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. You can even accept MIDI from some devices that don’t support Core MIDI, such as the Akai SynthStation and the Line6 MidiMobilizer, using an app called MidiBridge.
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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435 Responses to CMI App for iPad and iPhone

  1. Andreas says:

    Hello, is it possible to trigger the sequencer in this app from a midi-clock?

    Hardware sequencer >Ipad midi-interface>Ipad > Peter Vogel CMI Pro
    Kind regards


  2. Graham says:

    Great Value Guys Thanks!!!
    Seems to be a lot of users want it as a plugin. I don’t see the point in a DAW inside a DAW. Just hook it up with midi to your sequencer and record audio. It couldn’t be any easier! Its what they did in the 80’s. That way you get the real retro experience.

    • Thomas says:

      Graham, thanks for the positive feedback. Yes, that was our thinking. The iOS music space is best served by small independent modules, each doing their own job well, that can work together using technologies such as Audiobus.

  3. kirk Vincent says:

    This new upgrade is still pants this app has become a total frustration. Screen keeps going black with just keyboard at bottom so can only ever use for about 2 or 3 minutes. Can not get any sound on page R although I can put in notes. This was a lot of money as I upgraded to the pro version now totally unusable for making music. Have left appropriate feedback on app store.

    • Thomas says:

      Just to let others know, we have been investigating this unusual problem with Kirk’s help, but so far have not found the cause, nor why it only happens for him.

  4. a.n. says:

    This “app” is a shame. A pile of bugs. I spent over 2 hours sampling (oftentimes no waveform was recorded, it was recorded and played back by the Audiobus button in other app, when switching to your “app” wave data were missing), suddenly your “app” was asking if I wanted to subscribe to your newsletter, I pressed “later” and then it went BLACK (black screen). I had to restart it only to see that just the first 2 of all voices I had sampled still were there. What a total shame this poorly made software is. It is not about the price, but getting such a shabby product makes me angry. I make apps myself and I do so with great care.

    • Thomas says:

      a.n, sorry you are having problems. We haven’t seen this problem, nor have our beta testers, and you are the first customer to report it. We will investigate, but so far have not been able to reproduce it.
      Could you please confirm that you tapped “Save Voice” for each recording you wanted to save? Unless you do this, each recording simply makes a new temporary recording.
      The newsletter alert only happens when the App is first launched, which means it crashed before that. Please send the crash logs.

  5. a.n. says:

    Pitch setting is not reflected in playback.
    both iPhone and iPad, iOS6.
    When setting pitch by sliding up/down, it plays ok, but when playing the sequence alone or part of song, the pitch is unchanged. The price of the app suggests that it works as advertised, this seems like an annoying bug.

  6. John Rydholm says:

    Just upgraded to Pro version. Loving it so far! A lot of stuff to learn about a piece of equipment I’ve loved since I was a kid. ๐Ÿ™‚
    -IPhone 4S, IOS 6.1.2

  7. Antonio Antetomaso says:


    in order to enter the CMI on the bus competition, is it possible to make a song using a mobile DAW (eg. Cubasis) with the CMI App integrated in one ore more tracks via Audiobus?


  8. Antonio Antetomaso says:


    Version 1.5 of the app. Ipad 3 with retina display. Ios 6.1. In the Page R, I tap in the track list and the song enters the edit mode. I can change the three parameters (pitch, vel..) but I can’t find any way to exit the “edit mode” and return back to the screen in which I can see the track list in green. Am I missing something? I’ve tried with two fingers and with a double tap, but without success. The only way is to close the app, restart and reload the Page R for the song I’m composing.

    • Thomas says:

      Antonio, the list of voice names is just a placeholder until you enter edit mode. Once in edit mode, you stay in edit mode until a different song is selected. But you don’t need to quit the App, just change songs and back if you really want to see the voice names again.
      BTW, tap on the right of the screen to hide the note adjust tumblers.

      • Antonio Antetomaso says:

        OK, thanks for the info. Is it possible to vote a way to go back in the next releases? For example using a double tap, it’s not so usable in this way because it appears natural to try to escape the edit mode. Furthermore I’m experimenting a strange behaviour: I hear no sounds in edit mode if I enter notes and tap play. The notes are heard If I select the repeat mode from the upside button. Thanks.

        • Thomas says:

          Antonio, I’ll log your feature request for edit mode exit.
          If you mean you don’t hear Page R when playing unless in pattern mode, please refer to the FAQ bug list for a workaround. Version 1.5.1 has a fix and will be released soon.

          • Antonio Antetomaso says:

            OK, thx. I’ve performed some other tests: it seams that you can’t hear only the notes you edit. The other notes seem to play correctly. I don’t if it can help.

          • Thomas says:

            Antonio, I can’t reproduce this problem. If you can find a process that repeatably causes this problem, please submit a bug report with this process on the support page.

          • Antonio Antetomaso says:

            Ok I’ll do it. I’ll try to be more precise regarding the steps to perform.

          • Thomas says:

            Antonio, good news. Version 1.5.1 now allows a double-tap on the left to go back to the voice list.

          • Antonio Antetomaso says:

            Glad to know it! The a lot. When it will be released?

  9. Peter says:

    Before upgrading to pro 1.5 I could play the app through iRig Midi without any problems, but could not control it from another app. Now it is the other way around: I can control it from another app through MidiBridge, but controlling it externally does not work any more. Any advice?

    • Thomas says:

      Peter, we haven’t had any problems controlling the App using any Core MIDI device. Try quitting Midi Bridge, try various combinations of connecting the device and launching the App.

  10. James says:

    Hello Fairlight Team,

    It would be great if we could adjust de frequency of the sampling in the Cmi App. In my IIx , I loved to record at 20-30 khz . Perhaps sampling at 96khz could be cool too .
    Are there any way to export the Cmi app sounds in the S3 ? I use cmios9 from kmi software to convert sound between a pc and my S3/mfx2

    keep the good job

  11. Peter says:

    Is there any chance you will add the capabilty to control the CMI App from another app on the same iPad (for instance via MidiBridge) in the near future? Controlling the app via external MIDI works fine, but I would really like to control the app via another app like it is possible with many other music apps. Or maybe I am missing something?

  12. Kevin says:

    Love the app! I would love to see waveform drawing.

  13. John says:

    Any chance of an Android release?

  14. Christian Stauduhar says:

    Latest version, as of Feb. 5,2013, not working with iOS 6.1 on ipad 2 and iPhone 4. Crashes on start after displaying the first page for a few seconds.

    • Thomas says:

      Christian, have you tried quitting other memory-hungry apps? If you have, please send your crash logs.
      Version 1.5, due soon, uses much less memory and shouldn’t suffer from this problem.

  15. Brent says:

    This app is missing live live recording and audio copy. I need to export wave files. I want to up load my music on to SoundCloud! How can I do that?

    • Thomas says:

      Brent, because the CMI output is synthesised in real time in the eight virtual channel cards, the only way to record at the moment is to use the audio out and record on another device. But we plan to have a feature soon that will make it possible.

  16. Kingspin says:

    Thank you for this. Amazing app, worth paying 10x for. Would love a VST. Crowd source to fund it?

  17. Mike says:

    hi, i love your app, but i have one questin: can i export my music to any tipe of audio to put it to – for exaple – pro tools ?

  18. Jonas says:

    Where can one get more sounds. If possible? Best regards

    • Thomas says:

      Jonas, some time ago we asked our customers if they were interested in a community voice exchange. The result was underwhelming, to say the least, so that didn’t fly. You could try SoundCloud. There are a number of web sites that sell “official” Fairlight voices, but as far as I am aware none of them have the the rights to do that.

  19. Alvaro says:

    Is the CMI App also planned for android?

    • Thomas says:

      Alvaro, please refer to the previous discussions on this topic. The summary is: without Core Audio and Core MIDI, this would be a huge task; only a handful of people have asked for an Android version; we don’t think this is a good use for our limited development resources at this time.

  20. John Jamieson says:

    Please add in a future update waveform drawing, If you would do that, that would be cool

  21. GebBa says:

    Is the CMI App also planned for Windows8 tablet computer?

  22. Tommy says:

    synth and retro-freak musician as i am,i really love the instrument. I am lucky one, who has “touched the original” and had my. “wet dreams” about, how i have it at home ๐Ÿ™‚ You have included the full original soundset, but maybe you add in app purchase for new sound-discs also ? Something like best of Stevie Wonder or …. You know – the famous user sounsets.

  23. Phil Martin says:

    I was a synth obsessed teenager in the 80’s, who grew into a synth obsessed adult, who in turn became an engineer. I love this app! When I was young, I had the good fortune of visiting a studio that had one of the original Fairlights and the chief engineer was good enough to take some time with me to help me understand the machine, and let me use it . The event was life changing. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this app. The only things I could ask for would be audio export/WIST options, and the ability to move my CMI compositions into other apps whether via clipboard, copy/paste, or Dropbox. I also agree with the other post about it being a great Rack Extension for Reason. I would buy it in a heartbeat! Thank you so much for making this wonderful machine available, affordable, and fun!

  24. kevin says:

    Is there an update to the app coming soon?


  25. MDCragg says:

    Has there been any new talk of porting this iOS app to OS X as an AU plugin for use in sequencers like Logic Pro? I am fairly sure the Objective-C code, frameworks, and classes used to build the iOS app could be used to create an OS X version without a massive rework. It wouldn’t be a quick weekend project…but it would be a lot less work than a total rewrite like what would be needed for an Android app or a Windows C++ app, etc.

  26. Brent says:

    I upgraded to pro on iPod . Now I would like to get an iPad and install fairlight on that. I don’t need to purchase the app again do I?

  27. Matt Hooper says:

    Number one request for me is external midi sync,….

    Next up, the very essential audio export and Sonoma audio copy paste.

    A simple verb and delay would be great, most new iPads phones etc should handle that ok.

    Matt Hooper

  28. Matt Hooper says:

    Hi guys

    I would like to buy the pro app but want to make sure there will not then be a sale just after, is there any plan to drop the price any time soon ?. Cheers.

  29. Dyzo Bandit says:

    Here’s another request for an Android version. Would buy that immediately.

  30. @rafael_ollero says:

    Love Fairlight,
    but is expensive for me.
    On sale for 1 year Aniversary in the app store?

  31. Michael says:

    Please port this to Android with USB Midi connectivity…Iยดd buy it at once. Wanted it back in 1985, want it still today. Some things never change ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. bob says:

    A mac app would be cool ,but an AU
    plugin would be better…but please keep page ‘R’ as there is nothing around
    now that works in the same way..
    I love it….

  33. Rob says:

    It would better to develop the Fairlight Series IIII, and also focussing on some Software that could run on the PC & Mac computers Like the App that you have now, I think focussing on the App is just wase of time (Sorry) where your time and R/D could spent on developing a software based Fairlight Software that would do the same has the App and more……

  34. David says:

    Hi, can you please make it available for Android? I’ve wanted to use a Fairlight CMI ever since I heard Art of Noise and Icehouse. I’d love to be able to do the same from my tablet and phone. Please do make it. There are many other people like me out there who desperately want this available for Android!



    • Thomas says:

      David, I’ll add your vote for an Android version. But there have not been many requests for that. Also see some of the earlier comments about the difficulty of porting to Android.

  35. Gwyn Evans says:

    I have just purchased an iPad 2 and the Fairlight Pro app. Is it Fairlight’s intention to enable the waveform editing functionality and sound morphing that was a feature of the hardware in the original version? I was hoping to blend samples, edit waveforms etc and at the moment this functionality does not appear to exist. Thanks! Gwyn Evans

  36. D.Josef says:

    I love this app, it feels great to use the same sequencer that my heroes used. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Still seeing how full of limitations the system is, it would be cool to have some form of community support or tutorial base, showing the proven ways of building up a song on a Fairlight.

    I’d love to hear some comments on which voices are useful for leads, what about the ones that seem to be limited to about a major third in range, and sound awfully silly outside that (happens to several human samples), etc. Tips and tricks from people who used the original CMI and know its quirks and the way around them.

    Still, good job, and thanks. ๐Ÿ˜€

  37. Hi,

    very nice app. Filters and lfo would be excellent addition, also there are very obvious crackles on sound release, keyboards 2 – wurli sample seems to be cut ( have no idea whether the original was the same). With few improvements Fairlight can make a welcome alternative to present lifeless vst samplers that lack any character ( btw. Some kind of Akai/soundfont/or any other commercially available sample format import would be fine).


  38. deck says:


    I am very interested in your app. however, canยดt find any info if there is any Audio Copy/Paste protocol supported.

    Can i please have any info on this?

    Thank you.

    • Thomas says:

      Sorry, there is not yet any audio copy/paste support. The only way to get audio out of the App at the moment is via the headphone socket or line out. A bit like the 80s, really.

      • deck says:

        thank you very much for your quick reply.

        i appreciate the authenticity of the fairlight, i do believe that the some modern features should be implemented especially considering the pricing. not saying the app is not worth it- just that it would be more appealing to wider audience.

        such features would make it far more usable production tool to be used within the ipad environment.

        do you see any more room for improvement of the app, that is are any updates to be expected in the future.

        thanks again for this app and best of luck,

  39. PCPete says:

    I was beggared beyond belief to find my favourite sound equipment from my teenage years, the FCMI, app last night! Naturally, I haven’t slept all that much since then…

    I guess like most musically passionate people, it’s almost as if the FCMI underscored the track of my life through all the amazing artists and albums. What a blast from the past!

    Congratulations on the “rebirth”!

    Now, I don’t have $20 grand lying about doing nothing, but by golly, my wife is in very good condition, hardly used, with all her original parts in perfect working order! She’s as pretty as a postcard too, and just loves music and audio nerds (she married one, after all).

    That’s gotta be worth a good bit of a CMI 30A. Terms are negotiable. Please don’t tell her… ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. MDCragg says:

    Is it possible to export audio from the Fairlight app? For example, say I composed a song in Page-R…can I record it to a .wav or .mp3 file and then export that file? Or are the songs created on the app forever captive to the app?

    • Thomas says:

      Sorry, there is not yet any audio export support. The only way to get audio out of the App at the moment is via the headphone socket or line out. A bit like the 80s, really.

  41. MDCragg says:

    Is it possible to create CMI III quality versions of the CMI IIx samples? I guess this would require access to original recordings of the CMI IIx sounds (i.e., prior to their having been digitized for inclusion in the IIx library way back when)…if such recordings even exist.

    I LOVE the CMI app and I upgraded to the “pro” version. The difference in sample quality between the two is remarkable however and it would be very cool to somehow produce the IIx samples in III quality.

  42. MDCragg says:

    Are you considering a standalone app or an Audio Unit plug-in for use with sequencers like Logic Pro on OS X? This would be HIGHLY desirable…especially if it had the entire CMI II and III libraries all properly looped and with some sound manipulation control such as ADSR envelopes. This would be relatively easy to produce since the iOS app you have already derives from the same Objective-C code base and uses the same Core Audio and Core MIDI classes. This would be “low hanging fruit” for you guys and would open up your app to a whole new range of potential customers.

    • Thomas says:

      I’ll add your vote for this. Although it’s one of the more popular requests, it’s a big project, because the user interface and application software environments are very different between iOS and Mac OS. A Mac-only audio unit is not so much work, but is still a significant amount of work.

      • MDCragg says:

        Thank you for the response. One thing you may consider to reduce complexity is eliminating the Page R sequencer in an AU Plug-In version. Despite Page R’s historical significance it would be redundant if one were going to use a Fairlight Plug-In with a sequencer like Logic Pro.

        Another option, and this is a completely different approach, would be to partner up with a company like Native Instruments and release the sound libraries from the CMI II and III as “instruments” for their Kontakt sample player. This would involve far less coding (and thus expense) and would likely generate revenue for today’s Fairlight company. There are already many Fairlight samples out there but an “official” release from Fairlight itself with professional looping of the samples would be very desirable. Plus you could leverage the sample playing and manipulating capabilities of the Kontakt player which are already in widespread use in the the recording industry. The Kontakt player already has such features as ADSR envelopes, built-in effects, etc. That would be very cool.

  43. Tony Estrada says:

    Will Fairlight be releasing more disks for the Ipad App? Is there a video tutorial for Page R?

    • Thomas says:

      Sorry for the slow response. Things get pretty quiet around here in the holiday season.
      We are considering releasing more Series III voices, but have to find the best way to deliver those huge files.
      No, there is no video guide specific to Page R, but video guides #1 and #2 should give you a lot of what you need. The rest is in the Page R help pages.

  44. Sรธren Kรผhle says:

    Any chance of an Android version?

    • Thomas says:

      Unfortunately, not only do iOS and Android use different languages, but the Fairlight App uses the iOS Core Audio libraries, which are not available in Android. So it would not only be a complete rewrite, but a bigger job than the iOS version.
      We are not convinced that there is a big enough Android market to justify the expense. Of course, we are happy for our customers to convince us otherwise.

      • Guillaume Badgereaux says:

        I’d be VERY interested in an Android version – if you posted on a few social networks and whatever, asking if people want it, you’d probably find a much bigger market. And if it costs twice as much, I’ll pay it.

      • Captain O says:

        The claim that there is “not a big enough Android market” is hard to justify. The Android market now dwarfs the iOS market. Today (December 2011) there are 2.5 Android phones sold for every iPhone sold:

        So please, don’t dismiss this issue because of the “lack of market”. It just ain’t so. Also, don’t forget that Android now has AMAZING native code support, so that your C/C++ code will just compile and run beautifully on that platform.

        “We don’t want to do it” is fine, but please don’t make BS excuses like “there’s no Android market” because a lot of us know better.

        • Thomas says:

          I didn’t say “there is not a big enough Android market.” I said “We are not convinced that there is a big enough Android market to justify the expense.” So far only a handful of people have asked for it.
          The Fairlight App is almost entirely written in Objective-C, so it would all have to be completely rewritten, plus a whole pile of new code to replace the iOS built-in Core Audio and Core MIDI functionality.
          As I said, we are happy to for our customers to convince us otherwise, but you have not said anything convincing. And please keep it polite in future.

          • Captain O says:

            Here’s Objective C support in gcc for Android:


            Naturally, your GUI would have to be rewritten, but since “the Fairlight App is almost entirely written in Objective C” this should give you a substantial leg up.

            I have both iPhone and Android, and I have to say that I prefer the latter and have thus retired my iPhone on that basis.

          • MDCragg says:

            Does Google’s Objective-C compiler include support for Core MIDI and Core Audio though? Those are Apple proprietary frameworks. They may…one would have to ascertain that first though.

          • Thomas says:

            You’ve identified the biggest obstacle: Core MIDI and Core Audio are proprietary Apple frameworks, and are definitely not available for use on Android. On top of that, a great deal of the code uses the iOS user interface libraries, which is (from my experience) much more sophisticated and easier to use than the Android user interface. So I’ll just repeat what I said in the first place: porting the Fairlight App to Android would be a complete rewrite. Not impossible, but we have to make sure there is enough customer demand to justify the development cost.

          • Jeff D says:

            I understand the hesitation to invest in an Android version. Apple’s ecosystem is more conducive to audio apps, and Core MIDI is just the start — the hardware accessories alone are a huge advantage. But someone WILL come along and write great synth apps for Android at some point. It’d be great if the Fairlight was part of that.

  45. Daniel Baum says:


    I thought I’d let you know about a track I’ve just uploaded. It was entirely played on the Fairlight iPad app, and mixed in Ableton Live.

    Hope you like it:

    Also, I’d like to thank Thomas for the excellent support I recently received from him.


  46. Bo Johansson says:

    Hello Thomas, Peter and all. I have two questions: 1. Will you realese the whole series 3 library as an in-app upgrade or any new sounds for the app in the future? 2. Will it be or is there a community for app-users to exchange files and “Page R”-songs?

    I enjoy the PRO-app a lot and your support is excellent (thanks again Thomas!).

    Bo Johansson

    • Thomas says:

      Bo, the CMI III voice library is too big to fit on an iPhone or iPad, so I don’t think it’s practical to release it at the moment. However, that could fit with your second question. We have always considered a community music exchange for the CMI and the App, but our initial research didn’t show much enthusiasm from the community. Now is the time for you all to tell us we were mistaken!

      • Bo Johansson says:

        Thomas, I don’t have a clue how big the CMI III library is but I see your point here.

        How about offering the whole library file by file for any app user to buy? Or maybe the whole library for the app user to choose files from, to be uploaded to the device when needed?

        I would buy singel files or perhaps the whole library if offered on your site.
        Maybe I’m a dreamer?

  47. Richard de Prey says:

    In 1986 I was 16, totally into Gabriel/Kate/Jarre and dreamed of owning a CMI: I painted the “Fi” logo on my wall and even went so far as to buy a Fairlight slave keyboard when it came up for sale from a studio in London (I still have it, and the hand-crafted pcb is a little ornament on my mantelpiece – it has a sticker with “Lyn”, a quality control person maybe? and the Fi logo nicely etched on it). Then, in ’89 I helped with a recording at CTS Wembley for a TV drama. They had a Fairlight and I was asked if I could use it. Well, I wasn’t going to pass that up, so I lied that I could ๐Ÿ˜‰ but luckily only the keyboard of their SIII was there… so, a bit of an obsession you might say. Many, many years later, having become a teacher rather than a superstar, one of the reasons for getting an iPad was your app, and the fun of being able to explore it in some way at last. But tonight, my four year old son saw I had a midi keyboard connected to the iPad and asked if he could have a go. So there he was, playing the Fairlight app; his first foray into electronic composition was on a Fairlight (!) Funny how things go. Thanks guys.

  48. Antonio Antetomaso says:

    Hello. I bought the pro app for the iPhone. Having to buy the iPad, my question is “Do I have to pay for the iPad version of the app or I will be able to download it on the new device without charge ?”
    Thx in advance.

    • Bo Johansson says:

      Hello Antonio. I bought the app for iPad and it’s on my iPhone 4 as well. I payed once and there was no charge for the iPhone version. I’m on iOS 5 by the way.

      Best regards

  49. Mike says:

    Please don’t forget about us poor souls who compose in more than one time signature. Thanks.

  50. Jesper Kjellberg says:

    The uppdate are realy amazing!!

    THE sampling option!
    Attack / Realize !
    Hide/expand keyboard!
    Improved timing !
    Click Track!!

    The wish list:
    8bit sampling !
    Vibrato, Portamento !
    Tracking filter !

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