pitch (left/right) and timbre (forward/backward). The main reason for the stringed-instrument note arrangement is that a piano note arrangement doesn't permit sliding from note to note. You can learn more at Roger Linn Design. -- Roger Linn
Wow! Roger Linn!

Welcome to Gearslutz!

I have a question - have you you figured any way to bend notes independently and with a reasonable degree of precision? (This would make things possible like Chuck Berry riffs where he hits a double stop on a couple of strings and bends the lower one up while keeping the upper the same. It's a different sound than sliding from one note to another.) This seems to be something that most synth controllers that don't actually use pitch to CV or MIDI conversion on a real guitar (like the Roland guitar synths) don't seem to able to get. (Something that would be even cooler but much harder to accomplish would be a way to bend one note up and another down, both to exact pitch, like a pedal steel...)
Old 29th February 2016 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
Wow! Roger Linn!

Welcome to Gearslutz!

I have a question - have you you figured any way to bend notes independently and with a reasonable degree of precision?
This is a limitation of MIDI, but at 5:30 in the video, he kind of eludes to that ability.

From what I understand, there is a new MIDI implementation called MPE that gets by this limitation using multiple MIDI channels, as CC messages effect all notes per channel. This is the same implementation that the new ROLI Seaboard uses.

The LinnStrument is capable of doing what you ask using "MPE" enabled software or devices. I believe Logic and Bigwig are both MPE capable.


Here's a demo that includes multi-note slides while maintaining accurate pitch.


Last edited by Joe Porto; 29th February 2016 at 09:29 AM..
Old 29th February 2016
  #11
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I was thinking about this thing today...I really think I'm going to end up getting one. With the ability to transmit a different MIDI channel per row, you could assign each row to a separate sound....you could do several stringed instruments and horns, or different synth patches....and basically control an orchestra of instruments from a single device....now THAT is a game changer!
Old 1st March 2016
  #12
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🎧 15 years
I think it's a very interesting controller, I'd love to try one with my Kurzweil for doing horn overdubs but at $1500 it's a bit pricey for an experiment.

California is one of the most expensive places on earth to operate a business with electricity cost alone 2x-4x of anywhere else in USA except NYC. Using a contract manufacturer there would certainly push the manufacturing cost WAY UP compared to other states.

It would be interesting to see what a big manufacturer could do to the retail price of the Linnstrument, if it were $500 I'd already have one.

I wish Mr Linn all the best, I'm a huge fan of his work.

Good music to all!
Old 1st March 2016
  #13
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I think a lot of the cost is in those 200 3-axis triggers. They might even be custom made. Considering that, perhaps the cost is justified. List is $1799. I'm thinking if my local store can do their usual 40% off list, I'd go for it. I'm going to call them today.
Old 2nd March 2016 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback ➑️
It would be interesting to see what a big manufacturer could do to the retail price of the Linnstrument, if it were $500 I'd already have one.
The first thing a big manufacturer would do is slash the quality.

The price might or might not follow, but any price cut would not be as great as the quality drop.

The second thing they'd do is axe the development budget.
Old 2nd March 2016
  #15
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I would just add that everything Roger Linn has produced has been very high quality, this is extremely reasonable pricing for something of this caliber of innovation and expressiveness!!!
Old 1st April 2016
  #16
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🎧 10 years
I got one. Definitely not a gimmick. This is the real McCoy. At this point I'm just using it with existing hardware and software synths and the expressiveness is unbelievable. This is what synthesists have been waiting for all along...
Old 2nd April 2016
  #17
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LewisWu's Avatar
 
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+1

chords are so much more obvious, to me, than on a piano keyboard layout... as are scales.. i haven't tried the bitwig software yet, but i'm still re-exploring software synths that i have...
Old 2nd April 2016
  #18
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Creativity is always with the individual.
Old 3rd April 2016
  #19
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The LinnStrument is Awesome for adding expressivity to solo sampled instrumental performances.
Old 3rd April 2016
  #20
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🎧 10 years
I would say "game changer" is not an exaggeration for Linnstrument. I have been following synthesis closely for decades. Ever since the dawn of electronic music, there has been a dream of truly expressive, workable, natural, elegant controllers. This along with others such as Continuum and Seaboard, is definitely the next step.

I have been testing the Linnstrument with simple but fine-tuned analog patches.. 1 VCO, 1 VCF, 2 ADSR..fantastic. Also with synths that respond to poly aftertouch such as Prophet 6 and Arturia Origin.. the most responsive and natural poly AT I've ever experienced.
Old 3rd April 2016
  #21
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🎧 15 years
Looks super interesting! Roger Linn is the kind of maverick inventor who could come up with something truly different and dramatically better. I have his LM-1 and as old and limited as it is, the drum sequencer is simply brilliant and it was the first of its kind.
Old 3rd April 2016
  #22
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kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Seems cool, but I'm not sure I'd ever get the time to really get good at it.
Old 4th April 2016
  #23
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🎧 10 years
If you've played keyboard and guitar, pad controllers kinda feel like a mix between both. I don't have the linnstrument yet, but im starting to feel quite at home on my push 2, even after only 2 weeks. Never used a pad controller before that. You may be surprised how quickly you can learn it if you put your mind to it.
Old 4th April 2016 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto ➑️
But a touch screen by definition IS tactile.
I think it's the opposite. Touch screens are by definition not tactile. Tactile means perceptible by touch, while touch screens feel the same no matter where you touch. To use a touch screen with any kind of efficacy, you need your eyes just as much as your hands, if not more. They have no feedback or way of differentiating between different areas or zones. I suppose you could make the vibrate function change based on the note you're playing but it still leaves the problem of having to actuate it before being able to know where you are. I think this instrument is impractical. When touch screens can actually offer detailed tactile feedback then this idea will be brilliant but that's decades away.
Old 4th April 2016
  #25
GCL
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It's NOT a touch screen. Read through this thread, what Roger says. I played one at NAMM. Amazing, that's all I can say.
Old 4th April 2016 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharoro ➑️
I think it's the opposite. Touch screens are by definition not tactile. Tactile means perceptible by touch, while touch screens feel the same no matter where you touch.
Yes, I agree...good point, and thanks for the clarification.

Still haven't picked one up myself. My local dealer is a DSI distributor, but not Linn Designs. I may just have to bite the bullet and order online without trying it out...seems like everyone who uses it is very impressed.
Old 7th April 2016
  #27
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🎧 10 years
This is the Linnstrument hooked up to a Prophet-6 in mono mode (1 VCO). All the tremolo and vibrato expression is done by "finger wiggling" both horizontally and downwards (slight pressure)

https://soundcloud.com/paul-schillin...rumentprophet6
Old 8th April 2016 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthfanatic ➑️
This is the Linnstrument hooked up to a Prophet-6 in mono mode (1 VCO). All the tremolo and vibrato expression is done by "finger wiggling" both horizontally and downwards (slight pressure)

https://soundcloud.com/paul-schillin...rumentprophet6
That's a great demo of it's expressive capabilities. Thanks for sharing!
Old 10th April 2016 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto ➑️
That's a great demo of it's expressive capabilities. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Joe! I am starting with mono synth patches to keep it simple. I have tried polyphonic aftertouch as well and it works beautifully. Looking forward to spending time on the MPE expression modes.

Last edited by synthfanatic; 11th April 2016 at 06:00 PM..
Old 20th April 2016
  #30
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I got my Linnstrument on Monday.

First thing...it's no gimmick....this will certainly be a game changer as far as expressiveness and musicality with synth and sampled sounds. It is already opening up a totally new avenue of creativity for me, and I've just started to dig into it.

It's actually much more expressive than I anticipated....in fact, so expressive that using the wrong technique can actually sound awful...lol.

There is NO comparison in expressiveness compared to the many guitar synths I've played....Having instant response with no glitching, and the ability to bend, vibrate and modulate each note is just awesome.

So far I'm using it in Logic and it integrates very well...Most Logic plugins support the "bend per note" feature by changing a couple settings in the plugin window's lower pulldown menu.

It really is it's own instrument. Amazingly expressive, a bit of a learning curve to get going, and incredibly deep if you want to dig in. I have spent hours just tinkering around with Logic. I bought a 1x4 MIDI splitter and plan to hook it to multiple synths, but that will take a bit of setup/programing to get right.

Right now my only issue is stuck notes, and really only on certain patches in the Logic project from the Linn site. Haven't quite worked out what causes it....don't think it's the Linnstrument or my technique, because it only happens on a couple patches.

EDIT:

Regarding stuck notes, Roger pointed me to the FAQ which explains this issue (doh!). I am on a 2008 Pro, and it seems that it's just getting hung up due to to the amount of MIDI data that is being sent from the Linnstrument. The FAQ explains several ways to deal with the matter, but I went ahead and plugged into my 2015 Macbook Pro, and am no longer getting stuck notes, which confirms that it is simply an issue of computing power.


Overall, I'm really happy with it....it's a new, yet somewhat familiar instrument that will allow incredible expression with a multitude of sounds.

Last edited by Joe Porto; 20th April 2016 at 06:38 PM..
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