Meet CMI Fairlight – the legend of the music industry

When it comes down to musical instruments, apart from the native instruments or a typical rock-n-roll setups with the guitar, bass, drums and vocal, synthesizers played a huge role in the history of the musical instruments.

CMI Fairlight was one of the first digital synthesizers and, as you can imagine, it played a great role in the development of music. If you are interested in electronic music, let’s go on a journey of exploring this magnificent musical instrument together!

The rise of synthesizers

Amazing is it with its vast power to electronically synthesis sounds, emulating the acoustic native instruments, the whole journey of the mainstream synthesizer started in 1971 with the launch of Minimoog by Moog Inc. With the 70s roll by came in the end of analogue synthesizer such as Minimoog, Arp Odyssey, Arp 2600 and others which lead to the decade of digital synthesizers. The term digital defined the 1980s sound and culture.

One of the first digital synthesizer that were available on the market, was the New England Digital’s ‘synclavier’. Yet, that was just the beginning or set the door open to new manufacturer that would become iconic over synclavier. One of them was the mighty CMI Fairlight.

CMI Fairlight was a music space shuttle for the creators of the time. This awe-inspiring piece of work defined the culture and sound of 1980s.

What exactly is CMI Fairlight?

CMI Fairlight was more than just a synthesizer. It was honestly the first sampling machine that would be out there in the market place that would digitally store an acoustic sound and then gave the user the ability to tune the sound, manipulate the pitch of the sound and perform some other operations. This is not just a synthesizer with a row of keys and bunch of knobs. In fact, it did not have any knobs on its interface of the keyboard other than few slider to control some stuff. Still, it was a whole set of desktop computer features which were primarily used for music production.

The features of CMI Fairlight

It has a crt monitor with green and black screen, an interactive touch pen like one of this modern time stylus, a QWERTY keyboard, a gigantic foot box, resembling a case which held the sampling, processing and ADC/DAC hardware with big 8 inch floppy disk.