LinnStrument sends standard MIDI messages and therefore works with every MIDI sound generator in existence, so in a sense every MIDI sound generator is recommended. However, there are two categories of sounds that are helpful to know about and are therefore listed on this page:
1) Channel Per Note synths (MPE or Multi Timbral)
This means that each synth voice receives from a separate MIDI channel, permitting independent pressure, left/right and forward/backward control for each of simultaneous touches when LinnStrument's Channel Per Note (MPE) mode is used. This includes two types of synths:
A) Fully or mostly MPE-compatible synths, in which a single sound is selected and each voice is driven by a separate MIDI channel.
B) Multi-timbral synths. Multi-timbral synths are intended to play a different sound (timbre) on each received MIDI channel. So for MPE-like operation you must set the synth so that all of its timbres play the same sound, with each timbre receiving from a different channel. Then each MPE Per-Note channel will send to a specific channel/timbre. The problem with this method is that any sound changes must be done redundantly to all timbres. This is cumbersome but at least permits MPE-like operation.
These synths are listed under the "Mac/Win MPE", "iOS MPE" and "Hardware MPE" tabs below.
However, it is important to note that because of LinnStrument's smart one-channel MIDI handling and ability to send polyphonic pressure messages, the primary advantage of MPE is to perform polyphonic pitch bends and Y-axis gestures, which aren't so important in most playing styles.
2) Expressive one-channel synths (fourth tab)
Although LinnStrument works with all one-channel MIDI synths, there are some that are particularly well-suited to responding to LinnStrument's three dimensions of expressive control. For example, Audio Modeling's SWAM technology provides continuously-variable malleability of note loudness, pitch and timbre but without the undesirable artifacts of sampling like noticeable pitch transpositions or obvious switching between loudness samples. And any synths that are optimized for wind controllers (Akai EWI/EVI or Yahama WX5/YVS100, etc.) tend to work well with LinnStrument because their optimization for breath control of note loudness translates very well LinnStrument's pressure control of note loudness.
If you are aware of any other sound generators that fall into the above two categories, please let me (Roger) know and I'll add it to the list.
* One of my favorite synths is Surge, a FREE, open source plug-in synth for Mac, Windows and Linux. Learn more and download it here.
* For all-around synthesis and sampling on mac, the built-in synths in Apple's Logic or MainStage are excellent, providing modeled analog, FM, sampling, physical modeling and more. They include a large and high-quality sample library and are very low-cost at $200 for Logic and $30 for MainStage. And on the Getting Started page, I provide a file of various LinnStrument-optimized sounds for both applications.
* For all-around synthesis including modeled analog, FM, some samples, extensive modulation, full MPE compatibility and good MPE presets, Roli's Equator is excellent.
* For perfect expressive emulation of all orchestral winds and bowed strings, nothing comes close to Audio Modeling's software instruments. They are described under the Expressive One-Channel Synths tab below.
Note that for an MPE software plug-in to work in your DAW, the DAW must pass all 16 MIDI channels to the track. Most DAWs do this, with the most notable exception being Ableton Live. The description below of Live suggests a workaround, which can also be used for any other DAW that doesn't pass all 16 channels to the track.
Also, here is Roli's list of MPE-compatible or expressive synths that they recommend for use with Seaboard and therefore work with LinnStrument.
Ableton Live (a cumbersome kludge permits semi-MPE operation)
Even with the two significant limitations listed below, Ableton does work fine with LinnStrument's One Channel mode, permitting polyphonic play of sounds that do not require independent pressure for each touch, such as electric piano or guitar sounds, but with the enhancement of LinnStrument's pitch slides and vibrato capability. Given that much of expressive playing is solo playing, Live does work well for solo voices with 3 degrees of expression.
Live is not MPE-compatible but given its popularity, we've described two different methods of kludging it to give it semi-MPE operation. These kludges are described at the end of the Pluses and Minuses section below.
Pluses and Minuses
+ A variety of included instruments
- Does not support Poly Pressure messages, so independent pressure for simultaneous touches is not permitted, either from Live's internal instruments but also from plug-in instruments.
- All channel information is removed from MIDI messages when they are received, so MPE operation is not only prevented on Live's internal sound generators, but also on any MPE plug-in instruments used within Live. However, there are two workarounds for this, albeit cumbersome ones:
1) If using a software instrument that doesn't support MPE (like those in Live): create a separate MIDI track for each desired polyphonic voice, each using the same plug-in instrument with the same sound, but receiving on a unique MIDI channel. In this way, each track will play a single expressive voice from a unique MIDI channel, and LinnStrument's Channel-Per-Note mode will send each touch on a different MIDI channel, rotating through its assigned Per-Note Channels.
2) If using a non-Ableton software instrument that supports Channel Per Note operation, create a single MIDI track with the software instrument on it. Then create a separate track for each desired polyphonic voice, each receiving on one of the unique MIDI channels sent by LinnStrument's channel-per-note mode, and assign each of these tracks to send its MIDI output to the track containing the software instrument on the same channel that the track is receiving on. This allows the software instrument to receive each of LinnStrument's notes on the same MIDI channels over which they were sent by LinnStrument. Here's an example screenshot showing how to set up Live's tracks for 2-voice polyphonic expression with U-He's Diva software instrument. Thanks to Mark Harris for this tip.
Update 1/18/19: Here's a video about a utility for Live that automates the above process of setting up multiple tracks for MPE use. The text for the video contains a link to the software utility:
Here's a project file for Live containing some sounds optimized for LinnStrument. It requires loading the "Guitar and Bass" pack. To work around Live's removing all received MIDI channel information (and therefore preventing polyphonic expression), some of the sounds use the above-described workaround, using 4 identical tracks for one sound with each track receiving on a different MIDI channel from 2 to 5.
This project contains a simple 4-bar looped example sequence that uses most of the sounds.
First set up your LinnStrument's Per-Split Settings as shown here. This enables Channel Per Note mode using channel 2 - 5, with a Bend Range of 24, sending Y-axis using CC1 and sending pressure using Channel Pressure.
Next, in Live's Preferences > Record/Warp/Launch tab, turn off Exclusive Arm. This will permit you to arm all 4 tracks of a polyphonic expression sound.
Each track (or group of 4 tracks for polyphonic expression sounds) contains a sound. Here is a description of the sounds:
Tracks 1-5) FM Synthesis. To play, arm tracks 2-5. For polyphonic expression, track 1 is the group track and tracks 2-5 are identical except that they receive from single MIDI channels 2-5. Pressure controls frequency modulation amount and Y-axis controls balance between 2nd and third harmonic modulators.
Tracks 6-10) Overdriven slide guitar. To play, arm tracks 7-10. For polyphonic expression, track 6 is the group track and tracks 7-10 are identical except that they receive from single MIDI channels 2-5. Pressure and Y-axis are not used for this sound.
Tracks 11-15) Clean Slide Guitar. To play, arm tracks 12-15. For polyphonic expression, track 11 is the group track and tracks 12-15 are identical except that they receive from single MIDI channels 2-5. Pressure and Y-axis are not used for this sound.
Tracks 16-20) Expressive Organ. To play, arm tracks 17-20. For polyphonic expression, track 16 is the group track and tracks 17-20 are identical except that they receive from single MIDI channels 2-5. Pressure controls volume & filter frequency, and Y-axis controls balance between dark and full organ sounds.
Track 21) Pan Pipe. This sound doesn't use polyphonic expression but works well with LinnStrument's Arpeggiator in Replay All mode. (Click here to see how to set Replay All mode on LinnStrument.) Turn on the Arpeggiator by turning on Switch 2. To play this sound, arm this track. Vary your pressure as the notes repeat.
Track 22) Kick. This is simply a kick drum sample for the included example loop sequence.
Track 23) Fretless Bass. This sound doesn't use polyphonic expression but works well with LinnStrument's pitch slides. To play this sound, arm this track. Use pitch slides similar to playing a fretless bass.
From their web site:
"Steer the live grains with your fingertip? Let a drone take off by moving your fingers to the top of the keyboard? Let the grain drone drift left or right by sliding your fingers? This is what you can do with MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) and the MPE feature set of crusher-X!"
Apple: Logic Pro X & MainStage (7 instruments, downloadable sound files)
Logic Pro X ($200) and MainStage 3 ($30, same sounds as Logic) both provide fully polyphonic 3-dimensional control on 7 of their built-in instruments: EXS24 Sampler, ES2 Subtractive Synth, EFM1 Frequency Modulation Synth, Sculpture physical modeling synth, Alchemy synth, Retro Synth and Vintage Clav. Given that most LinnStrument owners are on mac and already own one of these, they are the primary sound sources we've used in our videos, and our downloadable LinnStrument-optimized sounds files for these are the most complete and versatile collection of LinnStrument sounds that we offer.
Click here for the Logic Pro X sounds file and here for the MainStage 3 sounds file. The sounds in these two files are identical and are optimized for polyphonic 3-dimensional control using LinnStrument's Channel-Per-Note (MPE) mode. To play these sounds, set LinnStrument to MPE mode:
1) Turn on the PER-SPLIT SETTINGS button
2) In the MIDI MODE column (column 1), hold ChPerNote (2nd pad from the top) for 1/2 second. (It will turn light blue.) This will set all necessary MIDI settings for MPE play.
If you wish to create your own sounds in Logic or Mainstage using any of the 7 above-named MPE instruments, here's how to enable MPE in those instruments: click the small triangle in the lower left corner of the instrument's window, then set MIDI Mono Mode to "On (with common channel 1)" and Mono Mode Pitch Range to "24".
Note: If the above settings don't work correctly, you may have changed other settings in LinnStrument. To reset LinnStrument to default settings: Turn on GLOBAL SETTINGS, then in the ACTIONS column (column 16), press NOTES OFF and UPDATE OS at the same time. You will briefly see "RESET" displayed.
How to get two sounds in Logic for split keyboard play with LinnStrument:
To play two one-channel sounds. For example:
1) The easy way is to reset LinnStrument to default settings:
In Global Settings > Column 16, press Notes Off + Update OS at the same time ("reset").
Or, in Per-Split Settings:
Select Left Split, then set MIDI Mode = One Channel and Main Channel = 1.
Select Right Split, then set MIDI Mode = One Channel and Main Channel = 16.
2) Turn on LinnStrument’s Split button.
3) In Logic, click "File menu > Project Settings > Recording..." Be sure that "Auto demix by channel if multitrack recording" IS checked.
4) In Logic, select a track containing a one-channel sound that you want the right split to play. Then in the “Track” settings in the upper left area of the Logic window, set “MIDI Channel” to 16.
5) In Logic, select the MPE track that you want the left split to play, and also turn on the little “R” button on the One Channel track that you want the right split to play.
To play an MPE sound in the left split and a one-channel sound in the right split. For example:
1) In LinnStrument, set up the left split for MPE (Channel Per Note) play. For example, in Per-Split Settings, select Left Split (column 15), then hold ChPerNote in the MIDI Mode column. Use the default settings of Main Channel = 1, Per Note Channels = 2-8.
2) In LinnStrument, set up the right split for One Channel use. For example, in Per-Split Settings, select Right Split (column 16), then set MIDI Mode = One Channel and Main Channel = 16.
3) Turn on LinnStrument’s Split button.
4) In Logic, click "File menu > Project Settings > Recording..." Be sure that "Auto demix by channel if multitrack recording" IS checked.
5) In Logic, select a track containing a one-channel sound that you want the right split to play. Then in the “Track” settings in the upper left area of the Logic window, set “MIDI Channel” to 16.
6) In Logic, select the MPE track that you want the left split to play, and also turn on the little “R” button on the One Channel track that you want the right split to play.
To play an MPE sound in both the left and right splits. This requires a Logic "script" created by "drb" on the logicprohelp.com forum, and discovered by LinnStrumentalist Joseph Ferrera:
"[your computer name]/Music/Audio Music Apps/Plug-in Settings/Scripter".
2) In Logic, select the track you want for the left split. In the Inspector (the channel strip at left), click on the “MIDI FX” plugin slot and open "Scripter". From the preset menu at the top of the main Scripter window, select "FilterChannel 1-8”.
3) In Logic, select the track you want for the right split. In the Inspector (the channel strip at left), click on the “MIDI FX” plugin slot and open "Scripter". From the preset menu at the top of the main Scripter window, select "FilterChannel 9-16”.
4) In Logic, click "File menu > Project Settings > Recording..." Be sure that "Auto demix by channel if multitrack recording" is NOT checked. (If you don't see this setting, you must turn on 'Logic Pro X menu > Preferences > Advanced Tools > Show advanced Tools'.)
5) Select one of the two tracks, then enable "R" on the second track.
6) In LinnStrument, set up the Per-Split Settings thusly:
a) Select Left Split (column 15), then hold ChPerNote in the MIDI Mode column.
b) Select Right Split (column 16), then hold ChPerNote in the MIDI Mode column.
7) In LinnStrument, turn on the Split button.
8) If using one of Logic's built-in synths, enable MPE: click the small triangle in the lower left corner of the instrument's window, then set "MIDI Mono Mode" to "On (with common channel 1)" for the left split's sound and "On (with common channel 16)" for the right split's sound. For both left and right tracks, set "Mono Mode Pitch Range" to "24".
Or if using a non-Apple plug-in synth, be sure that the synth used for the left split accepts Main channel 1 and per-note channels 2-8; and for the right split accepts main channel 16 and per-note channels 9-15.
Arturia: Pigments 2
Their site claims MPE compatibility:
Audio Damage: Quanta, Continua
Cycling 74: Max (and any MPE instruments created in Max)
Version 7.2.0 adds Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression support:
midiparse / midiformat: @hires attribute to output a two-byte list to set high-resolution (14-bit) pitch bend output
mpeconfig: Configure MIDI devices that support MPE
mpeformat: prepare MPE-compatible MIDI messages
mpeparse: Interpret and parse raw MPE data (similar to midiparse)
polymidiin: Output MPE MIDI data in a patcher loaded by poly~
poly~: @midimode attribute to send MIDI events to all voices
poly~: @zone attribute for setting the MPE 'zone' that the poly~ will listen to (the default is to ignore zones)
vst~: accepts 'mpeevent' message to handle MPE data
Bitwig Studio & Bitwig Studio 8-Track
Bitwig is a very powerful and easy-to-use DAW that has a similar look and feel to Ableton Live, but unlike Live is fully MPE-compatible, both in its internal synths and with external plug-ins MPE synths. A free license for Bitwig Studio 8-Track is included with every LinnStrument sold.
Here's a page that explains how to download, unlock and set up Bitwig for MPE play with LinnStrument.
East West Sounds: "Play 5" Sample Engine
The "Play 5" Sample Engine from East West Sounds contains an MPE mode as shown in this screenshot.
Erratic Instruments: Quad MPE to CV (module for VCV rack)
VCV Rack is an open-source software equivalent of a Eurorack. This free open-source module provides 4-voice MPE operation. https://github.com/bafonso/Erratic/blob/v0.6/README.md
Fxpansion: Cypher 2, Strobe 2
At its released in August of 2018, Cypher 2 may be the best and deepest MPE synth avaialble. Here's FXpansion's description of Cypher 2:
"Cypher2 is designed for deep sonic exploration and expressive performances. It features a vast range of sound design tools and over 1300 sounds, including 500 MPE-optimised presets. Experience an unparalleled level of expression through analogue-modelled oscillators, waveshaping and thru-zero FM. Our signature TransMod modulation system, now upgraded for Cypher2, ensures that every session with this premium synthesizer is a sound design adventure."
Strobe 2 is based on an analog synth model, but has extensive sound stacking, deep modulation, sound morphing, great effects and very flexible arpeggiation. And it permits fully polyphonic 3D expression when used with LinnStrument. To set up a sound for basic polyphonic 3D control:
1) In the Settings menu (the wrench on the left side), enable Multi Dimensional Control.
2) To initialize the selected preset, in the Settings Menu select Reset To Default.
3) If you're new to Strobe 2, you'll need to learn how its TransMod system of modulation works. Once you know this, Perf2+ is the source of pressure modulation, PerfX+ is the source of X-axis modulation, and PerfY+ is the source of Y-axis modulation.
Initial Audio: Sektor
Here's their product page, which states MPE compatibility.
Note: as of September 1, 2018, Sektor's MPE implementation has many problems with even simple MPE use, so it is not recommended. If it does improve, I (Roger) will add an update here. Or if you know that it has been fixed, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll update this page.
KV331 Audio: Synthmaster
From their web site:
[In version 2.8,] we've added support for “Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression”, so SynthMaster supports multichannel MIDI now! Each note SynthMaster receives can have its own MIDI channel and hence it has its separate pitch bend/after touch/CC values!
Madrona Labs: Aalto & Kaivo (2 insttruments, downloadable sound file)
Randy's Jones' Aalto is a remarkably flexible synth that combines powerful FM, subtractive and waveguide synthesis in a deceptively simple interface. Not only does it incorporate Channel Per Note operation for polyphonic expression, but it has a variety of ways to alter the source waveform in real time, which makes it a great match for LinnStrument. This is no surprise, given that Madrona Labs also created the marvelous SoundPlane, a superb expressive controller instrument that shares many goals with LinnStrument.
LinnStrument-optimized Sound file for Aalto
Here is an Aalto patch that I (Roger) created and which I used in this LinnStrument video. Set Per-Split Settings > MIDI to ChPerNote Mode, then Bend Range = 24, Y = CC74 and Z = Channel Pressure. Also, set the Per-Split Channels to 2-5, because Aalto can play a maximum of 4 simultaneous voices.
Melda Production: MSoundFactory
Native Instruments: Kontakt, Reaktor (and any MPE instruments created in Reaktor)
Kontakt does not have an MPE mode but it is fairly simple to configure for MPE use. Simply load Kontakt then load, for example, 7 instances of the same sample group into it. Each instance will automatically load a separate MIDI channel automatically (2-8) or you can change each instance to the channel you want as long as they match LinnStrument's per-note channels. Go through each instance and change the pitch bend to 12 (the max that Kontakt allows) and set LinnStrument's Bend Range to 12. Because Kontakt intelligently loads samples it will share samples between all instances and therefore not use any more ram than one instance. Of course you will need a host that passes all MIDI channels to Kontakt.
LinnStrument owner Mark Harris has created a Reaktor 6 block that processes MPE (note-per-channel) messages within Reaktor 6's new modular blocks.
Here is an MPE synth for Reaktor called Micro-Prism, written by LinnStrument forum member TJ Shredder.
Here is a semi-modular, polyphonic expression synth for Reaktor called MultiExp, created by Michael Stocker.
LinnStrument owner Eric Koch writes the following explanation of how, if you already have an MPE-compatible Reaktor synth, to set Reaktor to correctly pass all MIDI channels to it: "After first loading an MPE Synth in Reaktor, ( in stand alone ) click EDIT > Preferences [the little check box icon] > Connect tab > Channel > Omni. Also select your connected LinnStrument in the same tab under controllers, ( if it isn't already ). Then save the ensemble as such."
Orange Tree Samples
All of Orange Tree's Evolution guitar and roundwound/flatwound bass libraries include a feature called "polybend" which is like MPE for polyphonic pitch bends only. Set up your LinnStrument for MPE as described on the Getting Started page, then loaded the Orange Tree instrument into Kontakt and select "OMNI" mode in Kontact's settings. Then set the Pitch Bend Range to match your Bend Range in LinnStrument.
Poly-Ana from Admiral Quality
To use this analog-modeled synth in a channel-per-note configuration, set the following controls, located in the lower left corner of the panel:
* Set Poly Mode to Poly.
* Set Polyphony to 1. (Each received channel gets one voice.)
* Set PB Range to 24 to match LinnStrument's Bend Range (24 by default.)
Then you can use modulation sources of:
* "Pressure", which is fed from both Channel Pressure and Poly Pressure messages.
* "In-1", fed by default from CC74 and therefore works for LinnStrument's Y-axis.
PPG: WaveMapper 2, WaveGenerator, Phonem, Infinite Pro
For MPE use, select VpC mode (Voice per Channel).
Psychic Modulation: Phonec 2.4
Their site states MPE support.
This is a very deep and capable synth containing subtractive, FM and sampling synthesis methods. It was built from the ground up for polyphonic expression on ROLI's Seaboard Rise, but it works great on LinnStrument. It provides extensive modulation capabilities, lots of effects and plenty of ways to fine-tune the touch response, resulting in beautiful sounds that play evenly at all pitches and velocity or pressure levels.
To set Equator for use with LinnStrument, click the menu icon in the upper right corner then select "MIDI Settings...", and in the subsequent window, change Note Pitch Bend to 24 and select LinnStrument MIDI in the MIDI Input box. Here are two sounds (Screaming Calliope, Doppler Whistles) that I (Roger) created for Equator, using Y-axis modulation of comb filters, similar to the Aalto sound I used in this video. On mac, you can copy these files into Documents > Roli > Equator > Presets.
Synapse Audio: The Legend
From their online manual:
"When in POLY mode, The Legend supports MPE. This means that each note played can be controlled individually with the performance parameters set up in the performance matrix. Typical MPE source controllers are Aftertouch and Timbre (CC 74).
In addition to the performance controllers, The Legend supports polyphonic pitch bend."
From LinnStrument software creator Geert Bevin:
Softube Modular has a ROLI Seaboard RISE module which enables MPE for it. It also ships with 18 ROLI (MPE) presets. To make this work with LinnStrument, simply enable MPE mode with channels 2-5 as per-note channels and pitchbend 48. Sadly they don't handle MPE in the modular automatically and you have to duplicate the configuration of each voice.
Soniccouture: Virtual Ondes Martenot
Spectrasonics: Omnisphere & Trillian (sound file)
Omnisphere and Trillian are real powerhouses that combine well-recorded sample sources with highly malleable synthesis and a very versatile modulation routing. The thing that makes them a good match for LinnStrument is their "Multi" feature, effectively permitting Channel Per Note operation with all 3 dimensions of LinnStrument control for each note. To make a Channel Per Note patch, create your desired sound in "Part 1" then in the Utility menu select "Clone Part 1" to copy it to the other "parts" 2 though 8, receiving on MIDI channels 1 through 8 respectively. Now LinnStrument can send in Chanel Per Note mode with the Per Note Channels set to 1 through 8. The other nice thing about Omnisphere's synthesis is that the source waveform can be fundamentally altered in a variety of useful ways, making it a good match for LinnStrument's Y-axis control.
LinnStrument-optimized Sound file
Here is an Omnisphere "multi" patch that I (Roger) created. Load it somewhere in your Omnisphere "multi" directories then set LinnStrument's MIDI Mode to ChPerNote, PerNoteChs to 1-8, Z to Channel Pressure, Bend Range to 24, and Y to CC74. In this patch the Y-axis controls oscillator sync for a radical timbral variation.
Spitfire Audio: BT Phobos
From their site's Features section:
"MPE Compatible (for use with multidimensional controllers such as ROLI Rise or Roger Linn Linnstrument)"
Stagecraft Software: Addiction Synth, Infinity Synth
Steinberg: Cubase (5 instruments)
Contributed by principal LinnStrument software writer Geert Bevin:
Channel-Per-Note is supported as part of VST Note Expression in Halion, Halion Sonic 2, Halion Sonic SE2, Retrologue & Padshop.
In real-time, you can use it with third-party VSTs just as any other DAW by streaming MIDI straight to the plugin when the MIDI input channel for the track is set to Any. Note that the per-note recording I mention below also works with this.
If the track MIDI Channel is set to 1 though, and you host a VST3 software instrument like Padshop, Halion, Halion Sonic SE, Retrologue, then you can transform ChannelPerNote MIDI in real time to VST Note Expression. To do that, instantiate the VST3 plugin and go to the Note Expression tab for the track. There you have to enable "MIDI as NoteExp" and "Channel Rotation". This will then allow you to assign MIDI CCs and Pitchbend to the Note Expression parameters in the same tab. Thanks to channel rotation support, it will properly keep all the MIDI expression in the same channel tied to the note that's playing.
The nice thing now is that Note Expression directly shows the acoustic parameters of the synth and is very easy to work with. Also, when you record, it stores all the per-note MIDI information together with each note and shows it in the GUI. So you can edit the expression of each note separately and play it back in full detail later.
Here's a video in which Geert describes using LinnStrument's Channel-Per-Note mode wth Cubase and U-He's Diva plug-in.
Surge is a FREE, OPEN SOURCE MPE-compatible synth that I (Roger) just discovered (May 2019) and was surprised to find it to be very powerful and useful. Here's what I like about it:
* Very wide variety of continuous timbre variation for the 3 oscillators, with classic waveforms, FM, wavetable, and a unique variant of wavetable called "window". The continuous malleability of these oscillators make them excellent targets for both pressure and Y-axis modulation.
* Two filters, each of which can be one of 8 filter types, including (one of my favorites for Y-axis control) a comb filter.
* Just about anything can be modulated by just about anything.
* Very flexible audio routing.
* Two "scenes", each of which includes all of the above.
* A simple and logical one-screen UI that belies its power.
* Plenty of effects including delay, reverb, EQ, phaser, rotary, limiting, frequency shifting, vocoder, and a very well-designed distortion processor that is easy to make sound like a guitar amp because of its pre-EQ (to simulate a guitar amp's tone stack), soft clipping and post-EQ (to simulate a guitar amp's speaker cabinet).
* It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
A few tips, all accessed from the "Menu" button in the lower-right corner:
1) Turn on MPE mode. Now all of Surge's sounds are MPE compatible. However, for sounds that are specifically designed for MPE, click the Patch Browser at the center top of the screen and select the folder "Roger Linn (MPE)" or "MPE" for sounds specifically designed for MPE.
2) Either change the default MPE Bend Range from 48 to 24 to match LinnStrument's default, or change LinnStrument's Bend Range to 48.
3) The UI is pretty packed so I recommend zooming the UI up to 125% or 150%.
4) There's a link there to the manual, something that every synth should have.
I wondered who created this marvelous piece of code, so I did some digging. It put a smile on my face to learn that it was originally created by Claes Johanson, the principal creator of Bitwig Studio.
Symbolic Sound: Kyma 7
The wonderful Kyma 7 fully supports LinnStrument's MPE mode. Click here for a page on Symbolic Sound's site containing details.
TAL Software: TAL-U-No-LX, TAL-BassLine-101 , TAL-Sampler, TAL-MOD
Their web site claims MPE compatibility for these three products: https://tal-software.com/
U-He: Bazille, Ace, Diva, Hive & Repro-5 (5 instruments, downloadable sound files)
These plug-in instruments permit Channel Per Note operation with all 3 control dimensions for each voice. There's no special setup required--simply set LinnStrument's MIDI Mode to Channel Per Note and play. It automatically gives each MIDI channel its own voice.
LinnStrument-optimized Sound file
Here are 6 sound files for Bazille (zipped into one file for download), submitted by LinnStrument owner Michael Kedzierski. The text comments in each patch describe how they are mapped, which is pressure = Channel or Poly Pressure, X = Pitch Bend and Y = CC1, with a bend range of 24. Set Per-Split Settings > MIDI Mode to ChPerNote for polyphonic expression. In the Patches tab, Cntl-click (or right-click) on the User directory and select Reveal In Finder, then drag the patches into that directory.
Unfiltered Audio: Lion
Lion is a synth that Unfiltered Audio claim to possess a highly versatile oscillator architecture and MPE compatibility.
From their web site:
Support for MPE devices like ROLI Seaboard or LinnStrument.
New ‘MPE’ section in preset library with dedicated sounds.
Xfer Records: Serum
As of February 2017, GarageBand is MPE-compatible.
To enable MPE use, open the iOS Settings App, then scroll down and click "GarageBand", then turn on "Support MPE Controllers" at right. Now all sounds will receive per-note messages on channels 2-16, with common messages (sustain/CC64, volume/CC7, etc.) received on channel 1.
1) Select MPE mode: In Per-Split Settings > MIDI Mode column, hold ChPerNote. (It turns blue).
2) Set Bend Range to 48 semitones: In Per-Split Settings > Bend Range column, hold "+/-24", then swipe to the right to change the large "24" to "48".
3) Garage Band's sounds are optimized for standard MIDI keyboards, and therefore use pressure only for an occasional added effect instead of controlling continuous note volume from lightest to heavy touch. So it's best to turn on LinnStrument's Aftertouch mode, which simulates now a MIDI keyboard's Aftertouch feature sends pressure messages only after the note pad is pressed at least 80% of full pressure: In Global Settings > Pressure Sensitivity column, turn on "Aftertouch".
4) Garage Band's sounds are optimized for standard MIDI keyboards, and therefore none respond to CC74, MPE's standard Y-axis message. For this reason, you may consider sending Y-axis messages on CC1, but for many sounds with modulation on CC1, that will make it difficult to avoid playing without modulation. Another option is to turn off Y-axis messages but set the Low Row to send CC1, using it as a standard Mod Wheel.
Audio Damage:Quanta, Continua
Christophe Duquesne: SpringSound
Delta-V Audio: Spacecraft
Delta-V Audio's Spacecraft is a granular synth that claims MPE compatibility.
The description on the iOS app store mentions MPE compatibility.
Jesper Nordin: Gestrument
KV331 Audio: Synthmaster
Moog Music: Model 15 Modular, AniMoog, Minimoog Model D
To enable MPE mode, in the Settings page set Input Channel to MPE, Pitch Bend Range to 24, and turn off Load From Preset. Then set LinnStrument to MPE mode by holding Per-Split Settings > Midi Mode column > ChPerNote. (It will turn blue.)
Note that LinnStrument software creator Geert Bevin was the lead engineer and product manager of all three of these apps. Here are a couple of pics (pic 1, pic 2) of LinnStrument with an iPad Pro running Moog Model 15, and with the iPad held by Geert's 3D printed LinnStrument iPad holder.
Numerical Audio: Volt
Their web site claims MPE-compatibility.
One Red Dog Media: Arctic ProSynth
PPG Apps: WaveGenerator, WaveMapper, Phonem & Infinite
To enable Channel Per Note function, in the Setup screen > MIDI section, set the Mode field to VpC (Voice per Channel).
ROLI: Seaboard 5D, Noise
Unlike all other iOS synths (at time of writing), the preset sounds in this app are all optimized for MPE, providing 3 dimensions of touch control, polyphonically. The down side is that you can't edit the presets, but the presets are pretty good. My (Roger's) favorite preset is "Mellow Duduk". After you start the app, you'll need to press the little circle icon in the upper right corner (weird icon for settings) then press "MIDI Setup" and 1) "LinnStrument MIDI" as the source controller, and 2) set Bend Range to 24 instead of the default 48. Also, be sure to set LinnStrument to MPE mode as described in section 4 of the Getting Started page.
Sonosaurus: ThumbJam, DrumJam
Synclavier Digital: Synclavier Go!
A LinnStrument user has reported that this app is now MPE compatible.
Wizdom Music: GeoShred, SampleWiz
Click the 3 dots in upper right corner and select MIDI. In the menu that follows, select LinnStrument Multi. ("LinnStrument MPE" s the same except Bend Range is 48 instead of 24.)
Then in LinnStrument, select MPE mode: in Per-Split Settings, MIDI Mode column, hold ChPerNote. (It will turn blue.)
ASM: HydraSynth 1.3.0
Version 1.3.0 adds MPE support:
HydraSynth comes in both keyboard and desktop versions:
The Micromonsta is an 8-voice polyphonic hardware synthesizer that has an MPE mode.
Black Corporation: Deckard's Dream, Kijimi
Deckard's Dream is an 8-voice polyphonic analog synth based on the classic Yamaha CS-80, and is MPE-compatible, as is their Kijimi.
Endorphin.es: Shuttle Control USB MIDI to CV Converter
Expert Sleepers FH-1 and FH-2 (MIDI/USB to Control Voltage interface)
The Expert Sleepers FH-1 and FH-2 Faderhost are Eurorack modules that convert class-compliant MIDI over USB to 8 control voltage & gate outputs. And you can add up to 7 FHX-1 Expanders to bring the total outputs up to 64. Also, it is internally optimized to process LinnStrument's high volume of MIDI data well.
Haken Audio: Continuum, ContinuuMini
Kurzweil V.A.S.T. Synthesizers
The description below is provided by LinnStrument owner Jakub Forejt:
Setting up MPE Setup on Kurzweil V.A.S.T. machines:
1. Choose the sound
* Select the sound of your choice in Program mode on Kurzweil.
* Play it in Linnstrument's One Channel MIDI mode first (no MPE yet).
2. Edit the mapping
* Edit the selected sound. Assign various V.A.S.T. parameters to ModWheel and Pressure as desired. V.A.S.T. can assign any parameter to any modulation source so the choice is yours. You can use CC11 (Expression) instead of Pressure but you need to stick to it later when setting up a Setup.You can also set the amount of modulation for each assignment, use functions to combine different modulation sources etc. Don't forget to set the Pitch Bend Range Up to 2400ct and Down to -2400ct in COMMON page.
* Set the Linnstrument's setting as follows:
> Bend Range +/- 24 (this corresponds to 2400ct setting on Kurzweil)
> Pitch/X - On, quantize or not, as you wish.
> Timbre/Y - On, CC1 (or any other CC such as 74 if your patch is set the same)
> Loudness/Z - Chan Press or CC11, this depends on your Program's assignment
3. Save your edited Program and switch to Setup mode of Kurzweil
4. Select Setup #127 (Clear Setup) and edit it.
5. Edit the Zone.
* You should have just one Zone now. To make life easier, do the basic settings on this single Zone first and duplicate it several times later. In Setups you have to set some controllers again.
* First, assign the previously edited single Program to current Zone on CH/PRG page.
* Go to BEND page, set the BendRangeUp to 24ST and BendRangeDown to 24ST.
* On KEYVEL page you can change the Velocity response curve. VelCurve parameter gives you interesting options (Linear/Compress/Expand/Crossfade/Bump and reversed versions of all).
* Activate the Pitchbend and ModWheel on WHEEL page.
> Set the PWUp to PitchUp and PWDn to PitchDwn, leave Scale on 100%.
> Set MWhl to MWheel, also with Scale on 100%
* Activate the Pressure
> Set Press to Pressure destination with Scale on 100%. You can set the Pressure response curve here too.
6. Duplicate the Zone
You can set much more stuff but once you are happy, you need to duplicate the Zone several times, depending on how many MIDI channels you want to use for MPE. Let's say you want to use 5 MIDI channels for one Split on Linnstrument. Assign the MIDI channels to 2 - 6 on Left Split and 7 - 11 on Right Split at Linnstrument. On Kurzweil assign the corresponding MIDI channels to individual Zones on CH/PRG page. You can have different Program on Zones 1-5 (MIDI channels 2 - 6) and Zones 6 - 10 (MIDI channels 7 - 11). Flexibility is the keyword of Kurzweil's V.A.S.T.
7. Save the Setup with different name into a new position.
You can also create a MPE template Setup with all controllers assigned with one Zone only. Once you find a nice Program and prepare it for MPE with X/Y/Z CC assignments you can set it in you template's Zone which can be then quickly duplicated and MIDI channels has to be assigned accordingly. V.A.S.T. can be overwhelming with all the options but it's minimalist UI makes it quick to navigate and assign things easily once you get familiar with it.
Here is an excellent tutorial series on general PC3 V.A.S.T. editing
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 183226AE46
And these three cover the Setups specifically.
https://youtu.be/lJNr1kUTCag https://youtu.be/z1qT4S6vrxE https://youtu.be/Ozv0S6Oq_-0
Modor: NF-1 and NF-1m
Modor's site claims these synths to both have MPE compatibility.
The Percussa SSP (Super Signal Processor) is MPE-compatible.
Polyend: Poly 2 Eurorack USB/MIDI to CV interface
The Poly 2 from Polyend is a USB/MIDI to CV interface for Eurorack. Their site states MPE compatibility and it appears to be a well-considered design, providing 4-voice MPE use and a small graphic display for easier operation.
Roland Integra 7, JV-1080, JV-80 (keyboard), JD-800 (keyboard), JD-990 (rack module), XP-50
The Integra 7 is not MPE but rather multi-timbral and therefore can have each timbral receive on a separate MIDI channel for MPE operation.
For the other synth models, the following setup information is kindly provided by LinnStrumentalist Nathan Sheldon:
LinnStrument Setup Steps:
Configure the MIDI Mode for Channel-Per-Note using channels 1 through 9 and 11 through 16. (Press “PER-SPLIT SETTINGS”. Press MIDI MODE “ChPerNote” (col 1, row 2). Press VIEW “PerNoteChs” (col 2, row 2). Press each MIDI CHANNELS button that isn’t light so that all channels are selected except for channel 10).
Set the BEND RANGE to “+/- 12” (col 7, row 3).
Turn on PITCH/X (col 8, row 1) then set quantize and quantize hold settings as desired.
Turn on TIMBRE/Y (col 9, row 1) and set “CC1” as the destination continuous controller (col 9, row 2).
Turn on LOUDNESS/Z (col 10, row 1) and set “POLY PRES” as the destination control message (col 10, row 2). The Fantom-X recognizes polyphonic aftertouch, but the effect depends on which patch is selected.
Configure the LinnStrument to use the MIDI sockets instead of USB for MIDI communication. (Press GLOBAL SETTINGS then select POWER/MIDI “MIDI JACKS” (col 15, row 2 from bottom).
Connect a MIDI cable from the “MIDI OUT” socket on the LinnStrument to the “MIDI IN” socket on the Fantom-X.
Roland Fantom-X Setup Steps:
Turn on the synth and put it into Performance mode (press the “MIXER” button).
Select a preset Performance. (PRST 01 “Seq:Template” is a good choice. Use the VALUE dial or INC/DEC buttons to select the Performance).
Mute the Rhythm Part (press F3 (“Mute/Solo”) then press DYNAMIC PAD 10. This will mute Part 10, the Rhythm Part).
Assign the Patch of your choice to all 15 of the other Parts (Parts 1 through 9 and Parts 11 through 16) of the Performance. (Preset “PR-I 073 Lethargy” is a good synth lead sound. Press F2 (“Part View”) to see a grid of all 16 Parts. Use the CRUSOR buttons to select the Patch Number and change the Patch for each Part except Part 10).
Set the pitch bend range for each Part to +/-12. (While still in the Part View screen from step 4, press the F3 “Pitch” button. Use the CURSOR buttons to move the selection over to the “Bend” column and set every Part’s pitch bend range to 12 using the VALUE dial or INC/DEC buttons).
Save your Performance to a USER Performance bank. (Press the “WRITE” button then F1 “Perf”. Enter a name for the Performance then press F8 “Write”. Select a destination USER or CARD bank when prompted then press F8 “Write” to save the Performance).
The Fantom-X steps will work on the Fantom-X6, -X7 and -X8 (all released in 2004) with firmware versions 2.0 or later. They’ll also work with earlier firmware versions, though some button sequences will differ slightly. The general setup steps (in italics) will work with the following Roland synths.
JV-2080 and it’s variations such as JV-2020, etc. (all are rack modules)
XV-5080 and it’s variations such as the XV-3080 (all are rack modules)
XP-30, XP-60, XP-80 (all are keyboards)
Fantom FA-76 (keyboard)
Fantom-S and it’s variations (all are keyboards)
Fantom-G and its variations (all are keyboards)
The following additional Roland synths will also work with the above general steps (in italics) if the LinnStrument setup step 5 is changed to use channel aftertouch instead of polyphonic aftertouch.
JV-1080 and it’s variations such as the JV-1010 (all are rack modules)
JD-990 (rack module)
All of the above Roland synths (both lists) contain a 16 part multi-timbrel synth engine with Part 10 reserved for rhythm section only (though that’s assignable in later models). Individual pitch bend positions, modulation levels, and aftertouch positions can thus be used on up to 15 notes at a time with the LinnStrument’s channel-per-note mode. Excellent LinnStrument expressiveness even for those 90’s synth sounds. :-)
Tasty Chips Electronics: GR-1 Granular Synthesizer
Their site claims MPE compatibility.
UDO: Super 6
The PerFOURmer is not MPE-compatible but is multi-timbral with 4 separate analog monophonic synths, each receiving on a separate MIDI channel. By setting all 4 synths to the same sound, you can achieve MPE operation.
Audio Modeling (unquestionably the best and most expressive solo winds and bowed strings)
Audio Modeling is a small Italian company that has created a fascinating technology called SWAM (Synchronous Waves Acoustic Modeling), which combines physical models with samples. They start with excellent sample recordings of wind and bowed-string instruments--cello, viola, viola, double bass, four sax ranges, clarinets, flutes, double reeds,--then use them to tune a physical model, and in some cases include these samples in the sound generation, resulting in instruments that deliver the sonic accuracy of samples but permit the note loudness, pitch and timbre to be independently and continuously controlled in real time without the undesirable pitch-change and fixed-dynamic artifacts of sample playback. This results in amazingly natural, dynamic, fluid and expressive performances when controlled by LinnStrument's note expression.
To use any of Audio Modeling's instruments, please set LinnStrument's Per-Split Settings as follows:
* MIDI Mode = One Chan
* Bend Range = +/- 12
* Loudness/Z= Channel Pressure
* Timbre/Y = CC74
Then in the Audio Modeling instrument, open the control panel and click the "Reset" button then click "Default LinnStrument". This will set it up to match the settings above, with velocity controlling bow or wind attack, finger pressure controlling dynamic expression, X-axis controlling pitch up to an octave, and Y-axis controlling timbre (bow position or wind embouchure).
Sample Modeling's sample-based instruments for Kontakt work very well because of their unique technology for naturally transitioning between samples. They pay close attention to the details in optimizing each instrument for the specific acoustic instrument targeted, so their instruments are very accurate and far better than mere sample libraries. Also, their instruments are optimized for using breath control from wind controllers, which works very well for LinnStrument's pressure control of note loudness.
LinnStrument owner Haken Soreide recommends Suonopuro's sample-based instruments for Kontakt. Because their instruments are optimized for using breath control from wind controllers, they work very well for LinnStrument's pressure control of note loudness.