Roger Linn Design is a small business engaged in the design, manufacture and sales of high-tech products for musicians, based in Los Altos, California. Our current products include the LinnStrument Expressive MIDI Performance Controller, Tempest Analog Drum Machine and AdrenaLinn III Guitar Processor.
The company consists only of Roger himself, working at his home office in Los Altos, California, with manufacturing, inventory and shipping done by Leemah Electronics of Brisbane, California, and with the occasional help of engineer friends Geert Bevin (who wrote the LinnStrument software), Darius Mostowfi (who designed the LinnStrument circuit board layouts) and Tim Thompson (who helped with the LinnStrument software).
Roger Linn is a designer of electronic music products, best known for his invention of the LM-1 Drum Computer, the first programmable, sampled-sound drum machine in 1979. Manufactured by his company Linn Electronics, the LM-1 and its successors the LinnDrum and Linn9000 provided the drums for countless hit records during the 1980s by artists including Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Devo and Bruce Hornsby, and are considered a major influence on the music of the era.
In 1988, he designed the innovative MPC60 MIDI Production Center for the Japanese Akai Company, with his signature appearing on the product’s front panel. Combining a sampling drum machine with a real-time MIDI sequencer, this product gradually became the industry standard in the production of hip-hop, dance and related music styles throughout the 1990s, and has been credited as a significant influence in the evolution of hip hop music. This was followed in 1994 with the enhanced MPC3000 and others. In addition to these designs for Akai, he also helped design products for a variety of companies during the 1990s, including the Japanese Roland company.
In 2002, he returned to manufacturing his own products—as well as his love of the guitar—with the release of a groundbreaking guitar effects product called AdrenaLinn. Used on hit recordings by artists such as John Mayer, Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers, AdrenaLinn transforms a guitarist’s tone by using variety of innovative rhythmic filtering methods, all in sync to an internal drumbeat. This was followed in 2003 by the enhanced AdrenaLinn II, the M-Audio Black Box (containing many AdrenaLinn features) in 2005, and the AdrenaLinn III in 2007. In 2011 he released the Tempest Analog Drum Machine, designed in collaboration with Dave Smith Instruments. In 2014 he released the LinnStrument, an expressive MIDI performance controller.
Apart from his music product career, Roger is a guitarist and songwriter, having co-written hits for Eric Clapton ("Promises", 1979) and Mary Chapin Carpenter ("Quittin' Time", 1989), and having served as touring guitarist and recording engineer with pianist/songwriter Leon Russell in 1976 at age 21. Here are some video, audio and text interviews he has done over the years. In February 2011, the Recording Academy presented him with the Technical Grammy Merit Award.
Geert Bevin is not an employee of Roger Linn Design but rather works independently. He is the principal software creator for LinnStrument and has transformed it far beyond the simple software that Roger had initially written. In fact, LinnStrument's finely-tuned responsiveness and musicality is largely due to Geert's skilled, deep understanding of both the technical and musical perspectives, as well as his perfectionism. He currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina, where he continues LinnStrument development while a senior software engineer at Moog Music, having been the principal software developer for the Moog One keyboard, and the Moog Model 15 and AniMoog iPad apps. Before that, Geert wrote most of the computer software for the Eigenharp, and has created software for using the Leap Motion Controller in musical applications.
Roger's wife Ingrid holds a Dipl.-Ing. (Master's degree) in Electrical Engineering from Technical University in Munich, specializing in Audio-Communication/Acoustics. Though she is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Roger Linn Design, she has contributed greatly to our product development, involved in the creation of the reverb, tube modeling, amp modeling and compression of the AdrenaLinn, co-writing with Roger the original AdrenaLinn Sync plug-in and aiding in the design of LinnStrument. She also formerly acted as general manager of Roger Linn Design, directing the day-to-day operations and is still involved in our strategic planning.
However, while studying engineering in Germany, Ingrid had always dreamed of working for one of the big silicon valley companies, and has followed that dream, first to Dolby Labs as Global Test Coordinator, and since 2013 at Apple, managing the Engineering Project Managers in the Audio Hardware Engineering department..
Regarding Ingrid's personal interests, she is a cellist (having performed in San Francisco's Community Music Center orchestra), scuba diver, Ironman triathlete, marathon runner, archer, champion rower, motorcycle enthusiast and an instrument-rated private pilot. She speaks German, English, French and Spanish. You can read KVR Audio's interview with Ingrid here.
I (Roger) would also like to thank the following friends who have helped with various aspects of my company or instruments.
Darius Mostowfi, a talented hardware design engineer who created the circuit board layouts for LinnStrument, and who created both the circuit design and board layouts for AdrenaLinn.
Tim Thompson, who wrote a significant portion of the LinnStrument code, wrote the windows driver for the original LinnStrument proof of concept prototype; is the inventor of the Space Palette, LoopyCam and creative high-tech inventions; and is a member of my weekly lunch group.
Tom Oberheim, who was very helpful in filling in the gaps of my engineering knowledge during my design of the sensing electronics for LinnStrument.
Clif Anderson, a technology patent attorney who wrote the patent for LinnStrument's touch sensing system. More than 300 patents have been issued based on patent applications prepared by Clif. And by fortunate coincidence, he was the first LinnStrument owner.
Joe Encarnacion, who created this web site.
Xulio Coira and Alfredo Prado, from the Galacia region of northwestern Spain, created the MIDI over USB code used in LinnStrument.