Hooking It Up

Connections for LinnStrument and LinnStrument 128 are identical except LinnStrument 128 does not have the power input jack, which is not necessary because its power is supplied from the USB connection. In fact, few LinnStrument owners use the power jack.

LinnStrument Panel Connections


(Not on LinnStrument 128): Standard round power connector, for use when not getting power from USB. Any power supply from 7.5 to 12 volts can be used, AC or DC (center + or center -), with at least 300+ mA.

Standard full-size MIDI IN and OUT jacks. Be sure MIDI I/O (in Global Settings) is set to MIDI JACKS. There's little need to connect MIDI IN unless you're using MIDI Sync or want custom MIDI control of the panel lights.

Full-size USB B (peripheral) jack. Use for 3.7 times faster MIDI speed than the MIDI jacks, and to provide power. Can be used for power with any standard USB power adaptor when using the MIDI jacks. LinnStrument can also be powered with any lightning-equipped iPhone, iPad or other mobile device. To use this special Low Power Mode, hold the Octave/Transpose key when powering on the LinnStrument.

Stereo 1/4 inch jack for single or dual momentary (not latching) foot switch (not expression pedal). Functions of foot switches are assigned in GLOBAL SETTINGS. If using a single foot switch, only the Right Foot Switch setting is used.  You can use either Normally Open or Normally Closed foot switches because the unpressed state is automatically sensed when power is connected. By default, the right foot switch (or a single foot switch) is assigned to Sustain Pedal and the left foot switch is assigned to Arpeggiator On/Off.


Connecting to MIDI Sounds and Power

LinnStrument is a MIDI controller and doesn't generate its own sounds, so you'll need to connect it to a computer, iPad or hardware MIDI synth in order to generate sound.

Note: when using USB power, LinnStrument requires at least 350 milliamperes of current and 500 mA is safer. A computer's USB jack usually provides that but a USB hub--especially a USB hub without its own power supply-- often doesn't. If LinnStrument's lights ever flash unexpectedly, this means it's not getting enough current.


Method 1: LinnStrumemt <-> USB Cable <-> Computer

Connect a USB cable from LinnStrument your computer for both MIDI communication and power. USB is better than the round MIDI jacks because it's 3.7 times faster. Once connected, "LinnStrument MIDI" should appear in your computer. Be sure that Global Settings > Actions column > USB is selected. If you're using a USB hub and having any problems, try connecting directly to your computer.


Method 2: LinnStrument <-> USB cable <-> Apple USB to Lightning Adaptor <-> iPad or iPhone

First, you'll need to put LinnStrument into Low Power mode (Global Settings > Power/MIDI column) in order to be powered by an iDevice. Or to wake up LinnStrument in Low Power mode, hold Octave/Transpose while connecting power. Also, if your iDevice is charged to less than 66%, iOS will reduce the power to the Lightning port, though Apple sometimes changes this with iOS updates.

Next, you'll need to use a Lightning-to-USB adapter. Apple has two such adapters:

1) Apple's $30 "Lightning to USB Camera Adapter". Use this adapter if you wish to power LinnStrument from the iDevice's battery.

2) Apple's $40 "Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor". This would seem to be the ideal adapter to power both your iDevice and LinnStrument because it has an additional Lightning port for connecting a USB power supply. However, Apple appears to change the amount of power this adapter can supply to external devices (LinnStrument) with some iOS updates. As of March 2018, the current iOS version supplies enough power for LinnStrument from my (Roger's) iPhone X but not from my 2-year-old iPad (not Pro) or my 2-year-old iPad Pro (large). So it seems to supply enough current from newest iDevices but not older ones but because of Apple's changes to these rules, you'll have to try it out to see if it works with your iDevice and iOS version.


If you have an iPad Pro with USB C connector, this supplies plenty of power. I (Roger) use the following configuration in order to connect my iPad Pro simulaneously to 1) power for both iPad and LinnStrument, 2) LinnStrument USB to iPad, and 3) quality stereo audio output from iPad:

1) Anker USB C Hub, 7-in-1 USB C Adapter, about $50 on Amazon

2) Apogee Jam+ USB Instrument Input and Stereo Output for iPad, $159 on Apple's site

Here's a photo of it.

Other options for powering LinnStrument are:

1)Use a USB Y-adapter cable (like this one) that has 2 flat USB connectors at the computer/iPad end of the cable--one for data and another for power, thereby eliminating the need for the iDevice to supply power.

2) If you have the large LinnStrument model, connect the power input to a DC power supply.


Method 3: LinnStrument <-> MIDI cable <-> Hardware MIDI Synth

You can also use LinnStrument's MIDI OUT to connect to a hardware MIDI synth or your computer's MIDI interface. In this case, you must power LinnStrument either by USB or by a power supply. By default, the MIDI I/O parameter (Global Settings, column 15) is set to USB, so you must select MIDI JACKS if you are using the MIDI jacks.


Foot Switches

You can connect either a single or dual momentary (not latching) foot pedal switch to LinnStrument's 1/4" Foot Switch jack. For example, any keyboard sustain pedal can be used. It can be a Normally Closed or Normally Open foot switch, because LinnStrument automatically senses which type is connected when you connect power. If you use a single foot switch, it should have a standard mono (tip-sleeve) 1/4" plug and only LinnStrument's Right Foot Switch assignment will work. If you use a dual foot switch, it should have a standard stereo (ring-tip-sleeve) 1/4" plug.

There are three dual foot switches we're aware of:

1) The StudioLogic VFP 2/10 (normally open ) or VFP 2/15 (normally closed), both of which work with LinnStrument. Each of these pedals comes in 2 models: 1) with 2 mono TS jacks (doesn't work with LinnStrument) or 2) a single TRS stereo jack (works with LinnStrument). Be sure to order the model with a single stereo jack.

2) Crumar Dual Footswitch, available in the U.S. at Sweetwater

3) Saturnworks Amp Switches. Click here and select the "Momentary Double Switch Normally Open" option.


Avoiding Damage to USB Jack

Unfortunately the classic USB jack was designed for stationary things like printers and modems, and not for music instruments. If you pull hard on your USB cable, this can damage LinnStrument's USB jack, requiring replacement of the main circuit board.

To avoid such damage, tie the USB cable around the nearest guitar strap button, similar to how guitarists commonly protect the guitar's output jack. This acts as a strain relief and protects the USB jack. This is especially important when playing LinnStrument in the standing position.


Wireless MIDI

LinnStrument owner Radoslaw Kokoszka reports that this $50 DIN MIDI wireless MIDI interface works well and sends MIDI over Bluetooth to any Apple iOS device.

Also, LinnStrument owner Eric Mercer has posted a low-cost Bluetooth wireless solution with battery on the LinnStrument forum.


LinnStrument Stand

The Model 18825 Equipment Stand from German company K&M is a sturdy, steel-construction floor stand that works well with either LinnStrument or LinnStrument 128. In the U.S., It's available here for $143.


Roger Linn Design

Los Altos, CA