Audiobus: Use your music apps together.
What is Audiobus? — Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.Download on the App Store
Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.
Linnstrument worth having if my iPad has stuff like Velocity KB?
Hi! I have 2 MIDI controllers, which are a MicroKey Air 61 for traditional keyboard playing and velocity and a LaunchPad Pro Mk 3 for scales, drums, and more compact stuff. I bought the LaunchPad for its aftertouch but find it to be wonky. I love Velocity KB, but I find that I have to put it on a stand. Otherwise, velocity doesn't work if my iPad is flat on a table.
Even with Velocity KB, my iPaf doesn't feel much like an instrument. I'm thinking of getting a Linnstrument for my 25th bday later this year (I was originally considering a hardware synth like the Take 5). Is the Linnstrument worth it? If so, is the 128 or 200 version better? I would love to have a Linnstrument in my backpack, but I heard that the 200 is better for keyboardists. What are your thoughts?
I would really love a linnstrument but don’t have one. I have however read a lot about them and the pros and cons. First of all, if you want to play 2 handed, most recommend the big one, yes. The big one is also useful if you want to use a section of it for a controller rather than a player.
Some people rave about the linnstrument but I hear several main complaints:
1. The y axis is a bit short for expression
2. Some say it is hard to play the note on velocity predictably
3. Some don’t like how hard the surface is, feeling there is not enough tactile feedback compared to, say, a seaboard. There is a guy who has made a kind of bumpy “skin” for the linnstrument, forget the name, but those are currently out of stock. They look great though.
If you go to Roger Lynn’s website, he suggests contacting him, telling him where you live, and he will try to put you in touch with an owner who lives nearby who’ll be willing to let you try out theirs. With a major investment in a piece of kit like this, that would seem to be a sensible thing to do, if possible. Only when you try it will you really know if it is for you or not. Even then, it will take a fair bit of practice probably to really give it a decent chance.
@frosttrance_7 what are your main use cases for wanting an MPE controller? If independent note aftertouch for playing an MPE synth is important to you, then the Linnstrument is hard to beat from what I hear. If all you want is a guitar layout controller with velocity sensitivity, then velocity keyboard should suffice. I’ve heard many reviews complaining about the Linnstrument’s velocity response being imperfect. Velocity keyboard works best, in my experience, with something soft under it, such as a small pillow. I haven’t seen a side by side comparison of velocity accuracy between the two, though. If you are primarily planning on using it with SWAM instruments, then MPE isn’t as important as expression control.
I was on the edge of buying a Linnstrument a couple of months ago, primarily for use with SWAM instruments. After a lot of research, I decided to go with a tecontrol breath controller, combined with velocity keyboard. This combination is INCREDIBLY accurate at all expression levels, and very intuitive to play (even as a guitarist with no wind instrument experience). I highly recommend this set up for melodic stuff, and pads, but it obviously wouldn’t be great for drumming or piano.
Just played the Linnstrument for the pat hour.
Primarily I play it with a Continuumini. I’ve realized with the Linnstrument it takes a bit of patience to discover how to play each preset on the Continuumini, each is really a different instrument. Following that conclusion it can make so so so many software and hardware instruments so much more expressive and just fun to really play.
You can customize your key/scale/lights to however you like but as a bass player keeping to fourths has been so conducive to learning more about theory, and sending various midi elements TO the Linnstrument to learn has been really helpful with my short attention span.
Everyone that has written on this post has great points though. It’s a big investment and you can accomplish a great deal with less bucks, I’m sure the combo of the breath controller and velocity keyboard is killer!
I can say though after really spending time to try and learn to play my Linnstrument 200 with two hands(as close to a piano style as I can) I want the Linnstrument to be my main instrument until my last breath.
One more thing
Roger Linn has a zoom call every first Tuesday of the month.
You can join in and ask questions right to Roger. The kind of support Roger Linn offers for the Linnstrument is nothing short of incredible. Links are on his site.
that is impressive service indeed!
Yeah he really seems like a top guy.
This is key. Every patch is a unique instrument. Many require extensive practice to learn to play effectively--with any controller.
I lack a Linnstrument, but I play VK or Geoshred almost every day. My main challenge is timing. It is very difficult to really sink into a pocket by tapping on the ipad. I can sail over the groove just fine; it's digging in that is difficult. I've always wondered if Linnstrument would solve that.
The other advantage is that ipad lacks the Z dimension; Linstrument has it. I can live without Z no problem. I get plenty of expression from the ipad controllers. It's the timing that I'm missing.
The ipad has one advantage over the Linnstument: you pick it up and power on and you're jamming. No cables, no need to schlep things around or find a space for them. All you need is the ipad. That is very attractive to me.
I just want a good polyphonic aftertouch controller with customizable scales. I am open to trying out the three-axis way of playing, even if the velocity is not perfect.
Really like my Linnstrument. Never felt I needed more than 128 pads and prefer the more compact smaller version. Definitely better than playing on an iPad because it's a textured surface
That's a huge advantage for Linnstrument over VK or GS. You have to play by always looking at the ipad. For me this makes harmonies quite difficult because it's harder to see multiple notes, especially when part of the hand is blocking the view. Going by feel is not accurate on the ipad. Linnstrument wins big here.
Linnstrument owner here. I have a LaunchPad X which convinced me that a pad-type controller would work for me, and the Linnstrument seemed like a logical step up.
The cost is the big downside. It's a sizeable investment and you want to be confident that you're going to stick with it. That said, every now and then a secondhand one comes up for sale, and my impression is that they hold their value pretty well.
The one thing that I feel is missing is some sort of knob controllers. You can do a lot with just pads, but most of the time I still want some knobs I can turn. You can configure the bottom row of pads as a "slider" to control a MIDI CC, but I personally don't find that comfortable to work with.
Now for the upsides...
Roger Linn himself is a great resource. The Linnstrument is his baby, and he makes himself very available to help when you have questions. You're not gonna get anything like that level of support for your Ableton controller.
I love the tactile nature of touching pads vs something like Geoshred and similar controllers on the iPad. As much as I tried, I couldn't get the feeling of touching glass to create music to work for me.
If you come from a guitar/bass/Stick background, then the 4ths tuning on the Linnstrument will be something you pick up very quickly. You can switch it to a guitar like 4ths+3rd tuning, or lots of other tunings in firmware - lots of people seem to like either 6 or 7 semitones (5ths) tuning, but the default 4ths works fine for me.
Speaking of firmware, you can control just about everything on the Linnstrument from the Linnstrument itself. You really don't need anything else for live performance; you can quickly change any settings you might want to change on the Linnstrument.
It's easy to learn a fairly small set of patterns to let you play chords with minimal thought. That comes in very handy when you're sitting in with other musicians and all you have is chord charts to work with. Once you pick up the chords, you can then start to add something a bit more spicy - however you can start contributing to a group of musicians pretty much straightaway once you get the basic patterns under your fingertips.
Continuing on that point, if your particular group of musicians is lacking a drummer, or your bass player is sick that day, or you want to see how a song would sound if you added a sax, the Linnstrument is the perfect controller for those situations. In a group, you quickly become the person who can cover anything that the others can't. It's not like being a keyboard player with a big bank of sounds at their fingertips, but limited by the on-off nature of a keyboard; the tactile nature of the Linnstrument lets you come up with fairly realistic simulations of a lot of different instruments. If you like being a musical jack of all trades, the Linnstrument is the controller for you!
Controlling SWAM instruments is especially good. With not a lot of experience, you can create a fairly convincing saxophone, violin, trumpet etc. - the Linnstrument is particularly good for controlling these. I'm not a saxophone player, but I can give a pretty good imitation of one in a mix.
I've found that when learning other instruments/controllers, my progress hasn't been particularly smooth. I reach a certain level of competence, then I plateau at the level for quite a while, then I make a breakthrough that moves me up a level, then I plateau at that level, and so on. With the Linnstrument, it feels like I'm improving fairly steadily and every day I'm just a bit better than the day before. Others have commented how quickly my skills seem to be advancing, so it's (probably) not just my imagination.
All the firmware for the Linnstrument is open source, meaning you can change it yourself if you know how to code. At some point MIDI 2.0 might replace MPE, and it's in your power to reconfigure your own Linnstrument to add any new features you might want. A few people have changed the firmware of the Linnstrument to meet their individual requirements, and shared their code around - the expertise is out there and people are keen to help. I'm comfortable that my Linnstrument isn't going to become useless over time, even if Roger Linn himself is no longer around to support it.
The Linnstrument community is extremely supporting, kind of like the Audiobus forum. Yep there's a few people who might rub you up the wrong way occasionally, but I've never had a problem getting my questions answered or getting into engaging online discussions about various Linnstrument features. Don't underestimate the value of having a pool of online experts around to offer advice!
Finally the decision between 128 pads and 200 pads...
Once I decided to get a Linnstrument, I spent a lot of time weighing up which model to go with. I eventually went with the 200, but there's definitely a tradeoff between the 2. The 200 is a physically big thing to carry around and occupies a lot of space while you're playing it, while the 128 will fit into a laptop bag - if you're at all concerned with portability, then the 128 is pretty compelling. If I had a 128, I could fit everything I use (Linnstrument, cables, iPad) into a laptop bag, and I could effectively disappear in a crowd of people; with the 200 I've got it in a bag that really stands out because of the size and shape, plus I've got another bunch of stuff to carry around as well.
Functionally the 2 models are identical (I think...), and the extra 72 pads on the 200 can be handy for playing with 2 hands - however, with the 4ths tuning that I use, you only get an extra 9 semitones of range. If I was playing lead-type lines with 1 hand, there's no question I'd get the 128; if you're playing with 2 hands, and using piano-type voicings, then the 200 is the better fit. If you're sitting in front of a DAW to create music, then the 128 is logistically a whole lot easier to work with - the 200 takes up a ton of desk space. Summing up, there's times when I wish I'd bought the 128, and other times where I'm grateful for the 200.