Linn Electronics LM-1 Drum Computer

Linn Drum LM-1 Image

This is THE classic drum machine of the 80's - it launched the drum machine revolution! The Linn LM-1 Drum Computer was created by guitarist Roger Linn and he used samples of acoustic drum sounds. At the time, they sounded great and much more realistic and they were a fresh alternative to the analog drum sounds of the '80's drum machines. About 500 LM-1's were made before the LinnDrum model appeared in 1982.

There are twelve 28kHz samples including: snare, kick, three toms, hi-hat's, tambourine, congas, claps, cowbell, and rimshot, but no ride or crash. There are also 100 memory patches! Patterns can be created in real or step time. An innovations of the time was the swing and quantize functions that appeared on the LM-1. The LM-1 is an historical synth that has a place in the sound of music from the heart of the '80's. Only 500 of these things are out there so don't count on finding one easily. It has been used by Phil Collins, Thompson Twins, Stevie Wonder, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, John Carpenter, Todd Rundgren, Prince, and The Art of Noise.

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25 Visitor comments
September 1, 2010 @ 12:01 pm
The phrase "LinnDrum" became a widely generic term in the early 80s for the LM1 and LM2, so some artists used the term "LinnDrum" without specifying whether they were talking about the LM1 or LM2 used in their music. The estimated value listed on this site needs another zero added to it. These are as rare as dino bones.
August 30, 2010 @ 2:03 pm
Also, this is the drum machine used on Mtume - Juicy Fruit!
August 19, 2010 @ 10:16 am
Peter Gabriel used this one in the early 80's.
May 19, 2010 @ 7:07 pm
Something magical happens on the Linn LM1 when you start to lower the tuning of the samples. Who knows what it is, all I know is my ears have always gone insane for it and probably always will.
LinnDrum has cymbals and more extra features, but it does not have all the tuning abilities, or f'd up sample set that the LM1 has. No music gear company on the planet nowadays would put the weird 28khz samples Roger Linn put into the LM1 on today's gear - their audio engineers would hang them for it because they are technically "incorrect"

Here's a cool video demo of a front-panel tuning modded Linn LM1 :

Don't get me wrong, I love the LinnDrum as well. The killer 'Genesis - Mama' drum machine beat is a LinnDrum + AMS reverb unit + Yamaha guitar amp w/ distortion according to Mike Rutherford (Wikipedia says it's a LM1, so go figure...)
November 4, 2009 @ 6:47 am
Don't forget it was also all over Human League's Dare!
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 12 sounds
  • Samples - 28kHz Samples: bass, snare, rimshot, hihat, 3 toms, cabasa, tambourine, high and low congas, cowbell, claps.
  • Patterns - 100
  • Songs - 8
  • Keyboard - none
  • New & Cool Functions - Quantizing, real-time programming and digital metronome
  • Control - Tape sync and Clock
  • Date Produced - 1980-83
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Benjamin Ward and

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