30th June 2014
Aly James Lab has released VSDSX SDSV Drums, an extended Simmons SDS-V Drum synthesizer VST emulation for Windows. It's Donationware, with a minimum donation of 15.00 €.
VSDSX SDSV Drums emulates all the character and internal circuitry of the legendary Drum Synthesizer with hexagonal shaped pads - the SDS-V Drum Brain, invented by Dave Simmons in the early 80s.
Here's what they say:
The Simmons 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. The most famous drum brain called the SDS-V or SDS5 was a drum synthesizer, bringing synthesis into the drummer hands. To this day the unique sound of that machine is highly regarded and only using samples of Simmons Drums cannot reproduce the wide range of sounds this machine can deliver and especially the warm and punchy analog character. The whole circuitry stands next to the unique sample based characters of the hihat & cymbal in that unique sounding team. It can also be used for non-standard 80s drums.
VSDSX 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 real-time. 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. 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 uses a custom C++ core and 3rd party licensed code where nothing fancy was needed.
Runs on Windows 32/64-bit Systems and is multi-core compatible with 32-bit DAW/Host (works on x64 DAW via bridging). OS X will be available next year.
Hihat & Cymbal:
The hihat & cymbal modules were pretty rare and unique sounding, mostly they were sample based, same configuration for both cards, but in a very particular way. The metallic waveform has nothing to do with a real hihat or cymbal sound, you can hear its looping and the raw 8bit character, but: This is a CULT sound. If you play this with bending up or down while toying around with noise and filter, you get these famous cymbal sweeps. Velocity can also act on the sample rate and it sounds pretty original. Memory was expensive at that time so you cannot store a long sample and be cost effective. So Dave Simmons looped the short sound stored onto a 2732 EPROM, a trick first used by Roger Linn in the LM-1 but this time, the sample is read forward then backward. The loop plays all the time inside the SDSV's digital modules and only VCA and VCF are triggered, this configuration opens up to very long decay settings.
Find out more here: www.alyjameslab.com/alyjameslabvsdsx
KVR Audio, Inc.