Live has two limitations for use with MPE controllers like LinnStrument:
1) It discards received MIDI channel information, mixing all channels together. This prevents MPE (Channel Per Note) operation.
2) It discard received MIDI Polyphonic Pressure (Aftertouch) messages, so you can't even get polyphonic pressure on a single channel.
This is a cumbersome workaround for limitation #1, which will permit MPE operation:
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 plug-in 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.
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!"
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:
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.
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.
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.
"Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Logic/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 in 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 in 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.
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.
A free license for Bitwig Studio 8-Track is included with the purchase of a LinnStrument. For information on how to get and activate your license, as well as how to set up Bitwig with LinnStrument, visit the LinnStrument Support page and click "Free Bitwig 8-Track".
Voltage Modular is a virtual modular synth platform for Mac and Windows. Among their modules is an MPE module.
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
The "Play 5" Sample Engine from East West Sounds contains an MPE mode as shown in this screenshot.
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
See "ROLI" below, which now owns FXpansion.
Visit the IMOXPLUS website for more info.
Here's their product page, which states MPE compatibility.
This is not a synth but rather a plug-in that allows you to run non-MPE plug-in software instruments as MPE instruments. It does this by internally creating multiple instances of the actually software instrument for each MPE per-voice channel.
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.
Randy's Jones' Aalto and Kaivo are remarkably flexible synths in deceptively simple interfaces. I am especially impressed with the many ways to alter timbre is interesting ways. 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.
The MSoundFactory site claims full MPE support.
Their site claims MPE compatibility
Kontakt does not have an MPE mode but it is fairly simple to configure for MPE use. Simply load Kontakt then load, for example, 4 instances of the same sample group into it. Each instance will automatically be assigned to a separate MIDI channel, or you can change each instance to the channel you want to match the per-note channels you've assigned in LinnStrument. Go through each instance and change the pitch bend to 12 (the max that Kontakt allows) and set LinnStrument's Bend Range to 12 to match. 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."
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.
From their site:
"In Xmode, Derailer can be controlled by MPE devices such as the ROLI Seaboard.
This allows individual control of pitch when bowing, and strike force when multi-striking."
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:
Then you can use modulation sources of:
For MPE use, select VpC mode (Voice per Channel).
Their site states MPE support
ROLI's Equator, Cypher2 and Strobe2 are all excellent synths that are designed to work well with ROLI's Seaboard MPE controller, so they also work well with LinnStrument. Each has a large number of high-quality MPE preset sounds. And ROLI Studio gives you most of those sounds from all 3 synths in one app, minus the detailed sound editing.
To set any of these apps with LinnStrument, you may need to enable "LinnStrument MIDI" as the incoming MIDI device in Settings.
Here are two sounds for Equator (Screaming Calliope, Doppler Whistles) that I (Roger) created, 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.
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.
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.
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.
From their site's Features section:
"MPE Compatible (for use with multidimensional controllers such as ROLI Rise or Roger Linn Linnstrument)"
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.
And here's information from Roli about using their Seaboard with Cubase, which should be similarly helpful in using Cubase with LinnStrument or any MPE controller.
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:
Included in the preset sounds is the category "Roger Linn MPE" with some sounds that I created especially for LinnStrument. There is also another category of MPE sounds.
A few tips, all accessed from the "Menu" button in the lower-right corner:
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.
The wonderful Kyma 7 fully supports LinnStrument's MPE mode. Click here for a page on Symbolic Sound's site containing details.
Their web site claims MPE compatibility.
Their web site claims MPE compatibility for these three products: https://tal-software.com/
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.
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.
Lion is a synth that Unfiltered Audio claim to possess a highly versatile oscillator architecture and MPE compatibility.
The Falcon site states support for MPE devices like ROLI Seaboard or LinnStrumente, with ‘MPE’ section in preset library with dedicated sounds.
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.
Drambo is described on their site as a "modular groovebox and sound processing environment", but its modular environment permits the creation of pitched synth sounds with MPE capability, not unlike modular patching environments like VCV Rack. However, it does not contain any pitched or MPE synths or sounds by default; you must create any such pitched synth (by connecting modules together) as well as implementing MPE capability in the created synth and making MPE sounds for it.
Delta-V Audio's Spacecraft is a granular synth that claims MPE compatibility.
Their site states MPE compatibility for both products.
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.
Their web site claims MPE-compatibility.
To enable Channel Per Note function, in the Setup screen > MIDI section, set the Mode field to VpC (Voice per Channel).
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 24. Also, be sure to set LinnStrument to MPE mode as described in section 4 of the Getting Started page.
A LinnStrument user has reported that this app is now MPE compatible.
Here it is on the iOS/iPadOS App Store.
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.)
Their web site claims MPE compatibility
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.
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.
The Expert Sleepers FH-1 and FH-2 Factotum 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.
Here is a video by LinnStrument player Quincas Moreira, showing how to set up the FH-2 for use with LinnStrument.
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
2. Edit the mapping
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.
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.
And these three cover the Setups specifically:
Modor's site claims these synths to both have MPE compatibility.
The Percussa SSP (Super Signal Processor) is MPE-compatible.
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.
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:
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. :-)
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.