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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36 Visitor comments
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.
Big Chris
September 24, 2012 @ 8:28 am
As others have noted, this thing is housed in a steel chassis that makes it very durable. The LinnDrums' weakness though is the power supply, which wasn't very well specced and runs quite hot. It's quite straightforward to fix though, and access to the machine is simple thanks to the hinged lid. Forat electronics offer MIDI upgrades, and also a firmware upgrade that adds step time programming for patterns.
elroy weebler
May 14, 2012 @ 1:25 pm
by the way, i want to help clear up the misconception that the LinnDrum has a 35 kHz playback rate for its samples. i don't know who originally claimed this, but it is simply not true. the master clock frequency, as set from the factory, is about 24 kHz. the individually tuned sounds also sound best at or near this sampling rate. machines like the LM-1 and DMX were also sampled around 24 kHz, so why does the LinnDrum sound much cleaner and crisper? it may have something to do with the master clock being a true analog VCO, as opposed to say the DMX which uses nasty 555 timers for its clocking.
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Rated 3.67 (276 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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 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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