Monday, July 26, 2010

Linn Electronics, Inc. LM-1 drum machine ad #3, Keyboard 1981

Linn Electronics, Inc. LM-1 drum machine advertisement #3 from page 52 of Keyboard Magazine July 1981.

Well - I think I'm finished with my Pro-One kick for a while. *Phew*. That last post involved a lot of typing. So, I'm going to keep this one short - hopefully.

This was the last of the three versions of the LM-1 'Real Drum' ads to run in CK. This blue version of the ad followed the gold version, consistently running in CK from June '81 all the way to the March '82 issue.

Besides the color of the ad, there are a few other subtle differences between the gold and blue versions - both dealing with the Linn logo.

First, the early version of the Linn logo that sat in the bottom right of the ad and that I loved so much has changed. I really liked that older version of the logo with the whole note/transistor image next to the Linn name. Someone should ask him to bring that old logo back. Maybe a limited addition retro-version of his AdrenaLinn III. Hey, did that say free shipping to Canada. Whoo whoo!

The second difference between the gold and blue ad (and more importantly) - the photo of the LM-1 is slightly different. A number of buttons seem to have been added or moved, and what I believe to be the volume knob that was originally located on the far left of the front panel of the LM-1 has move to a central location. In its space appears the OLD VERSION OF THE LINN LOGO! Excellent.

Hmmm... two different models, eh? I decided to do a quick Google image search to see exactly what was out there in the wild, and all the photos of peoples' LM-1's that came up in the results featured the newer model with the volume knob in the middle of the machine, but with the NEW logo in the far left corner. Plus, none of the photos in the image search featured the red button either - all were black.

I did manage to find one photo on flickr that featured the older model with the red button. But it featured not two, but three knobs across the top left side. These have to be very early versions of the LM-1. Maybe even prototypes that made it into the wild? I thought I read somewhere that Roger Linn was constantly making small changes to the design - so maybe this is proof of that evolution.

One other thing I noticed while researching - for a while, these LM-1 ads were often sitting opposite Sequential Circuits ads (or on either side of the same page) in Keyboard. In fact, this ad was featured directly opposite the second-last Pro-One advertisement I blogged about (which is what jogged my memory that I needed to finish with the LM-1 ads in the first place).

Could it be that Roger Linn and Dave Smith were like two peas in a pod back then? Kinda like today? Check out Steven Balsamo's photostream on Flickr for some other great photos of SF MusicTech Summit 2010.

I'm a little jelis!


Unknown said...

great post. I own the LM-1 in that flickr set (that set was posted by Matrixsynth after it was posted on ebay and I won that auction).

The story I have for that particular LM-1 is that it is one of the first 10 built. I emailed Roger Linn about it and that's his best guess. It has no serial number, no analog filters on the bass or toms, different wiring inside, most IC's are socketed, different metal chassis design, multicolored LEDs, etc.

The 3rd knob across the top is a 'Tempo Fine' control, but has some paint overlaying an original labeling that says 'Shuffle.' Roger Linn's best guess (again by email to me) is that he might have planned a rotary switch for the shuffle to go there.

Now, in keeping with your ad sequencing, what's interesting to me is that this early LM-1 I've got has the labeling "Linn and Moffett Electronics Inc" which matches the "gold" ad. Moffett was an early co-investor with Roger Linn (that info from Roger and Bruce Forat), who later dropped out of the partnership. The B/W version of the ad says only "Linn Electronics Inc" across the bottom. So maybe that B/W one is actually later than the one in the "gold" ad, perhaps within S/N 11-35. After #35, Roger Linn stopped building them in his apt bedroom.

Maybe more than you wanted to know!

RetroSynthAds said...

Never too much - that's some great history. Thanks for sharing!

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