Amazing how time crawls when you’re eagerly awaiting something. Such is the case with the BoomChik: it seems like ages ago that drum machine legend Roger Linn and synth legend Dave Smith “pre-announced” this synth/drum machine. It was actually just this time last year. Unfortunately, you’re going to be waiting a little longer: feedback from musicians and the release of Linn’s AndrenaLinn III and Smith’s Prophet ’08 (easily two of the biggest products of last year) has delayed the BoomChik.

Now the good news: in addition to a new name, the new design looks far more mature. And it’s going to be eminently affordable: street around US$1000 for a basic model, and $1500 for a fancier model with four analog voices as shared with the Prophet ’08 and Evolver.

Full specs are available on the site and a bunch o’ other sites, so here’s the Cliff’s Notes version. (Kirn’s Notes?)

  • Real-time, no-stop, no-drop OS for live performance
  • Pressure-sensitive, backlit (with animation) pads
  • Modulate, filter, and resonate everything, digital or analog voices
  • Step record like an MPC and like an 808
  • Compact Flash storage, USB for MIDI, audio, and sample transfer with a computer (plus real MIDI jacks, don’t worry)
  • Ridiculous number of performance controls, simplified menus, plus foot/expression pedals. (Having seen how much menu jockeying the current Akai and Roland models have, this sounds great. When I want to use a computer, I’ll use a computer with a 23″ display, not a 1″ display.)
  • Stereo inputs let you sample, process audio, or trigger sounds
  • “Analog” version adds analog voices, 27 encoders for voicing, and four direct outputs — one for each voice.

I say, get a day job now so you can quit it when this comes out.

Now a bit more bad news: I hear a prototype may not actually make it to NAMM, which dashes my hopes of getting to show you an actual unit when we’re in Anaheim next week. But we will be talking to Dave and Roger, and hope to have more details soon. And if you focus really hard, maybe one will magically make it there. (Say it with me … ommmmmmm … booooooommmmmm … chikkkkkkk)


  • wax

    Damn you I just got a serious case of gear lust

    *checks wallet*

    *pulls out lint*


  • That's okay… sell out now, get cash, buy LinnDrum when it ships. At least that's my plan.

    Now, who can I sell out to? Oh, darn. Hadn't thought that bit through.

  • dead_red_eyes


  • wax

    well its time to adjust the budget and start chunking coin into a jar….

  • whistleblower

    very,very want…more than my legs. Anybody want to buy a leg? a leg thats going cheep.

  • Adrian Anders

    Do Want!

    Damn this is going to beat Akai's MPCs at their own game. Only natural that the man who invented this kind of box comes back to close the circle.

    I just hope this doesn't become the Optimus Keyboard of drum machines.

  • Key difference with the Optimus:

    The Optimus keyboard (and other such ilk) was intentionally hyped by its creator, then not shipped. Its creator has zero experience in hardware.

    The LinnDrum was supposed to be a low-key announcement — literally, just a teaser banner at last year's NAMM — and we, the blogosphere, would have none of that. We hyped it because we want it so bad. (Hey, that's not artificial hype — what did they expect?) And the creators here are two of the most experienced hardware makers in the business.

    Prototypes I hear *are* on their way, whether they make it to NAMM or not. It's cool that Linn and Smith are open about their process in the way that they are, because a lot of stuff that's in development you don't hear about until it ships.

  • You see, this is how lives of crime begin.

    *steals ski mask*

  • After I pay muh taxes (argh, self-employed), I'm totally starting a LinnDrum II Analog fund. Given the track record of these two men, I really don't see how this can be a bad product.

    One thing haven't seen people mentioning about the analog version is that it seems to be 4 complete analog voices, not just analog drum voices, with an integrated sequencer meant for live use. That means 4 (albeit identical) analog monosynths being sequenced and tweaked live from one box. Very cool.

    Can't wait for more info and a chance to actually play the thang (which will probably be this time next year, when we'll already have decided the next US president… oh boy).

  • i just want to sample, trigger, and sequence something that says Linn and Smith instead of something that says AK@I

  • Excellent. Now – I buy the LinnDrum II, the Prophet 08, and my plan to become Peter Gabriel 2.0 is nearly complete!

  • jorge

    So sad…boomchik is hands-down best name ever ever ever

  • @Evan: After I pay muh taxes (argh, self-employed), I’m totally starting a LinnDrum II Analog fund…. Can’t wait for more info and a chance to actually play the thang (which will probably be this time next year, when we’ll already have decided the next US president…

    Remember how Bush II gave away that chimpy tax refund to everyone shortly after taking office, as a way to buy off the public after the recount? Maybe we can convince Clinton or Obama to front a Boomchik for everyone.

    @jorge: boomchik is hands-down best name ever ever ever

    I'm repainting it on mine!

  • Stereo inputs let you sample, process audio, or trigger sounds

    The same inputs let you trigger? Or a different set? I never got to try the Akai S950's that had, and correct me if ive got the wrong model, drum inputs so you could hook up pads. The concept is excellent. The amount of D4's that have been bought acting as drum tiggers is astounding.

    This does sound pretty special though. I own an MPC, MPD, Novation DrumStation and other similar stuff and this could potentially combined the best bits of all of these in one package, and that "potentially" is worth waiting for. Even if this doesnt live up to the hype, its nice to know there are alterntives to the MachineDrum doing the "meta-drum machine thing" rounds.

  • i need a drool guard……………….

  • clarity

    >>>Real-time, no-stop, no-drop OS for live performance<<<

    Oh my…Ableton Live as a piece of hardware from Roger Linn & Dave Smith? I think my dream just came true!

  • clarity

    …yes…I know I'm making a huge assumption….still….here's hoping…

  • Eimm

    >>>The Optimus keyboard (and other such ilk) was intentionally hyped by its creator, then not shipped.<<>>Its creator has zero experience in hardware.<<<

    Sure, that's just a keyboard. I mean anyone can make one.

  • Eimm

    Sorry, there's a part missing from my last comment.

    If you were talking about Optimus Maximus keyboard with a display under each key, two batches have been shipped according to Wikipedia.

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