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LinnDrum digital drum machine
LinnDrum digital drum machine
Manufacturer Linn Electronics
Dates 1982–1985
Price US $2,995
Technical specifications
Polyphony polyphonic 12 voices
Timbrality multitimbral 15 voices
Synthesis type 8-bit digital samples, 28–35 kHz
Memory 56 user patterns, 42 preset drum patterns, 49 songs
Effects Individual level and pan for all sounds, tuning for snare, tom and conga only
Keyboard 15 hard plastic "pads"
External control pre MIDI, third-party MIDI Retrofit Kit, trigger inputs x5

The LinnDrum (also called the Linn LM-2) is a drum machine manufactured by Linn Electronics as the successor to the Linn LM-1. It was introduced in 1982 at a list price of $2,995. Approximately 5,000 units were sold between 1982 and 1985.[1][2] The Linn 9000 was the successor of the LinnDrum.

Its high-quality samples, flexibility and affordability made the LinnDrum popular; it sold far more units than its predecessor (the LM-1) and its successor (the Linn 9000) combined.[2] Roger Linn re-used the moniker on the LinnDrum Midistudio and the Roger Linn Designs' LinnDrum II. The LinnDrum was used on countless recordings throughout the 1980s, including international hits such as a-Ha's "Take on Me" and Tears for Fears' "Shout."

When Linn Electronics closed in 1986, Forat Electronics purchased their remaining assets[3] and offered service, sounds and modifications for the LinnDrum.[4] The LinnDrum was pre MIDI, but Retrofit Kits were offered by JL Cooper[5] and Forat Electronics.[4]


The LinnDrum has fifteen 8 bit 28 kHz ~ 35 kHz digitally sampled drum sounds: bass, snare, rimshot, hihat, crash, ride, three toms, cabasa, tambourine, high and low congas, cowbell, and clap. Like the LM-1, it provided a sequencer for programming rhythm patterns, a built-in mixer and individual output jacks for each sound.

The LinnDrum improved on the LM-1 in many ways including: the addition of crash and ride cymbal samples, five external trigger inputs and the ability to replace built-in sounds with new sounds on EPROM chips. The LinnDrum sampled sounds from 28 to a 35 kHz sample rate. Also, the LinnDrum was $2,000 less than the LM-1.

One drawback: on the LinnDrum only the snare, tom and conga samples can be tuned, whereas the LM-1 allows every sound to be individually tuned.

Brochure (1982)[edit]

page 1
page 2 and 3
page 4


The LinnDrum is often erroneously called the LM-2, alluding to its predecessor, the Linn LM-1. LM-1 stood for Linn/Moffett/1. Alex Moffett,[6] an early investor in the Linn drum computer development, wasn't with the company by the time the LinnDrum came around.

Drum Samples[edit]

According to some, the LinnDrum sounds were sampled from real drums played specifically for the machine by noted Los Angeles drummer Art Wood, good friend of Roger Linn, who also played with Linn as well as Peter Frampton, Gary Wright, Cher, Tina Turner, Bette Midler and James Brown, to name a few.[7][8] However, "The LM-1 was the first drum machine to use samples of a real drum kit, Roger Linn confirms that it was indeed Art Wood session drummer that played the majority of the sounds that he used.[9] To further add to the mystery, an entry in the online museum of the Roger Linn Design company credits L.A. session drummer Art Wood with most of the samples."[1] While the Roger Linn Designs Past Products Museum page credits Art Wood for "most" of the LM-1 sounds, there is no credit for the drummer who played the sounds for the LinnDrum.


Although there have not been any official virtual instrument versions of the LinnDrum, several manufacturers have either emulated its interface and/or included samples of it. Such notable examples are as follows:

  • Steinberg's LM-4 drum machine plug-in;
  • Arturia's Spark, which includes samples of both the LM-1 and LinnDrum; as well as its successor, the Linn 9000.
  • and the "Lend Drum" patch from Native Instruments' Battery drum machine, which was sampled from an actual LinnDrum.


Artist Album Songs Year
a-ha Hunting High and Low "Take on Me" 1985 *Alternative LinnDrum samples
Al Corley "Square Rooms" 1984
Alphaville Forever Young "The Jet Set" 1984
Bad Boys Blue "You're A Woman", "Pretty Young Girl" 1985
Bananarama "Cruel Summer" 1983
Berlin Top Gun "Take My Breath Away" 1986
Billy Idol "Eyes Without a Face" 1983
Billy Ocean "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" 1986
Bobby Orlando Freedom in a Unfree World 1983
Bonnie Tyler "Holding Out for a Hero" 1983
Bronski Beat "Smalltown Boy", "Why?", "Hit That Perfect Beat" 1984/1986
Bruce Springsteen
Charlie Peacock "Lie Down In The Grass" 1984
Cyndi Lauper "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (kick drum), "Time After Time" 1984
David Van Tieghem "These Things Happen" 1984
Dead or Alive "You Spin Me Round" 1984
Deniece Williams "Let's Hear It for the Boy" 1984
Devo Oh No, It's Devo! "Explosions" 1982
Diana Ross Eaten Alive "Chain Reaction" 1986
Digital Emotion "Go Go Yellow Screen", "Get Up", "The Beauty & The Beast" 1983
Don Henley "Boys of Summer" 1984
Exposé "Come Go With Me" 1987
Falco "Rock Me Amadeus" 1986
Frankie Goes To Hollywood "Relax", "Two Tribes" 1983
Freddie Mercury "Love Kills", "I Was Born to Love You" 1984
Genesis Invisible Touch "Invisible Touch", "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", "Domino" 1986
George Michael "Faith" 1987
Giorgio Moroder Scarface OST "Push It To The Limit" and all the others. 1983
Giorgio Moroder Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder "Together in Electric Dreams" 1984-1985
Hall & Oates Big Bam Boom 1984
Harold Faltermeyer "Axel F", "Fletch Theme" 1984-1985
Hooked On Classics "Hooked On Classics" 1981
Irene Cara "Flashdance...What a Feeling" 1983
Jan Hammer "Crockett's Theme", "Payback", "Marina Theme" (First Version) 1984
Jean Michel Jarre Zoolook 1984
Jermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora "When the Rain Begins to Fall" 1984
(John Luongo world-renowned producer/mixer on John Waite's "Missing You" and Roxette's "Listen to Your Heart" amongst many others)
Kenny Loggins Top Gun "Danger Zone" 1986
Kraftwerk Electric Café 1986
John Foxx
Leonard Cohen Various Positions "Dance Me to the End of Love" 1984
Limahl "The NeverEnding Story" 1984
Lindsey Buckingham Go Insane "Go Insane" 1984
Madonna "Lucky Star", "Borderline", "Burning Up", "Physical Attraction" 1983
Miami Sound Machine "Dr. Beat" 1984
Michael Sembello Flashdance "Maniac" 1983
Mike Mareen "Love Spy" 1986
Mr. Mister Welcome to the Real World "Broken Wings" 1985
Pat Benatar "Love Is a Battlefield" 1984
Paul Mauriat "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" 1985
Peter Brown "They Only Come Out At Night", "Classical Dancing", "Love Is Just A Game" 1983/84
Peter Gabriel So "This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)" 1986
Phil Collins No Jacket Required "Don't Lose My Number", "Only You Know And I Know" 1985
Propaganda "P:Machinery" 1985
Queen "Radio Ga Ga" 1984
Savage Tonight "Only You", "A Love Again", "Radio", "Tonight" 1984
Samantha Fox "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" 1986
Sparks "Popularity", "Rockin' Girls" 1983
Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" 1985
The Cars
Wham! "Last Christmas", "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", "Everything She Wants" 1984
Vince Clarke
Yazoo You and Me Both "Nobody's Diary" 1983


  1. ^ a b "Linn Electronics LinnDrum at Vintage Synth Explorer". Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Linn, Roger. "Past Products Museum". Roger Linn Designs. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Then in 1986 Forat Electronics Corporation was born after purchasing Linn's remaining assets...". Forat Electronics - History. 
  4. ^ a b "Forat Electronics LinnDrum". 
  5. ^ "LINN LM-2 Drum Machine with JL Cooper Midi Mod & Instructions". MATRIXSYNTH. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Moffett, Alex. "Alex Moffett - LinkedIn". Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Art Wood has full credit for programming the drum sounds for the Linn Drum Machine...". Linn Electronics LinnDrum at Vintage Synth Explorer. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Katrina Wood, wife of Art Wood, updated and confirms information regarding data of who imputed the majority of the sounds into the Linn Drum Machine. Roger Linn concurs.
  9. ^ Hey, what's that sound: Linn LM-1 Drum Computer and the Oberheim DMX by David McNamee The Guardian

External links[edit]