Creative has all but dominated the PC sound card market, in no small part thanks to its prowess with hardware-accelerated 3D audio. The EAX positional audio framework born from the SoundBlaster line became the de facto standard for 3D audio in games, giving Creative a distinct advantage over its rivals. Creative licensed EAX, of course, but it kept competitors at version 2.0, limiting them to 32 concurrent 3D voices and standard-definition sampling rates and resolutions. Meanwhile, Creative extended EAX to version 5.0 with support for 128 simultaneous voices and high-definition resolutions and sampling rates.
Despite its positional audio dominance, Creative has faced increased competition of late, largely from sound cards based on C-Media’s Oxygen HD audio chip. Microsoft‘s decision to drop hardware acceleration for DirectSound 3D audio in Vista has also posed a challenge to the SoundBlaster monopoly by blunting some of EAX‘s appeal. All the while, motherboard makers have diligently worked to improve the quality of onboard audio solutions, creating a perfect storm that has spawned more PC audio choices than we’ve ever seen before.
Windows Vista, Microsoft, Creative, Sound, Audio, Sound Card, Audio Card, SoundBlaster, DirectSound, 3D, 3D Audio, EAX, Motherboard, Remix