A unique Musical Architecture

The first commercially available digital sampling system created the sound of countless MTV-era hits and evolved into a full music workstation.

We turbocharged it with state-of-the-art features to make it a centerpiece of your productions. The CMI’s signature 8-bit grunge on hits by Depeche Mode, Herbie Hancock, Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, and Kate Bush - not to mention countless film scores - transports you straight to the ’80s. CMI V transports your creativity anywhere you want to take it.

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The Sound That Shook the World

As teenagers, Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie loved electronic music. Their dream of making “the world’s greatest synthesizer” birthed an industry standard.

Both notorious pioneers, Vogel and Ryrie had built computers as school projects and were fans of “Switched On Bach” by Wendy Carlos. They saw combining the computer and the synthesizer as the future, and no one could have predicted just how much they would nail it. The pair got going in earnest in 1975, naming their company Fairlight after a harbor ferry in their home town of Sydney, Australia.

Vogel and Ryrie soon met Tony Furse, who had prototyped a digital synth based on dual Motorola 6800 CPUs. This led to the CMI’s predecessor, the Qasar M8. When the two recorded piano from a radio broadcast, then played it back at different pitches, the result sounded more like a real piano than any electronic attempt thus far. The friends came up with the term “sampling” to describe the process.

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Wonder from Down Under

Nothing screamed “the future” like the CMI’s computer terminal, light-pen interface, and master keyboard. We’ve faithfully reproduced its look and added more real-time controls.

The CMI’s creators intended its user experience to be friendlier than that of knob-covered analog synths, which they found difficult to control. The result was an obelisk of technology that made you look like you knew what you were doing — and was so interactive and fun to use that you actually did!

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Three types of digital synthesis in one

The CMI V workstation lets you work with multiple instruments and sound generation technologies at the same time.

Craft and combine sounds unheard with up to 10 instrument slots in parallel. Each slot can use one of three sound engines, be saved and recalled separately, and form parts of your own intricate presets - a true digital sound playground.

The Sampler

The instantly-recognizable Sampler section is the heart of what put the CMI on the musical map and where most of the action happened on all those ‘80s recordings. Drag start time, length, and loop points, visualize your waveform in 3D, and carve sound into whatever shape you desire with tuning, envelope, filter and vibrato settings. You can even load your own samples in, up to 30 seconds in length, with a variable sample rate of 2.1k to 44.1k for every degree of digital dirt and textural side-effects.

The Time Synth

Time Synth mode puts a powerful additive synthesis engine at your disposal. Determine how your sound animates by dragging multiple breakpoints on the independent envelopes for each of 32 harmonics. A real-time oscilloscope helps you visualize your work, while the augmented simple sine waves pave the way for experimentation with additional waveforms and harmonic complexity. Start from scratch, modify a preset, or work with a sample you’ve converted from the Sampler page - warp time itself.

The Spectral Synth

The newly-added Spectral Synth mode gives you a different take on additive synthesis. Rather than setting the individual harmonics, you affect an overall distribution curve of harmonics with controls including Center, Spread, Bias and Fundamental Boost. Modulating these parameters with functions and controllers instantly adds motion and energy to your sound design, and different waveshapes vastly expand your sonic potential beyond simple sine-based sounds. A fresh approach that produces fresh sounds.


Now you can merge CMI V’s synthesis types like never before. Using the original Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) function, you can analyze a sample and convert it to a harmonic profile to further manipulate using all the unique harmonic controls only available to you in Time Synth mode. Our faithful modeling of this functionality means that, like the original, you get some unpredictable artifacts during the conversion process that can be musically useful themselves. You also have the option of converting your additive synth work into a sample in order to employ the Sampler’s display and controls in further defining your sound.

The Green Screen

When retro samples meet modern processing power, anything is possible.

Not only did we include all the sampling and sequencing options of the original CMI Series IIx, but we added deep sound editing, two new synthesis methods, and an array of essential FX. CMI V is everything the Fairlight was, and everything it could have been.

Hear it in action

It can sound as lo-fi or as pristine as you like!

These sound demos showcase much of the CMI’s signature sound palette while showing how well CMI V fits into today’s high-resolution projects.


The first thing eager CMI owners did was push the instrument to its limits to coax as many different sounds out of it as possible.

In CMI V the limits are almost non-existent, which delighted our stable of expert sound designers. Their creations include all the CMI’s greatest hits as well as entirely new sonic territory.

Artists corner

Included in
V collection

Legendary Keyboards Reinvented

This instrument is also part of the V Collection -your complete dream line-up of the legendary synths, organs, pianos and more that made keyboard history. They’re modeled with the most advanced technologies for authentic realism, and enhanced with new creative options. Whether you use it as DAW plugins in the studio or standalone at gigs, V Collection puts the greatest keys of all time at your fingertips for instant inspiration.

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All manufacturer and product names mentioned on this page are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Arturia. The trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose features and sound were studied during the development. All names of equipment, inventors, and manufacturers have been included for illustrative and educational purposes only, and do not suggest any affiliation or endorsement by any equipment inventor or manufacturer.