Just like the Mellotron in the sixties, the Fairlight CMI was the first musical instrument that could reproduce natural sounds in the early 80' s ; it was the first to use the sampling technique. The sampling, the Page R (which was the first graphic sequencer), but also a very high retail price, were the reasons why the Fairlight CMI soon acquired a legendary status.
From 1975 to now, the Fairlight catalogue ranges from hybrid synthesizer / 8-bit sampler machines to modern day post-production machines or 16-bit samplers.
This section only deals with the first generation of 8-bit models. The quality of their components, as well as their technical limits, gave a distictive, colourful sound, which was quite unique. This typical sound disappeared with the 16-bit generation.