# Simmons SDS-V Electronic Drums ![Simmons SDS-V pads in yellow](https://0x20.eu/nc/s/bgmsJjQ2QCsfaiA/download) ## History * In 1978 Dave Simmons worked for MusicAid in England and developed his first electronic drum modules, the *SDS-3* and *SDS-4*. * The first electronic *full drum kit*, the *SDS-V* (aka SDS-5, SDSV), was developed in the late 70s / early 80s in co-operation with drummer Richard James Burgess from *Landscape*. * SDS-V prototypes first demoed in 1979 and first recordings to feature it released early / mid 1981. * Simmons Company founded and SDS-V released in 1981. * Used by many early 80s pop and rock artists (see below for examples). * Followed by the *SDS-7*, which included sample EPROMs, and various other products, which developed and diversified the electronic drum offerings. * Entered high-end market with the *SDX* released in 1987, which cost > $10k. * Declined in the late eighties due to competition by Japanese manufacturers and shifting musical styles. * Company closed in 1999. ## Technology * Five hexagonal pads, first with polycarbonate surface, later with added rubber pads. * Modular "brain" rack unit, with up to 7 sound modules (later models had more slots). * Available card types: bassdrum, snare, tom, hihat and cymbal. * Standard selection: bass, snare and 3 toms * Pure analog sound generation: * triangle wave (tone) * noise generator * trigger-level dependant and fixed AR envelopes for pitch, filter and VCA * VCF filtering noise * LFO modulating tone and filter ![Simmons SDS-V voice board block diagram](https://0x20.eu/nc/s/CRBWiz4xmdtnqyo/download) ## Notable Users and Recordings * Richard James Burgess (Landscape), *[Einstein a Go Go](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn8jPj9g_CM) (From the Tea-rooms of Mars ....)* February 1981, recorded from late 1979 on * Richard James Burgess (Shock) - *[Angel Face](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU-rDeVidC4)* 1980, first commercial release of a recording with SDS-V? * John Keeble (Spandau Ballet) - *[Chant No.1](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKb0SSSGm-8) (Diamond)* 10 July 1981, first chart hit with production model of the SDS-V * Steve Negus (Saga) - *[Wind Him Up](https://youtu.be/zL9rh8TKAI0?t=1943) ([World's Apart](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJrtoAtsNG0))* September 1981 * Michael Sadler (Saga) - *[A Brief Case](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifomOF88xF0) (In Transit)* 19 Dec 1981, SDS Suitcase Kit * Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, Genesis), [Solo Live with King Crimson](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YBrkudwv8E) 1982, early product endorser and demonstrator * Herwig Mitteregger (Spliff) - *[Déjà vu](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygxU9EzjCnY) (85555)* 1 February 1982, *[Das Blech](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7BMmMSsk90) (Herzlichen Glückwunsch)* November 1982 * Lee Harris (Talk Talk) - *[Talk Talk](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IgjUYrDbWI) (The Party's Over)* 5 April 1982 * Roger Taylor (Duran Duran) - *[Hungry Like The Wolf](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJL-lCzEXgI) (Rio)* 4 May 1982 * Pat Mastelotto (Mr. Mister) - *[Kyrie](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N95TTqj_cmQ) (Welcome to the Real World)* Recorded late 1984 - Mid 1985 * Rick Allen (Def Leppard) - *[Pour Some Sugar On Me](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UIB9Y4OFPs) ([Hysteria](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFWaodZLR6k))* 3 August 1987 (recorded February 1984 – January 1987), had a special drum kit with foot triggers made for him by Simmons because he lost an arm in a car accident ## Digital Emulations / Re-creations * [Aly James Lab VSDS-X](https://alyjameslab.com/alyjameslabvsdsx.html) (commercial, proprietary) * [PunkLabs OneTrick SIMIAN](https://punklabs.com/ot-simian) (commercial, GPL3) ## Further Resources * <https://www.simmonsmuseum.com> * <https://simmons.synth.ne> * Video: [Alex Ball - Origins of a Legend - The SDS3 Drum Synthesizer from 1978](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhwS2v0K1cs) * Video: [Simmons SDSV Tech Walkthrough and 220/110 Voltage Conversion](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeFwOFUVny8) * [SDS-5 Owner's Manual](https://archive.org/details/synthmanual-sds-5-owners-manual) * [simmonsdrums.net - History](https://simmonsdrums.net/history/) * [simmonsdrums.net - Sounds of the Electronic Kits](https://simmonsdrums.net/sound-library-electronic-kits/) * [reverb.com - How Simmons' Hexagonal E-Drums Shaped the '80s](https://reverb.com/news/simmons-hexagonal-kit-and-the-dawn-of-e-drums)