Fairlight CMI 30A Specifications update

The specifications are still being finalised, however the following provides as a guide. The new CMI will be unique in that it will produce the classic “Fairlight sound” that defined music of the eighties as well as the modern Fairlight sound — that of uncompromising signal purity.

Both these extremes are made possible by the extraordinary processing power of the Crystal Core engine which lies at the heart of the system. The Crystal Core media processor(CC-1) was developed by Fairlight.AU as the engine for its range of top-end digital audio workstations. The CC-1 uses FGPA (field-progranmable gate array) to achieve performance far in excess of what can be achieved using even the fastest digital signal processor of conventional design. Fairlight have yet to discover the limits of the Crystal Core as a musical instrument, but thanks to its massively parallel architecture, it should be able to deliver many hundreds of tracks of sample playback without any degradation of audio quality and close to zero latency.

The original CMIs owe their unique, organic sound to the peculiarities and limitations of the digital and analogue hardware of the time. The Fairlight 30A will use the Crystal Core engine to faithfully reproduce all these acoustic quirks. Thanks to this use of programmable “virtual hardware”, each channel will have its own “randomness” which gives the combined output the rich analogue CMI sound.

CMI-30A Provisional Hardware Specifications (as at 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 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 consulatation with potential purchasers via the forum.

Once price and specifications are finalised (by the end of August 2009) we will make an official announcement and call for expressions of interest. At that point payment of a deposit will be required to secure an order on a first-come, first served basis.

The order book will close at the end of September and delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2010.

Fairlight CMI 30A waitlist….






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