The Fairlight CMI was based on the architecture of the Qasar M8 (Multimode 8), created by Tony Furse in 1975. In the early 70’s, Tony Furse created his first prototype of hybrid analog/digital synthesizer, the Qasar I. In 1972-1973, Furse created his second prototype, the Qasar II, with the financial help of both the Federal […]

Fairlight CMI IIx

In 1983, a major CMI update appeared: the Fairlight CMI IIx. Several internal cards were modified. The two 6800 processors were replaced by 6809 processors, the random access memory changed from 64Ko to 256Ko, the control panel of the central unit was modified, a MIDI/SMPTE interface was proposed as an option, as well as a […]

Fairlight CMI II

In 1982, the CMI II, a slightly improved version of the CMI, was created. The sampling rate turned from 24 to 32Khz, still in 8 bits. The channel cards have been improved. A MIDI card is available as an option. But the main innovation was the inclusion of the “R page”, the first sequencer with […]

Fairlight CMI I

First model of the Fairlight CMI, marketed in 1979.CMI stands for Computer Musical Instrument. It was based on the architecture of the Fairlight Qasar prototype, and it had most of its features: Dual 8-bit 1 Mhz Motorola 6800 processors 8 channel cards with 16Kb waveform RAM = 8 voices of polyphony 64Kb system RAM (QDOS) […]


In 1971, Kim Ryrie, a synthesizer fanatic, created a magazine called Electronic Today International (ETI), in which he presented the diagrams of two hybrid, analog / digital synthesizers available in kit form, the ETI 3600 and 4600. They had been created by Trevor Marshall (later, they would be sold in England by Maplin Electronics Ltd). […]


Vintage SynthesizersMark VailEd. Miller Freeman Books A complete chapter about the FairlightText + photos: p214-219 The SynthesizerMark VailEd. Oxford University Press Text + photos: p72-73 Digital SamplingThe Design and Use of Music TechnologiesPaul HarkinsEd. Routledge208 pages The Musician And The MicroRay HammondEd. Blandford Press Text + photos: p126-146 Synthesizer von gestern Vol. 2Matthias BeckerEd. MM […]


Peter vogel instruments The Peter Vogel’s web site, one of the founding members of Fairlight Instruments with Kim Ryrie The Holmes Page One of the first sites about the Fairlight K.M.I A comprehensive and very technical section on the different Fairlight models Mustudio The site of my friend Jean-Bernard Emond, great specialist of Fairlight in […]


In the early 80’s, the Fairlight CMI, a new instrument created by an unknown Australian company, was about to start a revolution in the field of sonic and musical creation, with the introduction of sampling and a brand new conception of sequencing. Most of the records of these times featured the very distinctive sound of […]

Manuals / Booklets

Thanks to my friend Jean-Bernard Emond for the scans Manuals Brochures Articles Fairlight CMI Review The Fairlight Explained Part 1 The Fairlight Explained Part 2 The Fairlight Explained Part 3 The Fairlight Explained Part 4 The Fairlight Explained Part 5 The Fairlight Explained Part 7 Out Of The Blue


Dumps by my friend Jean-Bernard Emond CMI I MAINFRAME Q032 – Processor Control Card4 EPROMs 2708 Q032A Q032B Q032C Q032D CMI IIx MAINFRAME Q219 – Lightpen / Graphics Interface Card1 PROM Harris 7603 WROM – Checksum #16E9 – Location: A8 2 PROMs Harris 7611 SROM – Checksum #017F – Location: E10 BROM – Checksum #047C […]