Dave Smith & Roger Linn Interview

This video, via DJ Tech Tool’s Ean Golden, captures a recent interview with electronic music pioneers Dave Smith (the Prophet V, MIDI) and Roger Linn (the LinnDrum, the MPC).

The interview focuses on the key technologies that Linn & Smith have been involved with and their uses for making electronic music.

10 thoughts on “Dave Smith & Roger Linn Interview

  1. While I agree that having the real thing, a real piece of hardware can be a lot of fun to work with and has a great sound, I completely disagree that working in software is “not fun” and “soulless.” and does not sound good. I love working in the software myself. I love the ease of it, the convenience of having all of my settings and patches saved with a project. I also think some of the soft synths I work with have a fantastic sound. Do soft-synths sound exactly the same as a piece of analog hardware? No. Do they have its own character and “life” to them? I argue that they do. I have been using the LuSH101 for example and absolutely love how that one sounds and I find working with it a real pleasure.

    There is, of course, the issue of cost – not just the cost of the instruments themselves but the cost of the professional audio I/O to interface those instruments with a DAW. Most of us – especially the non-professional, hobbyists like me – cannot even begin to afford thousands of dollars in hardware on top of the computer and software we already have.

    I personally think that one can create equally great music using software instruments as one using hardware instruments. I think the sound can be just as good too. It really is more about the musician/artist than it is the instrument. One one had, I would love to get my hands on a DS Prophet 12 when it comes out. On the other hand, it would also be more work and more of a pain to integrate it into my DAW.

    1. There really is no “right” answer. You certainly can get great quality from a VST, & lousy quality from hardware, and vice versa. Each have their pros & cons. It’s really about what works for you, your budget, your workflow, etc.

      Having said that, I’ve come 180 degrees from being a digital synth/soft-synth based person to agreeing with the hardware approach and dedicated knob/function that Dave talked about in the video. I mix & match hardware & soft-synth as the mood strikes me. It’s the textures and variance that really seem to make the difference, at least for me.

      But there’s no “right” way. The way that works for you is the “right” way. I’ve seen some incredible music produced with a 1-second sample of white noise, and then manipulated via Ableton’s Simpler (their simple sampler instrument) to create all the instruments.

      It’s the talent first, then the vehicle used to deliver it. Good music will almost always come through, whatever the approach. Do what works.

    2. the “fun” and “soulful” part comes in between the feedback loop from your body and mind and emotions going into the instrument which is bringing its sound back to you… so if you have a controller that is capable of translating nuanced movements into expressive timbres/pitches, and a sound source that is responsive and variable enough to produce immediate results with sufficient depth – then its a done deal, doesnt matter if its software or hardware

      but pushing notes around on a piano roll for hours at a time and sitting back to hit the “play” button is indeed “souless” and “not fun” as a primary method of composition, in my book – and same goes for synth interfaces driven only by mouse… editing and touch-ups are not in question, thats always going to have a place in most music design, but the instrumentation is another story altogether..

      of course its a matter of opinion as to whether or not it actually matters at all, but really you have to understand the path from heart/brain to body to instrument to understand ideas of “soul” and so forth – when the instrument/tool becomes an extension of your very being in the moment itself, that is the essence of artistic expression – and when it all comes together it brings on ecstasy in a real way, which is translated to the audience as well.. thats what a masterpiece is all about

  2. I agree with Dave Smith; tweaking a real knob on a hardware instrument is more visceral than a VST instrument – 10 years later it’s the same instrument and you can still feel it.
    Roger Linn is a controllerism genius.
    The interview was only OK. I would say it was almost a waste of these two guy’s time.

    I’ll make it up to them with my Prophet 12 purchase this year and maybe a Tempest/Linnstrument purchase next year.
    These guys are both amazing.

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