12x6 Linnstrument/MPE Grid

With the recent update allowing up to 96 touch area’s I decided to make a grid layout similar to the Linnstrument by Roger Linn Design. I really like what Roger is doing and would like to support him but unfortunately do not have the means to justify spending $1000 or $1500 on a Linnstrument.

This setup allows quantizing your initial touch to the nearest semitone while it also allows sliding between notes. I set up the pitchbends for 48 semitones, which is the default in Roli Equator and Garageband on iOS. You could change that by changing the pitchbend to 460mm for 24 semitones or 230 for 12 semitones. I added buttons for up and down and a button for disabling pitchbends.

I’m still experimenting with optimal settings, does it work best to have gaps between touch area’s or not? And what has been your optimal pressure thresshold for expressive playing?

I’m planning on laser engraving a piece of silicon sheet to make a continious surface with small ridges in between notes.

6x12_bends.senselmap (8.0 KB)


This looks amazing! I’d be interested in hearing how engraving the silicon sheet works for you.

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Hope to get that done in the upcoming weeks. I’ll keep you posted!

Hey, thank you so much! I actually decided to buy the Sensel with the plan of making something like this myself. Now I don’t have to :smiley:
I’m trying this out as soon as possible.

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It’s been a really long time but I’ve just gotten around to trying this yesterday and today (I kinda got sidetracked with a lot of stuff).
@ybr I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. As I said, this was a big part why I got the Sensel Morph and the whole thing is so much better than I hoped for. I play guitar as well as keyboard and with this layout, it feels like I’ve gotten a new instrument that I can already play. Of course it’s very different to a traditional keyboard layout and playing more than one note on a horizontal line makes it very different to a guitar. What I didn’t expect is the amount of influence it has on rhythm; I noticed that I started playing ghost notes like I would do on a bass guitar, something I never do on a piano. I also feel like I’m playing more tight than on a piano.
All in all, for me this is huge. I really wish Sensel made an official overlay for this since my only criticism is the piece of paper under the Innovator’s Overlay.
Did you go ahead and make that engraved silicone sheet? I’ve been looking at 3d printing services to maybe get a sheet printed in flexible PLA but haven’t found anything that feels good so far.

Any news on this? I am a once and future Linnstrument user, but a Linnstrument isn’t easy to fit in a backpack. :slight_smile:

@gero awesome that this helped you!

Update to you, @carltesta and @mrspiral mrspiral, I just finished and ordered the laserengraved pieces. Should be here somewhere next week. I’ll keep you posted!

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Hi @Johan awesome to hear that this has helped you! I’m using www.snijlab.nl here in the Netherlands. I bought the 2mm thick sillicone material online and gave it to them. If my tests work well I will try to do a more detailed write up. Please have a look at my file below, it’s made in Adobe Illustrator. Red are engraving lines and blue are cutting lines. I made one that could be used with magnets if that spec is ever released. There is also one that should fit on top of the innovators overlay.

I’m not sure where you are based but Cut Lasercut might be another company that could do the engraving and it seems that they have the material in stock.

InnovatorOverlay_Final5.zip (146.2 KB)

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@gero thanks so much for your feedback. We’re really glad you’re enjoying ybr’s design. The feedback we receive in this forum helps us determine future Overlay releases, so we’ll definitely be looking into this further!


@ybr Thanks a ton for sharing your awesome work with the community here. It’s incredible to see all of the innovative work you’re doing with the Morph.

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I just ordered some silicon to experiment with. (I have a laser cutter handy; never thought to make overlays with it…)

Cool! Where did you buy silicone? Might be useful for others :slight_smile:

Understanding that I have not received or tested the material yet, here’s what I bought:

I picked up two 12x18 sheets, at 1/16" thickness.

That’s just under 1.6mm, so a little bit thinner than the 2mm that others were discussing. Next size up would have been twice that, at 3.2mm. That seemed like the bigger gamble.

I suppose if I were thinking, I would have bought one of either thickness rather than doubled down on the one.

(I reckon more depth will help with haptic feedback, but potentially interfere with the sensors.)

I don’t think this project specifically needs that much silicon. I just figured I can get 3 overlays from a sheet of this size, and that I’m going to screw up my first several.

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Side note:

They sent me a tracking number four days ago. This afternoon, the status was basically “they haven’t actually handed over your package for us to deliver.”

That report is inaccurate, however; the package was in my mailbox just now.

Silly USPS…

I haven’t lasered it yet, obviously. First impression, though: you’d want a thicker material for a lot of overlay ideas; these aren’t likely to feel like discrete buttons. But this design doesn’t call for that; we just want a little haptic feedback when crossing from one cell to the next.

This material has a lot of “grip” to it. Should be great for subtle vibrato, let’s say, but longer slides, your finger’s going to catch and drag.

(washing it with warm soapy water might help)

Fantastic, please keep us posted!

Please do! A properly textured overlay for grid playing would help enormously, as the most basic division between “schools” of MPE performance is the linear keyboard (ROLI, KMI, arguably Haken) vs. the grid (Linn, Artiphon). It would be amazing if the Morph had properly textured overlays for both approaches, and while the Piano overlay does 95% of what I’d like to see (and 100% for most sane folks) for the former, we really need the latter if at all feasible.

I would also put in a vote to put dedicated pressure buttons along the top edge for up-bend, down-bend, and modulation, as well as a sustain button. Just sayin’ :wink:

I received the lasercutted silicone. Overall pretty happy, the laserengraving is pretty even and legible. Personally I would have like to have a bit more relief, you can feel the ridges but optimally it would have been a bit more. I send the laserengraving an e-mail to ask how much laserpower they used for the engraving, that might be usefull for others.

This one I created for use on top of the innovators overlay. It’s higher than the area in the overlay so 1 mm might have been better. My initial idea was to use doublesided tape as a semi-permanent solution but the tape I have laying around doesn’t stick to the sillicone of the innovators overlay.

This is what it looks like after cleaning and removing the white residu. It’s a little bit legible and I might experiment by filling it up with some kind of paint.

These are the other overlays I created. One is meant to play a Hang drum VST by Soniccouture and the other is meant as a straightforward drumpad, potentially with sticks.

The full size overlays still don’t really have a good fastening method to the Sensel. I cut parts that could house the magnets. It would be really useful if Sensel would make 2 (or more) magnet configurations available in the software for custom designs. They could sell kits with the right magnets, and a spec sheet with the right magnet orientation, that could really speed up the development of new overlays.


Thanks A TON for sharing. These look unbelievably cool.

Regarding the magnet configurations, we’ve added this to the suggestion queue and will of course keep you posted with any developments.

Huh, well how about that. I buy a Sensil Morph at the 2019 Synth Expo in Brooklyn, beeline to the forum here on the LinnStrument topic, and find @mrspiral here. How serendipitous.

I am one of the early serial number owners of the LinnStrument (original larger version). I’m downloading this custom template now to give it a shot and comparison. At the very least, I can now put the Morph next to the LinnStrument and have a handy dandy custom template, with an X/Y Pad and the like. At the very most, I can run two grid-esque LinnStrument-ish devices in tandem, one for each hand? Heheh. Now all I need to find is a Continuum-like template, and I’m golden.

I’ve just sent this template to the Morph and had a chance to play with it. I have it side by side with the LinnStrument, and calling up some of my intimately familiar patches that I’ve programmed in various softsynths for the LS. I’m really sorry I’ve come late to the game here; but I have a few suggestions that in the end affect your print template and layout.

  1. I’ve tried changing the settings on the bend range, and it works rather well, good job. I wonder if there’s a smarter way to do the calculations outside of millimeters vs semitones. But I realize that’s a limitation of the SenselApp.

  2. Can you shed some light on why you choose to make the grid 1/2 step short of an octave? (I’m certain it’s the even-divide math of the grid). But musically, it’s frustrating to not be able to slide and hit a perfect octave in a scale, missing it by a half step, if your patch is programmed with that bend range. Again, I know I’m late to the game here, but I just got the Morph two days ago, my apologies. You have the notes in 4ths progressing upward per row, which is perfect, but the lack of the octave span across the Morph is a head-scratcher. I’m suggesting to change the grid somehow to be a full octave from left to right (13 steps).

  3. Just discovered that, unlike the LinnStrument, you cannot “strum” or slide your fingers downwards or upwards and trigger notes in a column. Thus strum like a guitar. I’m assuming that’s a Morph limitation. Let me know if I’m wrong here? Or can that be programmed?

  4. Also just discovered the difference in MIDI output between the LinnStrument and Morph (using MIDI Monitor): the LinnStrument outputs more data per millisecond, but only sends what’s changed at any given moment from the last-known status; compared to the Morph, which constantly outputs a perfect orderly trio set of Control, Channel Pressure, Pitch Wheel, over and over again, whether anything changes or not, and not as often per ms as the LinnStrument. But I still get the same “musical response” from my softsynths with no discernible difference in sound and playability–outside of that pitch-bend octave thing, which is due to the programmed layout.

I’m sure anyone can work around that octave limitation, but it’s musically problematic.
Otherwise I really like that I have a second option for an X-Y-Z touch surface controller.

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