The Fairlight CMI

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The Fairlight CMI

Postby Consul » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:44 am

For some reason, I decided to hit Youtube in search of any and all videos featuring the Fairlight CMI and its descendents. I found a lot more than I thought I would, including a presentation on the Fairlight Series III by Bob Moog, back in 1984, I think it was.

It was quite an inspiring instrument, wasn't it? It makes me want to track one down to play with it. Even though in terms of raw sampling power and space, modern samplers outdo it by a large margin, it had synthesis and sample processing capabilities modern samplers still don't touch.

In one video, a guy showed how you can animate along 128 single cycle "slots" over time to create a sound. He drew waveform 0 one the screen, then he drew waveform 127, then he asked the system to interpolate all of the points in between. The result was an amazingly organic and expressive sound, which wasn't bad considering he just scribbled the start and end point.

The other thing the Fairlight could do was to play back 32 individually-controlled summed partials. Boob Moog showed a cool trick, where he applied envelopes to each partial so that The low partials faded out just as the higher partials faded in, sweeping up the range. The result was a cool resonant sweep effect I've never heard before.

Of course, now we can increase the number of interpolated waves, and the number of partials, and probably even add support for non-harmonic partials as well, and still have a real-time instrument.

Anyway, I found those videos inspiring, and definitely food for thought.
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Re: The Fairlight CMI

Postby lowkey » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:11 pm

...Goes to check out YouTube...
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Re: The Fairlight CMI

Postby Consul » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:13 pm

A similar search for "Synclavier" and related subjects turns up nothing on the inner features of the Synclav. I mostly ended up with a lot of Frank Zappa videos.
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Re: The Fairlight CMI

Postby lowkey » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:11 pm

Must not buy Emu x2....must not....buy... :D

Best thing i ve watched this week. thanks for pointing this out...Even though my x2 lust is back with a vengeance lol
Really hope we get more synth features.
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Re: The Fairlight CMI

Postby Alex » Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:15 am

I used to own a fairlight, many years ago. Way ahead of its time, and a good springboard into working with computers for music in general.

I still miss it.

:mrgreen:
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Re: The Fairlight CMI

Postby Consul » Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:17 am

Alex, did you use it mostly for orchestral composition, or did you get more adventurous with it? It seemed quite capable of not only some serious sample playback, but also some good synthesis and resynthesis capabilities.
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Re: The Fairlight CMI

Postby Alex » Fri May 02, 2008 2:05 pm

Consul wrote:Alex, did you use it mostly for orchestral composition, or did you get more adventurous with it? It seemed quite capable of not only some serious sample playback, but also some good synthesis and resynthesis capabilities.


Darren, definitely orchestral work in the main. I convinced my orchestral chums to come around and record stuff for me so i could use it. It was excellent, and i still regret selling it when i did. I did more freeform synth stuff with hardware keyboards and synths.

Alex.

:)
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