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. However, there are two categories of sounds that are helpful to know about and are therefore listed on this page:

1) Channel Per Note synths (MPE or Multi Timbral)
This means that each synth voice receives from a separate MIDI channel, permitting independent pressure, left/right and forward/backward control for each of simultaneous touches when LinnStrument's Channel Per Note (MPE) mode is used. This includes two types of synths:

A) Fully or mostly MPE-compatible synths, in which a single sound is selected and each voice is driven by a separate MIDI channel.

B) Multi-timbral synths. Multi-timbral synths are intended to play a different sound (timbre) on each received MIDI channel. So for MPE-like operation you must set the synth so that all of its timbres play 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.

These synths are listed under the "Mac/Win MPE", "iOS MPE" and "Hardware MPE" tabs below.

However, it is important to note that because of LinnStrument's smart one-channel MIDI handling and ability to send polyphonic pressure messages, the primary advantage of MPE is to perform polyphonic pitch bends and Y-axis gestures, which aren't so important in most playing styles.

2) Expressive one-channel synths (fourth tab)
Although LinnStrument works with all one-channel MIDI synths, there are some that are particularly well-suited to responding to LinnStrument's three dimensions of expressive control. For example, Audio Modeling's SWAM technology provides continuously-variable malleability of note loudness, pitch and timbre but without the undesirable artifacts of sampling like noticeable pitch transpositions or obvious switching between loudness samples. And any synths that are optimized for wind controllers (Akai EWI/EVI or Yahama WX5/YVS100, etc.) tend to work well with LinnStrument because their optimization for breath control of note loudness translates very well LinnStrument's pressure control of note loudness.

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.

Roger's favorites:
* One of my favorite synths is Surge, a FREE, open source plug-in synth for Mac, Windows and Linux. Learn more and download it here.
* For all-around synthesis and sampling on mac, the built-in synths in Apple's Logic or MainStage are excellent, providing modeled analog, FM, sampling, physical modeling and more. They include a large and high-quality sample library and are very low-cost at $200 for Logic and $30 for MainStage. And on the Getting Started page, I provide a file of various LinnStrument-optimized sounds for both applications.
* For all-around synthesis including modeled analog, FM, some samples, extensive modulation, full MPE compatibility and good MPE presets, Roli's Equator is excellent.
* For perfect expressive emulation of all orchestral winds and bowed strings, nothing comes close to Audio Modeling's software instruments. They are described under the Expressive One-Channel Synths tab below.

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.

Also, here is Roli's list of MPE-compatible or expressive synths that they recommend for use with Seaboard and therefore work with LinnStrument.









Roger Linn Design

Los Altos, CA