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Modeling Fairlight CMI with 600 samples from the original CMI library and faithful recreation of the sampling and additive synthesis
Please note this is available via DIGITAL DOWNLOAD only, your download code will be emailed to you in 30 minutes or less. There are NO returns on this product.
PEERLESS SAMPLING CHARACTER
The CMI V is a spot-on reincarnation of the first commercially available digital sampling system in music history—the sonic powerhouse behind numerous early MTV-era megahits. We even went the extra mile and added new creative features that weren’t possible back in the day.
In 1980, the Fairlight CMI turned heads with the introduction of digital sampling. Now our software homage lets you turn some heads yourself.
With exotic new sound of digital samples, the promise of an all-in-one digital workstation, and a physical design right out of a sci-fi movie, the Fairlight CMI was an object of desire for most self-respecting ‘80s keyboardists. Countless musicians and producers weighed the risks of bank robbery in order to afford one. No need today. Our faithful recreation gives you the same tools that many MTV stars used to make a cannonball splash into the pool. We’ve even made lots of improvements and additions that bring added power to this keyboard legend, including an alternate additive synthesis engine and tons of new modulation options. No vintage keyboard collection is complete without the CMI V.
Now it’s your turn to experience the sound and power of the digital workstation that started it all.
The unique musical architecture of the CMI
The CMI V isn’t just a digital instrument. It’s a complete digital workstation.
Our enhanced reproduction of this keyboard superhero lets you work with 10 digital instruments of your choice at once—mixing, layering, splitting and sequencing them as you please. Each instrument can draw from three different means of sound generation. The most obvious is the sampling engine that literally first defined the term in the industry. You can also shape sounds with the original additive synthesis engine where you control each of the component harmonics over time. We’ve even spun up the propellers and introduced a newer, simpler means of exploring additive synthesis like you’ve never heard it before named Spectral Synth. You also get around 300 expertly designed presets to get you going—including the original library of sounds you’ll recognize from countless hit recordings.
The CMI V has everything you need to explore the intersection of sampling and digital synthesis.
The original digital sound design powerhouse
If you want to sculpt sounds in the digital domain, the CMI V brings you a complete artists toolbox.
There are a zillion ways to shape sounds with the CMI. Work with a sample from the included library, or load in one of your own. Set the start and end points for the sample and loop. Modify the resolution to juice some interesting side effects. Resynthesize the sample into the additive synth domain for a harmonic representation. Create custom envelopes to control how each harmonic behaves over time. Change the sine waves that make up those harmonics to more complex waveshapes. Add multiple custom modulations to just about any sonic parameters you can think of. Heck, turn those modified additive harmonics back into a sample and sculpt your sound more back in that domain.
The CMI V gives you limitless creative options and sonic variety that are completely unique to this legendary sound design workstation.
The sound heard around the world
Many cutting edge ‘80s songs were fueled by the equally cutting edge sounds of the CMI. Now you can relive the glory days of MTV.
You know the sound of the CMI because it was everywhere—and still is. Consider the ear candy on Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. The rhythmic frenzy of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”. Peter Gabriel’s exotic “Sledgehammer” shakuhachi. The impossible horn line on Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. The breathy vocal-flute on Tears for Fears’ “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. Trevor Horn’s pulsing Page R bottom-end collage on “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Speaking of Hollywood, there’s Duran Duran’s “View to a Kill” Bond theme. How about Jan Hammer’s pitch-processed drums on his weekly “Miami Vice” TV scores? And MTV favs like “Close (to the Edit)” by Art of Noise and Yello’s “Oh, Yeah” are poster children for all things CMI.
Whether for cover-gig authenticity or just basking in nostalgia, CMI V delivers the fun novelty of songs that still fill the classic rock airwaves.
Three types of digital synthesis in one
The CMI V workstation lets you work with multiple instruments and sound generation technologies at the same time.
With the CMI V, you have up to 10 instrument slots to work with in parallel for layering, splitting and multitracking. Each can be saved and recalled independently, in addition to being parts of full presets. Each can also use one of three sound engines—the original sampler and additive synthesis modes, plus a new Spectral Synth we’ve brought to the party.
The Sampler section is the heart of what put the CMI on the musical map and where most of the action happened on all those ‘80s recordings. You’ll recognize now-standard waveform display, including the ability to drag start time and length for both samples and loop points. You can even visualize the waveform in 3D. Tuning, envelope, filter and vibrato settings are also available to further shape your sound and performance.
In addition to the onboard instrument library, the Sampler lets you load one of your own sample files for additional processing and performance options. You can instantly vary the playback sample rates of any samples from the digital dirt of 2.1k all the way up to 44.1k for modern CD quality, usually discovering interesting side effects along the way. We’ve also extended the original paltry sample length by a mile—up to 30 seconds long for evolving instruments and soundscapes.
Time Synth mode puts a powerful additive synthesis engine at your disposal. Determine how your sound animates by dragging multiple breakpoints on the independent envelopes for each of 32 harmonics. A real-time oscilloscope helps you visualize your work. We’ve augmented the original simple sine waves for harmonics, allowing you to easily experiment with additional simple waveforms or more harmonically complex wavetables as the source for each harmonic—opening up a ton of creative possibilities. You can start from scratch, modify a preset, or work with a sample you’ve converted from the Sampler page.
Our new addition of Spectral Synth mode gives you a different take on additive synthesis. Rather than setting the individual harmonics, you affect an overall distribution curve of harmonics with controls including Center, Spread, Bias and Fundamental Boost. Modulating these parameters with functions and controllers provides another great way to add motion and energy to your sound designs. As with the Time Synth, you can select different waveshapes in order to pioneer sounds beyond those based on simple sines. All totalled, Spectal Synth mode gives you an easier way to tame additive synthesis that also produces different new sonic results.
The CMI V features the original Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) function that gives you the power to analyze a sample and convert it to a harmonic profile to further manipulate using all the unique harmonic controls only available to you in Time Synth mode. Our faithful modeling of this functionality means that, like the original, you get some unpredictable artifacts during the conversion process that can be musically useful themselves. You also have the option of converting your additive synth work into a sample in order to employ the Sampler’s display and controls in further defining your sound.
CMI V merges the worlds of sampling and additive synthesis to give you the power to design new sounds that are uniquely yours.
A complete workstation
Everything you need from sequencing to mixing to alternate tuning is included in the CMI V.
Page R Sequencer
CMI V lovingly brings back the Page R sequencer, the first commercially available screen-based pattern sequencer. Its quantized, pattern-based workstation implementation changed both the way music sounded and was composed—including further opening up production to talented creatives regardless of their musical motor skills. Page R is crude by today’s standards, yet we’ve included it as part of our commitment to completely faithful reproductions. We’ve given the pattern grid a modern makeover, allowed real-time transposition, added two more tracks, implemented polyrhythm mode with variable track lengths, incorporated swing, and more. One can never have too many sequencers, right?
With all this multi-timbral workstation power, you’ll appreciate an intuitive mixer. The Mixer page gives you all the control you’d expect in managing and balancing the CMI V’s 10 instrument channels in stereo, including an aux bus and master. You’ll also find 13 inspiring studio-quality effects to extend your sound designs right on board—all your workhorse favorites plus more exotics like Leslie rotating speaker and the bit-smashing Destroy. You can route one effect per instrument, one on the aux return, and two on the master. It’s easy to set up things like a variable amount of aux bus reverb feed from each instrument, plus apply overall compression and limiting on the master.
The Tune/Map page lets you specify the root note, range, MIDI response channel, and polyphony for each individual instrument slot—indispensable in setting up splits and layers for more complex performance, instrument stacking options, or DAW assignments. This page also has you covered when it’s time for outside-the-box sound design or microtonal music, because you can also control global temperament to the extreme.