Released in 1979 by respected drum and percussion manufacturers, Pearl, the SY1 Syncussion was the forerunner to the Simmons SDSV.

It offered two completely independent (and identical) channels which were typically triggered from two bongo-like drums fitted with transducers. However, they can be triggered from almost anything including an old synth with a gate output or, indeed, the trigger outputs of something like a TR808.

It was most commonly seen, however, as an adjunct to drum kits or percussion rigs as a source of electronic drum and percussion sounds and sound effects.

Unfortunately, the SY1 earned itself a fairly dreadul reputation almost overnight when it featured on disco tracks with tasteless and gimmicky 'beeyooo beeyooo' sounds and of course, as soon as one of these records became a hit, so an endless stream of other, similarly tacky records followed.

Which is a shame really because it's actually quite a capable percussion synth.

Each channel has an oscillator that can produce different basic waveforms which can be shaped with its own simple enevleope generator. Oscillator pitch can be swept with the SWEEP control either positively (i.e. start high and drop in pitch - the source of the dreaded 'beeyoo' sound!) or negatively (the pitch rises through the sweep). However, each channel also has an LFO with variable speed and depth and a choice of square and sawtooth waveforms. There's also a noise generator and a sample/hold function and so, with some adventurous programming, a very wide range of sounds is possible.

I have been given a donation of some outrageous Syncussion samples from a regular donor who would prefer to remain anonymous. He says of the unit:

"Big suprise - this thing is very far from the naff piece of crap I first thought it was! Every sound gets a really punchy transient and some sounds are decidedly chunky. Enjoy."

Indeed - there are some very unique sounds in the collection that cover the gamut from electronic drums to sci-fi sound effects that could have come straight from archives of the BBC's old Radiophonic Workshop! And yes - the 'beeyoo beeyoo' toms are in there too!

Many thanks to 'Mr X' for this unusual contribution.

The Syncussion he used is the property of Wernick Musical Instruments, makers of all manner of interesting electronic percussion ( Worth a visit if you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary!