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Fairlight Dream Series
Old 21st June 2002
Gear Maniac
stedel's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Cool Fairlight Dream Series

Hi Folks.

Stedel out on a limb:

Many of you would be aware of Fairlight as a company - but possibly, for various reasons, not aware of just how good the MFX based Dream series is.

Dig Deep! : Fairlight is not cheap. But it's not as expensive as you think once a thorough costing is done, and, if you "dig deep" into undertanding the flexibilty and quality of the various confiuration options, features etc. you may end up paying just as much for other DAW platforms anyway - that is to get a full professional rig together. So...a couple of things you should know if any of you are interested and would like me to talk further on this (I don't want to waste yours or my own time!).

a. I have spent the last 14 months researching, comparing, listening and figuring out which way I am going to go for my own small, but quality, tracking studio's.

b. Previously, perhaps like others, I didn't bother to check out Fairlight - I assumed it's price range was way above what I could, and should, pay for my needs - not true!

c. When I discovered the price structure, and that includes up to 48 QUALITY analogue and digital I/O's on their basic system - the Satellite - (you can start with 8 as it is modular and configurable to your own needs) I spent a while visiting Fairlights site - if you take the time there is a LOT of information about their systems, not just glossy PDF's to seduce you (although the PDF's are quite sexy!)

d. Once I had digested the information - and I think that some of us are quite blase about what we can actually get nowadays - I thought wow! In fact I was so impressed (no I didn't buy the company!) I volunteered to be the Moderator for a Fairlight Forum offered over on another Forum that some here
are familiar with - without ever having seen or touched one of these beasts!

e. I've recently had the pleasure of Fairlight dropping off a Satellite system to my house for me to play with for a week....was I dissapointed in what I found? Absolutely not - in fact I'm only giving this rave here because IF anybody is interested - Fairlight ROCKS!!!!

f. Where to start? OK..basic sound quality - no external 3rd party converters or sync units, no plug-ins, no Fatso's or Crane Hedd's, (erm not that I wouldn't like the Hedd) just bang - straight in...

g. I'm now talking to the Devil - er the Bank - I've got bad withdrawal. Gotta get one. My room looks naked!!! I'm lonely!!!

If you want some more impressions, details, have questions etc. post away, I'll be more than happy to reply - as best as I can... I'm not an evangelist - but I love this thing!!!!!!!!

Kind regards
Old 21st June 2002
Thumbs up


I wonder how much

The dream console in a frame with:

2 x fader buckets
1 x Eq & comp tweaker section
1 x center 'daisy wheel' section

Would cost?

Also last time I spoke to them, they had 'realised' that bars and beats editing was 'of interest' (!!!!) to folks recording music.... and were 'looking into it'..

I wonder if you can edit with bars & beats grids now? Mooving around door slam noises to picture, is one thing but working on music is another!

I wonder how far has the 3rd party plug in area progressed? That it runs with VST is 'cute' how bout some of the more serious brands?

How is ity fixed for digital hardware reverb hook up?

File exchange with other formats?

SRC up to 96k?

What do you record to? & How do you back that up for archive?

I found the difference between the Dream & the Satellite very confusing and didnt get much satisfaction in learning more from the website OR the brocheurs.. Stedle me old M8! - You can attach pictures in these threads, if you are in the mood, put some up!

Fairlight owe me a phonecall, for several months now...

Old 21st June 2002
Lives for gear
DigitMus's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Well, I must say I was interested in Fairlight, but they absolutely STONEWALLED me when I tried to get information. I had to fill out a very long form and submit it, then I recieved a reply asking if I was sure I wanted to submit it, then an acknowledgement - but NOT any of the info I asked for; all they ever sent me was press releases! I figure, if they don't want to talk to me, I'll spend my money elsewhere. You'd think they might want to follow up on the posibility of a 6 figure sale - evidently NOT. Perhaps you have an advantage, living in Australia. If you happen to speak to anyone at Fairlight, you might mention how they aced themselves out of $100,000 or so by ignoring me.

Old 21st June 2002
It has been suggested that they have a very odd way of looking at sales, I certainly regard it as weird. I know one person (I think Rob Darling) that belives their policy to be downright sinister! (I forget his theory)

They really do seem to be detached from normal sales folk. Lord knows what they think they are up to. Perhaps they can only make a very limited amount of product?

They are belly flopping in a gargantuan way in the music field thats for shure.

If I were the company owner I would kick some serious ass in the USA & in the UK.

I really DONT understand it.

Stedle, bring me the head of Fairlight! I WANNA HAVE A WORD WITH HIM!

(I am not kidding)
Old 21st June 2002
Gear Maniac
stedel's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Hi Jules...I'll reply to some of your questions later tonight (after the England v Brasil game).

Re your comments about VST....ouch!

Have you seen the Altiverb Reverb plug in, previously available for DP is now available for Macs in VST format? It eats up DSP power like I do forum space apparently, but recent reviews I'v seen (eg SOS May 2002) say it's the best sounding Reverb Plug in around...
Steiberg/VST are bringing out a system that allows you to use a number of computers to share the DSP loading, so potentially you could use the Fairlight and a Mac (sorry Jules - I run Cubase and will do so with the Fairlight ) to help cover the extensive processing power that good reverb needs.

Wasn't somebody working on your behalf to get Fairlight to respond? They are not a huge company..but maybe they need to be informed about Gearslutz and pick up the phone...I'll be in contact with them next week and raise this with them.

Kind regards

PS I'll look at the photo thing tonight also!

PPS DigitMus. It's worth perservering, I've been able to download full operating manuals & lot's of technical "stuff" but I agree they do have a bit of
a Lord of The Rings approach, however I have and will be talking further to Fairlight on this - personally I think it's seriously disadvantaging them and they need to get this side of things's a turn off I agree.

Wow, it's the first time anybody's said living in Australia could be an advantage - but you're correct...we've also got Rode Microphomes. Yours is an oft seen comment, unfortunately it does lead to a bias against a product which honestly/apparently deserves much better PR where you are. Ahh sleep tight boys and girls...Stedel's on their case!!!!!
Old 21st June 2002
Good man!
Old 22nd June 2002
Gear Maniac
stedel's Avatar
🎧 15 years

Hi Jules and folk.

I’ll do my best to answer your questions ..understand however:
This isn’t blind love - there are some things that are missing that I would have liked to have seen – in my case however - and everybody is different here – I am prepared to tolerate these and the initial :eek: erk(s)! for these reasons:

The fundamental quality of the sound recorded.
The ease and felexibilty of interfacing with outboard stuff.
The relative lack of system conflicts due to the fact that the OS is a dedicated audio only
System that does not have to "piggy back" on a more general PC or Mac OS system.

Although all computers are inherently evil, at present I’m slightly over the difficulties that I have experienced with both PC and Mac platforms – again that’s just me, no slight at anybody else (honest). Also anything that follows is not a critique of anybody elses’s work processes or needs, more a statement of my own work processes and experience.

As you know Wombarra is hardly the Holy Grail for the Sound Recording Industry ( yet! ) and Bob Clearmountain I am not!!! Finally I want to give questions the time and space they deserve, so I’ll do this in a couple of postings.

Q. 1 "I found the difference between the Dream & the Satellite very confusing and didnt get much satisfaction in learning more from the website OR the brocheurs.. Stedle me old M8! - You can attach pictures in these threads, if you are in the mood, put some up!"

"The Satellite"
The Dream series is easier to figure out if you consider that the "basic" model – the "Satellite" is much like the Radar or even the Mackie HD systems. Neither offer a sequencer type environment, they are essentialy a multi-track digital tape recorder – but with the advantages of having on screen editing functions. I found that these were the main ones I tend to use anyway – cut & past, reverse, sample accurate editing, copy etc.

All of the Dream series use Fairlight's QDC engine, this is possibly where some confusion occurs, the different models are more to do with the physical operating surfaces/control surfaces and mixing facilities provided - the things that sit on your desk, away from the recording engine itself, which as you know is too noisy to be kept in your mixing room - again this noise is not unique to Fairlight. The 21st century and we still can't get quiet cooling fans as fitted!!!!

The Satellite does not give you mixing facilities – it is meant to interface with analogue or digital mixing systems, such as the Sony DMX R-100 or their own Dream Station & Console (erm the not cheap!) At best it provides an internal Stereo Mix mode – which it does for you. This is better than you would think. And at least gives you some idea of your soundstage as a rough reference (remember this is NOT an on board fully fledged mixer - thats the Dream Sation and the Console).

The Satellite gives you up to 48 tracks 24bit (and your track count does not go down to 24 if you run 96k – unlike other systems).

Fairlight describe their sound as being pristine – and this is my fundamental point Jules – it is very very good.

Although the Satellite is their basic model, it does give you 4-band parametric equalisation on each track. Your settings can be A/B auditioned and "copied band-selectively between clips, You’ll know from their literature that Crossfades and fades can be applied and adjusted, and all clips have individual "real-time" adjustment – probably not unique, but it is really cool not having to wait for your files to be rendered. You also get compression and gating facilities – their implementation of the gating is actually very useful. So compression, gating and 4 band para EQ. Unfortunately, for reasons given later, I didn’t really get time to suss these out.

What I’m really interested in checking out, and Fairlight bod, Greame Whineray,
Said they will let me do this, is the Dream Station. They were involved in a big Industry show in Singapore at the time and didn’t have one available.

So end of post one, hopefully this gives you more of an idea about the Satellite, I’ll give you a rave on the Dream Sation, (the next model up) next post, and then the I/O’s and file exchange stuff – if you’re still interested and not suffering from "Stedel overload"!!!

Jeez I’m trying to keep this as brief as I can…not really succeeding am I?

I’d be interested to hear the sinister conspiracy theory re Fairlights marketing…I am an X Files fan after all!

(I'm listening to Propellerheads "Desksanddrumsandrockandroll" as I write this)
Old 22nd June 2002
Gear Maniac
stedel's Avatar
🎧 15 years

By the way, as long ago promised Jules, here's a photo of the snake that hangs around my studio. Not a very good photo, managed to grab a digital still on a Sony DV Camcorder.

It's a 3 metre long Diamond python, pretty cool huh?

When I say my studio does "jungle" re-mixes...I'm not kidding!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Fairlight Dream Series-snake.jpg  
Old 22nd June 2002
Unless Alphajerk came up with a bear photo outside his studio or something, I dont think anyone could top that! AMAZING!

I could definetly enjoy coffee breaks checking to see how 'the snake' was getting on!

Thanks a lot it was well worth the wait!

You will find a LOT of folks here are interested in the Dream console!

Thanks for the reports!
Old 22nd June 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar
🎧 15 years
i had a 5' snake IN my studio one night before this session was about to start. just quietly sitting there on the couch arm.
Old 23rd June 2002
Lives for gear
Henchman's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I'm surprisd you guys have had problems regarding info on Fairlights. Have you tried calling anyone. That's what i did. I didn't wait for a call becasue of a form I filled out on the internet. I called the main sales office and was able to talk to soemone right away.
Old 23rd June 2002
Gear Addict
🎧 15 years
I had to kill a 3' snake on my back porch a few months back. I think it wasn't a copperhead, just a hognose rat snake, but I'm not too sure. It was spooking my dogs majorly, either way

What freaks me out is that I'm not in the wilderness, I'm within the inner concentric circle of beltways and loops in one of the largest cities in the US. Kind of frightening.

Old 23rd June 2002
Lives for gear
e-cue's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I trust no animal that doesn't have ears.
Old 24th June 2002
Gear Maniac
stedel's Avatar
🎧 15 years

Glad y'all like the snake. Makes a good outboard compressor!

I didn't want to leave Julian's questions hanging here, as often unfortunately happens on other Forums,
So stage 2:

"I wonder how far has the 3rd party plug in area progressed? That it runs with VST is 'cute' how bout some of the more serious brands?"

Well here’s one "cute" VST plug in I wouldn’t mind checking out:
Sony EQ Plug-in

"File exchange with other formats?"

Hmm yes this is a bit tricky:
Ross Cafton, Fairlight Product Director interviewed in "Audio Technology" Magazine –

"Unfortunately there’s no Pro Tools compatability. There’s an issue with Digi Design as they won’t release their file format to anybody at this point, which doesn’t make anybody’s life particularly easy."

In the meantime Fairlight’s AV transfer is a file conversion utility that "allows you to open, play and export audio fil and projects in today's leading professional formats".
"AV transfer imports and exports between the industry's most popular professional
workstations including Fairlight, Lightworks, AMS Neve Audiofile, Final Cut Pro, Sadie,Wave Frame, Tascam, Nuendo, Akai, discreet edit and man others".

"How is it fixed for digital hardware reverb hook up?"
I don’t really know know what you’re refering to here…

"Analog Inputs & Outputs
Input impedance >10k Ohms
Output impedance <55 Ohms
Maximum input level +24dBu
Maximum output level +24dBu
Standard operating level adjustable from +14dBu to +24dBu

AES/EBU Inputs
Minimum differential 200mV
Input impedance 110 Ohms transformer isolated
AES/EBU Outputs
Output level 4V
Output impedance 110 Ohms transformer isolated

24-bit word length
System Sample Rates
32, 44.056, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz (user selectable)
Run-up/Run-down Sample Rates
44.056, 44.144, 47.952, 48.048, 95.904, 96.096kHz
SRC Range (with optional SRC I/O module)
Input: 0.33 to 3.0x system sample rate with range limits of 8kHz to 08kHz
Output: current system sample rate converted to any other posible System sample rate
Clock References
Internal, AES reference, WCLK, any Digital Input, Video Reference or LTC input
Clocks may be derived from an external WCLK or AES sync that is running at either the system sample rate, 0.5x system sample rate or 2.0x system
sample rate. Thus the system may be run at 96kHz locked to a 48kHz reference, or at 48kHz locked to a 96kHz reference, for example.
SRC O/P sample clocks may be independently locked to any of the available references except Digital Inputs. Where O/P sample rates are exactly 2.0x or
0.5x system sample rate, the output rate is automatically sample locked to the system rate".

I dunno Jules...looks as though it's fixed pretty well.....Aux sends and returns....

Kind regards

(that's me trying to see what's happening in the Northern Hemisphere from Down Under!!!
Old 6th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 10 years
Yeah, I'm bringing it back, back in time...

The D

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