Hello everyone. I'm an absolute novice drummer and I've been researching some entry-level way to practice quietly. I went to a nearby GC today and picked up a Simmons SDD7. I couldn't find any user reviews of the thing before buying, so I figured I'd post here and give my first impressions. Hopefully search engines will pick this up and it might help others.
Here's quick video review:
Inexpensive, cheaply-made, good sounds, and well-suited to a total novice who needs to be able to practice quietly. In only two hours of practice, I can already manage to keep a simple beat with the bass drum half-notes, closed high hat sixteenth-notes, and snare quarter notes. I can even throw in an occasional splash if I concentrate.
There is no denying that this is made to be sold at an entry-level price point. It's light-weight and aside from the actual drum pads, it gives the impression that it's best to be careful with it. I'm sure the various buttons, input jacks, and switches could break easily if not handled with care.
The foot pedals (see photos) are essentially plastic clam shells with a switch inside. I believe that it's a switch, rather than a trigger, because it doesn't respond to varying amounts of pressure. They are either on or off.
I'm very glad that I bought the GC extra warranty, because at some point (hopefully not soon) I think I'll need it. Until that time, I believe that it will be a useful tool for learning the basics.
To my untrained ears, the sounds are quite good. There are 25 built-in kits (the usual suspects of sounds) and a few user kits to store your own settings. I've already used one of those slots because I liked the "Jazz 1" sounds, but I wanted to turn up the volume of the ride cymbal.
Unlike other cheap electronic kits I've tried in the past, I'm happy to say that this kit doesn't miss triggers. I can play rapid rolls on each pad and the appropriate rapid triggers of the sounds all take place with no dropped hits or lag.
The snare, high hat, and tom pads make varying sounds when struck in the center or out to the edge. Even with only about two hours of practice, I'm able to hit the hot spots pretty reliably.
The pedals are more difficult -- but not impossible -- to use. Real pedals will probably seem like a breeze after I get used to playing these. I think part of the problem is that my legs/feet simply aren't used to this activity. Part of the problem also may be that I've got the pedals sitting on thick carpeting. I'm betting that they would be more predictable on a firmer, non-slip surface.
Even though I have the warranty, I'm tempted to buy backup pedals (of higher quality) in case I need them. I get the distinct feeling that the pedals will be the first parts to break.
Simmons SDD7 Manual PDF
Update: I've found the SDD7 pedals work much better when taped down to a firm surface. They're a bit like an automotive clutch. They work best if your foot is pushing the pedal all the way down, or is all the way off. Otherwise you'll get multiple triggers.