With modeled amps and synced effects all in one box for US$400, Roger Linn’s AdrenaLinn III has earned a cult following of dedicated users who appreciate its low-budget, rich sonic satisfaction. That has simultaneously shifted the Linn reputation from fans of drum machines to guitarists, though, naturally, clever players of other instruments, including keys, can get a lot of sonic goodness out of the AdrenaLinn, as well. (Want to make your own, shipping Dave Smith – Roger Linn combo tool? Plug a Mopho into the AdrenaLinn and go to town!)

But what if you don’t want another box? The US$99 AdrenaLinn Sync does the same effects (and then some) in software. Version 2 represents a big landmark improvement over the first version; the new release has been built by Way Out Ware (TimewARP 2600), which I’ve long thought was one of the most talented software sound developers around.

The basic idea of Sync is to do rich, rhythmic, sequenced, filtered patterns with a live audio signal. The resulting sounds are terrific and can (cough) make you sound like a much better player than you are. You can check out Roger relaxing at home with his software in the video above. This isn’t just for fake John Mayer sounds, either – Mayer himself is apparently a user.

The sequenced patterns are coupled with a wide variety of paths for modulation, randomness, tuning grooves, and more. New in this version, aside from a nice, friendly, hardware-inspired interface, are some brilliant filter, phasor, and flanger emulations, big stereo delays, and better sound quality. The previous version was built in Cycling ’74’s (defunct) Pluggo, but this far more mature release is built from the ground up. I’m actually keen to try it.

As Roger puts it to CDM, “It really does make some interesting and unique new sounds, much better than the original release.”

If you do have the original, this is a free upgrade, so let us know what you think. Currently Mac AU/VST only, but Windows VST/RTAS and Mac RTAS are coming soon.
AdrenaLinn Sync

  • superbeaugosse

    So cool ! I'm gonna buy it !

  • Motion

    So cool ! I’m gonna buy it !

    Me too, sounds fantastic as well as addictive, they really nailed it and a lot more.Trying x2 AS2 in series with various plugins is just mad especially with that overdubbing looping delay.

  • sound awsm. keen for the windows version :]

  • Doc Country

    looks like fun…who knew Mr. Linn was such a good guitar player?

  • I hope this helps me to find the Holy Grail of industrial soundscape.

  • At 8:15 in the video, (noise beats) Roger turns to the camera & gives us one of those "Isn't this the coolest thing ever?" grins – priceless! How could I not want one?

  • Wow, that thing sounds great. I wonder what would happen if you feed it with vocals.

  • Hi all,

    Thanks for the kind and complimentary comments! It feels good after a lot of hard work, but a labor of love. I'd love to take all the credit but a big part of the sound quality is due to the Jim Heintz of Way Out Ware, who created those beautiful filters and wrote all the internal code. Jim's a massively talented fellow and if you haven't tried his software emulations of the classic Arp 2600 and Arp Axxe, please do so at http://www.wayoutware.com.

    And much thanks to Peter for helping my little company spread the word.

    Thanks again,
    Roger Linn

  • william

    Roger, this little video demo is priceless, thanx

  • How does this compare to Sugar Bytes Effectrix? It looks like it does the same thing.

  • NJ

    Mr. Linn,

    It's cool that you're on here commenting on here and I had a few constructive thoughts on perhaps future releases…

    I think too many of these guitar sounds rely on the percussive element – I'm the lead guitar in my group and only a handful of these would really work in a live setting due to… well, my drummer wouldn't put up with it. Most shows around here are in dinky clubs, it's hard enough for him to hear the ongoing tempos but he's need a separate feed of just THIS in his monitors to keep up with it. I've been in a lot of different groups but it's pretty split down the middle, the drummers that are OKAY with following electronic (or, predetermined rhythms) versus their own…

    Tonally, the guitar sounds EVERY ONE OF THEM have something great to offer, but I think in a band context, with that many ears and tempos happening, the percussive element needs to be at a minimal. I'd LOVE to see a version (or update? Or release?) that totally focuses on the sweeping lush tones rather than a metronomic pulse element – it may just be my personal wish, but I know very few bands who could make good use of all the sonic percussions going on all over the place, unfortunately.

    That said, no doubt it's a HUGE development under the hood and I applaud you for building it from the ground up, I think as a guitarist I'd love a stripped down SONIC version of this plug in, rather than something I'm trying to match in to a sequencer in Ableton or whatnot, I couldn't use this very much in my live application (though I'd love to!) even further, my rhythm guitarist might not be able to either, I can see it making everyone frustrated at the singular pulse the whole band needs to follow to make everything sound right.

    One more note: if this PULSE issue was more subdued, like a tremelo effect, it might work a bit better, like, you CAN have an out of sync tremelo going on and it's not a huge earpain, guitarists usually can blend it pretty well – I think sonically with all the pulses, in the *majority* of the presets, it's just overkill.

    All great work though! You're a legend, Mr. Linn 🙂

  • tristan


    you can hear the click occasionally in the demo so assuming the effect is clocked to that you'd just take the click out of a separate output on your interface and send that to your drummer

  • Pejne H

    no guitar amps on the plug-in version? if they are included Im buying this right now

  • Hi all–
    Here are a few responses to your thoughtful comments…

    @Paul: I wasn't aware of Sugar Bytes Effectrix so I just checked out their videos and it seems like a very cool product. From my limited experience (and not trying out the demo) it seems to focus more on manipulation and processing of loops & beats rather than AdrenaLinn Sync's focus on real-time processing of live instrument sound, but I didn't find any reason why it couldn't do much of what ASync does. It's my impression that a number of plugs do things that are somewhat similar to ASync, so often I think the decision is less about feature comparisons than choosing the product that resonates with what you're personally interested in doing, and that is often shown in the choice of presets and videos the maker presents. Why don't you invite Sugar Bytes into this discussion?

    @NJ: Thank you for the kind compliment and also for 2 great questions.
    1) Using ASync in a live performance: The short answer is that I think ASync is better suited as a creative tool for inspiring compositional ideas than for live use in a band, and you've identified the main reason– computers can't follow drummers very well. All the artists who use our hardware AdrenaLinn III product in concert (like John Mayer or Peter Gabriel) do it by feeding click or a drumbeat to the drummer, which tends to make the drummer feel marginalized. I personally prefer live performance to be about interaction of the musicians, so I'd feel a little uncomfortable asking a drummer to do this.
    2) Focusing more on sweeping, lush tones: Async does actually have quite a few sweeping, lush tones, but you're correct in that it does focus is on beat-synced effects. In fact, its subtitle is "Beat-Sync Filter & Sequencing Effects". My view is that there are many commodity effect products that produce the sweeping, lush effects, so I perferred to do something more unique and hopefully creative, and in doing so invite guitarists into a new world that is normally the domain of computer players like you and me. That said, I do often take comfort in those sweeping, lush tones. 🙂

    @Pejne H: You are correct in that AdrenaLinn III's 40 guitar amp simulations are not included in AdrenaLinn Sync v2. The reason is that I wanted to focus on the beat-synced effects, plus most computer users already have amp sims. That said, if you try out ASync's Distortion processor, I think you'll find it surprisingly versatile in the variety of amp tones it can produce. First, the distortion is modeled on vacuum tubes and has a very natural transition between clear and overdriven tones and also a very tube-like compression of the audio signal, even with clear tones. (Credit to my wife Ingrid for creating the lovely algorithm!) Also, the GAIN control gives up to 500x gain, allowing plenty of metal-like sustain if you need it. But the versatility comes from the Pre-Highpass and Post-Lowpass Filters, both of which use Way Out Ware's same excellent analog-modeled filter design. The Pre-Highpass filter works very well at tightening up the low end in high-gain guitar sounds, but also can turn a humbucking into a single coil sound or vice versa and quite a lot in-between. And the Post-Lowpass filter with its slight resonance is able to get an wide variety of cabinet sounds, from 15" to 8" speakers, through very dark sounds to sizzling high end. Finally, using a Gain of 1 and creative use of the 2 filter knobs gives some beautiful clear and crisp tube-amp tones, particularly in combination with the Limiter, which is really a guitar sustainer. I'm a guitar tone snob and I'm very proud of the Distortion block. If you have a chance, please try the demo and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, and please let the others here learn your honest opinion.

  • Great,but no Windows? VST ?

  • @J. Feitor – it's listed as "coming soon."

  • Thanks Peter Kirn