Recommended Sounds

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:

1) MPE-compatible sounds (first three tabs)
This means that each voice receives from a separate MIDI channel, permitting polyphonic pitch bends and Y-axis control when LinnStrument's Channel Per Note (MPE) mode is used. These 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.
Also, note that any multi-timbral synth (a synth that permits each incoming MIDI channel to act as an independent synth with a different sound) can act as an MPE controller. To do this, merely set all of its per-channel synths to the same sound. The disadvantage is that adjusting a synth parameter (filter frequency, for example) requires making the same adjustment on each of the per-channel synths.

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.

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.

Roger's favorites:
* 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 I provide a file of various LinnStrument-optimized sounds for these platforms.
* 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.









MIDI Utilities

The following was contributed by LinnStrumentalist Malcolm Wright:

For Windows users there is a freeware Vst Host available from This is not a full DAW but will enable Vst plugins to be run in a simple way. It can run VSTs in chains or in parallel and supplies simple MIDI and audio recording and playback. The big advantage is that each MIDI channel can be individually assigned to each VST thus enabling full MPE use across a number of VSTs.

For example I run two separate copies of U-HE Diva, both in full MPE mode, by assigning channels 1 through 8 to one Diva copy for the left Linnstrument split and channels 9 thro 16 to the other Diva copy for the right Linnstrument split. I then load a backing track into the audio player in VstHost giving me backing track and two Diva copies at the same time for live performances.

Setting up the VSTs and routing in VstHost is very straight forward as the GUI is graphical with VST boxes having linking lines. To set up the MIDI routing click on the MIDI Icon on the left side of the VST box, select the Linnstrument in the pop up menu, then select the Filter Settings button. This brings up the settings menu and there are separate tick boxes for all 16 MIDI channels. This is a MIDI filter, so tick the channel boxes for those MIDI channels you DON'T want passed to this VST. Do the same for the other VST, ticking the other 8 channels.


Other LinnStrument-compatible Apps

Melodics, a educational Mac/Win application for teaching finger drumming skills, now permits you to select LinnStrument (both models) among the available pad interfaces. Melodics uses LinnStrument's note pads and lights in a creative way to guide you to the correct notes to play at the correct time.

Roger Linn Design

Los Altos, CA