VSDSX SDSV DRUMS (Virtual Simmons Drum System Extended) is an authentic Simmons SDS-V drum synth recreated in plugin which emulates all the character and internal circuitry of the legendary 80s Analog Drum brain synthesizer with those famous hexagonal shaped pads. The Simmons SDS-V Drum Brain, invented by Dave Simmons in the early 80s, it also adds features from SDS7 and SDS1 and since version 2.0 an emulated Claptrap voice based on the Simmons Digital Claptrap. Highly velocity sensitive this is a drum synth, real-time sound generation and not sample based.
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 produce 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.
The VSDSX, which stands for Virtual Simmons Drum System Extended, provides the closest experience to the real thing, for each voice or as it was called (module) it models accurately the analog character of the sound generation, internal circuitry tuning, trigger sensitivity and all the details you might expect. For its hybrid voices (HIHAT, CYMBAL, PROM and CLAP are analog but also EPROM based) clocks and counters reading EPROM memory inside a variable sample rate system are perfectly emulated. DAC decodes and output EPROMS data in real-time. It models the SSM2044 filters with fine tuning control over 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 or sequencer...
Separate outputs for your DAW, velocity handling etc...You will obtain that legendary powerful analog punch.
One voice can load your own external EPROM image data like on a real SDS1 pad(EPROM based). This opens up onto a whole new range of sound, still being processed by the circuitry.
VSDSX is now in version 2 and features among other cool things a perfectly emulated Simmons Digital ClapTrap module, a secret weapon which combines a variable sample rate digital source combined with a pitched analog noise, an original feature of the unit was to never produce the same sound twice. Although it is integrated inside VSDSX a dedicated plugin with stereo widening capability is provided as a bonus.
VSDSX provides a huge synthetic drum sound by itself and can also be used with great efficiency in drum layering. Parameters automation and modulation can turn this thing into a creative sound source
Runs on Windows/Mac 64-bit Systems and is compatible with 64-bit DAW/Host (VST2 and VST3 for Windows and AU(AudioUnits) for Mac).
Owners of VSDSX version 1.0 (windows only version) got an upgrade path from the VSDSX webpage.
- Analog modeled oscillator: The special tone character of the drum synth is mainly caused by the raw analog waveform generation and by the circuitry itself, it generates harmonics that are normally not present in an ideal triangle waveform, VSDSX emulates that behavior and also models the analog clipping that occurs when pushed hard. You can also switch to a clean mode which will behave like an ideal system without OPAMP bandwidth limitation (more highs). These features alone offer a great versatility for sound design. A custom mode can switch all oscillators from the typical Simmons shape to a Sine shape that can be used if you would need less harmonics.
- Noise generator circuitry tweaking: The sound source of the drum synth was mainly a mix between a triangle oscillator and a transistor based noise generator. The way it was initially connected could be tuned for more or less frequency content. Each voice have different configuration and VSDSX offers user control over the internal noise filtering (especially useful on the snare voice card). lots of circuitry parameters can also be fine tuned, CV and VCA response, Trigger types (that will mostly impact the click attack generator time), etc.
- SSM2044 Filters: The noise source was filtered by an SSM2044 low-pass filter chip, the filter acts on the noise and click part and behave differently depending on the voice, on bass & toms the resonance resistor was usually set to no resonance, but this can be tweaked inside the VSDSX if you want.
- Pitch bending & SDS7 LFO FM modulation: One of the obvious thing that must be there in a drum synthesizer is a pitch envelope to simulate the behavior of real drums. the SDSV module featured a bending down effect that can be set to more or less amount of bending. VSDSX also features a bend up option and an optional FM modulation taken from the SDS7 module.
- Separate outputs: The SDSV have separate outputs for every voices and so as the VSDSX. You can choose from ALL to 1 Stereo Channel or Separate Channels for each voice in your DAW, VSDSX also provides the additional PROM and CLAP modules.
- Trigger sensitivity control & velocity: The drum synth is highly sensitive to the power with which a pad or a key is hit, VSDSX gives independent access to sensitivity tuning for each voice, pitch of the tone, VCF cutoff, click trigger etc...you can also disable the volume velocity tracking and only set a pitch sensitivity which gives access to a similar feature than the "run generator" found in certain Simmons Systems.
- GUI & automation: The GUI features all the SDSV controls (with the same weird naming :)) but can also gives access to a full module display with more in depth controls, most of the parameters can be MIDI learned and controlled by an external MIDI Hardware or automation.
- Loading external EPROMs DATA: The VSDSX provides one voice which is EPROM based (like SDS1 or SDS7) the imported sample will benefit from the bend and noise mixing feature with that crunchy 8bit sound. load your own custom made EPROM image. EPROM format is the same as VPROM VST (U255 companded) for easy compatibility between software but it can also now load Linear PCM format(most of Simmons original EPROMS were Linear PCM)..
VSDSX Supports any size EPROMs binaries (.bin).
- MIDI MAP: By default VSDSX triggers are mapped to the MIDI GM standard but you can customize it to your liking using its MIDI learning function. The map can be saved globally and will be recalled every time.
- CLAPTRAP VOICE:The VSDSX provides one voice which is based on the mighty Simmons ClapTrap, finely tuned against an original unit it reproduce the digital circuit, EPROM looping, Human feature and pitched noise source.The original VCAs got something between an exponential and linear behavior useful for those almost gated claps, VSDSX adds a more pronounced exponential option, slightly increased tuning range on the low side and also provides an entire dedicated plugin if you feel like clapping someone's face with stereo widening capability using two emulated voices running with EPROM clock and filter offsets.
- 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. Honestly, 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 SDSVs digital modules and only VCA and VCF are triggered, this configuration opens up to very long decay settings.