Roger Linn Intros The LinnStrument At The 2015 NAMM Show

At the 2015 NAMM Show, instrument designer Roger Linn was making the NAMM debut of the LinnStrument.

The LinnStrument is a MIDI controller that’s designed to let you play synths and virtual instruments more expressively than a traditional keyboard MIDI controller allows. It does not generate any sounds but rather sends standard MIDI messages over its MIDI or USB jacks to any MIDI sound generator or software.

But, unlike a standard MIDI keyboard’s keys – which generally sense note on/off or on/off & velocity, the LinnStrument is designed to capture three dimensions of each of your finger’s movement, polyphonically.

This allows for a far greater degree of musical expression than can be achieved on a standard MIDI keyboard. In addition to providing standard strike velocity, the LinnStrument can sense the movement of each of your fingers in three directions.

For example:

  • finger pressure (Z axis) can be used to vary note loudness;
  • finger left-right (X axis) movement can be used to vary pitch; and
  • finger forward-backward (Y axis) movement is used to vary timbre.

Because it’s sending MIDI, though, the LinnStrument’s expression can be mapped to anything that you like.

Here’s a video, by Geert Bevin, that offers a performance demo in a studio environment:

The LinnStrument is available to order now for US $1,499. See the Roger Linn site for details.

11 thoughts on “Roger Linn Intros The LinnStrument At The 2015 NAMM Show

  1. Looks like a fun controller, but all I could see in the demo was Namba Gear in the background written in the font Papyrus…I would like to hear this controller hooked up to a modular system or other analog synth. A VST of a lap steel doesn’t do it for me.

  2. Nice controller a bit different then the Eigenharp and cheaper then the Continuum. I believe there is a ton of technology that goes into this and 1499.00 seems pretty reasonable for this level of tech and expressiveness.

  3. I saw heard both Roger and Geert give demos at the show as well as tried it myself. Once I realized that it is basically set up like a pedal steel guitar with each horizontal row being like a string, it was easy to understand. Not exactly my cup of tea, but very expressive in the right hands.

    1. Roger said that the key layout is totally customizable, but he thought that the one that made the most sense to him was having individual chromatic rows a fourth apart.

      I was completely wowed by it. It looks fantastic, is made like a real instrument – not all plastic, and it is really fun to play.

      To the people that think this is like a Launchpad or grid controller – the LinnStrument may not be for you, but it’s much more expressive than any grid controller could ever be. I don’t think this is going to be a mass-market product, but if you don’t understand why controllers like this are important, you don’t really understand synthesis.

  4. Anyone seen the MadronaLabs’ Soundplane?
    Basically the same instrument, a lot prettier imo, and same price range. Not sure about tuning options.

    Now if they’d just make more….

    1. LEDs vs. Wood. I’m not knockin’ wood (used on the Madrona Soundplane), but the LinnStrument has an array of multi-color LEDs that are used to indicate in-scale notes, transposition settings, split points, and a huge variety of configuration settings. In essence, the LinnStrument integrates a display into the playing surface. The lights and their colors can be controlled from a computer so that the LinnStrument can be put to a variety of uses, e.g., as an interface to a 4-track MIDI looper.

  5. I was lucky enough to get one of the first run and it’s no doubt the most useful gear I’ve bought in years. Well designed and a whole lot of fun to play.

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