Sim Wong Hoo, who based Sound Blaster producer Artistic Expertise in 1981 and remained at its head ever since, has died. A press release launched by the corporate mentioned Sim “handed away peacefully” on January 4.

Artistic Expertise—often called Artistic Labs in North America—was a groundbreaking participant within the early days of PC gaming due to its long-running sequence of audio playing cards. After initially launching because the Artistic Music System in 1987, the well-known Sound Blaster line debuted in 1989, and rapidly took over the market: Advert Lib, which previous to the arrival of Sound Blaster playing cards was the efficient customary for PC gaming audio, misplaced a lot floor so rapidly that it was pressured to file for chapter in 1992.

An audio legacy

Sound Blaster logo

(Picture credit score: Artistic Expertise)

Artistic is an organization that has turn into synonymous with laptop audio over time, to such an extent that I doubt there are a lot of of us that have not used a pair of Artistic audio system or caught a sound card from the corporate inside their machine in some unspecified time in the future. I had a set of the go-to Encourage T10 audio system once I went to college and so they nonetheless promote that precise mannequin to this present day. I additionally nonetheless have a Sound Blaster sound card in my PC, and as a toddler/teen I even had a Artistic Zen MP3 participant. I suppose I can thank Mr Sim for that long-lasting audio legacy.

– Jacob Ridley, senior {hardware} editor

The Sound Blaster sequence advanced by means of a number of generations after the discharge of that first card. My second sound card (paradoxically, changing an Advert Lib) was a Sound Blaster Professional, which got here out in 1991 and helped push the corporate’s world revenues to properly over $1 billion by the mid-Nineties.

The arrival of onboard audio later took a giant chunk out of consumer-level sound card gross sales, and Artistic’s efforts to maneuver into different applied sciences, like CD-ROM drives and video accelerators, didn’t catch fireplace. However the firm discovered continued success by refocusing its efforts on specialty audio, together with high-end sound {hardware}—the Sound Blaster AE-9 actually impressed us when it launched in 2019—and audio system.

Artistic can be notable for squaring off with Apple—and successful—in a patent dispute over Apple’s scorching new invention, the iPod. Artistic had its personal lineup of Zen audio gamers on the time, and these had an interface for scrolling by means of your library of music that Apple fairly favored for its personal. In the end, the 2 firms settled for a $100 million cost out of pocket, and Mr. Sim’s firm walked away that a lot richer. Admittedly Apple would have the final chortle contemplating its success with the iPod thereafter, however Artistic continued to construct loads of PC merchandise we use to this present day, even when its Zen music participant had a restricted shelf life.

“I’ve recognized and labored with Mr. Sim for over 30 years,” interim CEO Tune Siow Hui mentioned in an announcement. “It is a unhappy and sudden improvement and we really feel a terrific loss.”

A message posted on the Artistic web site says Sim was “a visionary, inventor, and entrepreneur who gave the PC a voice. He shall be deeply missed.”

A explanation for dying was not launched by the corporate. Sim was 67 years outdated.