Linn LM-1

A legend never dies!

The Linn was THE killer drum machine in town back in the 80's it was also the first that include real drum samples!

The Linn LM-1 Drum Computer was created by Roger Linn. He used samples of acoustic drum sounds recorded on the fly with some basic hardware. The fact that they were recorded raw with a custom made ADC makes them cut better in a mix than anything available at the time, they sounded so great that they become an alternative to the analog drum sounds of the 80's drum machines.. To this day the unique sound of that machine is highly regarded and only using samples of an LM-1 output cannot reproduce the wide range of sounds this machine can produce. The DAC in use in here and he whole circuitry stands next to the samples characters in that unique sounding team. The LM-1 is an historical piece of gear that has a place in the sound of the 80's era. Only around 500 of these things are out there so don't count on finding a working one easily or for cheap. It has been used by major acts like: Prince, Phil Collins, Thompson Twins, Stevie Wonder, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, John Carpenter, Todd Rundgren,The Art of Noise... The Machine was made by a musician for musicians and I tried to stick to that standard :) So as there were no accurate VST for that legend out there... I had to make the VLINN!


VLINN accurately reproduces the internal circuitry and filtering of the legendary Linn LM1 Drum Machine. It's the closest thing to the real deal - reading and decoding original the EPROM data images in real time using the exact decode table from the AM6070 DAC. Use of the stock LM1 EPROMS has been possible with the kind permission of Roger Linn, the creator of the Linn and early MPC machines along with many other great products. VLINN also allows you to experiment with different EPROMS. You can load compatible ULaw companded images (.bin files) from the Linndrum, DMX, DrumTraks etc., or even create your own (see manual for more info).

I hope you enjoy making funky grooves with VLINN!

Drum Machine EPROM

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VLinn VST Videos & Sounds Demos Playlists.


VLinn Linn LM-1 VST Features and Details


Following the exact datasheet decode table for 8bit companded incoming DATA. The real LM-1 nasty gritty sound at every pitch, like the real thing, forget resampling or tuning crappy samples packs which will always sound dull at lower pitches!


The LM-1 Hihat circuitry was pretty unique, the hihat proms were read constantly in a loop while only a VCA was triggered, for closed hihat the circuitry had the ability to discharge the current through an additional way based on the decay pot setting. This basically makes the hihat sounding different on every hit.

CEM 3320 Filters

Unlike the very first produced LM-1, some Voices with Bass frequency content were filtered to minimize the remaining 8bit noise, using a VCF configured as a lowpass filter with no resonance. The CV frequency of the VCF was shaped by the circuitry in a way that lets the transients pass through relatively unfiltered. The VLINN lets you fine tune the CV pulse or completely bypass the filter, this is useful when a voice is tuned very low or if you want to replace a "Bass" slot with another EPROM that doesn't require filtering.


This is one of the coolest features of the LM-1, letting you tune any voice to a particular frequency for a wide range of sounds.

The PROMS data were read one byte at the time by a counter which speed was controlled by a relatively stable oscillator, the counters reading speed could then be affected by the external tuning pots in a limited range, + or - 1 Octave.

This tuning range can be tweaked and the VLINN provides a useful wide range of pitch from 1000Hz to 44100Hz and anything in between based on a real mod. (See manual)

(Stock was 12048 - 30303Hz.)


The LM-1 features separate outputs for every voices, so as the VLINN.

You can choose from ALL to 1 Stereo Channel or Separate Channels for each voice.


You can limit yourself to only 2 velocity levels or use the full range of MIDI velocity for convenience.


The GUI features the original trigger buttons for kick listening and controls over every aspect of the Drum Machine, most of the parameters like volume and pitch knobs can be MIDI learned and controlled by an external MIDI Hardware.


The VLINN provides the ability to replace some voices with external compatible 8bit companded EPROM data. This opens up the machine to LINNDRUM (LM-2), LINN 9000, DMX, DX, DRUMTRACKS etc... Samples or even load your own custom made. You can switch between custom loaded and stock EPROMS on the fly.

VLINN supports the following type and size EPROMS binaries (.bin)

2716(2048_Bytes) 2K

2732(4096_Bytes) 4K

2764(8192_Bytes) 8K

27128(16384_Bytes) 16K

27256(32768_Bytes) 32K

LOAD & SAVE FULL PATCH & BANKS in FXB/FXP (additional technical infos in manual.)

In addition from the new cross platform capability, VLINN version 2 features some improvement and changes compared to version 1

  • New MIDI Panel with MIDI learnable custom trigger maps
  • Change in default MIDI trigger map (see manual)
  • New panning capability per drum, panning knobs will replace the tuning knob row via a popup box selection (available while clicking on the TUNE label on the GUI. See control panels)
  • Improved GUI
  • All EPROMS can now be replaced versus only 7 of them in version 1
  • Easier and faster Custom EPROMs loading and management; no need to specify the size anymore, VLINN does it for you. Once loaded, custom EPROMs are saved with the patch
  • The additional CUSTOM voice is renamed to EXTRA and is now loaded by default with a modified delay-less stock LM-1 Snare (see Manual -> EPROM Loading)
  • Double clicking a control resets to default value on most of the GUI controls
  • ALT+Left click on each Tune Knob in order to set the clock rate precisely by typing in a value. The main info display will now only display the last edited parameter info or value, such as which EPROM .bin is loaded or the knob, slider etc. current value
  • In addition to the original velocity mode, 2 Full velocity modes are now available with linear and now exponential response
  • Incoming MIDI Pitch-Bend Message is now recognized and will act as a Global tuning offset, great for live tweaking the whole set or to transpose up or down
  • VLINN now transmit its triggers as MIDI OUT
  • External MIDI learn for controls can now only be attached to MIDI CC messages (no more Sysx nor aftertouch)
It was not necessary to model the LM-1 sequencer because regardless of all the urban legends about it, it is mainly a 48PPQN (pulse per quarter note) resolution thing. Modern DAWs features a finer resolution usually around 960PPQN or higher, this simply means that the same beat with some swing will not groove exactly the same at 960 or 48PPQN... An easy thing to do is to export your beat in MIDI a 48PPQN and import it back :) See the technical explanation below and VLINN manual

Linn LM-1 Groove and Swing explained

Linn LM-1 Groove and Swing explained

Obviously the full cross-platform version of VLinn cannot be as cheap as the 32bit Windows only one, there was a good amount of additional development time and cost involved...

The full cross-platform VLinn version 2 is now available for 40 Euros, still cheap IMO for what you get: D

If you already own VLinn version 1.0 and have not updated yet, the full version 2 will only cost a 25 Euros minimum donation :) drop me an Email with your registered information and I will tell you how to proceed. VLinn version 1 Windows only is not available anymore.

As you probably know Aly James Lab is only me and porting my existing Windows VSTs to cross platform is taking a long time, especially while I also need to work on new developments in order to keep things interesting for everybody.

VLinn 2.0 is available through a Paypal Buy system which is a bit different than the donation system being used with my Windows 32bit only VSTis. VLINN now comes with an installer for both Windows and Mac platforms.

Most of the porting work has been done with Oli Larkin s respected VST development framework called IPlug.

Oli contacted me directly and offered some help to port my existing version 1.0 onto a crossplatform IDE. He did the whole C++ porting job based on my version 1.0 code and worked with me hand to hand to bring it to a new level and make VLinn 2.0 happen.
Here is what he have to say:

I love the sounds of the early digital drum machines, and when I sold my Linndrum LM-2 I contacted Aly to suggest we collaborate to bring VLINN to OSX, basically so that I could use it myself! I was really impressed by his demonstration videos and I like the style of his plug-in, which I think captures the retro feel of the original machine in a similar way to what I tried with VirtualCZ. During the porting process (which involved a complete rewrite in C++) we discovered quite a few aspects that we could improve from version 1. I especially like using the pitch bend wheel to detune all the drums at once, and the fact that in version 2, loading compatible EPROMs from other drum machines is much easier. I really hope you enjoy using VLinn v2 as much as I do - it is a fun plug-in!

Oli Larkin

Read the VLinn Manual

Get amazing details about the Linn LM-1 Drum Computer and master the beast!


VLinn User Manual

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Get VLINN v2 for Windows & MAC

VLINN 2.0 comes with both Windows & Mac Installers and Manual