Luma-1, a Roger Linn supported LM-1 drum computer replica, ready for pre-order, new price

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Luma-1 is a new Roger Linn-supported LM-1 drum computer replica with enhanced features, including custom sound loading, MIDI, and more. 

Good news from the Luma-1 team: The developers have now secured all the components and know the production costs. As a result, they were able to reduce the price by $500 and so the Luma-1 will cost $4499. Still not affordable for most musicians but a price reduction is better than none. 

Here is an exciting update on making Luma-1 reality. At this point we tested Luma-1 on the latest hardware revision, quoted manufactures for the enclosure and PCBs. More importantly we also secured the supply of vintage components (DACs, Z80, clock generators, etc) which are required to fulfill the first batch needs.

As a result of that, we have a better understanding of the Luma-1 cost. We are happy to announce that based on this information we decided to reduce the price of the initial offering down to $4499 (or the equal value in other currencies) with applicable sales tax or destination fees based on your location. Given the complexity of the internal design, this is a major step for us to make Luma-1 more affordable and also stay transparent with our motivation.

Luma-1 is not meant for revenue, – it’s a labor of love that we hope you can share with us. We will start collecting 50% deposits in two weeks. If you’re on the pre-order list already, expect to see an email from us at that time.



There is a lot of interest in Joe Britt’s LM-1 replica. The developers have now published an FAQ on Instagram:

First, they write about what Luma-1 is.

Luma-1 is an authentic recreation of the iconic LM-1, originally designed by Roger Linn in 1979 and now brought back by Joe Britt. Fully recreating the original design of the LM-1, it utilizes the same audio path (vintage DACs and filters), runs the unmodified LM-1 software, and adds a secondary modern processor for adding highly desirable features like loadable sounds, USB connectivity, MIDI, and more.

Then, is it going to be produced? 

Yes, a small batch of pre-assembled units will be available for pre-order starting on September 1st, The production of Luma-1 will be entirely US-based, including the enclosure, PCB, and component assembly. To address the needs of the DIY community, kits will be announced later this year.

Luma-1 drum computer

Price And Why This Price?

Our target is to sell it for $4995 the original LM-1 price. We are still gathering some costing information, and will update pricing once we have collected more details. All orders will be manufactured in the order they arrive (first come, first served) and delivered this year.

Similar to the original LM-1, Luma-1 is a very complex machine. It has a dual CPU architecture (Z80+ ARM), and makes no compromises with the audio path. Luma-1 uses the original nine individual DAC chips and the original clock generation scheme.

The DACs are no longer produced, and must be obtained from surplus stock suppliers. The digital section are identical, but Luma-1 uses small SMD components to save space. A modular design was implemented, where each voice is on its own card for serviceability and future expansion or modifiability.

Is The Circuit Exactly The Same? What’s Different?

Luma-1 uses a Z-80 just like the original LM-1, and runs the Rev 3 LM-1 firmware. It has the same loose sample rate and tempo clock generation, 9x (one per voice) 8-bit µ-law DACs, OpAmps, and AS3320 (or CEM3320) filters on the Conga/Tom and Bass. In other words, the entire audio signal path is identical to the LM-1.

On the digital side, the samples are not stored in EPROMs, but rather individual per-voice RAM chips. Drum samples are loaded into those RAM chips either from an internal SD card or by downloading via SysEx. That allows for hot-swappable sample storage.

To faciliate these features and more, a new ARM CPU works in tandem with the original Z80, which has the bonus effect of allowing easy implementation of MIDI and USB.

Luma-1 drum computer

What Is Roger’s Involvement, And Why Isn’t His Name On It? Roger Permitting This?

From Roger: ” I think it’s very cool that my friends Joe, Andrei, and Devin are breathing new life into the LM-1, recreating the original circuit, sound and timing while adding some useful modern features.

These guys are in it purely for the passion are far better engineers than I am, so I’m honored that they’re taking on this project. It’s entirely their project, but I’m staying in touch with them and giving some help along the way”.

For pre-order, you must message them on Instagram (luma1_drum_machine/) and leave your contact info. Technical support, schematics, and design file access will be announced later, say the developers.


Article From August 29th, 2023

For many, the LinnDrum is one of the most legendary drum machines. Today, the instrument is super expensive and rare on the second-hand market. A low-budget Behringer’s clone/replica is on the horizon. The LinnDrum wasn’t Roger Linn’s first drum machine; it was the LM-1 from 1980. More precisely, it was the first drum machine that could play digital samples.

A company is also working on a comeback of this legend. It’s Joe Britt, CEO of Afero from Silicon Valley. There is a fascinating story behind this development. This begins with how he got the LM-1 and ends with the Luma-1 drum computer.

Luma-1 drum computer

Joe Britt’s Story

Roger Linn says:

I’ve recently met a new friend named Joe Britt, founder and CEO of a tech company here in Silicon Valley called Afero, and designer of some significant tech products over the years.

Lucky for me, Joe also has a personal interest in my old drum machines. A few years ago, a friend of his gave him (!) one of my old LM1 drum machines. He enjoyed playing with it, but he wished it had a few extra features like loading alternate sounds from files, and pitch and pan knobs on the front panel.

So he decided to make his own enhanced LM1. He searched the web and found some incomplete old schematics, filled in the gaps by reverse-engineering the boards, then redesigned and replaced all of the circuit boards to include his enhancements.

Luma-1 Drum Machine

The Luma-1 (named after his dog, the resident canine mascot at Afero)  was created from wanting more features for the LM-1. According to Roger Linn, the Luma-1 is a faithful reproduction of the original LM-1 hardware circuit but with major modifications and improvements.

Joe Britt has replaced the original sound ROMs with RAM chips, making it more flexible. Then, he added a Teensy CPU board and software to control the original circuit and computer. With this, you can load different sounds into the sound RAMs from a classic SD card.

He also upgraded the original front panel 3-position pan switches with full-rotation pots–with illuminated shafts– that could act as either full pans or pitch controls.

On Instagram, Joe Britt and his team share more details of the hardware:

While the Luma1 hardware design is in the final stage for preparation before manufacturing, there is much work happening on the software side. Luma1 is running the original LM1 code on the Z80 CPU while the secondary ARM processor delivers new features.

Besides the custom sound loaning and additional control options, the Luma-1 will also introduce USB, MIDI, synchronization, and an OLED display. It will also have a new metal chassis and more.

Modernization also took place in the back. You have individual outputs, main stereo output, USB, MIDI In/Out, and more on the back.

Roger Linn rounds off his post with a nice sentence:

Joe told me that he enjoyed the process of this project, sitting on his sofa with a glass of wine and his laptop, working on the design, schematics, circuit boards and software. What a gift it is that something I created years ago can inspire such a talented and accomplished guy as Joe is. Thanks, Joe.

Instagram Video

In Action

In the linked video, you can see the “purple” reverse-engineered boards, which are in purple and are half the size of the originals installed in the vintage LM-1. Plus, you can see the new Teensy board. Joe Britt shows in the video how quickly you can change sounds.

Official Release?

Many are already sitting hot in front of the computer or mobile phone, wondering: will the Luma-1 come onto the market as a product? Well, it’s not sure yet. The developers are keeping a low profile on whether there will be an official release.

When asked on Instagram if there is already a price, the developers answer: “Finalizing now. This is a very complex project that includes sourcing of vintage parts. Some of them are out of production for the last 35 years”.

I think the developers will release this LM-1 replica. There will undoubtedly be enough buyers for this remake, with a high four-digit price (my estimation). So, availability and price for the Luma-1 is TBA.

More information here: Roger Linn Design

Hardware Drum Machine News


      • Sorry I didn’t mean to reply to your comment… I just wanted to comment on the article and ask why on earth would anyone buy this.

        • Original Linn’s do sound unique, mainly because of the unique D/A converters (that were originally intended for telephones, if you can believe that) and low sample rate/bit depth. And you can’t really reproduce it correctly with a modern computer-based sampler. Same for the tuning, which inherently works differently than a modern sampler or computer (this is all true for vintage samplers too, i.e. Emulator, Fairlight, etc.). And to really answer you question… to some folks, $5k isn’t that much money…. aaaand some people are nuts about early Prince and will spend it, in the same way that people blow tons of cash on getting every possible piece of EVH-related gear.

  1. This thing is going to cost ridiculous amounts of money. I love it though but man I know it’s about to be expensive.

    • I am sure they are on it and it will not have the same clock as the original or this one. a Linn without that loose clock is useless, you might use vsti as well.

  2. From Roger: ” I think it’s very cool that my friends Joe, Andrei, and Devin are breathing new life into the LM-1, recreating the original circuit, sound and timing while adding some useful modern features.” – well, that’s an engineers respectable response to someone reverse engineering their product. I imagine many original designers rather enjoy the fact their work is popular enough 40+ years later to reproduce it, instead of ranting about lost revenues most folks on blogs think they should be doing instead. Good for you Roger, you got my respect.

    • Yes. Roger has mentioned before that he doesn’t care about going back to his old work, because it’s boring. He likes to look ahead. What a great person.

      I love how he appreciates what this guy has done. It using 35-year-old parts, shows how much love is being put into it, so obviously it was never going to be a product for the masses. Still, if people really want an Linndrum, they’re pretty much constantly available on the used market. There’s really nothing keeping you from owning one, if you know how to handle your budget. And sure, eventually some shoddy Berhringer version will be available to those who only care for an approximation of this product’s heritage. To each their own.

  3. A vsti could emulate the clock timings no problem.
    Behringer, if they wish, could also include sloppy clocks in any copy.
    So, no biggy there.
    The truth is that NOBODY could tell the difference in a mix between the original, this copy, a vsti or just a good sampled version.
    This is just vain bragging rights and dumb GAS.

      • I’ve got individual pieces of equipment worth thousands of dollars.
        So what’s your point?
        Just because I can spend large sums when I want to doesn’t mean I don’t understand the value of things…and the value of this thing is definitely up for question.

        • Focusing solely on the cost can blind us to the other qualities this product may possess. While cost is an important factor, there are many facets to consider when evaluating a product. Cost is just one piece of the puzzle.

  4. I was interested… and then came the price.
    Obviously, the makers know their marketing and pricing, but, at $4.5K I am taking myself out.

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