Designer Roger Linn is beloved by producers for drum machines like the MPC, beloved by guitarists for AdrenaLinn, and now newly respected for the Tempest with Dave Smith. But for anyone who imagines design is a direct line from idea to product, it’s not. Whether Roger Linn or Apple, the process leaves the way littered with discarded creations.

Of course, that doesn’t mean these are bad ideas. Now that we live in a world of DIY, some intrepid musical souls will make products for an audience of one. And where designs are discarded, ideas often survive.

Roger Linn writes CDM to let us know he’s posted a selection of shelved products. Disclosure: I’ve seen some of these before, and even spent time talking to Roger about his dreams of an integrated drum machine computer. It’s interesting to see modular ideas – something DIYers (and recently, maker Livid) have taken on. Here, that covers not only traditional tabletop controllers with knobs, pads, and faders, but guitar foot controllers, as well – something I hope someone tries.

There are also various stabs at new drum pad controller layouts, including a computer dock, though if anything, these suggest to me that a blank slate is now the best beginning point – perhaps MPC-style controllers are best left to Akai, and it’s time for new ideas. Of course, that means the one product here you might still want is the one you still don’t get – the LinnStrument touch controller. Perhaps the controllers of the future will look different altogether. Just be prepared for a lot more scrapped ideas along the way. Happily, that’s half the fun.

Some of those ideas did make it into shipping products: in both ideas saved and tossed, you can trace the evolution of the Tempest.

Enjoy the gallery, and let us know if you can glean any lessons from what Roger threw out.

  • Mike Stannard

    That modular control surface looks AWESOME.

  • itchy

    yeah get to work on that modular control surface
    make it thinner with velocity lighted pads and im sold

  • markLouis

    >let us know if you can glean any lessons from what Roger threw out

    All the technology LOOKS so much cooler and more hip than just a drummer with two sticks. Plain sticks have no built-in intelligence and the drummer provides it all.

    When engineers and designers build intelligence into the tools, the tools look so much sexier than just two plain sticks.

    The idea is that the smart tools will empower smart musicians and create a synergy more powerful than either working alone, right?

    But isn’t the clear lesson of reality that when tools have intelligence built-in, the defining result isn’t the synergy of empowered intelligent, skillful people, but rather the spread and empowerment of unskilled stupid people?

    I mean just for instance check-out people and clerks in stores used to be able to do a little math in their heads or operate a complicated cash register. Now point-of-sale devices are powerful computers and when we shop our shopping experience is defined by dim-witted clerks who don’t know anything about anything.

    Sorry for this ramble but you did ask if we glean any lessons. Just me personally–and I love technology–the lesson I glean from these beautiful things is that beautiful things can be very, very seductive but sometimes seduction results in waking up with a monster.

    • Edison D

      soo….. drum machines have no soul?

    • Mihai

      Technology is not evil, electric guitar is a good tool that didn’t empowered stupid people to do music but created a new genre.
      Also, in a music shop, I prefer a clerk that doesn’t know about math or “complicated cash register” and has enough time to learn about the products that he sells and give a good advice. Actually I encountered many clerks in music shops that had problems with “complicated cash register” but were better musicians than myself :))

    • Dr. Cornelius Panina

      Indeed. I believe it was Sir-Mix-A-Lot who astutely observed that, “the 808 kick drum makes the girlies get dumb.” I believe one could reasonably argue that Roland’s drum machine roster from the beginning of the 80s is responsible for the poor performance of schoolchildren everywhere. The TR-909 is said to have been inspired by studies regarding the negative effects of television on the imaginations of the generation following its widespread penetration. Roger Linn certainly would have, as an industry insider, know this and supported the aims of the drum machine industry in the dumbing-down of all society vis a vis step-based sequencing.

  • gwenhwyfaer

    The Stealth reminds me of nothing so much as a Cheetah MD8. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad…

  • david

    That early design of the LinnStrument was a lot more unique than the current ‘Mega-Touchpad’ concept, but I still hope we’ll not be seeing both designs on that page someday. :-(

  • Jason

    I wonder if we will ever see a new LinnDrum… He claimed he was still working on it when the Tempest was released but there has been no more news that I know of. The picture of the computer integrated with an imagined LinnDrum breaks my heart. With the move by Akai to a computer based solution, and with the popularity of Maschine, I wonder if the days of 100% hardware sequencer/sampler solutions is at an end.

  • Andrew Hicox

    ROFL … CME. … C-to-the-M-to-the-mufukkin-E ??!!
    you can be sure they’re the number 1 reason this stuff didn’t make the cut … or if it did, that it turned out to be complete and utter poo. Sorry … CME is just the worst. THE. WORST.

    • foljs

      “ROLF”? Are you a teenager?

      Mockups of some devices you don’t even know the specs and ideas behind, is “utter poo”?
      As if the masturbatory guitar tracks you have on Soundcloud inspire so much confidence in your opinion…

  • Quon

    Yikes, that Stealth mock up looks frighteningly like the Beat Thang.

  • Starving Student

    peter is he still going to put out the drumsampler and if so when? there are a zillion musicians who want to know and of all people Roger Linn should know that the Native Instruments Maschine is not the be all beat machine in the world, it’s not even a beatmachine techinically I hope what ever shenanigans is going on in the midi controller world does not deter him from giving us all what we’ve been waiting for!!!!!!!! so please ask him, is the new Linn Drum coming out?

  • Saulton

    The modular touch controller reminds me of the stenbeirg range of controllers

  • theviirus

    >>let us know if you can glean any lessons from what Roger threw out.>>

    don’t put pedalboards on TOP of the amps.
    hexagon bases are of the devil.
    DO let other people cannibalize your ideas…badly.

  • funkyfx

    >>about his dreams of an integrated drum machine computer.>>

    I don’t know exactly what you mean, but there is already such a powerful machine : it’s called the Rhizome : and it’s used by people like Timbaland. Strange that nobody heard about it here…