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WINTER NAMM 2011: Der Fairlight kehrt zurück

1979 kam der erste Fairlight auf den Markt, zur WINTER NAMM 2011 soll nun das Jubiläumsmodell Fairlight CMI 30A erscheinen. Der Fairlight war eine der ersten Musikworkstations / Edelsampler (obwohl die erste Version nur 8 Bit beherrschte) mit Synthesizerfunktionen und ist mit seinem markanten Sound in unzähligen Produktionen der Achtziger zu hören, unter anderem auch im Soundtrack zum ersten TRON-Film. Entwickelt von den beiden Australiern Peter Vogel und Kim Ryrie hatte das futuristische Teil mit Leuchtstift-Bedienung jede Menge Fans von Stevie Wonder über Peter Gabriel bis hin zu Kate Bush und Jean-Michel Jarre. Ein prima unterhaltsames Video von 1980 in dem der Fairlight im australischen Fernsehen vorgestellt wird findet ihr nach dem Break, ebenso die vorläufigen Specs des Fairlight CMI 30A, der sogar die Leuchtstift-Bedienung wieder aufleben lassen wird.

[via De:Bug Musiktechnik]

CMI-30A Provisional Hardware Specifications (as of 13 August 2009)

System Components:

+ Mainframe - free-standing and adaptable to rack mount, includes 750GB SATA hard drive, DVD R/W drive, USB ports.
+ Monitor - 15" with lightpen (passive stylus)
+ Alpha-numeric keyboard
+ Music keyboard - weighted, velocity sensitive, MIDI, 6 octaves, 73 keys with pitchbend.


+ 24 channels analogue, balanced XLR
+ 2 channels analogue monitor mix, balanced XLR
+ Dynamic range > 100 dB (unweighted)
+ THD < 0.002% @ 1kHz, -1dBFS
+ Frequency response +0.05 / -0.15 dB, 20 Hz – 20kHz
+ Digital output: 64 channel BNC MADI


+ 2 balanced mic inputs XLR
+ Sample rate: 44.1, 48, 96, 192 kHz
+ THD < 0.002% @ 1kHz, -1dBFS
+ Frequency response +0.05 / -0.15 dB, 20 Hz – 20kHz

Other I/O

+ MIDI, MIDI Timecode input and output 5 pin DIN
+ LTC (Linear time code) input and output
+ Word clock (for synchronisation to external sources)

Provisional Software Specification

The original Fairlight CMIs were renowned for not only their superb sound quality, but also their elegant and intuitive software.

The CMI-30A will combine the very best features of the Fairlight series IIX and the III, with considerable new developments. The "page", and "sub-page" system will be retained, allowing users to easily navigate around a particular set of functions, while "help pages", effectively the relevant sections of the user manual, will be only a key-click away.

Sound acquisition, whether through sampling or importing, will be as easy as ever, with playback quality switchable between series I, II, or III quality, or "best possible" 36-bit floating point.

Page DWaveform drawing and FFT sound generation will be available, with the ease of use of the earlier systems. There will also be the ever popular "Page D" display page, expanded to vary the viewpoint (such as rotation) of a 3D sample.Many existing CMI users have requested modulation and live performance controls be given particular consideration. Accordingly, there will be provisions to patch many sources to a variety of functions. Sources will include hand-drawable ADSR generators, sample and holds, LFOs, noise and keyboard following will be patchable to any parameter, such as pitch, filter frequency, filter resonance and many more. It will also be possible to cross modulate samples (ring modulation). Of course, external MIDI control of these parameters will also be available.

The classic "Page R" sequencer will be retained, plus some valuable upgrades such as increasing the number of tracks to 80 (to be confirmed).


The projected price of the CMI-30A is approximately US$17,000 and the additional music keyboard option US$2,000. This includes delivery worldwide (but not taxes if applicable).

This is subject to change as specifications are firmed up. Final specification will be determined in consultation with potential purchasers via the forum.

Once price and specifications are finalised (expected sometime in the second half of 2010) we will email everyone who has registered an expression of interest. At that point payment of a deposit will be required to secure an order on a first-come, first served basis.

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