Fairlight CMI - Features Timeline

Features Timeline

Series comparison
Models Year Price Notable new features Voice# Synthesis Software I/O
Qasar I, II, M8 1975
~1977
$20,000
base price
?
  • Dynamic harmonic control
    (128 harmonics additive)
  • Waveform editing
?
CMI Series I 1979 ~£18,000
  • Sampler (8 bit, 8 voice, monaural)
  • Lightpen
8
  • Sampling: 8bit @ 16 kHz
  • Dynamic harmonic control
  • Waveform editing/drawing
CMI Series II 1980 ~£25,000
  • "Page R" (Rev.10–)
8
  • Sampling: 8bit @ 2.1–30.2 kHz
  • Dynamic harmonic control
    (32 harmonics additive)
  • Waveform generating/drawing
  • "Page R" Realtime Composer
  • Basic keyboard sequencer
  • MCL
  • CV/Gate interface (optional)
CMI Series IIx 1983 ~£27,000
  • MIDI and SMPTE interface
  • FFT (Rev.12–)
8
  • Sampling: 8bit @ 2.1–30.2 kHz
  • FFT (additive resynthesis)
  • Waveform editing/drawing
  • "Page R" Realtime Composer
  • Basic keyboard sequencer
  • MCL
  • MIDI and SMPTE interface
CMI Series III 1985 £50,000
  • 16 voices (expandable), 16bit sampling
  • CAPS sequencer, maximum 80 tracks
  • Graphics tablet (instead of lightpen)
16
  • Sampling: 16bit @ 100 kHz(mono) or 50 kHz(stereo)
  • FFT (additive resynthesis)
  • Waveform editing/drawing
  • CAPS (Composer, Arranger, Performer Sequencer), 80 tracks
  • MCL
  • MIDI and SMPTE interface
CMI Series 30A 2009/
2011
~£20,000
  • Reissued using Crystal Core Sound Engine
  • Sampling rate: 44.1, 48, 96, 192 kHz
? ? ?
  • Analog: 2in / 12+2out
  • Digital: SPDIF, 64ch BNC MADI, Wordclock
  • Timecode: MIDI, LTC
  • MIDI, USB
Fairlight Pro App 2011 £29.99
  • Running on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (iOS 4.0 or later)
  • Sampling (ver.1.1–)
?
  • Sample player with:
    • entire IIx library (564 voices)
    • selected III sounds (over 100)
  • User sampling (ver.1.1–)
  • "Page R" Realtime Comporser
  • "Page D" Display waveform in 3D graphics
  • MIDI input via external interface
  • Import/export CMI data files

Qasar I, II, and (last) M8 (1975–1977)

Made by Fairlight and Creative Strategies
  • Price: $20,000 base price
  • CPUs: Dual Motorola 6800
  • Storage: Hole paper tape reader
  • Memory: 4 kB per voice
  • Voices: 8 voices (no sampling, just numeric additive synthesis with 128 harmonics)
  • Synthesis: Additive synthesis; dynamic harmonic control, waveform editing

CMI Series I (1979)

Musical sampler was introduced.
  • Price: ~£18,000
  • CPUs: Dual Motorola 6800
  • Storage: Two 8" floppy drives
  • Memory: 16 kB per voice, System: 64 kB, Video: 16 kB (512x256 pixels)
  • Voices: 8 voices of polyphony
  • Synthesis: waveform drawing via lightpen; dynamic harmonic control, waveform editing
  • Sampling: 8 bits at 16 kHz (mono)
  • Sequencer: Basic keyboard sequencer, Musical Composition Language (MCL),
  • Keyboard: 73 note unweighted velocity sensitive + slave keyboard

CMI Series II (1980)

  • Price: ~£25,000
  • CPUs: Dual Motorola 6800
  • Storage: Two 8" floppy drives
  • Memory: 16 kB per voice, System: 64 kB, Video: 16 kB (512x256 pixels)
  • Voices: 8 voices of polyphony
  • Synthesis: dynamic harmonic control (Page 4); waveform generating (Page 5); waveform drawing via lightpen (Page 6)
  • Sampling: 8 bits at 2100 Hz to 30.2 kHz (mono) (Page 8)
  • Sequencer: Basic keyboard sequencer (Page 9), Musical Composition Language (MCL, Page C), Realtime Composer (Page R)
  • Keyboard: 73 note unweighted velocity sensitive + slave keyboard
  • I/O: No MIDI, optional CV/Gate interface (Page A)

CMI Series IIx (1983)

  • Price: ~£27,000
  • CPUs: Dual Motorola 6809
  • Storage: Two 8" floppy drives
  • Memory: 16 kB per voice, System: 256 kB, Video: 16 kB (512x256 pixels)
  • Voices: 8 voices of polyphony
  • Synthesis: waveform drawing via lightpen; dynamic harmonic control, waveform editing
  • Sampling: 8 bits at 2100 Hz to 30.2 kHz (mono) (Page 8)
  • Sequencer: Page R, Basic keyboard sequencer, Musical Composition Language (MCL)
  • Keyboard: 73 note unweighted velocity sensitive + slave keyboard
  • I/O: MIDI, SMPTE

CMI Series III (1985)

  • Price: £50,000
  • CPUs: Dual Motorola 6809 CPUs, and one 6809 CPU for each voice card, one Motorola 68000 (to 68020) for waveform processor card
  • Storage: Hard drive and Tape DC600 Streamer (ESDI, SCSI), one 8" floppy drive
  • Memory: 14 MB, expandable to 32 MB and maximum 64 MB on last hard revision (RAM RAM disk), System: 356 kB
  • Voices: 16 voices of polyphony (expandable)
  • Synthesis: waveform drawing via graphics tablet; FFT; waveform editing
  • Sampling: 16 bits at 100 kHz (mono) or 50 kHz (stereo)
  • Sequencer: CAPS (Composer, Arranger, Performer Sequencer), 80 track polyphonic, Musical Composition Language (MCL),
  • Keyboard: 73 note unweighted velocity sensitive (MIDI compatible)
  • I/O: MIDI, SMPTE

CMI Series 30A (30th Anniversary) (announced in 2009, released in 2011)

  • ~$20,000
  • Retro look and feel of the original CMI
  • Sound architecture based on the new Crystal Core
CMI-30A Hardware Specifications
System Components
  • Mainframe — free-standing and adaptable to rack mount, includes 500GB SATA hard drive, DVD R/W drive, USB ports.
    (Welded aluminium enclosure. Width:58 cm, Depth:50 cm, Height:30 cm, Weight:32 kg)
  • Monitor — 17" 1280 x 1024 pixels
    (Width:51 cm, Depth:28 cm, Height:38 cm, Weight:12 kg)
  • Lightpen — Precision machined stainless steel pointer with left/right click button
  • QWERTY keyboard — 85 clicky keys, USB output
  • Music keyboard — Fatar 76 key TP40GH, with weighted keys and hammer action for a real piano feel,
    velocity and aftertouch, pitch wheel, mod wheel, 3 assignable rotary controls, 2 assignable switches, assignable multitouch colour screen
    (Width:130 cm, Depth:44 cm, Height:9.5 cm, Weight:25 kg)
Audio Outputs
  • 12 channels analogue, balanced TRS
  • 2 channels analogue monitor mix, balanced TRS (front panel access)
    (Dynamic range > 100 dB (unweighted); THD < 0.002% @ 1 kHz, −1dBFS; Frequency response +0.05 / −0.15 dB, 20 Hz – 20 kHz)
  • Digital output: 64 channel BNC MADI
Audio Inputs
  • 2 balanced mic/line inputs XLR, phantom power 48V option
    (Sample rate: 44.1, 48, 96, 192 kHz; THD < 0.002% @ 1 kHz, −1dBFS; Frequency response +0.05 / −0.15 dB, 20 Hz – 20 kHz)
  • SPDIF
Other I/O
  • USB, Pedal x 3
  • MIDI and MIDI Timecode input and output via 5 pin DIN
  • LTC (Linear Time Code) input and output
  • Word clock (for synchronisation to external sources)
Power
  • 100–240V AC — Mainframe & Keyboard: 9W, Monitor: 50W

Fairlight Pro App for iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad, iOS 4.0 or later. (2011)

  • £29.99
  • Entire original Fairlight CMI IIX Sound Library containing 564 voices.
  • 100+ selected CMI III sounds - play the CMI voices from an external MIDI input or the on-screen keyboard.
  • Display voices graphically using ‘Page D’, and change your viewpoint by tilting the iPhone/iPad.
  • Authentic Fairlight CMI user interface.
  • 8 track composition using ‘Page R’ pattern-based sequencer.
  • Ability to create instrument sets that store settings for all 8 channels, including the voices, pitch shifts, volumes, release times etc.
  • Import/export voices, compositions, MIDI and instruments.

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