When sound cards dominated the world | LetsCompareOnline
When sound cards dominated the world When sound cards dominated the world
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In the 80s, microcomputing began to conquer us visually. It was different in the field of audio, and neither 8-bit computers nor the first PCs... When sound cards dominated the world 4

In the 80s, microcomputing began to conquer us visually. It was different in the field of audio, and neither 8-bit computers nor the first PCs could do much more than make sad beeps .

Computers like the Amiga or Atari ST changed that picture, but the PC world continued to ignore it until companies like Creative Labs and Turtle Beach suddenly caused a revolution with their sound cards . They soon became a key component of any PC, but suddenly they were no longer necessary, and today virtually no one has a dedicated sound card on their computer. Why?

The Sound Blaster era

The sound was not so important at first for those who worked in this field, and the first games hardly accompanied the plot of some beeps.

With this there has never been much to do.

Soon video game developers realized that it was just as important to add good music to the game, and that, for example, started the era of chiptunes , electronically synthesized music that took advantage of the limited resources of these machines to generate soundtracks. surprisingly remarkable for the time.

On PCs, this achievement was behind, but the increasing success of this type of machine made some companies see an interesting market to take advantage of. This is how Creative Labs was born , which became the absolute leader in the segment with the launch in 1989 of the first Sound Blasters, the cards that became the undisputed reference for users and gamers.

Creative in fact focused these products in a special way to the gamers of the time. Its EAX technology was at the time a notable attraction for those who wanted the highest quality of sound in video games , and in the mid-90s the boom in multimedia content, DVD movies and music (on CD or in MP3 and Winamp dominating it all) his dominance was further confirmed.

A fatal strategic mistake

But firms like Creative and its rivals (Turtle Beach, for example) ended up making a fatal mistake : the integration of increasingly powerful components in the motherboards of the computers allowed to do without dedicated sound cards in many cases.

John Hartshorne

Senior IT engineer by the UPM of training and technical editor by profession, I have been writing in print and online media since the late 90s.