Whatever happened to …

… Sound Blaster cards?

Last week, writing about displays also brought back something that’s changed over the years and that’s how sounds, noise, and music are generated by the computers that I’ve owned.

To date myself, my first computer didn’t do music or play videos.  In fact, the only noise that came from the computer was a beep when I made a mistake or something.  There were memory locations where you could poke values in them to change the type of beep that was generated by the computer and that was about it.  If you worked at it long enough, you might be able to get a bit of a tune.  It was very tedious work.  It was actually better done if you understood the machine language of the computer.

Eventually, I was able to afford an MS-DOS computer that was certainly more powerful but still had limitations when it came to playing music or create the advanced sounds needed for game playing.  That’s where I first got interested in and bought my first Sound Blaster card.

It wasn’t cheap, but it turned the computer into a real power house capable of doing everything, it seemed.  This truly was a rabbit hole!  There wasn’t just one product from Creative Labs but so, so many.  You bought the best you could and your computer rocked.  Literally!  The products continue to be developed.

In addition to being a terrific product, it also spawned competitors that were “Sound Blaster Compatible”.

Yet, despite all this, there was another important piece of the puzzle.  The Sound Blaster Card needed speakers to shake the house.  I bought myself a cheap set of speakers and thought I had the world in my hands.  That is, until I upgraded to a pair of Bose desktop speakers.  At the same time, at work, I had a computer with a JBL three piece stereo system because we were getting very serious about connecting MIDI devices and making music.

Today, I don’t have a desktop computer but rather connect my mouse, tablet, and keyboard to a laptop computer which comes with terrific internal sound capabilities itself.  But, I still have those Bose speakers connected to get the best sound from whatever I’m doing/watching.  Without my first foray into the Sound Blaster world, I don’t know where I’d be with things today.

For a Sunday, your thoughts…

  • Was your first computer capable of doing something more than beep at you?
  • Did you or do you own a computer with a separate sound card like the Sound Blaster?
  • Have you ever connected a MIDI device to your computer and made beautiful music?
  • Are you happy with the speakers that came with your computer or do you attach  something else?
  • Are you a bluetooth connector or do you still have that precious piece of cable to connect everything and make it all happen?

Please share your thoughts via comment below.

This post originally appeared on:


If you read it anywhere else, it’s a ripoff and not the original.


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