New Fairlight System Expected To Cost $5,000+

More News On The 30th Anniversary CMI      10/08/09
New Fairlight System Expected To Cost $5,000+


If you're interested in the 30th Anniversary Limited Edition of the Fairlight CMI, you may want to start saving now.

In a post to the Fairlight Yahoo Group, Fairlight's Peter Vogel reveals more details about the capabilities and pricing of the new Fairlight:

We’re hoping to have some more detailed specs this week, however I can answer a few questions in general terms.

The CC-1 can perform very complex algorithms and lots of them, with almost no latency. So yes, we are modelling the quirky hardware of the CMI. The sound of each CMI was subtly different, due to their analogue bits, so it won’t sound exactly like any one CMI, but lined up with a few CMIs you won’t be able to tell the difference.

The sound will be user selectable, to be like a series I,II,IIX, III etc. Or you can dig deeper and make it sound like nothing else.

One of the many nice things about the CC-1 is that it has no inherent bit width. “Normal” processors generally offer say 32 or 64 bit operations, where as the CC-1 can be configured to any number of bits. So if something works most effectively as 33 bits, so be it. And the bit widths can be mixed within the one signal path.

The “n” polyphony is achieved by “n” individual circuits set up in the FPGA working in parallel, as opposed to the software emulation model which is necessarily sequential. The channels can have different configurations is required; in any case there will be subtle coefficient differences between channels to reproduce the individuality of outputs that has often been cited.

How much polyphony? All we know at this time are the extremes – it will certainly be at least 16 like the original Series III but given that the Crystal Core when used in a DAW delivers up to 230 channels of mixing ALL of which have full processing (8 bands EQ, 3 stages Dynamics), you can safely assume a lot more than 16 will be possible.

Re pricing: yet to be finalised, but the choice to go with the CC-1 does come at a price. Although the CC-1 is not sold currently as a separate card (it would be no use without the software etc that goes with it), the retail price would be around the $5,000 mark. So you can do the sums, the CMI 30-A is not going to be price competitive with the mass-market synths which abound.

Based on this, it sounds like the new keyboard will have to be well over $5,000 US, not "price competitive with the mass-market synths", but not out of the range of other high-end synths.

What do you think? Is there a market for a high-end, revamped Fairlight?

via Yahoo Fairlight Group (registration required), via Failed Muso

James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news

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9 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Matt_C    Said...

If they've got it running in a virtualised form then I'd be very surprised if they couldn't make it work as something like a PCI card for processing and I/O (probably via a breakout box of some kind) and software control from a Mac or PC host.

I suppose you wouldn't have that well-known form factor and the kudos from having a Fairlight in your studio pictures.

10-Aug-09 03:18 AM


The Guvnor    Said...

When it originally came out, the Fairlight was not just a totally groundbreaking instrument the likes of which we will probably never see again, but also an 80s status symbol for rich, smug, frilly shirted keyboard players to pose with while playing orchestral stabs. I doubt very much that more than a handful of them actually knew how to use the thing other than to play the presets.

When the next generation samplers came along (S1000s, etc), it just became a very expensive doorstop.

Given that you can buy the original sound libraries (which to many peoples minds personify the machine itself), what you would actually be buying is a digital virtual emulation of the original's hard-to-use interface wrapped in a clone of the original enclosures.

In this world of full-featured, GUI based software based samplers, I have a hard time wondering who would buy the thing (other than the curious or the masochistic), seeing how the original owners no doubt consigned their originals to the landfills a long time ago.

Probably only a matter of time now before the software companies add a Fairlight analog-stage processing to their samplers...

10-Aug-09 08:08 AM


S R Dhain    Said...

I agree with the Guvnor above. Although you'd be VERY surprised as to how many people still own and actually use them professionally. In effect, it means its sitting there doign zilch for 300 days of the year, but for those other odd days..weird, but true.

Taking into account inflation and other grandiose synth statements such as korg's oasys, and those all-in-one pc with a keyboard attached BEKO type instruments, at even $10k, I reckon theyll find homes here and there. Although, as Matt has pointed out, surely it can be done in a PCI card, but then NO KUDOS for the pics ;-)

10-Aug-09 11:38 AM


The Guvnor    Said...

I remember when GMedia (GForce) brought out the original MTron VSTi, I pretty much snapped one up at release time. I had some crazy idea that I'd run it inside of Steinberg's V-Stack VSTi host on a barebones PC connected to a MIDI keyboard, and stuff the whole lot inside a replica wooden Mellotron case that I was going to make. Never got round to doing it, but the new Fairlight sounds like it pretty much equates to that idea, albeit in a totally hardware-driven format.

10-Aug-09 11:53 AM


Kimplex    Said...

I did not realise it´s April 1st already... the whole ad must be a joke. $5000, come on Mr. Fairlight!!

11-Aug-09 09:19 AM


Mystic radio    Said...

other than nostalgia for guys with liquid bucks to burn... i dont even see the point to this machine at all..... If Im missing something enlighten me Just like this TWO-YEARS-IN =THE- MAKING... Dave Smith Roger Linn beat box... I have no idea why anyone would need one, when there are cheaper and better ways to go....

11-Aug-09 10:24 AM


JJD    Said...

"What do you think? Is there a market for a high-end, revamped Fairlight?"

No. With Openlabs's Neko true workstation keyboards, that can run, absynth, Kontatk, Emulator II, and many other virtual synths, plus mimic software that will suck the life out of any synth, and store it as a preset.

Faightlight should concentrate on making a viable use with our current DAWs and soft synths and samplers..

12-Aug-09 11:36 PM


SekondThought    Said...

I heard the price is going to be $17,000.00 and if you want the music keyboard, $19,000.00 which includes worldwide shipping, but not local taxes. Much more than $5,000.00+ I would say!!!

14-Aug-09 06:17 AM


madtheory    Said...

Hmm. A lot of ill informed assumptions being made about this product. Are you guys really that hard up for drama?

07-Sep-09 07:21 AM


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