The Fairlight CMI I is marketed in 1979.
CMI stands for Computer Musical Instrument.
It is based on the architecture of the Fairlight Qasar prototype, and it has 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)
  • Two 8″ floppy drives: double sides, simple density disk (512Kb)
  • 6 octave keyboard, featuring key velocity sensitivity, with 3 sliders and 2 switch buttons assignable to various parameters (vibrato, volume, sustain … )
    A second keyboard is proposed as an option (without the control buttons)
  • Monochrome monitor which was used to visualise waveforms and to edit parameters: resolution was 512 x 256 pixels
  • Alphanumeric keyboard
  • Lightpen
  • Additive synthesis with FFT (Fast Fourier Transform)
  • 24Khz 8-bit sampling
  • Sequencer (Page C)
  • MCL: Musical Composition Language, created by Peter Vogel, which made the CMI I the first machine using this type of language. It was soon followed by the Synclavier.
Layout on the CMI-25 motherboard
ID              DESCRIPTIONSLOT    
CMI-02Master card: control of 8 channel cards, ADC sampling, timerfunctions for sequencer and MCL1
CMI-01Channel card with 16Kb waveform RAM
CEM3320 Filter
3 to 10
Q045Graphics card9
CMI-07Analog interface card (optional): 16 inputs/outputs to control analog synthesizers11
Q148Lightpen card12
Q09664Kb system RAM card13 to 15
Q032Processor control card16
Q026Dual 6800 processors17
QFC2Floppy disk controller18
Q02516Kb video graphics RAM20