Linn Electronics LinnDrum

Linn Drum Image

The LinnDrum was the second machine from Linn Electronics. It's basically an upgraded version of the original LM-1 with added crash and ride cymbals to the kit. The LinnDrum uses 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. The LinnDrum also had a handy upgrade option, a well designed layout and interface, and live drum trigger inputs.

The LinnDrum had beefed up the sampled sounds from 28 to a 35kHz sample rate. It features 15 sounds including bass, snare, rimshot, hihat, crash, ride, three toms, cabasa, tambourine, high and low congas, cowbell, and clap. Up to 12 sounds are available simultaneously. Individual controls are available to tune, pan, and mix each drum sound via dedicated knobs and sliders. An Accent is available for the kick, snare and hats. The handy upgrade options involve inserting new chips containing new sets of sampled drum sounds created by many session drummers of the time.

Linn Electronics LinnDrum Image

The sequencer had some innovative features (for the time) such as swing, quantizing and memory storage! Two-bar patterns can be recorded in real or step time, with or without quantizing. There are 56 user patterns for storing your drum patterns. There are also 42 preset drum patterns. Patterns can be arranged into Songs for which there are 49 memory locations. Old songs and patterns can be off-loaded to cassette tape for storage. Designed for the studio, there are 15 individual outputs for each sound around the back as well as external sync and trigger but no MIDI (unless modified by a 3rd party). The LinnDrum's features made it the most professional drum machine of its time. It was widely used throughout the 1980s and there are about 5,000 of them which have been used by professionals (such as Sting, Prince, Jean-Michel Jarre, Sheila E., Todd Rundgren, Jimmy Edgar, Jan Hammer, Peter Gabriel), hobbyists, and educators alike!

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33 Visitor comments
December 20, 2013 @ 1:59 pm
Sheila E. uses one of these, in the hip-hop/B-Boy movie "Krush Groove" (1985). She's playing around with it in her apartment, while entertaining guests "Run D.M.C.". She's accompanied by a Yamaha DX-7, which is being played by her keyboardist/band member. It's a very "funky fresh" scene yo. Word! LOL :-P
But seriously, seeing vintage synths/drum machines in movies & on TV is always cool.
December 5, 2013 @ 9:30 am
Two bits of mis-information regarding this machine:

1. It is called "LinnDrum", NOT "LM-2"
2. It was NOT used by Prince at all...He exclusively used the LM-1 on his early recordings.

I just got one, and can tell you that samples of the machine do not do it justice. The feel of the sequencer, plus the filters cannot be replicated with one-shot samples.

You can hear my LinnDrum on my latest album:

September 18, 2013 @ 3:33 pm
I just had an LM 2 professionally refurbished in New York city. Will be selling it in the next few weeks. Feel free to write me if interested.
August 18, 2013 @ 2:16 am
there is a reasonably priced one of these up on Sweetwater Trading right now.
August 8, 2013 @ 10:05 am
The Linndrum is an amazing machine, unfortunately there aren't many samples out there that do it justice. Hopefully these do:

The linndrum has been recorded through an SSL Console EQ gate and compression, an Emu SP-1200, to tape (re-pitched extensively, and through Apogee conversion.
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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 sampled sounds
  • Samples - 35kHz Samples: bass, snare, rimshot, hihat, 3 toms, crash, ride, cabasa, tambourine, high and low congas, cowbell, claps.
  • Patterns - 42 preset, 56 user patterns
  • Songs - 49
  • Keyboard - none
  • New & Cool Functions - Quantizing (96 ppqn), real-time programming and digital metronome
  • Control - Tape, Sync, and Clock
  • Date Produced - 1982 - 1985

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