Roger Linn LinnStrument Now Available In Limited Quantities


The LinnStrument, a new instrument design by MPC creator Roger Linn, is now available in limited quantities.

Here’s what Linn has to say about the LinnStrument:

The promise of synthesis was to produce any instrument sound you can imagine. However, if you’ve ever tried to play a convincing guitar, sax, violin, clarinet or cello solo on a MIDI keyboard, you’ve found it to sound static and lifeless because keyboards can’t do much more than turn sounds on and off at different volumes.

LinnStrument takes a new approach, capturing each finger’s subtle movements in three dimensions for simultaneous fine control of note expression, pitch and timbre. With this level of expressive control, the promise of synthesis is finally a reality.

Here’s a demo, by software developer Geert Bevin, that demonstrates some of the performance flexibility of the LinnStrument:

Prior to a general release, there are a small number of units available in the San Francisco Bay area. The LinnStrument is priced at US $1,500. Contact support (at) for details or see the Linn site for more info.

26 thoughts on “Roger Linn LinnStrument Now Available In Limited Quantities

  1. one of those things you want but you don’t need, but all the best to roger and hope it sells loads because no one puts more heart and sole in to their products than him.

  2. For people to just want to play cool synth sounds, this is irrelevant.

    But if you want to really explore synthesis, new types of controllers are a requirement.

    Even an inexpensive iPad synth like Animoog is capable of doing types of expression that are impossible with most standard keyboards. It’s time for controllers to catch up!

  3. As someone with severe tendinitis for over 8 years, this is a blessing. I had to give up drums and guitar, as they would cause my tendinitis to flare up so bad that I couldn’t hold a pen. I hoped that synths were the way for me to continue playing, as sometimes there are controllers made with keys that require only a gentle touch, like the korg nanokey2, or that keith mcmillen controller. Unfortunately they are usually 2 octaves. Some things that span a full keyboard length, like the haken continuum, are so expensive. But this linnstrument seems just right! It’s a serious controller that will allow me to play music again, and harness the expressiveness i used to get out of my guitar. I think some instrument makers should look into controllers for people with mild to severe disabilities (to be fair, there is only a small market for that, and, of course, there are a few controllers that are available). Anyway, I’ll be getting one!

  4. Looking at the future, I think its great. Not sure if id rather the roli seaboard or this though? For anyone that plays piano I think the seaboard may be the logical approach. Would be great if he had note reject like the push does for people who cant play an instrument to still be able to jam with

  5. I am going to sell off a lot of gear to get this. I have been dreaming of a controller like this since forever. The eigenharp got my attention…the Haken Continuum REALLY pushed my buttons but this…it’s the be all and end all. With this and Logic (which I have yet to get, still stuck in a Garageband world…not a real musician here) I won’t need anything else. Oh, and the iPad. Using this as a controller for something like Animoog could keep me happy for a long, long time. Been following this project intensely since it was first announced years ago.

    1. wonderful object and kind of holy grail of controllers. But when we will see some skilled musician doing a demo? these glissato/bending are totally unmusical and disappointing…is just me?

  6. “the promise of synthesis is finally a reality.”

    Ok. It looks like an innovative approach. You didn’t cure cancer however. It’s practicality to musicians is to be demonstrated and proven in real use, not claimed at the onset.

  7. Isn’t this kinda surpassed already by the Eigenharp range?
    – it’s flat,
    – you want response from instrument to your fingers.
    – resolution is usually not great with this type of controller, neither time nor x-y-z.

    It’s cheaper than Eigen/Haken, but the Leap Motion thingy costs less and… well, at least it’s not flat πŸ˜‰
    I’d be going for that if I feel I want to be a finger contortionist – and control 2-3 synth params per hand.

    1. Given that I wrote the software for the Eigenharp, the LinnStrument and the most popular Leap Motion music app, I can truthfully say that they’re all very different. The Leap Motion solution really lacks tactical and sharp control, without a hard surface to touch, it’s only possible to ‘sculpt’, triggering notes and sounds is awkward. The Eigenharp is super precise and a totally new interaction model, requiring you to spend a long time to learn completely new muscle memory and musical theory, the setup and integration is super flexible but also very work intensive, most people will spend weeks on that (I personally still prefer the Eigenharp, but I spend 4 years studying it). The LinnStrument uses a familiar grid approach for very quick playability (talking about minutes here), since it’s MIDI class compliant, the technological understanding to use it is virtually none and you can instantly integrate it with anything that’s already out there, it’s responsive and precise enough for most people to never notice the different between it and the Eigenharp (I spend a long time making sure that this was the case in the LinnStrument firmware by reducing any needless latency in the algorithms).
      So, there you have it, I think that the LinnStrument is the closest to the new electronic expressive instrument for the masses, it has the greatest potential to finally break open this sector for widespread use. Any of these is going to make you very happy in the end, and just like a guitar, lap steel, violin and theremin are all perfectly fine instruments, just pick what attracts you the most and learn it.

      1. Thanks for that comment, much more informative!

        (Still, MIDI is crude for some musical parameters, eg pitch and delay times. You can get around it, but not out of the box.)

        1. I agree, MIDI is crude, but it’s pretty much the only choice you have. Even with the Eigenharp’s much richer and more detailed internal data flow, 99% of the time I end up sending MIDI to VSTs or AUs. We’re a long way from any other alternative becoming available.

    1. Except the Tenori-On is a grid of on/off switches, while this is a pressure sensitive three-dimensional controller that can capture velocity, position and pressure.

      This does have LEDs, though, which makes it a rip-off of the Tenori-On.

    2. In that they both have LEDs in a grid and both are used to make music, sure. Unless you have actually owned and used a Tenori-On, you likely will not understand that these two instruments functionally have very little in common.

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