Mark Barton, the founder of MRB, designed
the original analog Zeroscillator module in 2005 as a personal challenge. As Mark explains:
"There were people saying that through-zero FM synthesis could and would only exist in the digital domain because it was too difficult to build it in analog. Well, that’s all I needed to hear, so I decided to give it a try. Co-conceived with Cynthia Webster, it took 4 completely different designs before we finally settled on what would become the Zeroscillator.
A magic chip from Analog Devices made it all possible -- the AD734 precision analog multiplier. I didn’t want to use it because they were $17 a piece (now they’re $35), but none of the designs would work without it. This, of course, was just one chip in the whole circuit, and with everything else, the result was a very partsy (lots of parts), expensive module to produce.
The ZO consists of 5 circuit boards which include a motherboard and 3 daughterboards. The board set was placed behind 8 different format front panels: 5U, Modcan, MOTM, Eurorack, Frac Rack, Blacet, Buchla, and Wiard. I know of no other module that has ever been produced in so many formats. These retailed anywhere from $750 to $1,200 a piece. Even at those prices, Cyndustries couldn’t build them fast enough. Enjoying rave reviews, they were swallowed up in multiples by top film composers and electronic musicians, including Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg). At last, crazy through-zero FM was available in their modulars."
Zeroscillator was featured on the cover of the June 2006 issue of
Electronic Musician magazine. It went on to win the EM Editor’s Choice Award for best analog product of the
year. In the years since, several other
manufacturers have produced their own through-zero oscillators, but Mark believes - and we here at Cherry Audio agree - the Zeroscillator blows them all away. Mark's no-compromise design pays of sonically in a big way.
Fast-forward to today. The Zeroscillator has come full-circle and is back in the digital domain. By carefully modeling how the original ZO hardware works internally, the Voltage Modular version retains the unique features and analog character of the original. And of course, the polyphonic version is pure “unobtainium” in the analog world. Now you can have it all for a tiny, tiny fraction of the price! And, you can have as many of them as you want with the click of a button!
The Zeroscillator ($25) and Poly Zeroscillator ($30) are available separately or as a bundle ($35). And here's some great news: During Cherry Audio's Black Friday Celebration Sale, through December 3, 2020, you can purchase both modules in the Zeroscillator Bundle for only $25!
Nov 20, 2019