MATRIXSYNTH: SIMMONS Silicon Mallet Vibes

Monday, March 19, 2007

SIMMONS Silicon Mallet Vibes


Click here for shots pulled via this auction.

Update: you can find a video of one posted here, via Ruud Wiener in the comments.

Details (note this is not mine, nor any auction I put up for that matter):
"this is the rarest of the rare. there is very little info on this on the internet and i havent even been able to find another owner. made at a time when r&d and production cost was extremely high so very few were made or sold. its serial # is 000197. i assume it was the 197th unit made.i think its from the mid 80's. made in england. of real metal and rubber!!! its quite heavy and feels really solidly built. ive owned it for a few years. its really fun to use and makes great sounds, but im not a percussionist and i dont have the room. it also needs some repair. sometimes all or some of the pads dont work right. than it just starts working again. usually if i gently shake the unit. i assume its just a loose wire or connection but i definatley dont want to open it up because i know nothing about electronics. i contacted 2 different synth shops in nyc and described the problem. they both said they could fix it no problem but i never got around to bringing it someplace. there are about 20 pre programed patches of all sorts or sounds. than there are another 80 that are empty to put your own sounds in. it had midi so im sure someone who knows about these things could program some really cool sounds. i always thought of it as a a synth with pads instead of keys. its a really cool idea and if was in some sort of electronic band this would be the coolest. and your sure to be the only one around with one! all the sounds are super tweakable too. controls for: patch volume, dynamic sensitivity, octave, semitones, half tone-quater tone scales, tremelo speed and depth, vibrato speed and depth, mod pedal route, pitch blend, brightness, harmonic, bite, attack time, decay time, gate time. you can also select through patch number, split patch, tune, split position, midi ch, split voice assign, midi mode, sequence. the outputs are: headphones, stereo outs (voice 1-3 and 4-6) sustain pedal, up/down pedal, mod pedal, pitch pedal, midi out, midi thru, midi in, cass out. to be totally honest i had alot of fun playing around with it, but i have no idea what most of these things do. the unit seems to be in great shape for its age. as i said the case of the actual pads and the unit that sits on it are made of metal, so its quite durable. the stand is in good shape and it even has some extra parts for it. it all comes apart and is adjustable with a drum key."

14 comments:

  1. He couldn't get it together enough to apply a little 409 to the surface before taking a photo?

    ReplyDelete
  2. no, you need a degree in electrical engineering to touch that thing.....

    :P

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm pretty sure Bill Bruford used one of these as part of his late '80s-early '90s setup with Earthworks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I want to hear Ruth Underwood playing one of these against George Duke on Oddy in the Inca Roads era Zappa band.

    Tell me again why I never went and saw Zappa live?

    ReplyDelete
  5. don't go see Don Preston live as a zappa replacement these days...it's not the same

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yeah, Don Preston is alive.
    Seeing Zappa would be a dull show what with him being dead and all.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have one, complete with stand and orignal manual!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you selling it? Please email me at milkade1@aol.com

      Delete
  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVW_2dbNVm0

    At beginning of music is a Silicon Mallet.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here's another Silicon Mallet example. Recorded around 1995 old fashioned Tascam multitrack.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vu_PBXGH4U

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have one of the originals supposedly belonged to Ed Mann once, I bought from someone who claimed to be a Frank Zappa roadie. The module works perfectly with a weird 9-pin serial prt connector but the mallet pads are not consistent-it has thin pressure-sensitive sheets like the old simmons drums under the rubber mallets and plywood...yes you got it under the rubber strike padst-murder on your hands if you are a real mallet player like me (not bragging well i guess I am). I can't get these pads to work consistently-despite ritualistic cleaning and voodoo electronics, it still dowsn't seem to want to work consistently, an octave willdrop out for reasons I still can't decide and i've cleaned every connector and even the sensor sheets under with de-oxit and anything Zi thought would work. I'm now guessing the power which comes through the mallet assembly and sends to the module through the 9-pin serial plug may be inadequate to get this enough juice to get the unbelievable amount of circuitry inside this to work with these stupid strike pads. I even got complete replacement circuti boards and conductive sheets, as well as pedals but no stand.

      Delete
    2. Sorry for the typos, didn't have my reading glasses, d***it!

      Delete
  10. I own two of these instruments and both are in good shape. I made some live recordings in 1990 and recorded a CD (Inner Voice)
    https://youtu.be/5uag-HqGoEo I learned to know about the Silicon Mallet when I worked together with Bill Bruford while he was using the Simmons Drums.

    ReplyDelete

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