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Creative founder Sim Wong Hoo, the person behind Sound Blaster, has died

The founder, CEO and president of Creative Technologies, Sim Wong Hoo, his company, has died he confirmed. “He passed away peacefully on January 4, 2023.” Press release. He was 67 years old.

Younger readers may find this difficult to imagine, but there was a time when computer sound wasn’t guaranteed. If you wanted headphones or speakers that might do greater than hum or beep, you most likely needed a sound card – and none was as effective as Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster. It sold over 400 million copies on its thirtieth anniversary in 2019.

In the pre-Windows 95/DirectX era, few words in computer games were as necessary because the phrase “Sound Blaster compatible”, allowing gamers to listen to dogs barking in Wolfenstein 3Dor mess around with the synthesized voice within the Dr. Sbaitso by Creative (you may play online nowadays).

Dr. Sbaitso.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 text-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-dark:text-gray-dark:[&>a]:text-grey-na [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shade-underline-gray dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray”>Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge

The company was also huge in the sphere of MP3 players with its line of Creative Nomad and Zen players and successfully sued Apple over the iPod, obtaining a $100 million settlement.

The success was not immediate. Originally, Sim decided to construct a whole computer that might talk, in keeping with the 1993 and 1994 profiles of the person in Bloomberg and The New York Times. He founded Creative Technologies in Singapore in 1981, and by 1986, two years after Steve Jobs let the Macintosh “speak for itself” — company computers were selling so poorly that he was said to have only just a few engineers left.

Cubic CT next to the original Sound Blaster.  In fact, it was the company's second personal computer after the Cubic99 launched in 1984, which was known as

But after they took the Cubic CT music board to a pc exhibition within the United States, the corporate found its foothold. “The money we made on just a few hundred boards was the equivalent of the cash we made on the PC,” he said NYT.

Even then, the concept didn’t quite die. Creative’s first sound card was marketed because the Creative Music System before the corporate realized that PC gamers would turn out to be its biggest audience. In 1987, Sierra On-Line delighted the gaming industry freeing The Mission of the King IV with the actual soundtrack ratingintended to be played on early sound cards equivalent to the AdLib and Roland MT-32, and the publisher began promoting these PC parts on the market in its own game catalog.

An archival image of a Game Blaster PC music board advertisement.  In part it reads: Sierra presents Game Blaster from Creative Music Systems.  A mid-range sound card that everyone can afford.  The Game Blaster is a full 12-voice synthesizer that plugs easily into any internal port on your computer.  It includes a built-in power amplifier, built-in volume control, stereo output and connections for headphones, external speaker or stereo system.

Creative got a few of this motion by rebranding its card as “Game Blaster” in 1988, and in 1989 the corporate’s first Sound Blaster added a dedicated game port for connecting a joystick. This is something PC gamers normally had to purchase individually, and it helped make the Sound Blaster appear to be a superb deal over AdLib.

Sim’s determination made him a rare symbol of Singaporean startup success as Creative became the primary Singaporean company to be listed on Nasdaq. in 1994 The New York Times’ the headline literally read “Entrepreneurial Company Defying the Singapore Model” and went on to write down a book called Chaotic thoughts from the Old Millennium where he coined the phrase, No turning back syndrometo explain the essential difficulty of becoming an entrepreneur in Singapore’s cultural era.

Razer CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan, who turned Razer right into a Singaporean company, hit social media say that “the tech world and Singapore have lost a legend”. Razer bought its own audio company, founded by George Lucas THX, in 2016.

Even after PCs began reproducing high-quality audio on their very own – every modern consumer motherboard comes with integrated audio – Creative attracted gamers with features equivalent to the Sound Blaster Crystallizer, a dynamic range enhancer that “applies sound amplification (audible effect) to lower, transitional and better frequency regions on demand.

Photo of the Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro sound card with outer box and remote.

I still remember how proud I used to be to have it installed Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro in a desktop gaming PC and what unlocked it then – I connected three game consoles to my PC monitor using the audio card and was amazed how this one device could take optical audio from my PlayStation 2 and convert it to great sounding analog sound for my headphones and 3.5mm digital audio for my Boston Acoustics 4.1 surround speakers, all at the identical time. (Yes I did these Gateway speakers it’s just accepted digital input via 3.5mm jack and Audigy was very useful.)

Creative hasn’t been a household name lately, however it still sells popular soundbars just like the Sound Blaster Katana, speakers, webcams, and earbuds. There is even a dedicated Sound Blaster sound card in its range.

AND, I hearAudigy 2 remains to be doing well on some people’s computers.

Update, 20:32 ET: Added more images and knowledge about Cubic99, Creative’s earlier computer. Also, it is advisable to read this CustomPC Sim interview from 2019where he talks in regards to the beginnings, called Michael Jackson drops and more, and BrassicGamer has debunked among the things CustomPC said.

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