CMI App for iPad and iPhone

Developed in Australia during the ’70s and ’80s, the Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) was the first commercial sampler and screen-based rhythm sequencer. Today every sampler, digital synthesizer, sequencer and audio workstation can trace its lineage back to this legendary machine. Now you can have, in your pocket or on your iPad, a piece of history developed by Fairlight staff who worked on the CMI in the ’80s.

You can Buy and download the Pro App from the App Store, or if you are not sure you want the Pro features, you can get the Player App and play original Fairlight CMI sounds and sequences straight away. Then if you want to create your own masterpieces you can use the in-app upgrade process to get all the Pro features listed in the Features page.

You can find an audio montage of CMI App sounds, made by a Fairlight customer, on SoundCloud.

Feature comparisonFeedback, FAQ and Support

Video Guide 1
Features Overview
Video Guide 2
Player vs. Pro
Video Guide 3
Voice Sampling

Accepts input from Core MIDI devices as well as from the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer and Akai SynthStation.


A great way to get quality audio into the new sampling feature in version 1.1 is via iRig Mic, and the perfect support for your iPad is iKlip.

Compatible with iRig MicCompatible with iKlip



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382 Responses to CMI App for iPad and iPhone

  1. Hey guys! Thanks for all you do!
    I’m wanting to setup a dedicated Fairlight/iPad station in my studio and about the only feature I haven’t seen mentioned that I would LOVE to see is aftertouch support. A simple switch on the sound programming page to determine whether a given sound responds to it, and a flexible routing option for what aftertouch would do to each sound would be MOST welcome.
    Thanks for listening!!

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Michael, thanks. I’m glad you’re enjoying the CMI App.
      I’ve added your vote for aftertouch. It’s one of many voice features such as full ADSR that we plan to do eventually. But before then we have to do a few things like iOS 8 and Audiobus 2.1 compatibility.

  2. avatar Matthew says:

    The number one thing I would like to see is more of the CMI III library included. If I’m not mistaken the app currently comes with the entirety of the “factory” IIx library and portions of the III library. It’s all great. The III samples sound especially great. If there are more factory III samples I would love to get them.

    I’m working on my first OS X/Cocoa app and know what a challenge this kind of development can be. Hats off to those building/maintaining this app.

    • avatar Thomas says:

      It’s a great idea, and it’s on our long-term roadmap, but there are some things holding us back. The current CMI App is an emulation of the CMI II, which had single-voice single-zone channel cards. It can only read CMI II voice files, not the multi-zone CMI III files. We had to extract a single voice from each of the source III files to use in the app.
      A second smaller problem is that the III files are huge. We couldn’t include them in the app, but would have to develop a download-later function.
      Despite all this, it will happen… one day.

  3. avatar Rich Stamvik says:


    Super app (and good value for money, I remember seeing the original thing in Denmark a looong time ago, it was a bit costly… but very cool)! Now then, how does the app work with Akai’s SynthStation49?


  4. avatar Daniel Jozsef says:

    Hey guys,

    I checked back after more than a year, and the rebranding of the app as Peter Vogel CMI, and was a bit disappointed that no new major features have been added.

    Are you still interested in improving the application? :) I thought the whole point of the rebranding was to mark the app as a new take on the spirit of the CMI as opposed to just an emulation.

    I’m really, really missing waveform drawing. It’s something I’ve waited for since the app first came out, to be honest. ;)

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Daniel, sorry things have been a bit slow. But we expect 2014 to be an exciting time with products and updates from Peter Vogel Instruments.

  5. avatar Bill Rayner says:

    I would like some more editing features in pageR. I the pro app. For instance, I,d like the “grab”and “copy”functions available like the cmi pageR.
    Are any of these planned for future teases?
    All the best

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Bill, there are a whole raft of functions in the CMI II that use keyboard commands. Since the iPad doesn’t have a keyboard, they are hard to replicate, and would probably be a bit clunky with lots of popup menus.
      However, I’ll add your vote for this and see what we can do in the future.

      • avatar Daniel Weigert says:

        Actually, most any Bluetooth keyboard will work with the iPad, so it isn’t that far fetched an idea to extend the functionality. By the way, the camera connect kit, with a USB midi connection works reasonably well for a physical musical keyboard. Do you have any recommendations for a decent keyboard, that won’t break the bank?

  6. avatar Andrew Piatek says:

    I must say that the CMI app is absolutely incredible. This is THE killer app for me, in a sense that it justifies the use of the iPad for me. Without the CMI app, I wouldn’t have gotten myself into the iPad at all, because I am the ’80s guy, and none of the new products or technologies really excite me. Now, with CMI, Cubasis, Auria, and about a dozen of synthesizer apps, and of course the Audiobus, I must say I gave into the iPad craze. But once again, the CMI app has by far my favorite interface, amazing sound library, and super easy sampling. I mean, I just sampled C4 of my Roland D-50, and the sampled sound is playable across entire 5 octave keyboard, and it sounds amazing. In one word, incredible!!!

  7. avatar Daniel Bento says:

    Are there any plans to release one day the CMI App on other platforms ? I have bought the App (Pro Version) and use it happily on my iPhone, but would love to have it working also on my PC, under Windows… That’s just a suggestion!
    BTW, as few other posters, I’m also having trouble with stuck notes and crazy octave changes on the touch screen keyboard… I have iOS 7 and on that environment it seems sometimes the App can’t tell the difference between when one is trying to change octaves and when one is simply playing one note on the already chosen octave! Cheers

    • avatar Thomas says:

      it is very unlikely that we would develop the CMI App for Windows or Android, due to the lack of suitable audio software libraries. It is possible that we would develop it in some form for Mac OS, but not in the near future.
      Sorry about the keyboard bug, which was still in 1.5.9 submitted to the App store due to a misunderstanding. The workaround for the moment is to tap the octave selector instead of swiping it, so the C key is always at the left.

  8. avatar rich says:

    Hi, apart from the page 3 crash in the latest version that you know about, I’m also getting stuck notes on the ipad, after moving around on the octave selector and pressing some keys. I hear the button press sound effect, a note becomes permanently held down on screen and it can never be pressed again. This is using touch screen not a midi interface. Seems to be connected to pressing a key during or shortly after dragging the octave selection area. it is kind of an obnoxious bug!

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Agreed, it’s an obnoxious bug. You have to quit the App to unstick the keys.
      The workaround is only to tap on the octave selector, rather than drag it, so the C key is always at the left.

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Actually, this bug is already fixed in release 1.5.9, probably due for approval in 5 or 6 days.

      • avatar rich says:

        thanks for the quick response, looking forward to the update!

        as a further bit of feedback, the in-app news that says an update is coming says ‘in about a week’ doesn’t say when the news was posted :) so I think putting a date on the news posts would be nice

      • avatar rich says:

        I’m sorry to say this bug is not fixed in 1.5.9. I’m on ios 6 if that helps. Keyboard is still unusable (tested on iphone4c and ipad2), and tapping does not stop the problem occurring

  9. avatar 1.5.7?? says:

    I am chomping at the bit for 1.5.7, as I use the CMI app on an original iPad (5.0), and it is unusable now. When is 1.5.7 (non pro) coming out?

  10. avatar Jeff says:

    How is PCM playback on the app handled as opposed to the original hardware? As far as I know, the original CMI had no interpolation but maybe something else like a static LPF to remove digital noise? Basically I am wondering if there is any difference in sounds and if so, why.

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Jeff, in the original CMI, each channel card converts its samples directly from digital to analogue at the pitch-appropriate sample rate, thus avoiding sample-rate conversion, and also has a tracking low-pass analogue filter that automatically filters out harmonics of the sample rate, thus avoiding sample-rate squeal.
      In iOS, everything is digital right up to the Remote IO Unit, which in most cases runs at a sample rate of 44.1 KHz. So digital sample rate conversion has to happen somewhere, regardless of pitch (the CMI II sample native sample rate is 14080 Hz). The CMI App does not have a tracking filter, but relies on Apple’s standard Core Audio sample rate converter, which appears to use a weighted-average convolution process, thus avoiding sample rate squeal.
      No, it doesn’t sound exactly the same as the original CMI hardware, but it is very close– and so far nobody has said that they can tell the difference.

  11. avatar Michael Carnegie says:

    I have been wondering for some time when virtual midi would be available for the CMI app. This morning I discovered by accident that the CMI app does receive midi in data sent from Music Studio or Cubasis. Is this an undocumented feature? How do you route midi in/out data to specific apps?

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Michael, that’s a very good question. The answer is, unfortunately, ‘sort of.’
      The CMI App receives MIDI messages from Apple’s Core MIDI framework. These messages can come from a number of sources, including:
      1 – external hardware
      2 – WiFi MIDI sessions
      3 – other Apps that send MIDI.
      Unfortunately, there is no standard way to do number 3, and ‘Virtual MIDI’ is a marketing term, not a technical term. So far very few developers have agreed on exactly how to do this.
      One App that routes MIDI is ‘MIDI Wrench,’ one of the Jack for iOS Apps. I haven’t tried it since it first came out, but back then I couldn’t make it work for me.
      It’s possible that the Audiobus guys might include MIDI in their App, and there are new APIs in iOS 7 for routing audio and MIDI, so the future is looking bright.
      But for now, the only way to know if it works is to try it. That’s why we haven’t documented this feature.

      • avatar Michael Carnegie says:

        Thomas, thanks for your reply. Unfortunately the Audiobus guys have recommended not to upgrade to iOS 7 yet – it tends to break some audio apps. As far as Apple’s new audio and MIDI routing goes, we’ll it doesn’t from what I’ve read to date.

        My temp solution is to create a new instrument in the CMI app for each project with the specific voice/s and MIDI channels for that project. Hopefully this will work.

  12. avatar Daniel Weigert says:

    Version 1.5.4 Pro has Audiobus initialization issues with iOS 7. I’m hoping a quick fix is coming, as I want to sink my teeth into this!

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Daniel, this is very disappointing. The CMI App worked well with the iOS 7 betas, but is broken with the released iOS 7. We will fix it ASAP.
      Too late for you, but Audiobus recently sent an email to all its customers suggesting they NOT upgrade to iOS 7 yet because of all its audio bugs.

  13. avatar Trevor says:

    I think it would be a great idea if an undo function was available.

    • avatar Trevor says:

      oh yea, and the pattern reps – when all are deleted, there’s no way to really edit the song. accordingly There should be an option to restore it. Maybe that’s where the undo should be handy…?

      • avatar Thomas says:


        the ‘delete the last step’ bug is now logged. Thanks for reporting it. I’ve also added your vote for undo. What sort of things would you like to see in undo?

        • avatar Trevor says:

          when you inadvertently hit the clear all notes. Today I found myself hitting this by accident without any way to recover the information that I previously lost :-(

          I know it auto-saves all the changes, and maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe there should be some kind of a save button instead.

          • avatar Trevor says:

            can we have a way to lock the writing of some of these sequences without erroneously editing them? Maybe when we slide on them to Delete them, we can see Delete or Lock

          • avatar Thomas says:

            Trevor, iOS is not like a desktop OS. Almost all iOS Apps save changes immediately, and do not have a save button. I am certain that if we did NOT save changes immediately, we would get many more complaints from customers who lost their changes because they forgot to save them.
            However, undo would be very useful, and is on our list of features we would like to add.
            My suggestion, if you want some level of undo, is for you to duplicate your song before any serious editing session.

  14. avatar John says:

    Money was no object. I had forgone purchasing the pro app earlier or toying with the player app because I feared it would be complex( as sometimes is the case by working with older synth models). I found this app very straight forward. It is easy to use and the included sounds are incredible as well as the sampling and sound and instrument editing capabilities. I was sitting around one day and simply could no longer resist it. I am very happy with this app. This app is an amazing tool. As with any synthesizer app it is trial and error for a period of time. I am trully amazed.

    • avatar Thomas says:

      John, thanks for the kind words. It’s great to know that our labour of love is valued. We’d appreciate it if you (and other happy CMI App customers) could write a review on the App Store.

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