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. mikael svensson says:

    Any chanse of a VST version ?

    • Thomas says:

      Sorry, Mikael, there’s not much chance of that in the foreseeable future. Our main focus is implementing the last of the CMI II features and fixing bugs in the app.

      • Richard C says:

        Speaking of bug fixes, is there an update in the near future? For the most part the app runs well, doesn’t crash often, which is nice. but it has a weird condition that happens semi-regularly, especially during a big session were I’m giving the app a good workout: Say you’re making a pattern, you edit some stuff, change a drum here move a hi hat there, then step back or have it play from the beginning. It’ll show that it changed patterns, but it’ll play the one you just edited, usually without the edits. You have to go to disc and reload the song again, turn on editing again. A total hassle.

        it does it even when you edit a pattern and press play just to hear the pattern. Imagine having to reload the song EVERYTIME you change any little note or drum. No fun.

        Also, any word on additive synthesis? Page 6? Excited to try it out.

        So to be clear, I dig this instrument. A lot. It really delivers that crunchy lo-fi 80’s sample sound. I even deal with having to build patterns with no copy-paste feature (that said: plz add a copy-paste feature lol) but some updates would help with the day-to-day workflow. I’d even PAY a few bucks for a chunky update that addresses the above

        Thanx a lot Thomas ?

        • Thomas says:

          Richard, yes a new release is in the pipeline. With new MIDI functionality and many bug fixes. We hope to release it in the next couple of weeks. I hope to have the multi-pattern audio problem fixed in that release.
          Page 6 is already implemented. I think you mean Page 5 for additive synthesis. Yes, it’s on the list. The original plan is still valid: implement all CMI II functionality before branching out into new features. Such as (sadly) copy and paste.

  2. paul says:

    HI!! love the app! however is there no way to export WAV files?!?! I would LOVE to export the PageR sequences i create, especially the Individual parts. Wtihout a proper export function, its basically just a toy, and cannot be used within a studio. Any suggestions? I purchased the pro, and no i am not talking about exporting the samples i created. im talking about exporting the individual tracks from page r. or at least the page R sequence as a whole.

    • Thomas says:

      Paul, to quote Kath & Kim, “I have one word for you:” Audiobus. There are many different recording and studio apps that will accept Audiobus input from the CMI app. Many more options than just exporting a WAV file.

  3. Christian says:

    This App bring my dream near to own a Fairlight.I Loved this Instrument over 30 years.
    Can you tell us,what about upates in the Future?
    Sorry for my english. πŸ™‚

  4. nick says:

    Hi peter,is it possible maybe to implicate fx page in the app i like that what the cmi 30 hef thank u,maybe one day i winn the lottery en i buy the cmi 30 lol.

  5. Journey Green says:

    The app is amazing! It’s got the good sound the original Fairlight had. The only problem is the price. The app costs $10, and the pro version costs $50! It’s gotta be reduced! Otherwise, the app is fine, and it goes well with Garageband as well.

  6. Kenneth Barr says:

    Hi, I can’t figure out how to change the Voices to other instruments on the App: Symkick, Clap5, Tamb2, Basslap1, DirtClav and soo on. Please help?

  7. Andrew Piatek says:

    The Vogel CMI app on the iPad is the only reason I got an iPad. It’s a wonderful app, with beautiful interface (sans the standard Apple widgets) and one of the most desirable sample libraries. $50 for the app is like giving it away for free. However, Apple infrastructure is so rotten, that I decided to sell my iPad. Is there a way to import the Vogel CMI sound library as wav, then convert it to say Roland S-series sample libary? I know it’s stealing, and I am against stealing, I would very much like to pay again for the CMI sound libary alone to have it on my Roland sampler. I just want out from Apple infrastructure, I think it’s reasonable.

  8. nick says:

    Peter i mean English sorry.

  9. nick says:

    Hi peter will in the future the app get fx en lfo’s effects ,i love the app i wise i could buy the cmi 30 but to much money .En what do you think about the new iPad pro it hef a light pen like the cmi 30, sorry for mi eagles i em dutch bye nick.

    Ps i hef the pro app version.

  10. Mark says:

    Would like to see this please for a windows system

    • SΓ©rgio Frias says:

      I agree ,a pc/mac port would be great,
      to extend the market, i’m sure sales will be much higher,for example i’m not willing to invest in a ipad/iphone just to have this App. I hope that in the future the classic adc / dac emulation will be implemented,since the sounds we love from the past came from the limitations of the first units used by artists like Peter Gabriel , Kate Bush,Duran Duran etc. this sound can only be acheived by a emulation (accurate or approximation).

  11. Richard C says:

    Hey Peter and company. Love the App. I’m going to write many many songs with this for my band on my iPad 3. But i do have A question/suggestion: any chance of upping the voice amount in each instrument to 16 or more in the future? It’s really the only limitation that makes things difficult. I’m going to just record multiple 8 voice parts to my sampler and then layer them that way for the time being. But it would be great to just build patterns with more than 8 voices in the app itself. Again, I love this instrument. I feel like Peter Gabriel in 1985 everytime I use it!

    • Thomas says:

      Richard, glad you love the app. Yes, we would like to add more channels, but it won’t be soon. The problem is that the user interface is hand-crafted to look and function like the original CMI, and there is no easy way to expand it on the smaller screens.
      We would also like to build the missing CMI II functionality first, such as time signatures, MIDI control inputs and additive synthesis. After that we’ll get to other things on the list such as more channels. Most likely we’ll do that so as to remain compatible with the .IN instrument files, which only allow 8 voices– so to expand a song to more channels, we’ll have multiple instruments.

  12. Mike Ross says:

    Very cool. How do I interface the keyboard from my original CMI I? πŸ˜‰

    (Actually half-serious; the CMI keyboard is an RS232 data stream IIRC so… anyone make a Lightning-RS232 adapter?!)

    • Thomas says:

      Mike, assuming you are talking about the music keyboard, what you need is an RS232 to MIDI converter, there are a few around and you can build your own. The CMI app responds to Core Midi, so any device that can input MIDI to iOS will work. That includes docks as well as USB MIDI connected via the lightning USB or camera adaptor.
      Have fun!

  13. nick says:

    can you export fairlight cmi iOS app the voices to logic x.

    • Thomas says:

      Voices you have created yourself can be exported as CMI .VCX files, but I doubt Logic X could read those. You can always send all CMI audio output to other apps via Audiobus.

    • Thomas says:

      There are a number of BLE MIDI devices coming out around now. As far as we’re aware, they work just fine with the CMI app. We’re still waiting for delivery of one to test that.

  14. James says:

    Heard about the new Ableton Link ? Would be cool to synchronise cmi with other applis

    • Thomas says:

      sorry for the slow reply– silly season break. We do plan to add Ableton Link at some stage, but first we have to implement clock in and out, which is on our list of desirable features.

  15. Pelto says:

    Do you have plans to make Android version?

  16. Paul Grace says:

    I would LOVE this as a AU plug-in to run inside Logic Pro…If you look at the success of Vintage synth software companies I’m sure that the Fairlight would be very popular. Cheers

    • Thomas says:

      Paul, we’d love that too. The trouble is that it’s a big task to translate an iOS App into an AU plugin, well outside the developer resources we have available at present. I’ve added your vote for that.

  17. PikaSka says:

    Where can I download .rs files?

    • Thomas says:

      The Pro app already contains all the .RS files available to us. If you mean where can you get new .RS files, Google would be your friend. A while ago we raised the idea of a public CMI file exchange, but had an underwhelming response.

  18. Handy says:

    Great app, we’ll check the Player App first.

  19. Andy, not in the near future. It is a huge job to convert an iOS app to a VST plugin. Cartel de santa

  20. Allan says:

    I’m new to iOS, so this question may seem sophomoric, but how does the app accept MIDI input if not for the now-obsolete Midi Mobiliser and SynthStation?

    • Thomas says:

      Allan, the CMI App will accept MIDI from any Core MIDI compatible input, including physical devices (there are a lot of those around), WiFi MIDI and Bluetooth LE MIDI. You can still use the MIDI Mobilizer and SynthStation if you use an app like MidiBridge to convert their input to Core MIDI.

  21. K says:

    Is it possible to sample at a 8bit14k from the built in mic and is it possible to import wav or aif files with such rates
    I try to look for this but couldn’t find anything on it.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi there. Sorry, it is not yet possible to sample 8 bit 14K in the CMI App. However, you can import a WAV file of pretty much any sample rate and bit depth. Just make sure you set the native pitch of the file so that it plays at the correct pitch.

  22. Ronald says:

    After updating my app to 2.0, the waveform page has a button that says “update to pro”. But I already have the pro version…..? Any ideas ?

  23. Wim says:

    Can you tell me what the “goodness control” of the Fairlight does? Are ther sound examples on the web and will it ever be included in the pro version of the app?

    • Thomas says:

      The 30th Anniversary CMI has a Goodness control that allows a range of sound qualities, from CMI I through CMI II, CMI III and beyond. It uses some very powerful DSP hardware to achieve this, so it is not possible to do it in an iPhone. The iOS app supports CMI II and CMI III quality, and the upcoming Page 6 feature allows choice of sample quality slightly beyond these when creating a new voice.

  24. timex70 says:

    Hi folks,
    are there any plans to improve the “Page D” specs?
    the waveform drawing from
    segment 1 to 128 with merge / morphing function would be nice….
    as for me for a few bucks more

  25. App says:

    Fairlight CMI sounds on my iPad!! Yess!! Thank you!

  26. Andy Harrison says:

    Hi will the fairlight app will ther be a vst version to add to my studio program thanks andy

  27. Trevor says:

    Hi Guys,

    Undo command in case of accidental deletion when editing the patterns – will this ever be available?

    • Trevor says:

      I think it would be a great idea if we had the ability to shake the device to get the undo feature. I know I can undo and redo the things I type in the ios’s notepad.

      • Thomas says:

        Trevor, we don’t have any plans to implement undo in the near future. Sorry about that. I’ve added your vote for this feature. On the iPhone, shaking the device shows or hides the on-screen keyboard.

  28. 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!!

    • 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.

  29. 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.

    • 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.

  30. 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?


  31. 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? πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜‰

  32. 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

    • 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.

      • 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?

  33. 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!!!

  34. 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

    • 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.

  35. 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!

  36. 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?

  37. 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.

    • 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.

  38. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

  39. 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!

    • 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.

  40. Trevor says:

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

    • 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…?

      • 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?

        • 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 πŸ™

          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.

          • 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

          • 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.

          • Trevor says:

            thanks. Yes, I now realize the limitations of the iOS. I am a new user to it.

  41. 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.

    • 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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