The Legendary Hexagonal Simmons Electronic Drums
You probably already heard a Simmons drum synth without even knowing it... wondering what was used to produce that huge drum sound?
The Simmons hexagonal shaped electronic drums were all over the place, on countless records and live shows during the 80s, used by artists and bands like Genesis, King Crimson, Jean michel Jarre, Prince, Herbie hancock, Pink Floyd etc... The sound was not especially realistic but it was not the goal...the goal was to be huge and versatile. Invented by Dave Simmons, the most famous drum brain called the SDSV or SDS5 was a drum synthesizer, bringing synthesis into the drummer hands.
Often used abusively to generate only those pewww pewww tom tom sounds, the SDSV module produced a wide range of sounds. With a great punch and sensitivity, a truly unique and cult sound, it can be used for almost everything. The SDSV successor called SDS7 bring some digital low-fi samples in the game and a bunch of additional features like bend direction or FM modulation for a broader range of possible sounds.
The SDSV is an historical piece of gear that has a place in the sound of the 80s and is still used today as a secret weapon. Only around 5000 of these things are out there so don't count on finding a working one easily or for cheap. The machine was made by a true innovator that later unfortunately lost his Simmons company. As there were no accurate VST for this legend out there...
I had to make the VSDSX! dedicated to Dave Simmons.
The VSDSX VST, which stands for Virtual Simmons Drum System eXtended, provides the closest experience to the real thing, it models accurately the analog character of the sound generation, internal circuitry, clocks and counters that read EPROM memory, feed the 8bit DAC which decodes the hihat and cymbal EPROMS data in realtime.
It models the SSM2044 filters with fine tuning control over a lots of internal circuitry resistors. CV, trigger shapes and VCA response can also be tuned to produce a wide range of sounds, and punch/response, this also emulates how the module will react if triggered with pads, Simmons pads or sequencer...Separate outputs for your DAW, velocity handling etc...
You will obtain that legendary powerful analog punch! On top of the cake, one voice can load your own external EPROM data like on a real SDS1 (EPROM based) pad...This opens up onto a whole new range of sound, still being processed by the circuitry.
VSDSX provide a huge synthetic drum sound by itself and can also be used with great efficiency in drum layering. By using it with the VLINN LM1 VST it can really bring a nasty funky sound!