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©Copyright 2008, 2014 Eric Wrobbel



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Real Drums Linn LM-1 Drum Computer. Linn Electronics. Eric Wrobbel design, art.

Not exactly a showpiece, this ad is here for historical reasons more than any other. But don’t be fooled. This unassuming little layout got the job done extremely well. And it did no harm, as many first-time ads do to new companies who naïvely publish silly, amateurish work and then spend years digging out from under the damage.


This was the very first ad for the Linn LM-1 Drum Computer. Roger Linn and I thought that the phrase “Real Drums” juxtaposed with a picture of something that looked decidedly unlike real drums would make for a provocative headline. Ad copy goes on to explain the LM-1 actually does play real drums, digital recordings stored in computer memory. The ad as shown above ran in what was then known as Contemporary Keyboard (now just “Keyboard”) in January 1981 with a notice about the February NAMM show. This same ad appeared earlier in Recording Engineer/Producer magazine, October 1980, with a notice to see the LM-1 at the AES (Audio Engineering Society) convention in New York.


Real Drums Linn LM-1 Drum Computer. Linn Electronics. Eric Wrobbel design, art.

Real Drums Linn LM-1 Drum Computer. Linn Electronics. Eric Wrobbel design, art.

The gold ad from March 1981 above left features a rare appearance of the early Linn logo. The symbol used ahead of the Linn name was an amalgam of a musical whole note with the technical symbol for a transistor inside of it. To the rest of the world it just looked like an “O.” Roger quickly tired of being called Mr. O’Linn and we changed it, along with the background color, as you see in this ad’s third iteration, above right, from April 1981.

What: Copy assistance, design, layout, production art
For: “Real Drums” half-page black & white and color magazine ads
Client: Linn Electronics
When: 1980, 1981