Linear Arithmetic Synthesis was invented by Roland in the late 80s. Several L/A synthesizers were released, starting with the D-50 in 1987 and ending to the D-70 in 1990.

From the D-110 owner's manual:
"LA synthesis involves a great many technological advances resulting not only in a superior sound quality but also an improved ease of programming."

The concept?
It is based on the observation that the attack transient of a sound is its most important part with respect to human perception. Therefore the L/A synths used a combination of sampled attack transients and simple digital oscillators with only sawtooth and pulse waveforms to generate the sustained part of the sound.
The fact that those two parts were cross modulated was used to motivate the term "Linear Arithmetic".

Basically, this was just a buzzword to make the Roland synths look more appealing than the competitors' products.

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