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4 posts since 12 Dec, 2015

Postby Tiefpass; Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:57 am Linnstrument and hardware synths

I ordered a Linnstrument which will hopefully arrive tomorrow. Can't wait to play with it.

From youtube videos etc. it seem that most linnstrument owners are using it with software synths and I wonder what the reason for this might be. So my question would be who is using it with hardware and which synth work best for the linnstrument? Is any multitimbral synth suitable? And more specifically: does anybody use the linnstrument together with an Integra7. With thousands of high quality sounds, the USB-connectivity and the 16 multitimbrl channels, it should be the perfect companion, I guess. Or is their anything against it?
12 posts since 20 Jan, 2014

Postby pmags; Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:23 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

I've used my Linnstrument with a variety of hardware synths -- everything from a Moog Mother-32 to a Waldorf Streichfett to a DSI Prophet 12 module. Right now my Linnstrument is most often attached to my DSI Pro 2 and I'll switch back and forth between the Linnstrument and Pro 2's keybed depending on mood and playing style. I've used MIDI DIN exclusively in all of these cases, most often powering the Linnstrument via USB.

Different synths vary in their support for polyphonic aftertouch, pitchbend range, etc but those settings are usually easy to suss out and set appropriately on the Linnstrument and/or synth. In the synths that support it I've played around with the Linnstrument's split function which is easy to configure and works well.

Because the Linnstrument has both MIDI DIN and USB support and it's simple to remap the various expressive movements to different MIDI CCs, I've basically found it "just works" in whatever context I've wanted to use it. I greatly appreciate the fact that Roger designed the Linnstrument to be both simple and flexible.
612 posts since 8 Jun, 2010

Postby Roger_Linn; Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:23 pm Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Pmags-- thank you for your kind words.

Tiefpass-- I think the focus on software synths is because there are more software than hardware synths that support channel-per-note capability. I don't know whether the Integra 7 has this, but a search of this forum for "integra" will give some information, as well as to identify LinnStrument owners who use it and therefore could provide more information about using it with LinnStrument.
4 posts since 12 Dec, 2015

Postby Tiefpass; Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:34 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Thanks pcmags! Great to hear that the Linnstrument works great with your hardware synths. As far as I know, the prophet 12 is 2-timbral, right? How did you configure the linnstrument for this? Channel-per-note on two channels?

@Roger: I think I do not understand the difference between the channel-per-note capabilities and multitimbrality. It is probably explained on your website. I will look that up. Actually I thought that any synth that can process incoming Midi-data on n channels as if there were n independent intsruments would be perfect. Integra7 can do this as far as I know.
612 posts since 8 Jun, 2010

Postby Roger_Linn; Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:02 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Multi-timbral synths are designed to produce two or more polyphonic patches (for example, piano or guitar or bass) in which each patch receives over a single MIDI channel. The typical use case is playing two sounds from a split keyboard, for example bass and electric piano. Because each sound receives on a single MIDI channel, polyphonic expression (polyphonic pitch bends or Y-axis control) is not permitted because MIDI Pitch Bend and Control Change messages must always apply to all notes played on the channel. However, if the synth permits MIDI Polyphonic Pressure messages, independent pressure values for each simultaneous touch are permitted over a single MIDI channel.
Note that on a multi-timbral synth, the sound parameters (filter frequency, waveform select, etc.) only operate on one timbre at a time. This means that if a synth is 4-part multitimbral, you could set each timbre to the same patch and to receive on a specific MIDI channel and therefore you could achieve 4-part polyphonic expression when played from LinnStrument. However, a simple sound modification such as increasing filter frequency would require increasing that parameter in exactly the same way on each of the 4 timbres.

By contrast, a synth with channel-per-note capability (Polyphonic Expression) produces a single patch (for example, piano or guitar or bass) but each of its polyphonic voices receives over a separate MIDI channel, rotating through an assigned range of channels. This permits each simultaneously-pressed note to have independent pressure, pitch bend (x-axis) and y-axis control. And if you wish to adjust any sound parameter such as filter frequency, you only need to adjust one parameter, which affects all voices.
On my site, there is a page called Recommended Sound Generators in which I list all sound generators I am aware of that possess channel-per-note capability, including Logic Pro X, Cubase, Bitwig, U-He's synths, Aalto, ROLI Equator, Kyma, Omnisphere and Reaktor.
4 posts since 12 Dec, 2015

Postby Tiefpass; Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:37 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Many thanks for you explanations Roger. I think I got it now.

I received my Linnstrument yesterday and I must say that it is really fun and inspiring to play. I connected it to my Prophet 6, ignored the manual and found it really easy to configure. I am a quite experienced (Jazz) piano player and was surprised how much the different layout of the "keys" are influencing my playing style (in a positive way).

I also tried the Linnstrument with the Logic template from the website but I did not like the sounds so much. In particular, I don't like the simulations of natural instruments. But that's probably just me. I never really understood why I should try to imitate existing instruments.

Conclusion: I love it. Can't wait to continue playing it tonight.

Thanks again and greetings from Berlin!
612 posts since 8 Jun, 2010

Postby Roger_Linn; Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:41 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

I'm glad you're enjoying your LinnStrument. May I quote you (ideally just your 1st and 3rd paragraphs) on my User Testimonials page?

As a jazz pianist, have you seen this video?:

I'm no jazz player, but I think the isomorphic layout of LinnStrument makes it much easier to play complex jazz.

Regarding the sampled sounds in my Logic file, I think the plucked stringed instruments sound good (pedal steel, slide guitar, strat, nylon stringed guitar, upright bass) but LinnStrument's expression spotlights the problems of wind and bowed-string samples, like unnatural pitch shift, audible switching between samples of different loudness levels, and lack of fluid timbral variation. Fortunately, the Sample Modeling instruments have the accuracy of sampling without any of these problems, and they sound very natural:

I value synthesis but I also see merit in emulating acoustic instruments if the sound is accurate. I used to do some lectures with the late Max Mathews, the "father of computer music", after whom Max/MSP is named. He used to say "good timbres are hard to come by", meaning that some instruments have become historically successful in part because of their harmonic complexity and richness. I value violin, cello, saxes and clarinet for this reason and when I play these sounds on LinnStrument using their synthetic Sample Modeling instruments, I feel that subtle performed variations to pitch, loudness and timbre have more impact than most synthesized sounds. That said, these instruments have had a few centuries to become refined, so we're all still waiting to learn which new synthesized sounds stand beside them in the culture. For example, I find most analog synthesis sounds too simple in character and complexity to rival the above-mentioned acoustic instruments. But I enjoy the complexity and unpredictability of physical modeling and other more complex synthesis methods.

One more thing-- could you let me know your real name? You can email me at support@rogerlinndesign.com if you prefer. It helps me to associate the forum posts with emails I receive.
4 posts since 12 Dec, 2015

Postby Tiefpass; Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:47 pm Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Hi Roger! Of course you cam quote me on your website if you like. And I will send you a PM in a minute with my real name. I didn't know the "jazz video", which is impressive indeed. Although you can see/hear that he is wrestling with keyboard layout.

regarding the sampled sounds: I did not want to say that they are bad. My impression is that natural instruments simulations are often used as a kind of benchmark for the expressive capabilities of synths and controllers. But in real life (in my band or when recording music at home) I wouldn't use them.
194 posts since 1 Apr, 2015

Postby BobDog; Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:46 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Tiefpass wrote:does anybody use the linnstrument together with an Integra7. With thousands of high quality sounds, the USB-connectivity and the 16 multitimbrl channels, it should be the perfect companion, I guess. Or is their anything against it?

I have an Integra 7 here, its a pretty good match for the Linnstrument.

First it supports poly aftertouch so you can use that in single channel mode.

If you want pitch X and Y CC1 on all individual notes then you just have to set up the same patch on each of the channels on the I7.

For supernatural synth sounds Aftertouch can only effect Cutoff or Amp level, CC1 can be used to control the level of a modulation which can effect pitch, cutoff, amp, pan and the LFO rate. You have individual settings for each of the three partials that make up a sound.

For the older PCM based sounds you have more modulation possibilities but no individual partial settings so modulation effects the whole patch. There are a set of four matrix controls, each has a single midi source and 4 destinations. each destination can be one of: Pitch, Cutoff, resonance, level, pan, Dry (FX Mix), chorus send, revert send, Pitch LFO1&2, Filter LFO 1&2, Amp LFO 1&2, Pan LFO 1&3m LFO 1&2 rate, Pitch attack/decay/release, Filter attack/decay/release, Amp attack, delay, release, PMT (how partials are mixed) and FXM (cross mod).

For the supernatural acoustic sounds CC1 and Aftertouch are different for each instrument, there is also a set of another 8 CCs that do various things, for example when playing the Santoor you would get the following:

CC16 - Resonance level
CC17 - Roll Speed
CC18 - Slide Roll
CC19 - Bend Mode
CC80 - Mute
CC81 - Tremolo
CC65 - Glissando
CC01 - Roll Dynamics

So when using these with the linnstrument you need to set up the linnstrument to effect the CCs you are interested in and use some extra pedals!
24 posts since 15 Feb, 2015

Postby greaterthanzero; Sun Jan 03, 2016 4:35 pm Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths


This isn't specifically "against" the Integra 7, but you'll want to limit your slides on most sounds to a couple of half steps. Large intervals are problematic. (some aspects of your timbre is set by the initial pitch and velocity of each note, as opposed to the continuous pitch and volume you might modulate into. So, a low brassy note which should become mellow as you ascend becomes shrill instead. That sort of thing.)

It's difficult to find synths where this isn't a factor; they just weren't designed with expressive controllers in mind. I think the software world will catch up faster than hardware, simply because it's easier to patch software.



Great info! I was not aware of the other 8 CCs in use, at all. Is there an easy-to-follow list of such things? This doc is a bit obtuse:
http://lib.roland.co.jp/support/en/manu ... _e01_W.pdf
194 posts since 1 Apr, 2015

Postby BobDog; Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:31 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

You need the parameter manual here: http://roland.com/support/article/?q=ma ... d=62482119

Some charts start at page 100 showing the CCs per patch.
12 posts since 6 Dec, 2015

Postby shutterdownmax; Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:17 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

I use mostly hardware with the Linnstrument because I prefer the sound of analog oscillators. Here are my experiences:

Primarily I use an Oberheim Matrix-6 (in MIDI mono mode), where channel-per-note works surprisingly well. The pitch bend doesn't seem to map accurately but I'm able to compensate for that by using the modulation matrix. Channel-per-row doesn't work as well, so I'm hunting for a new synth because I'm very interested in using that mode.

I've also tried it with my Virus TI in multi mode, where it does work but it's cumbersome to set up a patch and it doesn't always play as nicely as I'd like--that's probably a problem with my patch design. It's a work in progress, I'll update here if I get better results.

I use it frequently with my modular synth, in 1-channel mono mode using MI Yarns as my MIDI-to-CV, where it works pretty well but seems to lose notes here and there. I'm hoping the new firmware update will improve that.

DSI Tetra seems a good bet (2 Tetras, even better). I posted this in another thread where it was more directly relevant:

I sent a recording (Ableton set) to my brother, who has a Tetra/MophoX4 combo to test this and it seemed to work pretty well as far as pitch bend goes. I expect the Y and Z axis would be fine also if I was plugged directly into the Tetra myself, but Live recorded the channel pressure and CC1 messages as automation (not MIDI) so that info was lost in the test.

We are assuming the Mopho worked because it was just acting as additional voices for the Tetra, and the Mopho by itself would probably not divide into channels properly.

EDIT: My brother tells me didn't use the MophoX4 for this test, just 2 passes of Tetra.

I'm very much hoping it works with the new OB-6, but information is scarce and it seems unlikely. Has anyone tried to use one with a Prophet 6?
Last edited by shutterdownmax on Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
612 posts since 8 Jun, 2010

Postby Roger_Linn; Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:27 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Regarding your issue with Pitch Bend accuracy in the Matrix-6, are you aware that you can select any pitch bend range from 1 to 96 semitones in LinnStrument? In Per-Split Settings > Bend Range column, hold down "+/- 24".
12 posts since 6 Dec, 2015

Postby shutterdownmax; Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:22 am Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

I wasn't aware of that; it's pretty awesome :) Unfortunately I think the problem is the Matrix's PB is just limited to +/- 2 semitones no matter what you send it. It's not a big deal though since there's an easy workaround.
3 posts since 2 Feb, 2015

Postby jreineke; Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:18 pm Re: Linnstrument and hardware synths

Got a demo model from Perfect Circuit on it's way. Been drooling over this for the past year - never thought I would be able to afford one, but a bigger tax return than anticipated is giving me the excuse I needed. I am far more proficient on guitar than keyboard, so I'm hoping this will allow me to do more than fat finger basslines and pads with my synths.

My plan was to use it with my Tetra especially, amongst other hardware. Thinking the MiniAK might be a good candidate for exploration given it's 8 voices.

I may finally pony up for Diva seeing that it supports poly expression. Too bad the Arturia synths don't have support.

So excited!

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