Programmable digital drum machines offer a departure from the electronic sounding analog beat boxes in two major areas. First, they used the sounds of real drums, and second they offered ways for the rhythm patterns to be re-sequenced by the user. Previously, rhythm boxes offered few choices of preset beats and often used unreal and sometimes cricket sounding analog simulations of drum instruments.
The Linn Drum machine was one of the first to use high quality short digitally sampled drum sounds stored in read only memory (ROM) and allows users to create their own rhythm patterns and store them. Short patterns can be chained together to make songs.
The sampled sounds can be triggered locally from the buttons on its front panel or externally using drum pads. Many of these sampled sounds like the toms and congas can be altered by retuning their pitches.
The original Linn Drums did not have MIDI, but retrofit kits where available towards the end of its production run.
The beat resolution for the Linn Drum is 24 BPQ or beats per quarter note, somewhat low compared to 96 BPQ of the Oberheim DX drum made during the same time.
An onboard audio mixer allows the drum sounds to be panned left or right and has individual controls level control for each instrument.
Synthesizer Gallery © C. Chris Peters 2010 - cchrispeters.com