Punk Labs Release OneTrick SIMIAN Open-Source Drum Synth


Punk Labs has released OneTrick SIMIAN, a free and open-source drum synth for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

OneTrick SIMIAN is a drum synth inspired by the Simmons SDS-V.

The SDS-V burst onto the scene in the very early 1980s as an innovative alternative to acoustic drums and was quickly put to work by groups like Spandau Ballet and Genesis. If I’m not mistaken, you can also hear the SDS-V can on the theme track for the 80s show, The Equalizer.

In other words, it’s very much unapologetically 80s! I’m not opposed to that at all, thanks, in part, to a misspent youth playing GTA: Vice City.

So, that’s the inspiration for OneTrick SIMIAN, which comes in two versions: Lite (free) and paid ($35). The core difference between the two versions is that the paid version has ten voices, and the Lite version has only four.

We will be focusing on the Lite version, which is completely free with no time limits, and all presets from the full version (33).

Although it doesn’t have as many voices, OneTrick SIMIAN Lite gives us a Kick, Snare, Tom, and Hi-Hat, which is enough to hear what it’s all about.

Each voice is highly-customizable, starting with some Tone controls, a Filter section, an Envelope with Delay and Punch settings, Mix controls, and an Amp section with Saturation.

Then things get even more 80s with a gated Reverb bus if you fancy recreating one of the happiest accidents of the era. The Output section features Drive and global Saturation, in addition to the per-voice Saturation.

OneTrick SIMIAN Lite has a playful but sophisticated interface with selectable voice icons and colors, which makes it very easy to use.

I’ve mentioned previously that the 80s sound is somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me, and I don’t mind admitting it; Sussudio, Dance Hall Days, and Hip to be Square are among my favorites.

If you’re more into Synthwave and the, perhaps, cooler 80s sound, OneTrick SIMIAN has got that covered, too.

It’s fair to say if something is unapologetically 80s, I’m already halfway in, but even if I park my positive bias to one side for a minute, I think Punk Labs has done a fantastic job of recreating the iconic hexagonal sound of the SDS-V.

If you like it and want more, you can grab the full version for $35.

Since we’re in an 80s mood, check out our recent blast from the past with the TDR Nova dynamic EQ.

OneTrick SIMIAN Lite is available in AU and VST3 formats for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Download: OneTrick SIMIAN (Free version or Full version for $35)


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James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.

1 Comment

  1. This one-trick simian is a four-tricks pony. There’s something fascinating to me about drum synths. I can’t get enough of the analog-style drums and I just love seeing plugins based on that concept.
    As I’m still using very old plugins, like the Marvin Pavilion ones (The Tromine range for Roland style, and Hexagon 85 for the Simmons), that are 32bit synthedit relics from another age, I’m delighted when I see brand spanking new plugins working on all platforms, and open source to top it all. This one doesn’t disappoint.
    There is something magical into turning a kick into a snare, into a hat by moving some knobs. And these days with automation… o_O;
    I just have to ask, how is a plugin written in D doesn’t give you the CLAP, tho?

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