fairlight

CMI I

  • years of production : 1979 - 1982
  • dimensions (cm) W x H x D and weight (kg)
      . mainframe : 75 x 33 x 44 - weight : 40
      . music keyboard : 123 x 10 x 44 - weight : 20
      . graphics monitor : 49 x 35 x 37 - weight : 15
      . alphanumeric keyboard : 42 x 8 x 17 - weight : 3



» information    » brochures / ads

The first model that was produced was the Fairlight CMI I, in 1979. CMI stands for Computer Musical Instrument. It was based on the architecture of the Fairlight Qasar prototype, and it had most of its features :

  • dual 8-bit 1 Mhz Motorola 6800 processors
  • 8 channel cards with 16kb waveform RAM : 8 voices of polyphony
  • 64Kb system RAM (QDOS)
  • two 8" floppy disks - double sides, simple density (512Kb)
  • non-weighted 6 octave keyboard, featuring key velocity sensitivity, with 3 sliders and 2 switch buttons that can be alloted to various parameters (vibrato, volume, sustain... ). A second keyboard is proposed as an option (without the control buttons)
  • monochrome monitor which was used to visualise waveforms and to edit parameters - its resolution was 512 x 256 pixels
  • alphanumeric keyboard
  • lightpen
  • additive synthesis with FFT (Fast Fourier Transform)
  • 24khz 8-bit sampling
  • sequencer (page C)
  • MCL : Musical Composition Language, which made the Fairlight CMI I the first machine using this type of language. It was soon followed by the Synclavier

All the models of the Fairlight CMI line featured a central processing unit, a 73 note keyboard, a monochrome monitor, a lightpen and an alphanumeric keyboard. The central processing unit featured two floppy disk drives and several cards plugged in a motherboard (CMI-25). The cards could be accessed by lifting the front panel. The cards were placed this way :

  • CMI-02 : master card : control of 8 channel cards, ADC sampling, timerfunctions for sequencer and MCL (slot 01)
  • CMI-01 : channel card with 16Kb waveform RAM in which sounds are stored (slot 03 à 10)
  • Q045 : graphics card (slot 09)
  • CMI-07 : analog interface card (optional) : 16 inputs/outputs to control analog synthesizers (slot 11)
  • Q148 : lightpen card (slot 12)
  • Q096 : 64Kb system RAM card (slot 13 à 15)
  • Q032 : processor control card (slot 16)
  • Q026 : dual 6800 processors (slot 17)
  • QFC2 : floppy disk controller (slot 18)
  • Q025 : 16Kb video graphics RAM (slot 20)