Synth Site: Simmons: SDS9: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Jeff Neiblum a professional user from USA writes:
Ralph wrote: "I managed to find a suitable replacement battery, I used a Radio Shack 3.6v cordless phone NiCad. I had to use velcro to mount it inside the unit, as the old battery was soldered to the board and there was not enough room for the new one."

Is the battery the round white thing on top of a red square on the back of the PCB? How did you get it off?

Thanks, Jeff

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Nov-02-2005 at 14:37
Hynek a hobbyist user from usa writes:

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Monday-Apr-25-2005 at 21:25
Ralph a part-time user from Canada writes:
I have had a chance to get the manual and learn a lot more about this unit. I purchased the manual on the net from Manual Manor. $20 US.

The manual is divided into 2 parts, programming and midi. The programming is simple, as with all the older gear. Tweak the knobs till you get something you like. To select the voices and save the edits is a little more complex. There a re a limited number of buttons so there's a fair bit of double-duty. Simple to master.

One thing that's not obvious is that there are 4 banks of 5 preset sounds, but to access the user banks you must press the Bank and Kit select buttons simultaneously. The LED then starts to flash.

The MIDI implimentation is actually pretty good for an older machine. It responds to all the regular stuff, and program change etc. It can select programs and trigger sounds on other midi devices and accepts the same from controllers sequencers etc. The midi is OFF when the unit is powered up so it has to be enable each time. Now the midi itself is not that easy to figure out. You will need the manual for this. You can set each voice to receive or transmit on any channel, even different channels. But the button sequences and the way the LEDs light up to tell you the status, well if you can figure it out without the manual then you must be Mr Simmons (I understand Simmons is alive and well and has a site on the net). There are 5 or 6 midi modes for both transmit and receive. Pretty flexible.

The manual has an interesting British syntax that takes a moment to get used to. Other than that, they do their best to explain a somewhat complex procedure for getting the most out of the box.

I managed to find a suitable replacement battery, I used a Radio Shack 3.6v cordless phone NiCad. I had to use velcro to mount it inside the unit, as the old battery was soldered to the board and there was not enough room for the new one. Caution, the unit is very tricky to take apart, and the connections from the HUGE on/off switch are very short between the top and bottom of the chassis. Would have been a good idea to put the switch on the same face as the cord. Anyway I had to disconnect some power terminals inside as well as one or two buss connections.

I created a midi-trigger kit to play into my sequencer. I discovered that the snare and rim are two separate sounds that can be triggered from either a dual-trigger pad or two separate pads.

I went through all the preset kits and there are some ok ones, but there seem to be two or three variations, but otherwise they sound very similar to one another. Programming is more fun as the filters etc are pretty expressive when used with varying defrees of velocity. The rim especially will respond with a huge range of different sounds. The manual says the bass drum is internally generated by the computer; the snare and rim come from eproms which can be replaced with anything you can burn on one - there is an eprom blower made by Simmons I believe but good luck finding one - the manual tells you how to select the 3 eproms; but the toms are ANALOG! yes, pure ANALOG (are you excited?) The Toms have a programmable "Second Skin" feature, which adds a resonance that simulates a bottom head on the toms. Finally there are effects(!), basically an echo that is similar to dub reggae type of sounds. Separate outs for each sound and the features mentioned in the overview make this a cool retro box. I give it a 5 because it is very flexible unit for its age. eBay doesn't fetch more than $150 US on average. With pads double that.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-29-2002 at 11:18
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