Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

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Anderton
KVR Expert
140 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:56 pm

deastman wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:08 pm
Lastly -and this is a big one- I really like the pressure response of the z-axis. I have tried with the Seaboard and various other devices to use pressure to modulate VCA amplitude of a sound, but could never achieve the graceful attack and release curves that one might from an acoustic instrument. With LinnStrument, I can gradually, delicately ease into a note and then trail off to silence at the end.

Yes, the response is indeed smooth and predictable - which will come as a shock to those who've used conventional keyboards with aftertouch that feels more like "afterswitch."

I'll do some screen shots of what the controller values look like when you press and release to give an indication of linearity and also, the controller definition.
My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

tapper mike
KVRAF
5238 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:16 pm

Just as an fyi there is a linnstrument user's facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/7440663 ... oup_header

Jeff Moen and I administrate it.

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Roger_Linn
KVRian
1456 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:20 am

deastman wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:08 pm
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Roger Linn for inviting me into his home office today for a first-hand demo of LinnStrument.
It was a pleasure meeting you, deastman. And thank you for your complimentary words about LinnStrument. I'm glad it met your expectations.

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Roger_Linn
KVRian
1456 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:28 am

tapper mike wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:16 pm
Just as an fyi there is a linnstrument user's facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/7440663 ... oup_header

Jeff Moen and I administrate it.
Thanks for creating that page, Mike.

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Roger_Linn
KVRian
1456 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:16 am

fluffy_little_something wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:51 am
Looks like an electronic Chapman stick :hihi:
As a fan of the Stick, I take that as a high compliment. Emmett Chapman was very clever in how he extended the guitar idea to two-part, two-handed play. LinnStrument includes guitar strap buttons and while few people play it in the standing position, I like the idea of holding and playing it similar to a Stick, albeit with a left/right split instead of a front/rear split. Here's an older video in which I give a simple demonstration of that type of standing play:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amO-I_mDxJE
fluffy_little_something wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:51 am
How long does it take to learn how to play that thing like he does?
Especially if one is used to the piano keyboard only? I mean, all the lateral expression movements are irrelevant on a conventional keyboard, so I suppose I would lack the sensitivity for them.

Those note cells look so tiny, about the width of my white piano keys, but only equally as deep. Can one even play them with the thumbs? On the computer keyboard the thumbs only need to hit the huge space bar :hihi:
The note pads are spaced 3/4" apart, which is the same as most QWERTY keyboards and is the average spacing of human fingers. In my early development with different pad sizes, I found this to be ideal because anything larger would place the pads too far apart for common chords and scales.

I think Craig was accurate and fair in stating that it takes time to learn and develop proficiency on LinnStrument because it is a new interface. I believe that the LinnStrument layout offers advantages for both expressive and conventional playing over the piano note layout...

http://www.rogerlinndesign.com/piano-vs.-grid.html

...but there is always a tradeoff between standardization and innovation. A few centuries ago, the piano was an excellent design, given the need to put a string behind each key, to physically emphasize scale notes over accidentals, and to emphasize polyphony over individual note expression. But technology has changed and these limitations no longer exist. So LinnStrument is my attempt at a new interface that provides chords+expression, light identification of scale notes + isomorphism, and portability.

That said, I think it is also fair to say that if you've spent many years developing proficiency on a piano keyboard, the Roli Seaboard may be a better choice because the notes are where you already expect them. If possible, I suggest spending some time with both units until you're clear which you prefer. To make that easier, I've just now changed my 30-day money-back guarantee to 60 days.

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Anderton
KVR Expert
140 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:17 am

Roger_Linn wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:16 am
That said, I think it is also fair to say that if you've spent many years developing proficiency on a piano keyboard, the Roli Seaboard may be a better choice because the notes are where you already expect them.

I have a Roli Rise, and double on guitar and keys, so I have some comments :)

The Roli has the notes in the same position as a keyboard, but still requires a major variation on how you approach playing notes. With either the Roli or LinnStrument, I think the most important factor isn't so much where the notes are, but how you play them. In that case, you're starting from scratch with both controllers if you're used to keyboards. Finding the right note is just a prelude to doing something with it.

You also need to weigh what you want from a controller. I find that playing a different controller brings forth different musical ideas. Even picking up an acoustic guitar instead of an electric one will launch the composition process in a different direction. The "happy accidents" that happen due to lack of familiarity with something can be more valuable than translating what you did in the past to a new controller.

When I want to play guitar, I play guitar. When I want to play keyboard, I play keyboard. Either the Roli or LinnStrument give a different experience, and also give a different experience compared to each other...which is exactly what I like about them.

[And Roger - thanks so much for your participation!! It really gives this discussion a depth it would never have otherwise.]
My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12922 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:41 am

Judging from the video, it's probably not very healthy for your left wrist playing it like the Chapman stick, the board area is deeper than on a guitar or bass.

What is the surface made of? Is it like a tablet's? If so, there is no tactile feedback (corresponding to frets & strings, or the spacing between the keys of a computer keyboard) at all, right? I.e. one has to look at the board all the time in order to play the right notes?

Can one configure each row so that each note in that row becomes the root note of an entire chord, say, a row of minor seventh chords and a row of major chords? :hihi:

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Roger_Linn
KVRian
1456 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:03 am

fluffy_little_something wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:41 am
Judging from the video, it's probably not very healthy for your left wrist playing it like the Chapman stick, the board area is deeper than on a guitar or bass.
Yes, the fingerboard is too wide to wrap your thumb around as on a guitar, so you must play it as in the video, positioning your entire hand including your thumb on the surface.
fluffy_little_something wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:41 am
What is the surface made of? Is it like a tablet's? If so, there is no tactile feedback (corresponding to frets & strings, or the spacing between the keys of a computer keyboard) at all, right? I.e. one has to look at the board all the time in order to play the right notes?
The surface is made from 2mm-thick silicone rubber with a non-stick coating. Unlike a glass tablet, there are individual raises 17mm note pads that are spaced 19mm center-to-center, with a .5mm-deep, 2mm-wide trough between them, allowing you to feel where the notes are but still easily slide in pitch from note to note. The surface is a little bit soft but not much. That thinness helps it respond to lighter touches by not spreading out the force as in a thicker surface, and it also better permits the light to pass through.

On all "C" note pads (in the default row tuning and transposition), there's a Braille-size bump on the note pad surface for tactile feedback, reducing dependence on the lights. That said, it is true that it helps to look at the lights, which is more difficult when wearing it standing up. So most people use it on a table.
fluffy_little_something wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:41 am
Can one configure each row so that each note in that row becomes the root note of an entire chord, say, a row of minor seventh chords and a row of major chords? :hihi:
There is no facility to assign each note to play an automatic chord, but there are a variety of external computer auto-chord or auto-accompaniment applications that can do this for any MIDI controller, piano-style or LinnStrument.

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Anderton
KVR Expert
140 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
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Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:14 am

Re-visiting that "feedback" guitar patch, note that it was not an MPE situation. Pressing on a LinnStrument pad brought in the feedback, while side-to-side motion created vibrato. But the best part applies to any synthesizer patch, MPE or not--compare the screen shots below of CC #74 with the controller data many keyboard controllers generate; I used what I thought was consistent motion, and indeed, it’s extremely consistent.

LinnStrument CC74.png

Next up: a pitch bend wiggle, like what I'd do on a nylon string guitar to produce vibrato. Again, this is incredibly consistent in terms of tracking my finger motion.

LinnStrument Pitch Bend wiggle.png

Also, the feel from no pressure to full pressure is linear and consistent. This is one area where if the LinnStrument had gotten it wrong, that would have been a deal-breaker. Fortunately, that’s not the case. You feel like you’re interacting directly with the instrument parameters, not changing something that changes something else on the way to changing the parameter. In the screen shot below, you'll see how smooth the curve is from minimum to maximum aftertouch, and back down again.

LinnStrument Aftertouch.png
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My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12922 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:45 am

Can one wiggle diagonally as well? 8)

I assume the Midi data being sent is much more than with a conventional keyboard. Does any Midi interface and DAW cope with that?

1500 bucks is quite a high price. What's the life expectancy of the LinnStrument? Are the sensors made in China? 8)

deastman
KVRAF
7346 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:20 am

fluffy_little_something wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:45 am
Can one wiggle diagonally as well? 8)

I assume the Midi data being sent is much more than with a conventional keyboard. Does any Midi interface and DAW cope with that?

1500 bucks is quite a high price. What's the life expectancy of the LinnStrument? Are the sensors made in China? 8)
I had the same concerns about longevity when I first bought my Seaboard. How long will they keep making these things? What if the company goes out of business? What if the surface deteriorates after ten years and I can’t get it replaced?

Well, these are certainly legitimate questions. However, the truth is that we never know what the future brings. I could be hit by a car tomorrow, and then all that worrying about longevity was pointless. Furthermore, I’d say the chances are pretty good that in another ten years there will be all sorts of shiny new expressive controllers, and my old ones will be gathering dust in the corner.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

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Roger_Linn
KVRian
1456 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:28 am

fluffy_little_something wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:45 am
Can one wiggle diagonally as well? 8)
Wiggling diagonally merely sends both X-axis messages (left/right) and Y-axis messages (front/rear) at the same time.
fluffy_little_something wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:45 am
I assume the Midi data being sent is much more than with a conventional keyboard. Does any Midi interface and DAW cope with that?
Of course the more touches you hold down simultaneously, the more data is sent. While some users have reported problems with older computers handling LinnStrument's larger volume of continuous MIDI data, there are actually very few such reports.
fluffy_little_something wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:45 am
1500 bucks is quite a high price. What's the life expectancy of the LinnStrument? Are the sensors made in China? 8)
It turns out to be expensive to sense 3 dimensions plus velocity and release velocity, independently for all simultaneous touches, and to do it with low latency and high precision on a large playing surface. So if you compare it to a on/off switch matrix controller, I can see how some would think LinnStrument is expensive. But if you compare it to similar expressive instruments, it's actually very affordable. For example, the 4-octave LinnStrument 128 is $100 less than Roli's 4-octave Seaboard Rise, and the 5-octave LinnStrument is half the price of Roli's 5-octave Seaboard.

LinnStrument's custom patented touch sensor is fabricated to my precise design specifications by a local company, not a Chinese company.

Regarding the life of LinnStrument, it has been shipping for nearly four years and very few problems have occurred. I designed it to be high reliable and road-worthy. The touch surface is silicone rubber, nearly indestructible and easy to clean if needed. Should a failure occur, I send a replacement part to the customer anywhere in the world, along with a video showing how to replace it in about 20 minutes with only a screwdriver. So there's never a need to send it away for repair.

Also, I never obsolete older units. For example, 2 years ago I added a Step Sequencer to the software, a free software update for all existing owners. At the same time, I added printed settings for the Step Sequencer on the front panels of all new production in order to make it easier to use. For earlier owners, I offered 1) a new user-replaceable panel for $69 including shipping to anywhere, or 2) an adhesive label with the printed Sequencer settings for $25, or 3) a free downloadable file that a user could print onto adhesive label printer paper and attach to his front panel.

And I personally provide all technical support.

fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12922 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:47 am

That's a great, sustainable approach :clap: I am sick of all the planned obsolescence these days...

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Anderton
KVR Expert
140 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
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Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:13 pm

The LinnStrument has an overal solid feel. I wouldn't poke ice picks into the sensors, but aside from that, I'm not worried.

I also believe Roger feels he's creating musical instruments, not "products." The bar is higher for a musical instrument.
My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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vurt
addled muppet weed
59494 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Roger Linn Design LinnStrument - by Craig Anderton

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:08 pm

fluffy_little_something wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:45 am

1500 bucks is quite a high price.

not for a quality piece of kit.

you can spend far more on a guitar or other instrument.
and given its a new paradigm in playing, the market isn't going to be as big as a more regular keyboard.
a more niche product will always be a little more expensive than the average, because theres less made so overall manufacturing costs more.

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