The Fairlight CVI (Computer Video Instrument) was an early video synthesiser developed in Australia in the 1980’s. It was intended to be a ‘video version’ of the iconic Fairlight CMI (Computer Music Instrument).

FairlightCVI.com has been developed by VJzoo to share resources and information about the Fairlight CVI which has achieved a sort of cult status due to its distinctive effects which had such an influence in the development of the 1980’s “MTV” look.

An old page with info about the history of the Fairlight CVI as well as some useful tech info is on Audiovisualizers.

This site is not associated with the Fairlight company. Their official site is FairlightAU.com.

33 Responses to About

  1. Jeff Harris says:

    Hello, I was one of the Fairlight USA sales engineers in the early 80’s. I still have two CVI’s and lots of spare parts including service documentation. I would like to join your discussion group and share information. I also have some vintage video material from my time in Los Angeles.

  2. Sherman George says:

    Is there a experimental video list that is a parallel to frameworks?
    I am helping rebuilding a Nam June Paik piece that processes video through a Fairlight Computer Video Instrument and I need to replace/repair the CVI.
    The important thing about a replacement is that viewers need be able to manipulate the video with their hands not a keyboard.
    Any direction you can lead me would be helpful.

  3. Jorgen says:

    Hello good day

    I have 2 Fairlight CVI pal versions and like to sell them to someone who likes them.
    1 is in perfect condition the other one is replaced with new power suply have verry little distortion in screen but working 100% also.


  4. Glenn Rosin says:

    Hello everyone:

    I have been cleaning out our used equipment store room and have happened across a Fairlight CVI-R (rack mounted version) which we purchased in the 1980’s to do some effects for music videos. We only used it a few times for these videos and for a few TV commercials, but the effects soon went out of style with the clients, so the unit was shelved until I found it last week.

    I have set it up on the test bench and it checks out OK. It is in excellent condition with only one small scratch on the lower right corner of the control panel. The unit comes complete with the original sales brochure, the operators manual as well as the service manual that includes schematic diagrams and calibration procedures.

    I thought I would offer it up for sale to the folks here first, before I put it up on Ebay. I am asking $ 2875.00 with free shipping in the continental US. Buyers outside this area would pay actual shipping costs. Unit is located in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

    If anyone here is interested, please drop me a line at cvavideos@hotmail.com


    Glenn Rosin

  5. Hi I have a PAL Fairlight CVI, Rev 7 upgrade, Black that is acting strange and needs repair. Does anyone here do that or know of someone who might help? The unit powers on but is passing a greenish bluish signal through the analog video path on only certain presets.


  6. Michael says:

    Hi, I have a Fairlight CVI I’m looking to have repaired or sell to someone who is interested in it, black unit with Rev 5 software, unit powers on and the controller works, all software menus are visible but video I passed into it did look somewhat strange to me, all incoming video seemed to be doubled and while many effects tests worked the color seemed to be off so I would say this one is in need of restoration and calibration.

    asking 800 delivered inside the USA but shoot me an offer, this one rocked a few legendary parties.


  7. Michael says:

    sorry, USA model purchased in Australia and brought home on the plane, hey wait a minute maybe thats why it’s not working properly? could it be set up at US voltage to PAL as unusual as that sounds? I need more info to proceed how to tell video format since the original owner lived in multiple countries when he was originally using it, but it lights up to US voltage, how can I tell what format? I would assume NTSC but would prefer to investigate the details before sale so buyer is fully aware

    • VJzoo says:

      To my knowledge, they aren’t dual-voltage – perhaps it was browning-out (if you didn’t use a step-up converter to 240v). If you bought it in AU, I’d say it’s likely PAL not NTSC. It should say on the back, if it still has a sticker?

      • VJzoo says:

        I think that some US users wanted PAL rather than NTSC though, due to the extra resolution (maybe using a 240v step-up). Have no idea what configurations were made though – I would have assumed they were always PAL/240v or NTSC/110v – perhaps someone that knows for sure could chime in? šŸ™‚

  8. Hey. Any of you crazy geniuses fancy doing some psych, freaky, avant, art video / fx for music projects. Not much of a budget here. New label launching, self financed and what I have is going on pro PR / promo etc… so it needs someone who wants to do it basically. Most likely I send source material and you do a few passes and I edit… unless one wants to be part of a small but cool intl, would-be, scenius. Heres some music and info… http://majortalent.org

    Alternatively, Id like to learn how myself so what would do the sickest FX. I saw circuit bent synths and apps that seem cool.

    Oh BTW, I was in a performance art / band called CVI in London in the 90s. Three live CVIs improving with 3 screens and my electronic, art kraut noise industrial, avant groove music. The guys directed vids for Stereolab, Manic St Preachers etc.
    Steve in Hollywood CA. manfishmusician@hotmail.co.uk

  9. Synthfreak says:

    Hello all

    I still have two fairlight CVI pal versions here at my home in Amsterdam.
    If some one has intrest in them let me know.
    Both machines are working and looking good.
    Complete with the originals manuals and books.


  10. Patrick says:

    Hi, I have a CVI and I’m pretty much starting to toy around with it. I can’t get video 2 input to show a stable image. It come out in black and white and moves across the screen diagonally. The presets 85-89 that use video 1 over video 2 work but I can’t get a stable video 2. Video 1 input is perfect, so it’s not my camera that’s problematic.
    Please help
    Thank you

    • VJzoo says:

      Hi Patrick

      It could be TBC as I dont think the Fairlight has that, if you have another mixer that does and you can use that to pass the signals through it might help.

  11. Jorgen Brinkman says:

    Update about the two fairlight CVI pal versions.
    Don’t have them anymore.
    The found a new owner.

  12. under says:

    i ve got some troubles with the size of the pixel with my cvi
    everything is fat and it ‘s impossible to read the menu.
    someone knows how to fix that
    help thanks

  13. hinotori says:

    Hi everyone!
    I was wondering if anyone could tell me the values for capacitors C32 and C36 in the power supply. I have the service manual but it does not contain a schematic of the psu and the markings on the old caps has corroded. Is there a schematic of the power supply anywhere?
    Huge thanks if you can help me out!

  14. autotelic says:

    Hello everyone,

    I’ve developed a CVI Rev 7 software upgrade kit, including a modern replacement for the CVI-06 memory expansion.
    This kit also eliminates need for the backup batteries inside the CVI and inside the CVI-06.

    Documentation is not quite done, but you can check it out here:

    I built this for my own CVIs (I have 2 and a half!).
    If you have a CVI and are interested in this kit, let me know.


  15. Jonus Eric says:

    Hello everyone. Greetings from Perth, Australia!

    Just wanted to know if anyone may be interested in parting with a Fairlight CVI?
    Would really love to buy one if anybody is interested in selling.
    Have been trying to hunt one down for ages, but have had no luck.

    If so, send me a message at jonusde@hotmail.com

    Many thanks!

  16. Hey everyone,

    I have a Fairlight CVI for sale in London UK,

    If anyone is intersted, please visit this website or contact me on the above email. Offers welcome šŸ™‚


  17. Denis says:

    Hello there,

    I’ve one cvi (black one) but the controller is partially working. (Faders and pad)
    So i’m looking for a controller or spare parts ( faders for sure and pad if it can be found)
    If someone knows where i can find that, it would be great !

  18. Frankie McDonald says:

    if anyone has a cvi for sale email me at frankyakabigmac@gmail.com

  19. John Molloy says:

    hey I am looking for a Fairlight CVI in New Jersey USA please let me know if you are selling one thanks!

  20. John Molloy says:

    hey I am looking for a Fairlight CVI in New Jersey USA please let me know if you are selling one thanks

    my email is johnnymolloy777@yahoo.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *