Linnstrument

  • not sure if this has been discussed yet...looks pretty cool. also still seems to be in the baby stages of development, and considering that its roger linn. will it ever see the light of day??

    http://www.rogerlinndesign.com/products/linnstrument/index.html

  • Not likely, unfortunately. At least not in the foreseeable future. Amazon bought the touchscreen technology he was using and canned the commercial sale of it. It's a shame, it looked really expressive.

    Check out Madrona Labs' Soundplane A, also currently in development:

    http://madronalabs.com/hardware

  • oh, pressure, wherefore art thou? The soundplane has had me drooling for some time now...

  • I did this comment on a closed forum a while ago:


    "His prototype in the video is more interesting than the CAD render as it uses a pressure-sensitive multi-touch screen capable of giving visual feedback to the player - you could use it for classic x0x-style sequencing but use pressure data to set amplitudes of each beat, or just play it as a poly-aftertouch keyboard, or change the key-setup to an hexagonal array within a certain scale. Endless possibilities really.

    But following his not so interesting CAD render we have something close from the islands:
    http://www.eigenlabs.com/

    Pico, Alpha and Tau. The formfactor of the Pico is pretty close to what Roger Linn is proposing with his CAD. But here they use 3d buttons - getting different data from pressure (z-plane) and move left-right (x-plane) and up-down (y-plane). So you could let each button control 3 variables of a patch outside of note on, at the same time, or even more if you use it for different stuff on up and down as well as left and right. It is an instrument that is hard to sell right now though because of two main reasons.
    1. The form factor - With the wind-controller it looks nerdy and it is not really built for desktop use infront of a computer, while still needing a computer to work. The lack of feedback on the device makes this even more obvious and you need to see the screen to really no how to work it. And the windcontroller... A monophonic controller - on a perfect polyphonic multicontrol surface... What were they thinking?!?
    2. The lack of software that optimizes its fortes - The bundled software is replicas of acoustic instruments or general keyboard-controlled VSTs. A multicontrol-controller works best in a multi-oscillator environment. An example would be a patch were you use pressure to control the volume of a free running oscillator as well as a bit of filter. Pushing it leftwards would control a mixer that holds three more oscillators tuned as a minor chord around the main oscillator. Leftwards three other oscs tuned to a major chord maybe. Up and down could individually control vibratos on different oscillators. Another patch could just trig samples, pressure for volume, up and down for granualization and left right for filter and FX, load up a couple of loops and play a live show just on a Pico... That would show the brilliance of a device like this, but they have yet failed to see it. "

  • Hmm, not sure the point about about a monophonic wind controller on a polyphonic instrument is entirely valid.

    If you've ever played a melodica you'll appreciate the variety of tones you can get from breath pressure. An accordion demonstrates the same principle.

    I've got a bontempi battery powered reed organ that wobbles is pitch brilliantly if you hold down too many keys because the pressure is simply not high enough!

  • i think this came up before..

    the linnstrument did //not// have a screen, it was just a pressure-sensitive multitouch pad.

    the "display" in his video is a transparent binder page holder, with paper.

    that amazon bought touchco is both compelling and disheartening at the same time. on one hand, it's pretty obvious once you use one of the touchpads that throwing an eInk display on top of it results in an instant pressure-sensitive multi-touch screen, albeit with a slow response time. this makes it ideal for expressive, customizable music controllers. and amazon has certainly done quite a bit with eInk in their kindles..

    on the other hand, it's been nearly a year since amazon bought the company and we haven't heard a peep out of them, nor have we seen anything related to the technology.. if a pressure-sensitive multi-touch kindle comes out, you can be sure it will be hacked into a music controller in no time, adafruit bounty or not. unfortunately for roger linn, the touch pad probably won't be in a form that's suitable to the linnstrument form factor..

    patience, i guess..

  • The eigenharp will not sell because it looks like a digital bassoon. As useful as breath control is, it looks dorky as hell. Which shouldn't matter, but it does. Maybe because of this guy (who's actually really talented, but this cover isn't helping the 'cool' factor):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kks6LZu8k_U

  • 2flpsx, dunno about that. It's got a unique aesthetic. And breath control is fantastically expressive. It's not like they're attempting to appeal to trendy hipsters, their selling a boutique instrument to electronic musicians, i'm sure they're doing quite well for themselves. The pico in particular has got a great price-performance ratio (although not quite the same styling as the alpha)

  • I was half kidding. I'm talking about the sex appeal of plastic, metal, and silicon. They've got Imogen Heap on their homepage, so I imagine they're doing quite well.

    I don't mean to be giving the Eigen-folk a hard time, I mean, who am I to say what's cool? I frequent the forum of a piece of hardware several times a day, haha. Not to mention my hourly CDM refreshes......

    Back on topic, I think the design of the prototype of the Linnstrument works better than the render, due to the size of each rectangle. There's an iphone app that has a similar layout called Sound Squares, which is unique in the ability to define different notes per square for alternate scales/tunings. Adding that ability to the Linnstrument could be a great feature.

  • New video of Roger Linn performing with his device:

    http://vimeo.com/20858211

    +1 for pressure sensitivity.

  • love the perserverance.

    hopefully the more cool shit he does with it, the more convincing it will be to jeff bezos to start licensing the ridiculously cool technology he bought.

  • wow. that does look/sound amazing.

  • Hopefully this will make it to daylight and be maybe half-programmable regarding layout.

  • earsmack, see [[http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/05/roger-linn-imagines-a-new-multi-touch-instrument-and-help/|here]] for current hurdles to that daylight.

    edit..
    oh, nevermind. you've already commented on that thread...

  • Good read just the same @soundcyst!

  • i was disappointed to see in the comments of the cdm article that finger area isn't available through the ios api. Does anyone know any more about this? It would be a simple way of mimicing the manta on an ipad...

  • They're essentially reserving finger area for internal use. the "feel" of iOS is somewhat defined by the fact that they read a blob average to determine your finger position. You'd think a tiny pointing implement (like a stylus or your fingernail) would be more precise (as it is on other devices), but they basically fall on their faces when you use those. It's looking for a wider finger area.

    ...which more or less means that you can't.

    EDIT:
    What would work is multitouch gestures. Like, say, two fingers press a button, then grow further apart. You've got their distance, you've got the angle between them, the direction each moved, you've got the note that they started at. That's a lot of info. We could do a lot with it.

  • What ive been playing with using touchosc is using xypads instead of buttons, where velocity and aftertouch are determined by the xycoordinates. The issue is that touchosc doesnt let you layer a button and an xypad on top of eachother, so you can't hold a note, you get a trigger signal, but unless you are moving your finger, it wont sustain...

  • that seems like it wouldn't be too hard for them to implement.. perhaps submit a feature request?

  • @lokey,

    Go into your TouchOSC options and turn "Send z messages" on. Now, you'll get X and Y coordinates when you move your finger across the pad, and another message when you lift your finger off of it.

    The issue is wifi. If you lose a few XY packets, whatever, but losing your Note Off message can be disastrous.

    That would still be an issue with layering the interface elements, though.

  • hey thanks! That works well. The more you know. I'll be piping this into a max patch with a midiflush, which should help with cases of packet dropping. I have been assured that a computer-based personal wifi signal will be robust, but i need to test that a little further ;]

    Not to derail, i'm avidly following the linnstrumentalizing, its brilliant...

  • Probably worth mentioning that LinnStrument has indeed seen the light of day. It's a very different product than we were talking about way back when.

    * It's an 8x25 grid with LEDs beneath each square. (an 8x16 model is coming)

    * Sliding between columns is very smooth, but between rows is not allowed due to technical considerations (a gap between sensors)

    * At this moment, every interaction is guided by a single use case: that of a straightforward MIDI controller.

    * Talks are underway on the forums about how best to impliment a "user mode" such that apps can be written.

    * this user mode will be strictly over MIDI protocols. OSC is not presently under consideration.