Laboratory Sawtooth Animator

Type: Module

Category: Processor

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

Manufacturer: MRB

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The Dual Sawtooth Animator was another very popular hardware module I designed for Cyndustries. Like the Zeroscillator, it was also sold in many formats. The purpose of this module is to make 1 sawtooth wave sound like many, thus imitating the well known technique of using multiple (usually 2 or 3), slightly detuned oscillators to make things sound fat. This version, like the Cynthia version produces up to 5.

Newly included in the Laboratory Bundle.

Click the SOUNDS tab for some demos.


Upper and lower sections are identical.

Begin by patching an oscillator into the IN jack. You may use any waveform provided it has only 2 zero crossings per cycle. Naturally, a sawtooth is the preferred wave, but any of the standard waveforms will work. Using a waveform such as a high-Q filtered wave will produce unpredictable results.

Select the total number of oscillators with the VOICES switch. This switch was not featured on the hardware version. With VOICES at position 1, you will hear only the original incoming wave. Oscillators 4 and 5 are twice as detuned as 2 and 3, and the even oscillators are flat and the odd oscillators are sharp. However, all that is not important. Just know that things get fatter as you increase the number.

Patch to the L mono jack (with nothing in the R jack) to hear all 5 oscillators in mono. When listening to both L and R jacks, the L jack will have oscillators 1, 3, 5, and the R will have 1, 2, 4 thus creating true, uncorrelated stereo. This stereo feature was also not present on the hardware version.

With FAT (detuning amount) fully counterclockwise, there is no detuning. The oscillators are locked and not beating. The tiniest increase will get things moving. The effect is not subtle.

The Cynthia animator was the first to feature voltage controlled fatness. You can voltage control the detuning with the VC FAT input and its attenuator.


This module was originally conceived in the 70s by Electronotes editor and publisher, Bernie Hutchins. It worked brilliantly, but suffered from one drawback. Since the perceived beating of the multiple oscillators was produced by a bank of steady LFOs, there was too much beating (detuning) at the low end and too little at the high end. The result didn't sound natural across the keyboard. I thought that by sensing the incoming note, and making the LFOs track, this problem would be solved. It was, but once again with a lot of parts. The Voltage Modular version suffers from no such problem. Instead of using fake oscillators as in the original hardware designs, the Laboratory Sawtooth Animator has real oscillators that are detuned by an adjustable percentage from the incoming note. Each section gives you 5 real, high-efficiency oscillators for a total of 10 oscillators per module.