The Linn 9000 shipped way back in 1984, but could nearly pass for a shipping product today. So, since the LinnDrum II mock-ups look nothing like the current design, let’s feast our eyes on this instead.

Roger Linn, father of the modern drum machine and creator of some of its greatest models (including the MPC60 and MPC3000), really is working on a new generation. I’ve seen some of that design work, and I’m confident it’ll ship in some form. But announced yesterday, that shipment won’t happen third quarter this year. Also, it seems that, while this was always a LinnDrum and not a SmithDrum, the product is tending even further toward the Roger Linn side and not so much the Dave Smith side – especially with Dave Smith’s own synth business going great guns.

I will say, I prefer a few months’ delay with fewer compromises (or in this case, maybe a lower price). The big names in the industry have such firm release dates that often some significant functionality slips instead of the ship target. Part of the reason a lot of people don’t talk about projects before they’re done really isn’t competitive secrecy – it’s because the evolution of a hardware design can be unpredictable.

But so you can decide for yourself, here’s the published note from Roger:

Update – July 9, 2009:

We’re still hard at work but regrettably won’t be able to meet our earlier estimate of a 3rd-quarter 2009 ship date. The recent changes in the economy have caused us to rethink our design, which had become too expensive. One problem is that Dave’s customers and my customers had different views of what the product should be, so we had been working on a more elaborate design that we thought would please them both. Then the economy tanked. Oops. The other issue is that Dave and his team have been having such success with their analog synths that they’ve been spreading themselves pretty thin trying to work on both projects.

So given these circumstances, we’d prefer not to state another release date estimate at this time, but when we do we promise to post it here along with any other information we’re able to release. Also, given that Dave and his team have their hands pretty full and that a beat-oriented product is more of a Roger product anyway, we’ll probably be selling it through Roger Linn Design instead of from both companies as we had previously considered.

I’d personally love to tell everybody all the details of the product design, features and price as we did with our initial designs of the product, but there’s that pesky problem of keeping the information from our competitors. So we need to keep tight-lipped for now and regrettably can’t answer any questions. Thanks also to those who have kindly asked to place advance orders. However, we don’t feel it’s right to accept orders until we are able to release the price or more information about the product.

And now I must get back to work. 🙂

– Roger

Advance Product Information: LinnDrum II

  • salamanderanagram

    i feel like it's been well over a year since i saw the first proto for this??

  • Will

    I'm glad they're taking their time. Too many things are just rushed out the door. Sometimes the things you wait a little more for *cough* Ableton 8 *cough* are worth it.

  • dim

    i am so mad at these guys now i have been waithing for this for so long and cant wait no more.I am now thinking this machine will never see the light of day maybe I should just buy a 5000 roger is letting alot of people down

  • Ernie Jackson

    I for one – will remain patient and be the first on line to get it!

  • rhowaldt

    @dim: Roger Linn speaks of an 'earlier estimate' ship-date. if a delay seriously 'lets you down', i think the problem is more with your expectations than with the release of a device not reaching it's deadline. if you feel so bad about him not finishing in time, why not go over and give him a hand instead of bitching about it? it's a drummachine for god's sake, not something you need to stay alive.

  • rhowaldt

    i'm sorry. its not 'it's deadline', its 'its deadline'. you still know what i said.

  • nkem

    looking forward to this regardless of date/time.

  • salamanderanagram

    @ dim – probably you would be angrier if you boughht an unfinished product that clearly needed more work.

  • cubestar

    I'm sure it's going to be amazing… and I still won't be able to afford it at half the original price 🙁

    Really great guys though, Roger & Dave!


  • Looks it's like the guy that created the mario games says, a late game is Only late until it's released. A bad game on time is bad forever.

  • As an AdrenaLinn customer, I must say that I'm happy Roger is taking his time. They just cannot do like Microsoft and ship some half-baked product and then spend years releasing "service packs".

    At this point in his career, he could easily get a lot of money from advanced orders (I know I would pay) but he chose to do otherwise. That's the kind of move you make when you plan to be around for a long time…


    I also welcome the extra wait time for the linn2 if it will result in a better product.

    This is much more responsible than the current incarnation of AKAI and their criminal habit of releasing an MPC and using their first years worth of customers as guinea pigs to test out the operating system. OR WORSE YET Akai even delivered three MPC's in a row that didn't even work enough to use until 8-16 months after release. The MPC500 had a bad battery life, bad card slot and several problems only fixed by the latest OS. The first several OS for the 2500 didn't even let you use the 3rd and 4th midi outputs and it lost data, and had a lot of problems loading presets from other MPC's even though this was NEVER a problem in the alternative JJOS. And don't get me started on the MPC5000. They had four years of R&D on that turd and I have yet to hear anyone happy with it even after the release of 2.0 people are complaining about TOTAL freezes and bad hard disk (They use FAT and not NTFS format? WTF?!?!) . The problems with the hard disk are ESPECIALLY galling since these are the same problems that were encountered with the MPC4000 during its entire run.

    Thankfully Mr. Linn and Smith don't play that game. They admit that good things take time and for that i don't mind.

  • velocipede

    Here is a very different (I would say extreme) interpretation of the same press release.

  • This is good news. Good things are worth waiting for and by the time it's released everyone will forget about the wait. After reading the press release it's a great to hear that linn decided the design was too expensive and redesigned it. Theres nothing worse than the latest ground breaking piece of kit coming out and nobody except well off guys being able to afford it. Guess we'll see.

    @it crowded – All mpc's without the linn signiture are turds except maybe the 2000xl but still no where near as good as the mp60 or even better mpc60 with the firmware update from linn himself.

  • @velocipede. Uh… well, Future Music's take is interesting. It seems to be entirely conjecture and a fantasy of what this thing is.

    Look, I think the big risk here is that the expectations for this product are entirely external. The sense I have of Roger and Dave is that they sort of, you know, focus on designing their products and listening to their customers.

    I have no indication the LinnDrum II is dead, whatever the heck that even means (particularly since Roger says he's still shipping what HE thinks it should be, and it's got his name on it – and has had that for a year and a half). It's already been through a number of revisions taking it in entirely different directions. So the finished product was never "alive." Roger and Dave have a great luxury, which is that because they are independent makers, they can radically change designs and ship whatever they want whenever they want — rather than fix stuff on paper years in advance. They also do something they don't *have* to do, which is to listen intently to what their users say is important. That's not an easy thing to do, but it means whatever the results of this process, you know a number of actual users gave them feedback that led in a direction.

  • Where is futuremusic getting their information? A drum machine gets delayed and suddenly it's all "The rapture is here! Music is dead! The world is a cold dark place where death is the only certainty! Abandon hope and Love!"

    Some editor must have had a crap day, or a rough break-up today.

  • Eric

    The expectations of this realease is going to be enormous, the only bandaid for the delay will be the pricetag and the versatility with other softwares, consider also a bug-free product at releasepoint.


    ZAnder the party line is that LINN MPCs are the only MPCs however I do have to admit that the MPC2000 and 2000xl are both good, that the MPC500 has only a problem with battery life and no active input through (minor problems now).

    Also the MPC60 and 3000 have the problem of no track mute which really is the greatest improvisation feature in the MPC


    Also the JJOS is a fantastic product

    Akai should be embarrassed they got scooped on that

  • Vehical Driver

    The trouble with the modern MPCs is that they are still very good at what they do, they suck just enough to be annoying. While we all hate Akai with a passion (aka Newmark), we are all stuck with Akai's products until someone comes up with something better. JJOS makes the new MPCs work very well, new MPCs are still solidly built compared to compatible Korg/Roland grooveboxes (although nowhere near the standard of quality of old Akai gear), and so we begrudgingly buy another flawed Akai product.

    The dream of all MPC owners is someone else releases an MPC-killer product. People had high hopes for the Linndrum II, and now a lot of those people will just probably upgrade to the MPC 5000 or something.

  • I am happy to wait for what will be a wonderful product.

  • any word on the Beat Thang?!

  • I'll wait for someone to buy it, and place it on ebay a month later.

    If there is one feature I would like to see in a drum machine, it's a seamless integration with pro-tools (or whatever you use.) How about I make the beat in the drum machine, and automatically see the individual tracks in protools without recording them, or have the drum machine render each track as a .wav file? This isn't an impossible feature request is it? 🙂

  • salamanderanagram

    fix your forums!

    there's two week old spam in there!!

  • The beat thang is gonna be at summer namm, and I emailed them and they told me you can pre-order it on july 17

  • Turning the conversation slightly towards nostalgia… hopefully nostalgia's OK. I bought a Linn9000 (the pic above) in a pawn-shop-spelunking batch buy mid 1990s. I initially thought it was a cash register. The florid miami-vice paint job was comedic, and so many parts had fallen off of it it was leprous and un(re)saleable. It was, undoubtedly, the coolest piece of gear I ever bought in the intuitive-organic-magic sense. And Akai's OS isn't the first to be supplanted by someone else- the 9000 I got had the Forat mod (I think they're still doing them, but their website hasn't changed much in 10 or so years) with a comparatively HUGE LCD screen & waaaay better OS. Notable features: You could switch the midi sequence track independently from the drum track real-time, I think you could have different time signatures for each also. Those sliders could TUNE the drums in addition to doing volume levels (& I think pan too), it had trigger ins/outs for all the pads. And SMPTE(!), which I never used, but knew that real people did. Oh, and you could burn your own sample roms too, of course (two of mine, high conga and low conga, played back at an incorrect sample rate about half the time). The inside of the thing looked as close to a machine can as having heartworm, with spindly white jumper wires running everywhere. Opening it was frightening in a "if this breaks I'm screwed way", but the front of it flopped open frequently due to a lack of screws. It saved on 3.5" floppies when it wanted to, and locked up and ate your work when it didn't. So if they can make a reliable one of those, I don't care how long I have to wait.

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