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?
Marcel runs us through the features of the new interface
A synth and a new expressive keybed