Patrick from Behringer put together a cool little video recreating the music from Michael Jackson’s Thriller using only Behringer gear. While talking about the drums he drops in a huge hint that Behringer could well be working on a clone of the LinnDrum drum machine that was famously used on the track.
You’ll find the mention around the 2:55 mark:
LinnDrum or LM-1?
Not to be pedantic or anything but the drum machine that Michael Jackson used on Thriller was actually the LM-1. The LinnDrum didn’t come out until after the release of Thriller. It is a better and more stable machine and so would be a better thing to replicate than the LM-1.
The LM-1 was the first machine to use samples of actual drums rather than analogue synthesis to generate the sounds. It was extensively by artists such as Human League, Gary Numan and Prince. Designed by Roger Linn who was bored with drum machines at the time. At the suggestion of Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro he recorded samples of real drums and put them on a computer chip. This had only really been done with tape before. The LM-1 didn’t include any samples of cymbals because they were too long and didn’t appear until it was superseded by the LinnDrum. Another notable feature was “shuffle” that delayed every other 16th note to give it a more human feel.
Only 525 LM-1s were ever built whereas the cheaper and more stable LinnDrum sold 10 times as many between 1982 and 1985. Behringer is most likely to be working on the LinnDrum but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came with the original LM-1 sound set as well.
Behringer has hinted that they have plans for 100’s of products based on classic electronic instruments and so the LinnDrum is of no surprise. But as the Odyssey has just shipped we’re still expecting to see the RD-8, Pro-1, ARP 2600 and UB-Xa before anything else comes along and don’t forget the hints at a Putney clone and the DS-80. Lot’s of synths!
Here’s Doctor Mix using an actual LinnDrum to recreate the Thriller track.
And here’s a video from Alex Ball taking us through the LM-1 via the fascinating history of drum machines.