Arturia now offer these classic instruments individually – with another 50% off through January 10 – and have video tutorials to teach you how to use them.

Let’s have a big round of applause for democratization. There was a time when something like the Fairlight CMI was so out of reach, just owning one would probably land you some big gigs. Now, you can get software recreations that offer you the musical possibilities of these instruments, for the price of a nice date night.

We already had a look at the full update of Arturia V Collection 6 – basically, the software versions of a whole bunch of keyboard instruments and synths, plus tools for organizing and playing them.

The story here is, maybe you really just want the Fairlight, or just the Clav, or just the Buchla, or just the DX-7. Now those three instruments are available individually.

The Buchla story is especially interesting. Apart from getting the authorized stamp of approval, Arturia say they’ve gone component by component modeling the original Easel. And while full rack modulars are all the rage these days, it’s really the way the Easel distilled that sound into a single, integrated design give it a singular vision. It’s not just the “West Coast” idea in terms of signal flow: it’s a West Coast instrument.

Then, take the reboot from Arturia and its new features, and you get a relationship that’s a bit like Bob Moog’s reimagining of the Minimoog as the Minimoog Voyager. It’s authentic, but it’s also modern.

The overview video explains the basic idea:

But now there’s a tutorial series with Glen Darcey. (End of an era: Glen, who managed a lot of Arturia’s recent successes including the Beatstep and ‘Brute lines, announced early this month that he’s moving on to start a new brand. We wish him the best!)

Glen also takes us on a tour of the Fairlight CMI, the ground-breaking digital instrument that defined digital as we know it. I always admired the Fairlight’s unique interface and workflow, so this seems to me as much a chance to get your hands on that as the distinctive sounds it made:

Flashback: a few weeks back we featured Steve Horelick showing off the same hardware back in the early 80s. Steve here is speaking to kids (hi there!), but you might know his voice from his terrific Logic videos from our present decade.

The DX-7 sees a terrific recreation here, one that makes editing uncommonly accessible – just in time for FM to see a full resurgence:

Clav fans, there’s a tutorial series on that, as well (plus announcement video to give you the big picture):

Pricing: 50% off the individual instruments makes them each US$/EUR 99, through January 10 only.

The full version of V Collection is US$/EUR 399 (normally 499), same.

Upgraders: you’ll need to log in to see customized pricing.


  • Spankous

    100 dollars on discount= a steal? . wow i must be having the wrong job

    • Steven LeBeau

      People are pretty upset about the price increase for V Collection upgrades if the comments on their FB posts.

      • Spankous

        I don`t know about that to be honest. Doesn`t surprise me though. I mean 200 euro for one Vst emulation is very gucci like. But whatever. major profit corporations will always exist i suppose

        • bumble b. barbrabra

          Yeah! I don’t get why those emulations aren’t free either, now that every developed country has Universal Basic Income! And Arturia are french … they basically live on love! And there are plenty of capable engineers and software developers, too , that also work for free because Google also puts out stuff for free, because they just want to contribute to the great cause for the human future [they dont like taxes, though], apparently Arturia isn’t!

          … where was I? Ahh, that hardware Easel for 4k US$? It’s quite a steep price but you gotta support the boutique makers and niche markets…

          • Spankous

            nobody said that everything should be for free. I am saying that 200 euro for 1 emulation for 1 instrument compared to other instruments that cost a fraction of this and sound as good makes you wonder or better said, make me wonder. There are software companies with pricing that is reasonable and they still live from their products. One example would be Klanghelm. 200 dollars and other vst`s that cost 200, 300 and more are simply overpriced. For the simple reason that you only have to develop it once and can replicate it with near 0 effort. An Easel even though i find this price a bit steep, has always a certain amount of work in order to multiply it since it`s handmade hardware. But nice arguments with love and baguettes and all of that

          • Note that they’re 50% off, so 99 eur, not 199. I’m not really sure from the above that read past the headline, though…

            The point is this: “The original CMI started at about £18,000, going up to £27,000 for the Series II and finishing up at £60,000 for the Series III.”

            Recall that in 1981, few PCs were capable of any useful sound generation (the Commodores being the notable exception, the following year); even with add-on hardware, you had nothing like the Fairlight CMI for many years after. Now it’s a $100 add-on.

            We haven’t had anything like the Buchla Easel emulation, full stop, meaning a lot of people plunked down a few grand for hardware.

            If that’s still too rich for your blood, apart from ongoing coverage of Pd (free), part two of the VCV series (free + low priced add-ons) is out later this week.

          • Spankous

            Nice logic. Let me see if i understand. Also a computer a few decades ago cost millions of dollars and only a few where sold worldwide. But since todays computers cost a small fraction of this means that no computer is overpriced in our days and everyone should be thankful . You are right , 99 is way too cheap. I will wait till it goes to 200 and then buy them all individually. This way i can sell them for more when they get collector status together with some stamps

          • You can keep on ranting, or you can wait until later this week when you can read about VCV, which is free. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to editing that rather than stay here and argue. 😉

          • chaircrusher


          • TJ

            Of course, technology will continue to progress and get cheaper. As a user, I have to ask myself right now whether the price is worth the added expansion to my sonic palette; ie can I get this sound with something I already have? 99 Euros for an Easel emulation that sounds great? Hell yes! Thanks for posting this.

          • bumble b. barbrabra

            Yes, the ‘free’ was an hyperbole. but then again, where do you set the line? Arturia is a rather big company with many developers, so their cost of developing something is in any case ‘high’. I disagree on your comparison: because a software synthesizer is vastly more complex (thus requires more resources, more human capital == $$$). Following that logic, this would be similar to complaining that a car is more expensive than a skateboard, since both can transport people and there are skateboards manufactured by one guy who sells them for cheap on some marketplace downtown. The 0 effort is also not correct, since software needs maintenance and so does the delivery/marketplace/XXX infrastructure as well as the customer support. I do understand that 200€ isnt cheap per se, but given the amount of work being put into such a complex product, it is quite fair – IMHO. From that standpoint 99€ IS cheap.

          • Spankous

            which one is the car and which one the skateboard exactly in your example? And Vastly more complex? I don`t think it is more easy to develop a hardware synth from scratch than it is Software. I know programmers-musicians who develop their own emulations. One of them is actually a friend of mine and i don`t see him locking himself in a room for a year in order to develop something. As for big company. Take Korg. They develop a hardware Poly synth for 600 or something. This compared to any smaller company produced poly i know is Very cheap. That means that it would be logical to presume they cover their R&D through the amount of sales. Why should it be any different for them in the Software domain? Also have you heard a Tal Software Juno emulation or their 101 emulation? they make some of the best sounding Vsts. Period. And look at what their charge. 200 for a vst synth is simply overpriced by any means

          • Wow, way more thought when into this thread than I suspect to the headline …

            Basically, it’s down to this: the Buchla is *absolutely* an interesting value for a hundred bucks. And getting these instruments half off I’m sure will make a difference … for the very reason that sometimes it’s better to focus on one instrument than get one of these big bundles.

            I do hear some of the complaints about upgrade pricing or relative value of tools; that’s fair.

            It’s fair to say this headline would have been too long as a headline: “The Arturia Buchla recreation is a total steal for a hundred bucks, it’s amazing how much cheaper Fairlights are than when they came out, this is probably a good value for many people but not all, and also many people are confused by Arturia’s upgrade policy but it could still be a decent investment, we just wish that Fairlight had a Page R”

            Too long. 😉 Anyway, on to more news… don’t sweat it, there’s always another day and another story…

    • abluesky

      The fact that a hardware synth/sampler was expensive in the past, is irrelevant to whether a software emulation is cheap, or indeed the matter of its worth. The market, generally, determines such thresholds governing prices. It doesn’t matter what something cost 30 years ago. It matters what the market for similar products is today.

      Further, these thresholds don’t necessarily indicate affordability, since the issue of affordability is largely a subjective one. A billionaire can easily afford a Ferrari and a student may not be able to afford a compact Toyota, regardless of whether the market determines that Ferrari’s are expensive and compact Toyota’s are cheap.

      So, considering the distinction between worth and affordability €99 sale price for a software synthesizer isnt cheap; in fact it’s rather expensive when you consider other plugins like u-he diva (multiple synths in one) or, more recently, Repro (two synths). Both had initial sale price of $99, but you literally got more for that money. The new Korg ARP ODYSSEi plug-in is $69 on sale and $99 full price.

      But hey, some things are just expensive, and there just isn’t a way that product is going to be produced otherwise. Arturia probably has lots of insight into this market, it’s user base, and potential customers and knows what it needs to charge in order to release the plugin, pay its developers a wage that makes them feel good about the time the spent developing, as well as profit to keep the company going. And all that makes it more expensive.

    • R__W

      Arturia probably loses money even at full price since the market for a Buchla VST is about 200 people worldwide

  • Drew

    Maybe I can see the price point as a frustration. But let’s be real here, it’s a Fairlight for $99. Or a Music Easel. Good grief, renting a Fairlight for an hour was more than that, and a whole lot less portable. Yes, I know that was more than 30 years ago. I’m just excited to have these iconic instruments on my laptop. To each their own. Peace, respect, and music.

    • Spankous

      i get that you are happy for it and with all the respect i have nothing against that. I just see pretty often that some people-developers , you name it, use this wave of emotion of nostalgia just for profit. Then give you the option of paying 800 dollars for 4 instrument emulations or 500 as a package and manage to convince people that it`s a bargain. thats all i dislike. But i think those who read the thread here will make their personal aftermath. some will agree, some will do the opposite. I find it ok to speak ones mind

      • Presteign

        Do you ever do soundtrack or production work? How do you set your rates? Do you lowball to be nice, or do you set your rates as high as you think clients will want to pay?

        Arturia is setting their prices where they think people will want to pay. Personally, I’m not upgrading from V Collection 5 yet since I don’t feel the price is worth it *to me* right now, but plenty of other customers will feel it is worth it. And if too many people in the market hold off, they’ll launch a sale price sometime later. That’s how markets work.

    • Larry Larson

      Thank you for a little bit of sanity. These emulations are _GREAT_ with fantastic sound, great attention to detail, and useful, imaginative creative extensions. The Matrix 12, the Buchla, and the Arp are amazing and stable. I wondered how it was possible for them to this for the money they are asking. If they are not worth the asking price for you, don’t buy them. I cannot afford a tesla, or a steinway, but I cannot hold that against them. Maybe the worst thing about the plethora of amazing tools we have as musicians is that it harder to actually make music when you can putz around with these instruments instead. Who can possibly master them? It would take lifetimes….

  • Garmrocker

    I bought Arturia V Collection 5 a week before the 6 release as a bundle with Soundtoys on Reverb for 250 dollars. Of course I would like V Collection 6, but I got my hands full with 5 at the moment. And that Black friday bundle was a steal so I’m happy.

  • Foosnark

    $100 was a steal for Buchla Easel V, frankly. It’s the first VST instrument I’ve been truly excited about in the last few years which also delivered (as opposed to Waverazor, which is still not complete).

  • celebutante

    Obviously this is all a matter of perspective, but I upgraded from V Collection 3 to v6 a few weeks ago for $199… essentially I got the Buchla, Fairlight, Synclav, and DX7 for $50 each (plus the Matrix 12, the new thonky piano, the Farfisa which absolutely nails Suicide in case you want to start the world’s least successful tribute band…), so I feel like I made out pretty well.

    Maybe I’m biased b/c I work freelance for a software developer (Acoustica), but it just seems the general public expects everything for super cheap or free. There was a guy on this thread that seemed to be implying that making virtual instruments was totally easy and any fool could do it… um, ok dude, YOU go whip up a Synclavier II emulation. Really?!? Maybe I’m old and fixated on my youth when all I had was a crappy Casio and a Radio Shack MG-1 (which both kind of sucked and cost around $500 total). Relatively speaking, electronic music stuff is SO cheap these days, it amazes me when people snivel.