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.