Released in 1979 by respected drum and percussion manufacturers, Pearl, the SY-1 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 TR606 or TR808.
Unfortunately, the SY-1 earned itself a fairly dreadful reputation almost overnight when it was 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 envelope generator. Oscillator pitch can be swept with SWEEP control either positively (i.e. start high and drop in pitch – the source of the dreaded ‘beeyooo’ sound!) or negatively (the pitch rises with 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.
Input Sensitivity: 200mV minus peak
Output: 1 Vpp output impedance, 10K ohm
Power Source: 12V 300mA
Dimensions: 320mm (W) x 95mm (H) x 200mm (D)
Weight: 2.5 kg