LinnStrument Tips & Tricks

Here are some features that aren't printed on the panel or aren't so obvious. Many of these features are hidden settings, usually accessed by holding one of the Per-Split or Global Settings buttons. To find more of these settings, search the tabs of the Panel Settings page for "hidden".

 

Posted May 15th, 2018

 

Sleep mode

To put LinnStrument into Sleep mode--in which all lights turn off and power consumption is reduced to a minimum--press both PER-SPLIT SETTINGS and GLOBAL SETTINGS at the same time. Pressing any note pad will turn the lights back on and restore normal operation. You can learn about Sleep mode on the Panel Settings page, Global Settings tab, then search for "Sleep". There you'll learn that you can set it up to automatically sleep after a defined number of minutes of inactivity, or start playing an animation--either an in-store display or a Christmas animation of snow falling on trees.

 

Light all the same pitches in red

Before software version 2.10 software, pressing a note pad would result in all note pads of the same pitch on other rows turning red. This was helpful to guide you to the right notes for two-handed play. However, as more people developed two-hand play skills, this feature tended to turn too many notes red, obscuring the normal scale note lights. So in version 2.10, we changed the default setting to light only the pressed note pad.

If you wish to return to the previous behavior of lighting all notes of the same pitch on other rows:

In Per-Split Settings, Color column, hold the "Played" note pad. The screen should show "CELL" in large letters. Slide your finger a little to the right to change it to "SAME".

 

Display animated lights emanating from your touch

In version 2.10 software we added the "light animations" feature, in which a variety of animated light patterns emanate from the pressed note pad, modulated by finger pressure. To learn how to enable this feature, see the Panel Settings page, Per-Split Settings tab, then search for "Light Animations".

 

Display scrolling "Applause" (or 15 other messages) across your LinnStrument's playing surface

If you're playing standing up in front of an audience, you can display "APPLAUSE" or 15 other scrolling Audience Messages across LinnStrument's surface. This is explained in the Panel Settings page, Global Settings tab, then search for "audience messages". Note that all 16 messages can be edited to display whatever you like.

 

Playing standing up? Protect your USB jack

Unfortunately the venerable USB jack was originally designed for stationary computer peripherals like printers and modems, not the rigors of performing on stage. Though LinnStrument uses the most rugged USB jack we could find, a hard cable pull could damage it, requiring repair. To protect against such damage, use a trick similar to what guitarists have used for years: tie the USB cable around the nearest guitar strap pin as a strain relief. Then any hard pulls will pull at the strap pin and not at the USB jack.

 

Arpeggiator Latch Mode

When using the Arpeggiator, it is sometimes handy to add more notes to an arpeggiated chord than you have fingers to hold the notes. LinnStrument's Arpeggiator Latch allows arpeggiated notes to stay on after you remove your finger, thereby permitting larger, more complex chords to be created for Arpeggiation. You can assign Switch 1, Switch 2 or either Foot Switch to the Arpeggiator Latch function. For example, to assign Switch 1:

1) In Global Settings > Select Switch column, select Switch 1.

2) In Global Settings > Assign Switch column, hold Tap Tempo. You see "TAP" in large letters. Slide your finger to the right to display "LAT" (latch).

3) Returning to performance mode, turn on both Switch 2 (Arpeggiator on) and Switch 1 (Arpeggiator Latch on).  Now press note pads one at a time. Notice that all pressed notes continue to arpeggiate after you release them.

4) Turn off Switch 1 (Latch) to return to normal Arpeggiator operation.

 

Polyphonic Y-axis control over a single MIDI channel

Y-axis control is normally sent using Control Change message 74. Given that Control Change messages must apply to all notes on a single channel, this limits Y-axis control to be monophonic when using a single MIDI channel. However, there is a workaround: sending Y-axis movements using Polyphonic Pressure messages, then assigning them in your synth to control the parameter of your choice. Here's how to set LinnStrument to send Y-axis using Polyphonic Pressure messages:

In Per-Split Settings, Timbre/Y column, hold "CC74". You will see "74" in large letters, indicating the Control Change number that Y-axis messages are currently sending on. Slide your to the right until you see "POPR" for "POlyphonic PRessure".

 

Pitch Bend Reset on Release mode

When using MPE mode in some synths (including those in Logic), you may notice an occasional fast pitch sweep at the start of a note. This is because the last time that voice was used, you released the note after a pitch slide. Then when you played the new note, LinnStrument zeroed the pitch bend amount at the start of the new note, then the synth reset the voice's pitch from the previous bend to zero, but it smoothed the pitch change, resulting in a fast pitch sweep. If you're using a sound with a fast release, a simple workaround is to enable LinnStrument's Reset On Release mode, in which any pitch bends are reset (zeroed) when you release the note instead of when you play each new note. Of course this won't work if you're using a long-release sound because the pitch of sustained, pitch-bent notes will snap snap to original pitch when you release the note. Here's now to enable Reset On Release mode:

In Per-Split Settings, Pitch/X column, turn on the 5th note pad from the top.

This is explained in more detail in the Panel Settings page, Per-Split Settings tab.

 

Use Switch 1 and Switch 2 as Octave Up/Down switches

Some players would prefer a faster way to switch between octaves, especially on the 4-octave LinnStrument 128. The solution is to assign Switch 1 to Octave Up and Switch 2 to Octave Down. Here's now:

1) In Global Settings, Select Switch column, select Switch 1.

2) In Global Settings, Assign Switch columns, select Octave Up.

3) Repeat the above two steps to assign Switch 2 to Octave Down.

 

Slow down the MIDI data rate over USB to reduce synth overload

When using USB to send MIDI, LinnStrument's high volume of MIDI data can overwhelm some slower synths or older computers, resulting in stuck notes or other errors. Here's how to slow down LinnStrument MIDI data rate over USB:

In Global Settings, Power/MIDI column, hold USB. You'll see a large "235". This is the delay in microseconds (1/1,000,000 second) between MIDI messages. Slide your finger to change it. As a point of reference, a value of 300 slows it down to the speed of the MIDI jacks, and a value of 600 slows it down to half the speed of the MIDI jacks. You can learn more in the Panel Settings page, Global Settings tab, then search for "USB MIDI Data Reduction".

 

 

 

Posted April 20th, 2018

Legato Switch

Either of the two panel switches or two foot switches may be assigned to Legato mode. If on, any single notes or chords are sustained after release until the next note or chord is played. To do this:

1) In Global Settings > Select Switch column, select the switch to assign (Switch 1, Switch 2, Left Foot or Right Foot).

2) In Global Settings > Assign Switch columns, hold TAP TEMPO to view its hidden settings. Slide your finger left or right to select LEG.

 

Frets on/off switch

Either of the two panel switches or two foot switches may be assigned to enable/disable pitch slides. This is the same as turning on or off the Per-Split Settings > Pitch/X > ON setting, but if assigned to a foot switch it can be turned on or off during play. While on, pitch slides are continuous like a violin. While off, pitch slides are stepped in semitones like a guitar.

1) In Global Settings > Select Switch column, select the switch to assign (Switch 1, Switch 2, Left Foot or Right Foot).

2) In Global Settings > Assign Switch columns, hold TAP TEMPO to view its hidden settings. Slide your finger left or right to select PCH.

 

Control Change Switches

The CC Faders feature (Per-Split Settings > Special column) permits a keyboard split to be used as 8 horizontal Control Change faders. However, if you reduce the width of the split to only one column, each row acts as a Control Change switch, with presses alternating between sending a value of 127 (light on) or zero (light off).

 

Left Hand Mode

If you're someone who plays left-handed guitar and would like to play LinnStrument in the same left-handed way, turn on LinnStrument's Left Hand Mode. Then pitch will increase from right to left instead of left to right:

In Global Settings > column 1, turn on the 4th note pad from bottom.

 

Mirrored Pitch Direction

Some LinnStrument players have expressed an interest in setting the pitch direction so that it increases outward from center in both the left and right directions. This permits the chord and scale fingerings to be mirror images of each other. Here's how to do it:

1) In Global Settings > column 1, press the 4th note pad from bottom (Left Hand mode) to turn it on. Then hold it to see its hidden setting.   Slide your finger left/right until "REVL" (Reverse Left) appears.

2) Turn on the Split button.

Now the pitch of the left split will increase from right to left and the pitch of the right split will increase from left to right.

 

Harpejji Tuning

If you aren't aware of the Harpejji, it is a very creative stringed instrument used by Stevie Wonder and others. It consists of vertical strings tuned in whole tone intervals from left to right. Here's how to set up LinnStrument in the same tuning:

1) In Global Settings > Row Offset columns, select +OCTAVE. Then hold +OCTAVE to view its hidden setting. Slide your finger left/right to select "2" (Row Offset of 2 semitones).

2) In Global Settings > column 1, turn on Left Hand Mode (4th note pad from bottom).

3) Turn on the Octave/Transpose button. In the Lights row, select the leftmost note pad in the row.

4) Rotate your LinnStrument 90 degrees so that the LinnStrument logo is nearest to you.

Now the 8 rows will play the pitches of the center 8 strings of the large Harpejji model.

 

Set Octave/Transpose for both splits at once

If you're using the split keyboard and need to occasionally switch octaves or transposition for both splits at the same time, here's how to do it:

1) Turn on the Octave/Transpose button.

2) In the upper right corner, press LEFT SPLIT and RIGHT SPLIT at the same time. (Both lights will turn on.)

Now, any changes to the Octave, Transpose Pitch or Transpose Lights rows will affect both splits.

 

Use Low Row as Mod Wheel

You probably know that the Low Row can be used as a Mod Wheel:

In Per-Split Settings > Low Row columns, select "X=CC1".

By default this acts as a momentary Mod Wheel, snapping back to zero when the Low Row is released. However, it can be changed to remain where you last touched it, just like a mechanical Mod Wheel. Here's how:

In Per-Split Settings > Low Row columns, select "X=CC1". Then hold "X=CC1" to view hidden settings. Slide your finger to the right to select "FDR" (fader).

Now when you use the Low Row, LinnStrument will send Mod Wheel messages proportional to where you touch.

 

Emulating MIDI keyboard Aftertouch

The preset sounds of most synths are usually optimized for standard MIDI keyboards. In some cases, they are set up so that Aftertouch (pressing a key hard) adds a modulation effect. This works well on a standard MIDI keyboard because the Aftertouch (pressure) messages are sent only after the key is pressed about 90% of its maximum pressure. However, LinnStrument's pressure messages are sent starting at the lightest touch.

For such preset sounds, you can turn on LinnStrument's Aftertouch mode, in which the pressure (aftertouch) messages are sent only after you have pressed a note pad with more than about 90% of maximum force. Here's how to turn it on:

In Global Settings > Pressure Sensitivity column, turn on AFTERTOUCH.

 

Inverting Y-axis Range

By default, moving your finger rearward on a note pad will cause the value of the sent Y-axis messages to increase. However, sometimes it is useful to have the values decrease as you move your finger rearward. Here's how to do it:

In Per-Split Settings > Timbre/Y column, hold "ON" to view hidden settings. You'll see "L 0", which is the value sent when you finger is fully toward the front. Slide your finger to the right to change it to "L127". Now slide your finger down within a single column to see "H 127", which is the value sent when your finger is fully toward the rear. Slide your finger left to change this to "H 0".

Now moving your finger toward the front of a note pad will send a Y-axis value of 127, and moving it toward the rear of a note pad will send a value of 0.

 

Inverting Row Pitch Order

Would you like to change the pitch order of the rows so that the pitch is lowest on the upper row and highest on the lower row? Here's how:

In Global Settings > Row Offset columns, select +OCTAVE. Then hold +OCTAVE to view its hidden settings. Slide your finger to the left to select a negative offset from -1 to -16 or "-GUITAR".

 

Roger Linn Design

Los Altos, CA