LinnStrument Reviews / Testimonials / Awards / Press
November 6, 2017
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"So the bottom line is that Roger Linn has done it again: come up with something musically relevant and novel that opens up new musical paths. Will the LinnStrument power the same kind of electronic music revolution that his sampled drum machine did in the 1980s? Time will tell...but I hope it does, because it allows inserting an element of emotion so often lacking with today’s synthesis."
Sept 29, 2016
"Add everything together, and what we have here is a really ingenious new instrument design. The grid layout is flexible enough to support melodic, chordal and percussive playing in virtually any style of music. The 'multi-dimensional' expressive features encourage musical interactions that just aren't possible with keyboard-based controllers (or, for that matter, most other kinds of MIDI controller)."
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"To sum up, I really dig LinnStrument. It opens up a whole new world of MIDI-controlled performance in an elegant/intuitive way and, although it’s basically a controller without an internal sound engine, it still feels like a ‘real’ instrument. If you are looking for a new way to perform musical gestures that simply aren’t possible on a MIDI keyboard (or using a piano-note-layout), then LinnStrument is definitely for you and it’s pretty affordable too – a must try for sure!"
Rating: 9 out of 10
October 2015 issue. Click here for full review.
"It's extremely well thought out and offers much deeper features than I have room to explain. Because of its unusual layout, I found myself playing parts I never would have thought of on keys or guitar. A LinnStrument performance is visually stunning, too, because the LED colors respond to your playing and could enhance your stage presence. And the ability to change the defaults, as well as dig deeper with its open source software, lets you customize it to your heart's content.
Best of all, it's relatively easy to learn to play, especially if you know your way around fretted instruments. It costs less than other PMCs, its capabilities are deep, and it delivers everything it promises. If you've ever felt stifled by the expressive limitations of MIDI keyboards, get your hands on a LinnStrument."
June 2015 issue. Click here for full review.
"After spending three weeks with one, I found that it's not only an extremely flexible, powerful, and programmable MIDI controller, but also quite easy to learn and play. It's also fun and addictive. Even though its notes are not laid out like a piano, it's the most keyboardist-friendly non-keyboard I've ever played."
"From a keyboardist's perspective, this is the hippest, most approachable, most fun-to-play 'anti-keyboard' yet."
LinnStrument 128 review. German language. July 4, 2018.
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"Mit dem LinnStrument 128 liefert Roger Linn nicht einfach nur eine kompaktere und preisgünstigere Version seines LinnStrument, sondern einen äußerst durchdachten MPE-Controller, der für das ausdrucksstarke Spiel aller möglichen per MIDI anzusteuernden Klangerzeuger eine echte Bereicherung darstellt."
LinnStrument 128 review. German language. March 2018 issue.
"Fazit: Das Linnstrument 128 ist eine Empfehlung für alle diejenigen, die auf der Suche nach neuen Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten bei der Steuerung elektronischer Instrumente sind und dazu bereit, den Umgang mit einem neuen Typ von Eingabegerät zu erlernen. Roger Linns Controller eignet sich sowohl bestens für ein ausdrucksstarkes Spiel gesampelter Akustikinstrumente als auch für elektronische Klänge. Mit knapp 1.000 Dollar ist auch das Linnstrument 128 kein Schnäppchen, aber angesichts der wertigen Verarbeitung und außergewöhnlichen Funktionalität durchaus angemessen bepreist. Defizite im Vergleich zum größeren Linnstrument sind nur im Bereich des Tonumfangs auszumachen, was sich auf das Spielen mit zwei Händen insbesondere im Split-Modus auswirkt. Wer mehr wissen möchte, sei auf Roger Linns liebevoll gestaltete Webseite verwiesen."
LinnStrument review. German language. March 2016 issue. Click here for review.
"Sobald ich das Linnstrument unter den Fingern hatte, war ich stundenlang im Bann eines mäßigen Steel-Guitar-Presets aus dem Beispielprojekt für Logic Pro X. Dabei liefert die Interaktion von polyphonem Pitchbend, Velocity und Aftertouch eine Natürlichkeit, die musikalisch wirklich inspirierend wirkt."
Dutch language. April 2016 issue. Click here for review.
"LinnStrument is een heel nieuw en zéér inspirerend muziekinstrument dat het absoluut waard is om tijd in te steken. De beloning is dan uniek, en ‘uniek’ is een kwaliteit die ik elke muzikant gun."
Do you own a LinnStrument and would like to add a testimonial? If so, I'd very much appreciate it. Please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks much, -Roger.
I wanted to drop you a note and let you know how grateful I am for the LinnStrument.
I bought a used one last week and have been having a blast learning it and how to set up my soft synths for it. The drag is I just now found your 20% off offer for disabled musicians, which I would definitely have taken you up on instead of buying used.
I am a 68 year old pro guitar player and composer who has ALS, the main result of which is my right hand has become useless. I have been writing lots of music but it doesn't have the expressive quality I miss from my guitar playing.
I was curious about the Roli but I can't really play keyboards so I was very interested in the LinnStrument.
Although there is still a learning curve, it is one that is really enjoyable and rewarding. I can readily see recognizable shapes and patterns that I am familiar with but the instrument is strange enough to me still that I stumble on many happy accidents, which are great for composing inspiration. Of course I am relegated to my left hand, but somehow I don't feel limited.
This thing you have created is just wonderful. A complete game changer. Thank you thank you thank you!
I hope with the adoption of the MPE standard, that the LinnStrument catches fire like it should."
- A. W. Bullington, Nantucket, MA, USA
"I want to say, this is really a great product. I traveled around the world with this, I composed and played the LinnStrument for my movie I am scoring and etc. I am able to play sounds unlike any other instruments. This is also a great MIDI utility. Thank you for the great product!"
- Andrew Bong, media composer, U.S./Malaysia/Japan
"The upshot of all this, and my takeaway: I can fit five octaves of extremely expressive MIDI control in a space that is smaller than the typical PC keyboard, and I don't look like an idiot doing it, nor did I have to learn anything new, since I can already play guitar. This is a net win no matter how you math it out."
- Chris Randall of Audio Damage, from his March 2018 blog post
"I was hesitant to order LinnStrument because of the price but I couldn't be more satisfied. I've been playing music for 23 years and the LinnStrument is so easy and intuitive to play that I lose myself for hours playing before I realize the sun's coming up (literally). Integrating with my existing setup (Cubase, Reaper, Bitwig) was simple, the settings become extremely quick and fluid, as every other reviewer has stated it feels super solid. It even comes with a nice padded carrying case. Now that I have owned it for about a month, I fear existence without my LinnStrument."
-Chris Markert, Minnesota/Utah
"Thanks for making the LinnStrument, in my limited playing of it, from my point of view, it is the first purely electronic instrument that feels intuitive to my experience as a guitarist. (I've had lots of frustration with Guitar MIDI tracking products.) I never got into keyboard playing that much, whereas the LinnStrument has so many expressive playing possibilities that are just not available to keyboards. The left handed option on the LinnStrument is very helpful, as well."
- Timothy Beyer, Lomita, CA
"Well, I've spent nearly all day with the LinnStrument and I have to tell you...it's amazing!! Truly a work of playable art. I'm still in the process of getting my bearings with it, but the UI is fantastic and the control panel is a cinch to navigate and adjust parameters with. So far, I've used it to control 20-30 softsynths and man, this thing really blows the Roli Seaboard away. It is intuitive, super responsive, sturdy and easily the best controller I've ever owned. As expressive as any acoustic instrument I've ever played!"
- Benjamin Harrison, Edmund, OK
"After playing with it for a few hours I have realized the difference between your instrument and the Roli products (I own both Seaboard and lightblocks): the Linnstrument is actually playable, the Rolis are not. Plus, being mainly a guitarist, I really feel myself at home with the notes layout and after a first couple of minutes of adjustment, I could find my way through the key matrix already! I had the concern the Y axis modulation range was not very controllable in a such small key size...I am glad to say I was wrong, it just works. Also velocity sensitivity (even the release velocity) feels well calibrated out of the box. This is something I had been struggling with Roli products a lot. And I can now slide 24 semitones up and down like a king, without compromising the skin of my fingertips because of the crazy rubber friction!"
- Salvatore La Malfa, Singapore
"I want to take the opportunity to thank you for inventing this amazing instrument. I've been using it for 3-4 hours every day. Coming from the piano/keyboard, I love all the new ways to put more into one note. And the layout allows for much wider "open" chord voicings with just the left hand. Repeating what many others have said, it feels super solid and the action on the surface is incredible. There must have been a LOT of love for detail. And it looks like it was brought from the future!"
- Martin Finke
"I just want to say that it is by far the finest controller that I have ever owned. I am absolutely in love with this little guy. I have been really impressed with how well built and well thought out the LinnStrument is. The whole instrument is so responsive and intuitive and reliable. It was a bit intimidating learning the menu systems at first, but both the global and the per-split menus are incredibly well designed. Your videos are quite helpful, and I just wanted to pay my respects. In my opinion, you have designed the very best all around controller to date, and I am so grateful to finally have one to create and play with."
- Tyler Madden, USA
"I want to say that I'm totally blown away with your creation! I've only had it for a couple of days so I'm still getting to grips with it but I'm really impressed with every aspect of it. The construction, the quality, the flexibility and the potential it offers are tremendous, and as a guitar and bass player (who still uses one of your Adrenalinn1 units) I think the learning curve is going to be fairly easy.
I've been involved in music technology (as an amateur) for many years, going right back to the days of the Atari ST with its groundbreaking MIDI sockets, and the LinnStrument is the piece of kit I've been waiting for ever since. I considered all the other new controller options on the market (which all have their advantages) before taking the plunge on LinnStrument and I don't think I could have made a better choice. Here in the UK they're quite expensive, but definitely worth every penny. LinnStrument does everything people say it will do and it does those things really well. I'm really looking forward to getting into it and using it on some tracks.”
- David Dailey, Stockport, UK
"I had a chance to hook up the LinnStrument this afternoon and wanted to give you an early report: I love it!
I have found both setup/configuration and performance quite intuitive. As with most unique instruments, it inspires creativity and sets one on a path unique to the mode of expression.
I have found myself drawn to guitar VIs initially (the Logic project file you provided, to which I've added several of my Ample Guitar VIs -- I still haven't ventured into SWAM territory, etc.).
I also had a go with some Rhodes/Wurli sounds...in particular, working with some jazz chords/progression/solos/etc -- great fun and I love the layout for this sort of application. I'm learning some "advanced" techniques which I'm sure many others have discovered as they explore the LinnStrument.
I'm blown away with what can be done with MPE, but even in standard MIDI mode the LinnStrument adds a level and type of expressiveness that would be difficult/awkward to achieve with so-called "on/off switches" and mod/pitch wheels. It's just different -- which IMO wholly justifies it as a concept.
I'm glad I discovered the LinnStrument when I did. Very exciting and as I dig deeper into the capabilities. I'm sure the experience will only become that much more enriching.
Anyway, thanks for enabling this new dimension in musical expression and exploration via the LinnStrument! The best part is that it makes so many of the tools/instruments I already have that much better. I'll certainly be recommending that people give it a try!"
- Nathan Houston, Elkridge, MD
"I just wanted to say my first impression so far is wonderful. As a guitar player this makes way more sense to me than a piano style controller.”
- Jeff Hartling, London, Ontario, Canada
"I received the Linnstrument earlier this week and I could not be happier with it. It is thoughtfully designed, instantly usable and expressive beyond my expectations.
I was deeply anxious about my purchase - your kind call made me feel a little bit less so. However, it was the product itself that alleviated all anxiety. You mentioned that you would be happy to extend the return terms by another 30 days and I can assure you that is not necessary - the Linnstrument will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands if it were to be taken from me.
In the week that I have had the Linnstrument, I have demo-ed it for a number of musicians and producers who have been wow-ed by it and its potential - I can only hope that I have showcased it well and done justice to the genius of its inventor.
Rest assured that your work is not only well received, but also a fuel for future works of art."
- Shankar Sundaram, Novi, MI
"I’ve had my Linnstrument for a couple of months now and I quite honestly have to say that it is far and away the best piece of musical equipment I have ever owned! I can’t tell you how much it has done for me as a musician to unlock my creative potential. I have only ever ‘been’ a bass player and have tinkered very lightly with guitar and keyboard over the years. I never actually knew what I had in me until I sat down with the Linnstrument. Something quite magical happened (in my own opinion). I was no longer blocked by my own limitation on the technical and theoretical aspects of learning keyboard and guitars. Now I am no longer just a bass player!
Over the past couple of months, my playing, my ear and my musicality is growing in leaps and bounds. I’ve never been so excited by music as I am now.”
- Lyndon Apthorpe, Melbourne, Australia
"I'm a professional bass player and teacher. I currently perform with Dave Weiner from Steve Vai's band and teach around 50 guitar and bass lessons per week. The Linnstrument is by far the most incredible MiDi controller I've ever used and it's certainly the most intuitive for guitar and bass players. I've only been using it for around 3 weeks but I already feel more comfortable improvising on the Linnstrument than I ever felt on keyboard. All on my guitar and bass tapping ideas work on the Linnstrument and I'm able to easily expand on those concepts because of the Linnstrument's excellent playability.
I will be using the Linnstrument to record Synth Bass, Piano, Organ, etc... and I'm already using it every day with MuseScore to write out sheet music for my students. I absolutely love my Linnstrument 128 and I've been showing it every musician I know. People are blown away by it and I really feel like it is the MiDi Controller of the future."
- Rob Smith, Sicklerville, NJ
"Thanks for making such a great instrument! As a guitar player and media composer, this truly is a dream come true for me, as far as controllers go."
- Jonas Kappel Lund, Aarhus, Denmark
"Just wanted to say thanks for creating this instrument. As a long time guitar player who was forced to stop playing 2 years ago due to a hand injury, this is the best thing that’s happened to my music in years. I could never feel fully comfortable on a keyboard. After only about a week on the LinnStrument, it already feels familiar. I find myself sitting down for hours, getting lost in just playing. Not tediously programming to get anything usable, just playing. I can’t express how grateful I am to have an instrument that makes me feel that way again."
- Nathan True, Round Pond, Maine, USA
"Thank you for designing this exceptional great instrument! It opens new expressive playing possibilities and the isomorphic layout gives me new insight for the music while playing. (I also like the wood side pieces and that the firmware is open source.) I'm also very happy with the Bitwig 8-Track license because Bitwig does also run under Linux. This is all very awesome."
- Oliver Schmidt, Germany
"I ended up purchasing a used LinnStrument, and I'm having a great time. Being a minimalist, I'm considering selling my guitars and basses, b/c I'm already better at most things on the LinnStrument, and it's a superior instrument in almost every way. :)
Considering I've been playing guitar for 12 years, and bass for 27, this is no small statement."
- Chris Stefanick, Raleigh, NC, USA
"I received my LinnStrument 128 last week, and I just wanted to thank you for creating such a wonderfully playable instrument. The build quality is superb, and I find that the isomorphic layout makes for an incredibly intuitive experience. Within just a few hours of receiving my LinnStrument, I was already running through the major, minor, and minor pentatonic scales with ease. This week I have begun practicing chord progressions, and the default fourths tuning makes both playing and remembering chord shapes a highly enjoyable affair.
Moreover, the expressiveness afforded by the LinnStrument’s five dimensions has opened up a whole new world for me which I have yet to fully explore (I’m still getting used to how responsive the pads are!), but I look forward to doing so in the coming months.
Finally, the 128’s size makes it highly portable, and in conjunction with my iPad I have been taking it to a quiet waterfront park on weekends to play in an inspiring environment."
- Mark-James McDougall, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
"I’ll use this opportunity to express how much I appreciate the Linnstrument. I am a guitar player and singer dabbling with synths who has only very basic skills on a piano. The LinnStrument is so much easier to play, makes it a lot easier to transpose songs and most importantly gives the same level of expressiveness that guitars do. It is really quite wonderful, and I find that I can use simple synth patches, and all the finger movements per note will provide life to the music."
- Kim Sivertsen, Lillehammer, Norway
"It’s an amazing piece of work. I first tested it with an iPad running Waldorf Nave (a modernized version of their PPG synth) and it was amazing.
I’m hoping to make it the controller centerpiece for my modular system. The level of expression is inspiring.
I spent almost 10 years back in the 90’s trying to master the Chapman Stick (but never really clicked with it), and more recently got back into 'grid tapping' with the Ableton Push 2, but the LinnStrument is far and away the best.
I can’t believe there aren’t a bunch of LinnStrument users in the [San Francisco bay area] peninsula! I’m going to have to spread the word.
Thank you for building what is obviously an expression of quality and love."
- Rob Roberts, Los Gatos CA
"I can't describe to you how powerfully this keyboard is effecting me and my playing. I am grateful for it in a way that is intuitive-- like it was something I needed all along but did not know it and offers potential and possibilities that I have not yet conceived of.”
- Clinton B., Salt Lake City
"Just wanted to let you know, I have my Linnstrument and it’s not going back, I love it!!
I have various controllers around already here in the studio (including Roli bits and pieces) but I love the snappiness of the Linnstrument, it’s much faster than I was expecting. I’m looking forward to delving deeper and exploring the MPE capabilities further.
Thanks so much!!"
- Rik Simpson, Grammy award winning producer & engineer of Coldplay
"I really enjoy playing the LinnStrument 128. Its MPE capabilities are so natural I can no longer play without them and the smaller model is quite convenient for my needs. I started with the piano when I was 6 years old and I've always felt that it's not as expressive as I'd like it to be. Keyboards and synths with their twisty knobs came close but not close enough. Years later I picked up the guitar, and for a long time I thought it was the king of expressive instruments, but now I believe the LinnStrument combines the best of both worlds. And it's truly a whole new world that endlessly inspires me."
- Miikka J. Katajamäki, Finland
"I received my LinnStrument on Monday and kind of practiced every day since then. I have to say that this is one of the best piece of gear I‘ve ever used. It is easy to learn and inspiring at the same time! Although I need to keep pressure on it while pitch bending - this is the only thing I still need to get in my mind. Just wanted to let you know and send many thanks!"
- Nicolas Drössel, Germany
“I recently started as a multi media composer. I worked for a year to see if I could make the things I had in my head and I have to say, I couldn"t have done it without your Linnstrument. I listened to a lot of ‘sound bank’ classical music on the web and always thought it sounded kind of ‘plastic’. The Linnstrument enables me to play the sound banks with a musician’s feeling and the responses I get are that the classical music sounds as if it were played by real musicians, which to me is the greatest compliment one can get.
All the music on my site which has synths, drum computers and classical instruments are played with the Linnstrument. It has become an integral part of my studio and music composing.”
- Daniel Antonis, Netherlands, www.soundtrackoflife.nl
"The Linnstrument 128 is my favorite electronic controller for composition by a long shot -- and for several reasons.
The obvious one is the amount of control and expressiveness you get in such a small but extremely playable surface. It is an amazing feat of interface and industrial design. The build quality is second to none, and everything feels built to last and be played with some vigor! I've tried several other alternative or polyphonic midi controllers, but I found them to be a bit too delicate or rife with logistical problems in actual performance situations.
I'd have no issue taking the Linnstrument out gigging. The weight and size of the 128 make it extremely portable for us laptop folk. An apprehension I had before purchasing it was regarding the sensitivity of the playing surface, and I can say with confidence now that it is the most comfortable and PLAYABLE surface I've tried. No weird jumps in pitch when holding pressure and sliding. Very, very few miss triggers of any kind once you set things to your playing ability.
That brings me to the real power I've found through the 128. That's the units deep and immediate customization abilities through the front panel (no software or computer needed!). I can make the 128 controller work in a way in which music is more intuitive the way I think and feel, rather than a traditional structure. As an example: I tend to think of music more in interval relations, voices/objects, and shapes -- rather than chord progression and melody. With the 128 with a row offset of +Octave and the tonic and relative minors accented with lights, the visual feedback really suites my mental connection to music and theory. I've found myself making mental leaps in melody and interval which would be very difficult to visualize for me on a piano or guitar.
As a sound design tool, I use the Linnstrument in tandem with Liine Lemur, and have since used it on commercial games and libraries. In that scenario, the 128 provides me with tactile control over key elements in which touch screen surfaces are not hitting yet. It's a match made in heaven because all of my iOS apps that support MPE are playable via the 128 as well! I used the 128 heavily towards the end of working on the 2017 Comaduster album 'Solace' with Plogue Bidule hosting MPE Enabled Synths which were then looped back via my RME Fireface and in to Ableton Live 10 (beta). I wish I had the 128 for the whole process of the record. It really helped me play and design some really expressive and delicate synth passages during key transitions during the album, and the Linnstrument 128 hooked up to a capable MPE enabled synthesizer is like playing a synth for the first time again, with every movement under your finger modulating the sound in some way. I got lost in the sound design and performance wormhole with Reaktor, Softube Modular, Cypher2 (beta), and Zebra 2 exploring this controller.
I've got to hand it to U-he, FXpansion, BitWig, Softube Modular, Native Instruments Reaktor, Plogue Bidule, and to the ever-growing list of MPE compatible synths and DAWs, with the recent addition of it to the MIDI standard -- Thank you for really bringing back the fun in just sitting down with a musical instrument and enjoying it's nuance and novelty again. I'm excited to hear the impact this is going to have on music production over the next few years!
The direct support I have received from Roger himself has been incredible. From the moment I placed my order, through some questions I had regard the unit, to a minor software problem I recently had -- Roger was kind and incredibly helpful with any questions I had. I can only give the highest recommendations!"
- Réal Cardinal - Comaduster (www.soundcloud.com/comaduster) - BioWare.com (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Anthem) - Microsoft (Gears of War 4)
"I just want to reach out and say that dealing with your company is awesome!!
From order to delivery, the service was perfect. Especially under the additional pressure that the holiday season can provide.
As for the LinnStrument itself, it is well worth the money spent. I am a builder-artist who performs with the synths I make, and this tool is perfect. I am not using it with DAWs that much, I am using it to trigger multiple hardware synths, including a large modular and a soon to be completed Deckard's Dream.
I have mostly been testing with smaller hybrid synths like the polyphonic PreenFM & Ambika and a monophonic Shruthi-1 with a CS80 filter. All three utilize aftertouch, but I am amazed that I can control cutoff and resonance using the LinnStrument simply by rolling my finger in either axis. This took two hands on any other MIDI controller!
I have tested it with the split (a bit tricky to setup) to run two independent analog synths. I had the left side controlling an EDP Wasp clone and the right controlling my modular. Neither have aftertouch, but my modular allows the pitch and modulation controls to work with the finger roll. I am currently testing various other setups and synth configurations, but just wanted to drop you a note and say 'thank you'.
This was a huge leap of faith for me, and it paid off in spades. The engineering side of me became amazed at how you managed to consider the use of various DC and AC power adapters (and how much trouble one can get into when an incorrect adapter can get plugged in). While the artist side of me, just loves the over all aesthetics and how much fun this tool is to use.
I learned basic guitar, and never learned piano. And although I learned musical theory, my brain had a hard time memorizing dozens of scales and fingerings. Yet I was up and deriving musical compositions within a couple hours of using the LinnStrument. Additionally, obtaining note stretches and bends is so much easier on my fingers. Hands down, this is one of the best products I have used in the last 5 years. I think it is revolutionary.
Music and learning music is actually one of the greatest techniques to use to slow the effects of dementia in older patients. The issue is not in leaning music, but in manipulating the keys or strings. Arthritis can be a bitch..... I showed it to a friend of mine who works in an elder care facility. She said something like the LinnStrument could be life changing, and allow seniors (who are inflicted) the ability to perform more complicated musical pieces.
Kudos Roger, to you and your staff."
- Todd Murray (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
"First I want to thank you for all your hard work with the Linnstrument, I've been waiting for such a product for a long time. As a little kid I didn't play any instruments but i listened to a lot of music, mostly synthesizer stuff like Jean-Michel Jarre, then I moved to fusion, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck... fell in love with Jan Hammer's lead lines, so when I was around 14 I tried to learn piano but sadly the keyboard was for me (and still is) overwhelmingly awkward, so I shifted to electric guitar, then I started using Roland's MIDI guitar systems which work OK, but absolutely not perfect.
The first couple of hours or so with the Linnstrument were spent just trying different ways to hold it or approach it, finally I decided the best way is on your lap or on a table, which forces you to play lines with your right hand as opposed to the guitar, I was kind of disappointed at first, I thought 'now I have to relearn all the fingerings with my right hand' but after four hours of playing, something just clicked in my mind and I started flying! All the repeated shapes of the isomorphic layout were suddenly clear and available on every part of the board. Amazing.
So, thank you very much for releasing such an instrument."
- Cesar Hari Ossa Leon
“I usually do more point & click programming than real playing, but when I used the LinnStrument for the first time, I couldn't stop playing for hours without even thinking about changing the sound in my DAW. It is really inspirational and opens up completely new worlds of expression even without understanding the full possibilities. Thank you so much for this invention!"
"This thing is awesome! It's the instrument I've been searching for for years. I've been playing guitar for 14 years, and for the past 3 I've tuned in all 4ths.
I also produce electronic music, and I've been searching for an expressive way to play synths and samplers. To that end, I bought a Fishman tripleplay midi guitar pickup. It's great for what it is, but ultimately it's a deeply flawed system.
So, for the last year I've been (slowly and painfully) building up my mediocre piano chops, planning to get a Seaboard once I was good enough to justify it. Then I found out about the Linnstrument, which totally embodies everything I wanted.
I picked it up extremely fast. It's so easy to play. I could play any melodic passage that I could play on guitar, with near equal speed, precision, and expressiveness within 10 minutes of turning it on. I've now put in about 8 hours of practice and I can play very convincing and fluid solo blues piano. It already feels like an extension of myself.
Your careful forethought really shines: 3 dimensions of control mapped to 3 dimensions of space, isomorphic layout, amazingly intuitive front panel controls, pad size, pad compressibility, customization. It's perfect. I truly believe that your design will become cornerstone of music making for centuries to come, and I think the musical community at large will come to see that it far surpasses the piano as a pedagogical and compositional tool.
Over the next months and years expect to be hearing from me. I intend to make videos (original music and covers, classical pieces, instructional videos) and Reaktor instruments."
- Nick Denning
"I’ve been loving my Linnstrument so much - using on stage with Serena Ryder every show - in split mode, with the left split controlling my OB-6 and the right split providing transport and song cue triggers for the computers that play our backing tracks and send timecode to the lighting designer’s lighting console! And playing it in the studio a tonne, most of the synth parts on my upcoming album were played with it, on the Oberheim, on the Moog and several synths. It’s the best."
"Pure joy. THANK YOU!"
- Dave Casey
"Thank you so much. Thank you for making the linnstrument. I've only had it 24 hours and I love it already. The workflow is brilliant. The expressiveness is everything I'd hoped for. Even the sequencer, that I didn't think I'd use much is great. My only complaint is to myself, that I didn't buy it sooner. I'm just smitten with this thing!"
- John Clark
"I play the 7-string electric cello (5ths up from the Bb a half step below the lowest string on a 5-string bass, up to the high E of an electric guitar). For years I have tapped out chord shapes with the left hand based on this 5ths tuning. Also I have an electric guitar tuned in 5ths with a 4th at the top, so I have tapped out 4ths based chord shapes too.
Within days of getting my LinnStrument, I spent an afternoon at my friend's place inputting awesome synth parts into Ableton in single-MIDI-channel mode, at a reasonably high level of skill and competence.
Even having to work around Ableton's deficiencies and less expressive samples/models/synths, the expressivity was incredible.
I have wanted a musical input device of this general design for years, and you managed to bring it to market at a reasonable price and at a high level of quality. Thank you so much!"
- Matthew Probst
"Buying a Linnstrument was the best artistic choice I have made in years. It has truly opened up a world of sound that was never fully accessible to me with a conventional keyboard."
- Greg Hart
"I've owned a LOT of hardware over the decades, (a bit of a 'gear fetish') and I can honestly say that Roger's Linnstrument is the first thing I've put my hands on in many years, which has allowed me to create a whole new way of working, whilst maintaining a good workflow. It's so great to be able to apply my instincts and experience to a new piece of gear, and so quickly transition from learning about the equipment to creating. It's pushed me in new directions, which I find thrilling and compelling.
In a world of endless new disposable gadgets, it's so great to have people out there creating new, well designed and well crafted boutique innovations/instruments.
"Your Linnstrument has been such a pleasure to play. A a piano and keyboard hack for 40 plus years, I thought the layout would be difficult, but it is almost hard to sound bad. Just glide into the right note. Sounds like you planned it. Fantastic.
I have the small Roli and while I enjoy it, it is a challenge to hit the keys dead center for leads. My plan is to use the Roli for chords with the left hand and solo with the linnstrument with my right hand. (I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, but if I am, let's keep it to ourselves.) The combination is extremely expressive. Now all I need is talent.
I am just having the best time. Thank you so much."
- Scott Boehmer
"Roger, congratulations on your invention. It's by far the most expressive digital instrument I've played :) As a guitarist (primarily) I feel like this thing was made for me! The vibrato in particular is amazing, it feels like I am playing an acoustic instrument!"
- Jonathan Lawson
"What a great music tool- makes me think in shapes and music theory again, rather than in sequencer steps."
- Chris Baszto.
"While I have a moment of your time, I wanted to thank you and everyone else attached to the project for the LinnStrument. What an amazing device! I've had it less than a day, and I'm already finding it much easier to make music than with my old keyboard. The blending of my larger guitar experience and smaller (almost nonexistent) piano experience is helping with the transition, and I couldn't be happier with the results. I look forward to the journey of improving my technique and ever finding new methods of expression with the help of everyone's hard work which has played a part in making the LinnStrument a reality."
- Roe Nix
"I enjoy the Linnstrument very, very much. As a guitar player I feel quite like home and now have the freedom to sustain and modulate the notes. This is huge. Also no mistriggers except when I don´t watch my playing. I bought a Fatar VFP2-15 sustain pedal and it works as advertised. I couldn´t be happier when it comes to translating my ideas into the DAW. All the best and a big THANK YOU."
"I’d like to thank you for inventing such a wonderful controller. It’s going to take me a good amount of time and practice to get proficient at playing my LinnStrument, but it’s already shown me that my purchase was absolutely the right thing for me to do.
I 'played' it for around 3 hours yesterday, as I’ve got a few days off work, and had no [arthritis] hand pain at the end of it. This compares to me playing a traditional keyboard for half an hour and suffering all day thereafter. I’m now starting to code up a simple editor to make it easier to configure and I’m going to have another stab at finding an accessible method for editing the firmware, as there are significant accessibility possibilities for the LinnStrument if I can get it transmitting some extra data.
I found that I was more successful with my playing if I stopped thinking of it as a keyboard or a guitar, but as the true and unique instrument that it is. I haven’t been so excited about a musical device in a good many years and I’m absolutely thrilled with it."
- Tim Burgess, visually impaired musician with arthritis, who also writes software
"It’s been so much fun playing (amateurishly) with my LinnStrument and seeing all the interesting new things you and Geert have been adding to it. Not many hardware gadgets have such responsive and inventive creators; the LinnStrument has been a fun journey, not just a musical instrument. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2017."
- Peter Landers
"I wanted to tell you how astonished in every way I am by the LinnStrument. I have played piano for many years, mainly jazz and blues, but also fooled around with guitar, sax and some other stuff. When I played the non-piano instruments I always found myself enthralled with the expressive possibilities but always returned to piano as my main instrument, I think mainly because one can play two lines and have a more full solo sound.
Now, you have given me an instrument where I can have the best of both worlds. This thing is absolutely amazing. I could go on and on but I'm sure you've heard it before. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I've only had it for five days and have been amazed how friendly it is to pick up. I recorded something tonight just to begin to document my journey with this thing and I thought I would send it to you. I used Reaktor's Prism synth, with no overdubs, edits or processing...just me sitting at the Linnstrument for a couple minutes. I would ask anyone, show me another instrument where I could do something like this after five days with it.
Anyway, I'm no prodigy, and maybe I'm too excited to be at all objective, but if I had heard this before I knew about these new expressive instruments and was told it was done entirely by one person, in one take on a software synth (no samples) with a midi controller, there is not way I would have believed it.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. I am just enthralled and I can't wait to see where this journey takes me."
- Stephen Barnard
"My LinnStrument arrived last week. Thank You. I'm still getting used to the playing surface, but it is wonderfully intuitive, and I love the flexibility it has. It has a top quality build and feel, and the design of the menu items and the options for editing are very clever. I am exceptionally pleased with it. Many hours of the long Canadian wi nter will now be gainfully occupied."
"This is a great instrument! I've only had a few hours with it and I can tell this is going to be loads of fun and a great source of creative inspiration. I can't wait to dig in deeper! Thank you!"
- Shane Sorbello
"Thank you so much for a wonderful product, but also for the love and
care that went into its design, fabrication, packaging, and marketing.
- Ismael Ghalimi
"I am soo happy with the Linnstrument! I have not been able to put it down. I ordered the SM Violas and cellos and they sound great and are so much fun to play! I have already laid down some strings on my buddy's song and I am having so much fun experimenting! I plan to record some video with it controlling my modular stuff and Moogs and various other wild fun stuff."
- Ted Pedersen
"I played now for some weeks and do fall more and more in love with the
LinnStrument. All you said about, why the design is as it is, does make
sense now. Of course it takes time to master the subtleties, but I have
never had such an expressive experience with an electronic instrument.
First time for long, that I get into synthesis again. Now I just have to
adapt more sounds..."
- Stefan Tiedje
"I am loving the linnstument!! I am a long time guitar player that has tried so many of the different options to enter the exciting and vast world of synthesisers that has finally found what I was looking for."
- Ian Cabrie
"I've been playing the Linnstrument for a little under a month now, and I have to tell you it is pretty amazing. It is extremely responsive, comfortable and inspiring. I really love the swing of the arpeggiator. I can really get some sweet funky drum patterns going with it. Almost like some second line New Orleans grooves. I also recently hooked it up to an Access Virus TI, and have been using the channel per row function. By setting the same patch for each row, I can really get into some cool expressive playing. Thanks for creating this wonderful instrument."
- Josh Riggs
"I just received my Linnstrument today and I must tell you that it's even better than what I expected (and I expected A LOT from you I must say!) So thank you oh so much for a wonderful instrument!"
- Shawn Hsu
"I am absolutely obsessed with my new Linnstrument."
- Nick Maxwell (nickstutorials.com)
"I'm enjoying the Linnstrument every single evening after the kids get into bed. FM synthesis and freedom of Nord Modular G2 Engine are best friends of my Linnstrument now. Being able to assign any aspect of sound to any of the XYZ controllers is so liberating. You really changed the way I approach and enjoy the music playing and sound design."
- Jakub Forejt
"I just wanted to thank you for such a unique instrument, I fell in love with it on that first pad push and nothing else has resonated quite the same since.
- Ryan Phelps"
" I am having so much fun with this! It is really an amazing experience. Thank you!"
- Shane Dilworth
"I plugged in the Linnstrument the other night and tried it out. Wow. This is what I have been wanting in a keyboard for a long time. As a guitarist, and budding violinist, I finally have a keyboard that feels right. The left/right vibrato feels very natural. Congratulations on making such a great instrument."
- Phil Burk
"I just want to say that the LinnStrument has become such an important tool in my music-making and I am very glad that I decided to buy one after waffling back and forth. Thanks for creating such a powerful instrument. Almost every piece that I’ve composed for school or for leisure has used the LinnStrument in some way. At the time of purchase, I had no idea that it could be this versatile as I knew very little about the MIDI protocol. But through experimenting with the LinnStrument and learning about the protocol in class and through reading, I was able to gain a solid understanding of how it works. On some pieces, the LinnStrument has come in handy for recording percussion parts (much faster than notating it out and sounds very natural), using the pitch bend axis as a fader for CC11 expression (especially for adding natural-sounding dynamics for melodic orchestral instruments), and recording improvised solos. My favourite way to use the LinnStrument is by selecting Channel-Per-Row mode and tuning the even-numbered rows 50 cents higher than the odd-numbered rows to create quarter-tone scales and chords. This ability to re-tune the LinnStrument to incorporate microtonal tunings is extremely exciting as it opens up a realm of new possibilities. Here is a short piece that I wrote while experimenting with the quarter-tone tuning of the rows. I was able to demo the LinnStrument for my electro-acoustic music class as well as perform with it in a composers’ concert and many students and teachers were very excited to see and hear it."
- Matthew Nakagawa
"Thanks for inventing such an amazing instrument!"
- Finn Schatvet-Riisager
"Thank you for the best instrument/controller in my arsenal."
- Timmy Put
"Roger you are a genius! This thing is absolutely amazing!! Beautifully engineered... synthesists have been longing for this level of expressiveness for decades."
- Paul Schilling
"Had one for a couple months now, and I was initially pretty skeptical about how well it would work out, but I'd say it's quickly become indispensable for me. I can quickly improvise with synths now, and even play a passable pedal steel - not being a key player, but a synth fanatic, this is truly awesome. Hope you sell thousands of these Roger! I'll need another one when I wear it out!"
- Josh Reineke
"I’m more of a keyboard player (though not very good!) but I’m finding the Linnstrument very easy to pick up and play.
It’s really easy to use, the whole design and UI are very well thought out. I also like some of the other features - supplying a bag is most useful and it’s protected it already because its box got bashed in the post! …and you even supply a cable of a good length, Why does nobody else do that?”
- Nicholas Blechford
"Just wanted to send you a quick note - I am REALLY enjoying the new LinnStrument - I've got it set up in our music room and both the kids and I are enjoying playing it - it's hugely inspirational!”
- Darius Mostowfi
"I want to express my appreciation for a superb piece of engineering, and a wonderful concept. My fledgling voyage with the Linnstrument after unboxing last night was accompanied by the sense of wonder, joy and exploration that I felt with my first hardware sequencer/synth so many years ago. Thank you."
- Adam Tullis
"Ever since I read about LinnStrument (and then saw some videos), I was mesmerized by this playability I was seeing. But as a piano/keyboard player (only), I was a little skeptical to learn this (to me) new and complicated looking grid arrangement, unsure if it ever will feel as natural to me as the piano-layout does. Then I learned about the fact, that transposition is as easy as moving the hand to somewhere else! Same fingering! Nice! This was the single most annoying thing about the piano-layout to me, re-fingering. I never played the guitar, so this was a novel concept to me...I was now able to try it out, and well, couldn’t resist anymore!...The last two weeks were a real blast! It’s an absolutely amazing controller! I’m using it with an expert sleepers fh-1 on my modular, and this synthesizer feels (and sounds!) like a new instrument to me! So very expressive! As a matter of fact, as soon as I like the adjustments of my patch, and my attention goes entirely just to playing, it starts to feel like it IS the instrument! :)"
- Haig Seraydarian
"You should put a 'Warning, Danger' sign on this thing. Fortunately I had the day off! 8 hours has just disappeared. A remarkable instrument!"
- Robert Schrei
"The LinnStrument is now the centerpiece of my MIDI studio. I sold my MIDI keyboard and synths with keyboards. No point! I can't bring myself to use such a primitive device anymore! Anyways, just wanted to say thanks for making such an incredible device."
- Lucas Rose
"I’ve really enjoyed the LinnStrument so far. I wish it had been my first instrument as it is so much easier to see the underlying musical patterns and theory. It’s great to see instrument inventors such as yourself move beyond the old designs that were highly constrained by the physics of sound production. Of course, I do still love my guitar and saxophone."
- Jeffrey Sorenson
"I received my Linnstrument yesterday and I must say that it is really fun and inspiring to play. I connected it to my Prophet 6, ignored the manual and found it really easy to configure. I am a quite experienced (Jazz) piano player and was surprised how much the different layout of the 'keys' is influencing my playing style (in a positive way). Conclusion: I love it. Can't wait to continue playing it tonight."
- Anton Güntsch
"Thanks so much for making this unique machine. I haven’t been so excited about a piece of gear in a while."
- Seph Lawrence
"It's been lots of fun to play with my LinnStrument. It just keeps you wanting to play more and trying new possibilities every day. I love it."
- Allen Wu
"I just want to say thank you to Roger and his team for the effort they've put into the Linnstrument. I've had mine for just over a month, and I don't think I've ever had so much fun playing music. This thing is amazing. I've been using it mostly to control my Oberheim Matrix-6 (a deep but clunky instrument that I never thought could sound so alive)...The Linnstrument is a brilliant concept, with many ways it could have gone wrong in the implementation. But thanks to the thoughtfulness and care put into it, it is a dream come true."
- Max Bajzek
"I have just received [my LinnStrument] and I’m already in love with it. So solid (it looked more plastic in the videos) and the case it came in was a pleasing surprise."
- Chris Solem
"You've created an amazing pleasure device for my fingers...I've been absorbed all day, I can't let it go. What a wonderful instrument, it takes no time to learn, it's so intuitive, with such a light touch synthesis is controlled how it should be. It's irresistible! With just a gentle push or rocking of the fingertips, envelopes unfold and meaningful expression fills my ears. I can't thank you enough, it's what I've been wanting and unimaginably so much more. Genius! Thank you so much."
- David Holdstock
"I've been playing Ableton Push after starting with iPad and Jordan Ruddess' Geo Synth for the past 8 months or so. Love both of them. Been playing music for the last 40 some odd years before that. When I heard about LinnStrument, I went out and bought it almost immediately. I've only had it for two days, but I can already say that I LOVE this instrument!!! The playability and control I have with LinnStrument are way beyond anything I've ever played before."
- Jamie Ward
"Thank you for creating this wonderful technology! The moment I touched it, many new possibilities opened up for me as a composer/performer. I look forward to creating with the LinnStrument to produce new works for a long time.”
- Douglas Johnson
Earlier today, I took delivery of my Linnstrument. I had high hopes for it and it has exceeded those expectations. Minutes after hooking it up, I was playing really expressive stuff. I’ve tried a lot of controllers and this is my new favorite. I’ve been using the Akai Ewi which is great but this takes things to a whole different level. Thank you so much for your trailblazing work on this instrument. All of your work has paid off with something truly amazing.
- Josh Cliffe
"The Linnstrument is a brilliant invention. In the few days I’ve had it, it has become the centerpiece of my studio. It’s helping me make better, more original music. It’s helping me produce music faster. Best of all, it’s FUN. Thank you so much."
- Peter E.
"I have #316. I'm pretty picky about instruments and have sold most of the controllers I've ever had. Some consider me a solid guitarist and synthesist but I am admittedly a lousy keyboard player. LinnStrument is THE WAY to control synthesizers - especially if the keyboard never quite did it for you. I'm using it with a eurorack modular and synths with keys on them. After a few hours with the LinnStrument, keyboards seem very old fashioned (because they are!). The LinnStrument was instantly inspiring."
- Dean Terry / @therefore
"The guitar is my primary instrument, though I am currently teaching myself to play piano too. I am really enjoying the LinnStrument because it is quite unique and would appeal to guitar, as well as keyboard, players. On the LinnStrument, I am spending time picking out familiar melodies by ear and finding chords that support these melodies. I decided to use the LinnStrument as a device to develop my ear in a very enjoyable manner. The LinnStrument is great for this because, with its LEDs, one quickly begins to recognize intervals both visually and aurally. When played in one's lap, the whole instrument is easy to see, similar to a keyboard, but with the interesting patterns of a matrix-style string instrument such as the guitar.
The LinnStrument really can be a gateway to one's own musicality, as I am finding. For those who already play another instrument, the LinnStrument is a great way to get away from the ruts of familiarity in their primary instrument to explore completely new territory. I am able to lose myself with the LinnStrument for quite lengthy periods of time, simply sifting mentally through all the music I have heard, picking out bits of it on the LinnStrument. I am able to use each hand independently to produce notes as one can on a keyboard, or simply pick out individual melody notes as I choose.
As I get older and my hands become less flexible and more prone to injury, the LinnStrument is a good instrument to continue making music with. I can lay it on my lap and use whatever fingering is comfortable. Since it only takes a very light touch to play a note, there is no strain on the hands as there would be with any other instrument such as piano or guitar. The guitar puts the player's hands in an unnatural position that is somewhat mitigated by using the classical position and associated technique, which many non-classical players do not. The piano can strain the hands and one must be careful to avoid injury from playing too long or using improper technique. With the LinnStrument, there is no such concern. Also, the LinnStrument is not a 'lesser' instrument as some alternatives to guitar or piano might be. I am thinking of the Suzuki chord instrument and similar types of instruments. The LinnStrument is fully capable of making real music, and will reward the time put in to learn to play it."
- Tony Beltran
"Just want to let you know that I'm loving the Linnstrument. It's so much more natural for me than a keyboard and I _love_ that it fits nicely on my lap. My midi keyboard may fit itself in the corner soon."
- Deno Vichas
"I just wanted to give a one-month-in report -- I LOVE MY LINNSTRUMENT! It's really everything i hoped for - super expressive, challenging but enjoyable, easy to program and setup and understand. I'm trying to play it for an hour a day, and already have recorded a bunch with it. My guitar and keyboard background make understanding its various layouts super intuitive. It plays very nicely and easily in my setup (reaper on a 64 bit pc, windows 8) and I'm just super thankful to have gotten one of these. :) Everyone who comes by the studio is curious and then thrilled when they get their hands on it. Woo hoo! I haven't tried to get it going with any of my analog or modular synths, so far I'm just doing it with soft synths because it seems very well suited for them. Anyhow, I wanted to say thanks and express my musical delight! I'm having more fun with this than any new instrument I've been exposed to in a LONG time."
- Rafter Roberts
"To say that I 'like' the LinnStrument is an understatement. As an eight-string guitar player I appreciate its perfect-fourths tuning and guitar-like behaviors. In addition, its piano-like features and range enable me to play music directly from a grand staff. Playing this high quality instrument is intellectually and emotionally satisfying, as the matrix surface feels like playing chess with musical intervals in the process of playing music with unbounded expression."
- James Weaver (Twitter: @JavaFXpert)
"The Linnstrument has changed how I look at performance on a synthesizer.
The expressiveness and versatility of the beast breathes life into even the blandest of samples and synth sounds. I’ve done tests playing the same part on keyboard and the Linnstrument and the difference in the emotional content of what comes out is remarkable."
- Simon Franglen
"I've wanted a grid-based controller for some time and have looked closely at many others. What attracted me to the LinnStrument was that it was promoted and demoed as a musical instrument first, and configurable controller second.
While there are many ways to configure options on the LinnStrument, there may be little reason to do so. To me, that marks a commitment to the musician.
I've found my #87 to be very reliable and plays fluidly. The build quality is excellent. There's no doubt I will recommend the LinnStrument to others."
- Randy Brown (http://randybrown.us)
"As a Stick, guitar, bass, "anything with strings and frets" player, the world this instrument has opened up to me is amazing and most importantly it's immediately recognizable. I'd love to play piano better than I do (which is to say barely at all), but I just don't have it in me to woodshed for a year or two to get the mechanics down. I could play the Linnstrument to some degree almost immediately. I'm able to grab some nice chord voicings in the left hand (Root, 3rd an octave above, 5th above the 3rd) easily. Right hand feels great, with good spacing of the keys to promote muscle memory. I'm hitting a few clams as I go, but for a completely new instrument that I've had in my hands for a total of maybe 6 hours, I'm seriously impressed."
- Mark Carter
"I have played many instruments badly over the years but finally here is an instrument that I can just play right out of the gate, totally intuitive and expressive. The rest of my instruments are going to new homes, this is all I need to do what I need to do."
- Mark Rosengarten
"I’m overwhelmed by it’s playability…it feels like an INSTRUMENT in the face of so many plastic 'controllers.’ ”
- Michael Maddox
"I’m a happy – if also slightly overwhelmed – Linnstrument owner, too. I cannot lie: this thing is a real instrument, and it’s taking me awhile to learn it. But it is also simply awesome. I remember the first time I got to the point where I was just jammin’ on it, and I couldn’t help myself, I just started laughing at how fun and cool it is."
- Craig Becker
"I always wanted to play the organ, piano, violin, cello, sax, trumpet…now I can!"
- Jeff Moen
"The Instrument That’s the Key to Electronic Music’s Future" March 26, 2015
"Grammy Award Winner Roger Linn Unveils A Next Generation Electronic Instrument" September 30, 2014
"Virtualsity - Inventing the instruments of the future" August 6, 2014
"The Future of Music Making?" April 27, 2015
(Live video interview with Roger) August 13, 2014
The Dream Theater keyboardist discusses each of the new expressive controllers.
"Roger Linn’s LinnStrument feels like it was made for me!"
Nov 2015 issue
Award: LinnStrument wins the One-Handed Musical Instrument Competition
Award Nomination: LinnStrument nominated for the NAMM TEC Award for Musical Instrument Hardware
If you're a voting member, I (Roger) would appreciate your consideration.
Award: LinnStrument included in Music Radar's "10 best controllers and sequencers of 2015"