VOGONS


Reply 20 of 104, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
carlostex wrote on 2020-02-05, 10:56:
dionb wrote on 2020-02-04, 23:18:

Sort of interesting interview, but totally uncritical interviewer. AdLib is mentioned only in passing, the PAS (almost certainly the driver behind SBPro and SB16) not at all. Still, the 'our customers didn't give a shit about feature X so it wasn't a priority to us' rings depressingly true.

Well ironically, believe it or not, both AdLib and Media Vision's demise owe a lot to Sim Wong Hoo.

It is probably something he doesn't want to talk about openly.

Of course I'm aware of that. Still interesting he's speaking from a business perspective but doesn't even mention the competition. Most CEOs I've met relish recounting how they beat the hell out of the other guys.

keropi wrote on 2020-02-05, 09:06:

[...]

So from a business point of view he is correct - it was also a business decision not to care that much about audio quality IMHO (but ofcourse he can't say that) - people forget that back in the day most computer speakers were passive cones in a box 🤣

He comes very close to saying exactly that tbh.

It is easy to criticize them with 2010+ standards but people tend to forget they were gaming peripherals just like the bazillion crappy joysticks you could buy back in the day when "gaming" wasn't a term that would warrant double the prize.

Disagree. They marketed the hell out of their solutions as 'quality' in the day, even when they were blatantly worse than the competition (noise levels of early SB16 vs PAS16 is an obvious example). People did care, but in the days before widespread internet access and decent reviewing they just swallowed the bullshit and chose Creative as the "quality" vendor, to the point of insisting on a "real" Sound Blaster even when the alternative was not just cheaper, but quieter and less buggy too- not to mention the way the SB16 screwed up backwards compatibility with Creative's own SBPro2, the de-facto standard in most of the DOS era...

I still like Creative and use their modern cards in all my systems , onboard audio is just an office solution for me. I also did not had issues with live! cards and tend to stick to at least proper x-fi cards for the systems that matter. But I must admit I care very little for the AWE series, their early EMU wavetable tech and the crappy SB16 vibra cards. 😁

Their business practices put me off in a big way. As for the actual hardware, the original Sound Blaster was a seminal original product and deserves the credit it gets, the SBLive did set the benchmark in terms of audio fidelity (although with godawful driver hell) and the AWE/EMU8k things were at least original, if not truly great. Apart from that though, I consider their cards vastly overrated and definitely don't use them in modern systems - I prefer M-audio these days.

Reply 21 of 104, by appiah4

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
dionb wrote on 2020-02-06, 07:59:

Of course I'm aware of that. Still interesting he's speaking from a business perspective but doesn't even mention the competition. Most CEOs I've met relish recounting how they beat the hell out of the other guys.

He came across as a genuinely straightforward and even nice (if not likable) guy, which was really strange to me as well..

dionb wrote on 2020-02-06, 07:59:

Their business practices put me off in a big way. As for the actual hardware, the original Sound Blaster was a seminal original product and deserves the credit it gets, the SBLive did set the benchmark in terms of audio fidelity (although with godawful driver hell) and the AWE/EMU8k things were at least original, if not truly great. Apart from that though, I consider their cards vastly overrated and definitely don't use them in modern systems - I prefer M-audio these days.

I think the original SB deserves more credit here..

As for the Live!, did it really set the benchmark in terms of fidelity? Terratec's EWS64 had better fidelity on the ISA bus and Turtle Beach's Montego A3DXStream was definitely a higher fidelity card with better positional audio technology..

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 22 of 104, by keropi

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

^ sometimes it's not about who is best but who is supported more... A3D vs EAX support in games is abysmal when it comes to number-of-games-supported.
Just like SB cards, it set the standard and it had the name to sell. PAS, Aztech whatever could be way better yes - but they all got purchased as "SB Compatible" they even stated such in boxes.
So people back then still were getting soundblasters - better or worse just different name 🤣

Did Creative made mistakes or poor choises? you bet! I am not implying all was perfect but their cards and efforts really made them to be the synonym of pc sound in the early years, they managed to survive whereas other companies with better and more quality products bit the dust or died because support for their hardware was limited.

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 24 of 104, by bristlehog

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-02-05, 10:30:
However, please note that a bunch of games from the 90s used the term "MIDI music" even when referring to FM synthesis. That doe […]
Show full quote

However, please note that a bunch of games from the 90s used the term "MIDI music" even when referring to FM synthesis. That doesn't make the usage correct mind you, but it did cause a bunch of people (including myself) to adopt the incorrect term back then, and for some of us it kinda stuck even to this day.

file.php?id=75271&mode=view

I think you're mixing up two different phenomenons, MIDI music itself (as a method of storing musical notation) and synthesis methods. FM synthesis can be (and was widely) used to convert MIDI notation into real sound. So if we aren't talking about games that did not use MIDI to store musical notation, but used some other format (like RAD or other OPL tracker formats), "MIDI music" terminology seems fine to me even when referring to FM synthesis.

Your screenshot from Miles Sound System only proves my point: there are MIDI notation files (in Miles XMI format), and you can select a synthesis method to deliver the music to your ears: PC Speaker (yes, there are Miles MIDI drivers for PC speaker), FM synthesis, Tandy 1000, or various General MIDI compatible synthesizers.

Some games (like Warcraft II) had different MIDI files set for different supported sound cards, but still they all were MIDI files in the end.

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 25 of 104, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
appiah4 wrote on 2020-02-06, 09:24:

[...]

I think the original SB deserves more credit here..

Hey, I called it a seminal product, that's about the highest praise one can give. It was a complete game-changer. It's the one thing Creative did that no one could (should...) argue with.

As for the Live!, did it really set the benchmark in terms of fidelity? Terratec's EWS64 had better fidelity on the ISA bus and Turtle Beach's Montego A3DXStream was definitely a higher fidelity card with better positional audio technology..

In terms of pure SNR, yes, the Live beats the Montego II. Not by much - Turtle Beach manufactures quality cards, but it does. Not sure how it stacks up against the EWS64, but that's a completely different price category. The EWS64 is certainly superior to the AWE64 on all fronts.

Reply 26 of 104, by ZanQuance

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I found this a while back, an interesting read as well NTCC Creative Lawsuits.
It's a schools case study brief on the many lawsuits Creative filed in order to maintain their market dominance. I dislike the attitude they had towards Aztec making clone cards more than the lawsuit they flung at Aureal.

Reply 27 of 104, by RacoonRider

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I like how in the end Sim Wong Hoo is doing the "what you have is horrible, you should buy our product" thing. This is what the article is all about - drawing attention of nostalgic nerds by a first-hand story of classic sound blasters in order to urge them to buy more Creative hardware.

Honestly, my daily driver from 2014 to 2019 was an almost ultimate 2008 gaming PC built from used parts. I often warmed my feet by the GPU cooler vent in the automn and thought how nice it was to only pay 0.03 USD per kWh of electricity. Over those five years of using onboard ALC883 audio I never even thought I might need a dedicated sound card, even though Sim Wong Hoo described this as a worst-case scenario.

Reply 28 of 104, by 640K!enough

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I decided to read the article just to see if Mr. Sound Blaster had something interesting to say. As expected, it was a fluff article full of questions that merely allowed him to stroke his own ego, ignore reality and pretend that Creative is still even modestly relevant. I don't know if they were transcribed incorrectly or what the explanation is, but some of the answers seemed like utter nonsense, sometimes bordering on the unintelligible (SirNickity pointed out one instance already). Can someone decipher:

A mass-market 8-bit analogue-to-digital converter wasn’t available at that time, so analogue-to-digital sampling was performed in software using the digital-to-analogue converter. Because it was software, it was limited by the speed of the PCs at that time.

If you have a DAC, how can it be used to accomplish the functions of an ADC, whether in software or by other means?

There was one bit I found interesting. About recent community clones, he said:

We have no issues with individual hobbyists who are nostalgic about our very old Sound Blaster cards.

To me, this implies that if they knew of such cards being sold for profit, especially as a business, they might take issue with it. You'll also note that he never explicitly said that such efforts have Creative's or his blessing, as the question asked. It makes me wonder if some of these efforts won't eventually garner cease-and-desist letters (or worse).

Reply 29 of 104, by canthearu

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Geeze, people still have a chip on their shoulder over this. Crying about battles fought and lost decades ago.

Creative got a head start on the market by providing a unique product (at the time) and then getting general market support around that product. Then they reacted appropriately to competitors to maintain their market standing. Competitors are always going to have an uphill battle against the incumbent. Adlib had the best shot at it, but somehow misread the market and failed to respond adequately to creative's digital sound cards.

Besides, your not normally going to get the CEO of a company, especially one that is still active, to help you participate in a hit piece against said company. If that is what you were hoping for, it seems a bit far fetched to expect that.

Reply 30 of 104, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

No, of course an active CEO won't undermine his company. But a decent interviewer at least gets him talking about competition in the past - particularly when there have been repeated allegations of downright anti-competitive behaviour in the past. That won't guarantee he'll give open answers, but at least he'll have to say something about the issue.

And as for 'acting appropriately', in marketing terms: sure. In terms of litigation it's debatable, but when it comes to pressuring Yamaha to limit the supply of OPL chips for the competition in 1991/2... that would fall foul of antitrust legislation in most parts of the world, which is far from appropriate.

Reply 31 of 104, by The Serpent Rider

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
640K!enough wrote:

To me, this implies that if they knew of such cards being sold for profit, especially as a business, they might take issue with it

They technically can, but it's practically pointless. Such cards are made with off-the-shelf and scrapped parts in very low quantities. There's nothing they can do about it.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 32 of 104, by Error 0x7CF

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
640K!enough wrote on 2020-02-07, 05:26:

If you have a DAC, how can it be used to accomplish the functions of an ADC, whether in software or by other means?

Unless I'm mistaken, the early soundblasters used a comparator to compare the output from a DAC to the input from the mic in a manner like the programmer-teaching-tool higher/lower guessing game.

Set dac to 128, and incoming voltage is lower? Top bit is 0
Set dac to 64, it's higher? Next bit is 1
Dac to 96, it's lower? Next bit is 0.
And so on until you have all 8 bits and know you can't resolve more resolution.

I'm not positive about the "speed of PCs at the time" thing though, I would have thought their onboard microcontroller would be handling that comparating itself. Possibly a slight misremembering. Edit: or he's talking about how PCs wouldn't be able to intake higher rates?

Old precedes antique.

Reply 33 of 104, by brassicGamer

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I had to write an article to address the issue of AdLib being significant to Creative's success, even though he (Sim) practically denies it.

The Sound Blaster Fairytale

edit: detail

Last edited by brassicGamer on 2020-02-09, 17:22. Edited 1 time in total.

Check out my blog and YouTube channel for thoughts, articles, system profiles, and tips.

Reply 34 of 104, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
brassicGamer wrote on 2020-02-09, 14:23:

That's a really nice read, and it's awesome that you are linking to the sources that were used.

One minor typo, the caption for the first image states "Source: PC Resource's PC Games, Autumn '98" while it should probably be "Autumn '88".

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 35 of 104, by brassicGamer

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-02-09, 17:04:
brassicGamer wrote on 2020-02-09, 14:23:

That's a really nice read, and it's awesome that you are linking to the sources that were used.

One minor typo, the caption for the first image states "Source: PC Resource's PC Games, Autumn '98" while it should probably be "Autumn '88".

Thank you. And clearly your attention to detail is better than mine or my wife's! Wanna be my proofreader 😉

Check out my blog and YouTube channel for thoughts, articles, system profiles, and tips.

Reply 37 of 104, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
brassicGamer wrote on 2020-02-09, 17:21:

Thank you. And clearly your attention to detail is better than mine or my wife's! Wanna be my proofreader 😉

Heh, I think it's just a case of having a first time reader go over it.

I often botch proofreading my own work documents simply because I know their content well and therefore don't pay enough attention while re-reading them.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 38 of 104, by brassicGamer

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Cloudschatze wrote on 2020-02-09, 17:24:
For what it's worth, the August, 1987 date attribution for the Creative Music System is correct, and relates to its release in S […]
Show full quote
brassicGamer wrote:

For what it's worth, the August, 1987 date attribution for the Creative Music System is correct, and relates to its release in Singapore.

cms87_s.jpg

I would have loved to have been more specific about that point. I guess the point is that the pre-US release wasn't at all meaningful. Thanks for filling in that gap though.

Check out my blog and YouTube channel for thoughts, articles, system profiles, and tips.

Reply 39 of 104, by awgamer

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
carlostex wrote on 2020-02-05, 10:56:
dionb wrote on 2020-02-04, 23:18:

Sort of interesting interview, but totally uncritical interviewer. AdLib is mentioned only in passing, the PAS (almost certainly the driver behind SBPro and SB16) not at all. Still, the 'our customers didn't give a shit about feature X so it wasn't a priority to us' rings depressingly true.

Well ironically, believe it or not, both AdLib and Media Vision's demise owe a lot to Sim Wong Hoo.

It is probably something he doesn't want to talk about openly.

Also sued Aureal/a3d out of business with a frivolous lawsuit as well as pissing off ID to dump EAX support. He/Creative killed audio as a gaming feature. The bad guys, Creative, won, everyone else lost.