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. In fact, LinnStrument's default settings play nice with their preset sounds, which are usually optimized for the limitations of traditional MIDI piano keyboards.

However, when you play such keyboard-optimized sounds, you'll notice the following limitations:

a) Pitch slides will be limited to 2 semitones. This is because the synth’s Bend Range is usually set to 2 semitones for a standard Pitch Bend wheel.

b) There will be no response to Y-axis (forward/backward) movements. This is because the synth presets probably don’t respond to the Control Change 74 messages sent by Y-axis movements. 

c) There is usually no response to pressure, or the response is to add a modulation effect instead of controlling note volume. This is because a MIDI piano keyboard’s Aftertouch (pressure) is only sent after the key is fully depressed and the note is sounding, so it is only useful as an added effect. By comparison, LinnStrument sends pressure (aftertouch) continuously from the lightest through heaviest touch and therefore can be used to fully control note volume. 

d) Polyphonic pitch slides or polyphonic Y-axis movements usually aren’t possible. This is because most MIDI synths receive over a single MIDI channel. To overcome these limitations, you must use a synth that is compatible with the new MPE standard, in which each note is sent over a unique MIDI channel.

To learn more about MPE, click “What is MPE?” at left. To learn more about creating new sounds that take full advantage of LinnStrument's expressive control, click "Creating Sounds" at left.

How to play sounds NOW that fully realize LinnStrument’s potential

To overcome all of the above limitations and to get sounds immediately that realize LinnStrument potential of polyphonic 3D control (“5D” in Roli-speak), you’ll need a synth that is compatible with MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression), and has MPE-compatible preset sounds that respond to all 3 of LinnStrument’s continuous dimensions of control, polyphonically. (See "What is MPE?" at left.) A long list of current MPE synths appears below on this page, but here are the best current choices for MPE synths that also include good MPE preset sounds and therefore provide immediate gratification:

For Windows and Mac:
* Apple’s Logic or MalnStage with my (Roger's) LinnStrument-optimized sounds file, which can be downloaded below or from the Getting Started page. Most of my (Roger’s) videos were created using these sounds. 
(Note: for my LinnStrument-optimized sounds file, LinnStrument's bend range should be set to 24, not the default MPE setting of 48. So you can skip step 3 in the instructions below for setting your LinnStrument for MPE play.)
* Roli’s Equator for Win/Mac. 
* FxPansion’s Cypher2 and Strobe2
* Surge. Surge is a free windows/mac/linux plug-in synth that is MPE compatible and includes an assortment of MPE preset sounds. 
* Bitwig. Bitwig’s internal instruments are MPE-compatible and includes a small assortment of MPE sounds. And as a DAW, Bitwig is MPE-compatible and therefore works well with MPE plug-ins. A free license for Bitwig Studio 8-Track is included with each LinnStrument. To download Bitwig Studio 8-Track and activate your license, click the link at left for Free Bitwig 8-Track.

For iOS and iPadOS:
* Roli's Seaboard 5D
* Moog’s AniMoog and Model 15 for iPadOS and iOS. 

To use these MPE synths, you'll also need to put LinnStrument into MPE mode:

1) Turn on Per-Split Settings.
2) On the leftmost column ("MIDI Mode"), hold "ChPerNote" (second button from top). This will set all other settings for MPE play.
3) In the "Pitch/X" column, hold "+/- 24". You will see "24" in huge digits. Slide your finger to the right until it shows "48".
4) Turn off Per-Split Settings.

To learn more about each of these synths and to find download links for LinnStrument-optimized sounds, see their sections in the list of MPE-compatible synths below on this page.

For expressive bowed strings and winds

If you want wind and bowed string instruments that sound perfect and accurately respond to LinnStrument’s 3 dimensions of expressive control, then nothing comes close to Audio Modeling. Audio Modeling uses a special technology that overcomes the limitations of samples for expressive control. These instruments are not actually MPE-compatible because they are solo (monophonic) instruments and therefore have no use for MPE (midi POLYPHONIC expression). 

To set LinnStrument for the Audio Modeling instruments, set MIDI Mode to One Channel, Bend Range to +/-48 (hold “+24” and swipe right to select “48”), Timbre/Y to “CC74”, and Loudness/Z to “CHAN PRES”.

To set the Audio Modeling instruments (express Brass) for compatibility with LinnStrument, click "Reset" then “Default LinnStrument”. To set the Audio Modeling Brass instruments for compatibility with LinnStrument, find the little icon consisting of a circle surrounded by 5 circles in the upper right area, then click it twice, then click “Default LinnStrument” at left.

Sample Modeling’s sample-based instruments for Kontakt are also high quality and optimized for expressive control. In LinnStrument, you'll need to set MIDI Mode to One Channel, Loudness/Z to CC11, and Bend Range to '+/- 2'. In the Sample Modeling instrument, you must set the bend range (called "Cents") to "200", though some of their instruments are limited to bending only one semitone. They also have a Timbral Shaping feature, which you might be able to set up in a useful way for control by LinnStrument's Y-axis.

Also, any solo synths that are intended to be played by wind controllers like Akai’s EWI/EVI will work well with LinnStrument in One Channel mode. One LinnStrument owner recommends Suonopuro’s Kontakt-based instruments for this reason. 

A list of current MPE-compatible synths

Below is a list of current synths that are compatible with MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression; see "What is MPE?" at left) or are multi-timbral.

Multi-timbral synths are intended to play a different sound on each timbre and MIDI channel. So for MPE-like operation you must set all timbres to 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.

In LinnStrument, MPE is called "Channel Per Note". To set LinnStrument for MPE play, in Per-Split Settings > MIDI Mode column, hold "ChPerNt". It will turn blue and automatically set all other relevant Per-Split Settings for MPE compatibility:

* Bend Range = 24 (If your pitch slides don't land on the correct pitch, you may need to set this to 48: hold "+/-24" then swipe right to select "48".) 
* Timbre/Y = CC74
* Loudness/Z = CHAN PRES

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.

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.

In addition, 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)

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:

Sounds File

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.

accSone: crusher-x

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.

6) 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.

7) Play!

To play an MPE sound in both the left and right splits. This requires a Logic "script" created by "drb" on the forum, and discovered by LinnStrumentalist Joseph Ferrera:

1) Download these two files (FilterChannel 1-8.pst, FilterChannel 9-16) and put them in the following folder:

"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.

8) Play!

Arturia: Pigments 2

Their site claims MPE compatibility.

Audio Damage: Quanta, Continua, Phosphor 3
Bitwig Studio 8-Track, 16-Track and Full Version

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".

Cherry Audio: Voltage Modular

Voltage Modular is a virtual modular synth platform for Mac and Windows. Among their modules is an MPE module.

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

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.

Fxpansion: Cypher 2, Strobe 2

See "ROLI" below, which now owns FXpansion.

Imaginando FRMS

Their site claims MPE compatibility.


Visit the IMOXPLUS website for more info.

Initial Audio: Sektor

Here's their product page, which states MPE compatibility.

JB Audio: MPEfy

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.

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 instruments, downloadable sound file)

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.

Magix: Samplitude Pro X5

Their site states MPE compatibility, but doesn't explain what this means, for example is it merely passing all 16 channels to a third-party plug-in instrument, or are all or some of its included instruments MPE-compatible and which ones? 

Melda Production: MSoundFactory

The MSoundFactory site claims full MPE support.

Memorymoon ME80

Their site claims MPE compatibility

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, 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."

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.

Physical Audio: PA3 Detailer

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."

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

ROLI: ROLI Studio, Equator, Cypher2, Strobe2

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.

SoftTube: Modular

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.

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

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.

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:

  • 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 a Linux version is coming.

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:

  1. Turn on MPE mode.
  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.

Synapse Audio Software: Obsession, The Legend

Their web site claims MPE compatibility for both products.

From their online manual for the Legend:

"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."

TAL Software: TAL-U-No-LX, TAL-BassLine-101 , TAL-Sampler, TAL-MOD

Their web site claims MPE compatibility for these three products:

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.

UVI: Falcon, Drone

The Falcon site states support for MPE devices like ROLI Seaboard or LinnStrumente, with ‘MPE’ section in preset library with dedicated sounds.

VAST Dynamics: Vaporizer 2

Their site claims MPE compatibility.

Xfer Records: Serum

Serum is MPE compatible. Here's a video showing how to set it up for use with the Roli Seaboard Block, which should also be helpful in setting it up for LinnStrument.

Apple: GarageBand

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.

In LinnStrument:

  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
Beep Street: Drambo

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: Spacecraft

Delta-V Audio's Spacecraft is a granular synth that claims MPE compatibility.

iFretless Bass, Sax, Guitar, Brass
Imaginado DRC, FMRS

Their site states MPE compatibility for both products.

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.

Numerical Audio: Volt

Their web site claims MPE-compatibility.

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 24. 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.

TAL Software: TAL-U-NO-LX

Here it is on the iOS/iPadOS App Store.

Wizdom Music: GeoShred, Geo Synthesizer, 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.)

Yonac: Magellan 2

Their web site claims MPE compatibility

ASM: HydraSynth 1.3.0

Version 1.3.0 adds MPE support:

HydraSynth comes in both keyboard and desktop versions:

Audiothingies: MicroMonsta

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. Shuttle Control USB MIDI to CV Converter

Shuttle Control is a Eurorack USB-to-MIDI-to-CV converter module with 16 arbitrary assignable channels and is MPE-compatible. Here is a video about its MPE compatibility and here is its product page (scroll down).

Expert Sleepers FH-1 and FH-2 Factotum (MIDI/USB to Control Voltage interfaces)

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.

Futuresonus: Parva

Futuresonus: Parva

Haken Audio: Eagan Matrix

The Haken Continuum and ContinuuMini both contain a built-in synthesizer called the Eagan Matrix that is highly versatile, MPE compatible and very well-suited to expressive touch control.

Kodamo EssenceFM

Their site claims MPE support for both Argon8 and Skulpt.

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.

And these three cover the Setups specifically:

15 Kurzweil PC3 Series: Setup Mode Intro

16 Kurzweil PC3 Series: Setup Mode Zone Mutes

17 Kurzweil PC3 Series: Setup Mode Editor

Modal Electronics: ARGON8, Skulpt

Theirclaims MPE compatibility for both Argon8 and Skulpt.

Modor: NF-1 and NF-1m

Modor's site claims these synths to both have MPE compatibility.

Percussa: SSP

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:
  1. 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).
  2. Set the BEND RANGE to “+/- 12” (col 7, row 3).
  3. Turn on PITCH/X (col 8, row 1) then set quantize and quantize hold settings as desired.
  4. Turn on TIMBRE/Y (col 9, row 1) and set “CC1” as the destination continuous controller (col 9, row 2).
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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:
  1. Turn on the synth and put it into Performance mode (press the “MIXER” button).
  2. Select a preset Performance.  (PRST 01 “Seq:Template” is a good choice.  Use the VALUE dial or INC/DEC buttons to select the Performance).
  3. Mute the Rhythm Part (press F3 (“Mute/Solo”) then press DYNAMIC PAD 10. This will mute Part 10, the Rhythm Part).
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. 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)

XV-88 (keyboard)

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)

JV-80 (keyboard)

JD-800 (keyboard)

JD-990 (rack module)

XP-50 (keyboard)

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
UDO: Super 6

Their site doesn't mention MPE, but this video interview with the designer does.

Vermona: PerFOURmer

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.