Roger Linn Design LinnStrument
Meet LinnStrument, an expressive MIDI controller for musical performance. Unlike the simple on/off switches of a standard MIDI keyboard, LinnStrument's RGB-backlit note pads sense each finger's subtle movements in five ways, enabling musical performance expression rivaling that of fine acoustic instruments.
How are the notes arranged? Why not a piano note arrangement?
The piano's note arrangement is great for turning a sound on and off, but its uneven pitch intervals and rear-positioned black keys make it ill-suited for performing natural pitch bends and slides, an important element of expressive performance. And the piano keyboard isn't isomorphic-- for each chord or scale, you must learn 12 different fingerings, one for each of the 12 musical keys.
Stringed instruments don't have any of these problems because the physics of a string require the semitones to be uniformly spaced and positioned. So LinnStrument's notes are arranged as on any stringed instrument. Each row is a series of consecutive semitones, and you can tune the rows like a guitar, violin or however you wish. By default they are tuned in musical fourths (five semitones), like a bass guitar with 8 strings. This note arrangement is called the 4ths String Layout and is fast becoming a new standard for expressive musical control, used in Ableton Push, Roli Blocks, a variety of iPad apps and more.
To make it easy to find the right notes, the naturals (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) are lit, with all the C note pads lit in a different color and having a Braille-size bump for tactile feedback. Alternatively, you can light any scale and in any of 10 colors.
Works with every MIDI synth, and even better with new MPE synths
LinnStrument sends standard MIDI messages over its USB or MIDI output jacks, and is configured by default to work out-of-the-box with every MIDI sound generator in existence, with the advantages over a MIDI keyboard of performed vibrato, note-to-note pitch slides, full pressure sensing from lightest to heaviest touch, and forward/backward movement sensing.
For fully independent 3D control of all simultaneously touches, you'll need a synth that's compatible with MPE (Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression), a new industry-wide MIDI standard that uses a separate MIDI channel for each touch. It's already supported in a long list of major software instruments. We even include free sounds files for Apple's MainStage and Logic, plus a free license for Bitwig 8-Track, all of which support MPE in their built-in synths.
Polyphonic step sequencer
• Split Keyboard Mode with unique MIDI settings for each split
• Volume Button displays horizontal light bar on screen for easy volume adjustment
• Preset Button displays MIDI Program Change number on screen (1-128) for easy selection by sliding your finger across surface
• Two Programmable Panel Switches
• CC Faders Mode permits either split to act as 8 horizontal light bars to control CC 1-8
• Strum Mode: "strumming" the rows of the right split plays any notes held in the left split
• Low Row Mode: the lowest row may be used as a continuous MIDI control strip, sustain bar, arpeggiator on/off or other functions
In the Box
• Soft padded and zippered travel case
• 4 guitar strap buttons and 4 metric M4 screws for attachment to corners of LinnStrument or LinnStrument 128
• 10 foot black USB cable
• A letter of introduction, personally signed by Roger