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For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

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For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Dave B » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:15 am

https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/kim-ryrie-and-peter-vogel-full-interview

As part of the NAMM Oral History series, they've talked to Kim Ryrie and Peter Vogel about the Fairlight - where it came from, what happened to it and what they've done since. It's long, but a good watch.
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby desmond » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:24 am

Yes, watched this earlier this evening while doing other stuff. I’m pretty familiar with the Fairlight story but it’s always fun getting company founders to talk about their experiences... :thumbup:
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Enjoy Malc » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:52 pm

Peter Vogel’s mum: “Pete, what have you done now!??”

Interesting video and nice guys. Amazing inventors.

Good to get into that world, the ’what happens if I do this’, boffin-in-a-toolshed spirit. It also reminds me of that freedom many eons ago, restricted only by the technical hurdles of the day, not by peers, rules or corporate dictat. But OK occasionally by your mum.

As the video goes on there are some astounding breakthroughs along the way which I won't spoil. Later on speaking about their demise: "We weren't into the fail early thing, but the hold on by our teeth to the last possible moment”. “We paved the way for the second mouse to come along and get some cheese”. “And make some money out of it”.

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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Dave B » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:00 pm

In some ways it's stunning really - they were consistently ahead of the game and paid the price for it. The bit about price was interesting : it genuinely did cost them a fortune to make each unit as everything was new and cutting edge (=expensive). It's a shame that the vid didn't cover the actual company itself a bit more, but there are many stories out there from ex employees who were just enthusiasts who turned up to see where it came from and ended up working there.

And Peter Vogel comes out of it as more than just your average boffin. There was no ADC then, so he built one from discrete components in a couple of weeks. And his later work with digital TV was, again, about a decade ahead of its time.

So much good stuff in there. Brilliant.
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Zukan » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:39 pm

Loved it! Thanks Dave.
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby The Elf » Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:04 pm

Fascinating! I love the description of the 'not a fax' machine! :lol:
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:01 pm

Dave B wrote:There was no ADC then, so he built one from discreet components in a couple of weeks.

There were, but maybe not ones fast enough for sound sampling.
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby desmond » Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:13 pm

Wonks wrote:There were, but maybe not ones fast enough for sound sampling.

This would have been, iirc, about 1975... ("Pre-Apple").

Some quick googling suggested the first practical semiconductor ADC design was:

The first superconductor ADC circuit of a practical significance was a successive-approximation ADC invented in 1974 by M. Klein of IBM [5]. It consisted of a sample-and-hold circuit and four comparators made of serially connected Josephson junctions being switched to a voltage state at a predetermined control signal levels. This design was fabricated and tested in 1977.

So it wasn't like you could pop down the local Aussie Maplin and pick yourself up some off the shelf chips..!
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Dave B » Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:55 pm

I'll qualify the statement : there was no "off the shelf" ADC then .. ;)
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Forum Admin » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:09 pm

I'll never forget when Stephen Paine of Syco Systems (the UK Fairlight, Emu, Linn etc distributor) turned up at Cardiff University on my Electronic Sound course and wowed us with his demo.

A lot of it was the gurgling water sounds off the demo record, and the presets, but sampling in front of us and playing it back in a Page R sequence.... bloody hell, it was like the audible equivalent of a vision of angels. Magical, ethereal and for us students who'd been cutting up quarter-inch tape that morning, a true revelation and peek into a future world.

We went home dreaming of electric sheep and Akai samplers. :-)
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Wonks » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:09 pm

Good background paper to A to D conversion history here, though it doesn't mention the late '70s Intel 7109 A/D that was used in equipment I was working with (and later programming) in 1982.

http://www.analog.com/media/en/training ... apter1.pdf
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby James Perrett » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:45 pm

Wonks wrote:
Dave B wrote:There was no ADC then, so he built one from discreet components in a couple of weeks.

There were, but maybe not ones fast enough for sound sampling.

There may not have been single chip audio ADC's back then but the BBC had been experimenting with digital audio since the 1960's and those in the South East of England have been listening to PCM on their FM radios since 1972.

http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/BBC/PCMandNICAM/History.html
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby un_quantized » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:30 pm

http://www.failedmuso.com/blog/#

This might also be of some interest, though possible not new info. Robbie Puricelli aka Failed Muso restores Fairlights, working closely with Peter and Lorraine Vogel. He blogs about it from time to time. I wouldn't be surprised if some folk here know about him already, though I'm not sure if he's ever been a forum member here.
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby desmond » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:55 pm

Yep, Rob's a top bloke!

There's a nice Sonic State interview with him on his Fairlight work, too...
http://www.failedmuso.com/blog/sonicstate-interview-featuring-the-fairlight/
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby un_quantized » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:30 pm

Rob will be delivering a talk and demonstration at this event in the summer, he's pretty sure there will be a mk iii Fairlight there and possibly a mark ii.
http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/41952/Synthesized-23-24-June-2018/
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby desmond » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:34 pm

un_quantized wrote:Rob will be delivering a talk and demonstration at this event in the summer, he's pretty sure there will be a mk iii Fairlight there and possibly a mark ii.
http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/41952/Synthesized-23-24-June-2018/

Yeah I saw this and was thinking of attending... :thumbup:
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Forum Admin » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:09 pm

I live 10 minutes away from there so if you come up desmond, we should hook up?

I see John Molloy’s coming too — I interviewed him in issue 1’s Mainframe piece.
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby desmond » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:26 am

:thumbup:

Yeah, I saw the Mainframe guys would be there too.
What they were doing on their own with the Greengate back in the day was pretty cool, compared to the Fairlight...
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Re: For the Fairlight freaks among us ...

Postby Failed Muso » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:22 am

Hi all

Thanks for the plugs and kind words! Much appreciated :thumbup:

As Chris points out, I will be attending the Synthesized event and both exhibiting and giving a talk about the CMI and the restoration work I assist in doing with Peter Wielk of Horizontal Productions.

It is my hope (and plan) to bring along a fully functioning rack-mounted Series III system and a non-functioning Series IIx. I am disappointed about the latter being non functioning, but I don't believe that we will have it in a fit state before June.

I will also be bringing various components such as original hard drives, MFX3 controllers, various cards and anything else I can fit in the boot of my car!

Of course, there will be plenty of other great exhibits of classic synths and samplers and I was particularly happy to put the organisers in touch with Martin Ley, who will be bringing his rare Greengate DS4, and with John Molloy who we hope will attend and delight us with his stories and experiences :-)

Please do come and say hi and introduce yourselves. It would be lovely to meet you all.

Now I just have to cobble together a presentation and hope that all the Series III bits arrive safely from Sydney in the next few weeks!! :?
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