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... a retrospective view on sound card history

Dolby Digital, dts, EAX... all terms, that advertising world throws around.
Sound systems, that were only located in cinemas some time ago, already moved into our homes. You hear the Enterprise coming from the back. You can localize your opponents in games after your hearing. Full sound always and everywhere.
You could think, it has never been different, probably you don't want to imagine that it has ever been different. We actually are much too pampered - aren't we?! After all, you should consider that meanwhile our oh-so-styled miracle crates were gray as mice not long ago, and their acoustic capabilities haven't been a large difference to their color.
Limited to a simple beep, at least in different pitches...
But stop here! It's very unlikely that we just switched from PC Speaker to 5.1 sound from just one day to another - it's more of the opposite!
How did we actually get to the point, where we are these days? Where do all these sound options in the old games come from? Does MIDI really sound as bad as you remember it?
This article should bring little light behind these questions, it explains the technology in the interesting years of development from its origin of the 1981 IBM PC until approximately 1995, and should show, what we actually already knew, but often won't see: that a name and good marketing often mean more than progress and innovation...

It has been taken the best effort for the correctness of the content, but if you see anything that's not correct, don't hesitate to contact me!

All images in this article are copyrighted. You may use them by stating the original author, either stated under the image, or, if not, it is Stefan Goehler and linking back to this article.

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