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The best thing to come out of Australia besides Adam Hills

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dmlandrum:
I'm speaking, of course, of the Fairlight CMI:



The first version was 8-bit sound with 8 voices of polyphony. It used a unique system by which the output DACs were variably-clocked in order to change the playback pitch of the samples, rather than using a resampling algorithm as the Emulator and most other samplers did. By version 3, it had 16-bit sound, and 16 voices of polyphony, which was expandable.

I would really love one of these for my home studio, but the sad part is, if I had wanted one 12-13 years ago, I could've had one just about given to me. Now, they're back in demand.

EEVblog:
Hear that 8" floppy crunching away!

Classic 80's gear, clothes, hair...

Dave.

Kiriakos-GR:

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The best thing to come out of Australia
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To my knowledge, are only the Brave Australian troops at WWW2 .

And the Brave, David L. Jones     ;D

Polossatik:

--- Quote from: dmlandrum on May 26, 2010, 05:30:08 am --- It used a unique system by which the output DACs were variably-clocked in order to change the playback pitch of the samples, rather than using a resampling algorithm as the Emulator and most other samplers did. By version 3, it had 16-bit sound, and 16 voices of polyphony, which was expandable.


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so basically the played around with the sampling frequency? aka sampled at like 20Khz and then pushed it trough the DAC's running them at 10Khz or 30?

dmlandrum:
Exactly. Each voice card had its own 6500 (or 68000 for the Series III) processor and its own RAM (128k per card on the first rev, I think), which is what made them so expensive. The output DAC clocks were able to go up to 192kHz, and could be very precisely controlled. They couldn't figure out how to make a common RAM pool for all the voices, though, which is why each card was basically self-contained, and also why the system was so expensive. There was also a central control computer, which ran the interface and controlled the cards.

The big sampler breakthrough after that was from Emu, who had figured out how to have each output voice read data from a common RAM pool. All of a sudden, you needed one processor instead of nine, and a lot less RAM. This is why the first Emulator cost $8,000 instead of $30,000. They also opted to use a resampling engine to change the pitch of samples on the fly before output, which didn't sound as good as the Fairlight. Of course, these days that's a moot point, with computing power high enough to run really good resamplers.

The real beauty of the Fairlight, according to people who used it, was really in the software and interface, rather than in the hardware itself. It had software on board where users could sculpt sound in a variety of ways, from drawing waveforms to drawing envelopes for harmonics and so on, and the computer would then calculate the samples to play back. Pretty slick stuff for the time.

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