|Founded||November 9, 1995|
|Defunct||September 21, 2000|
|Kenneth 'Kip' Kokinakis, President and CEO|
|Website||www.aureal.com at Bibliotheca Alexandrina (archived August 8, 2002)|
Aureal Semiconductor Inc. was an American electronics manufacturer, best known throughout the mid-late 1990s for their PC sound card technologies including A3D and the Vortex (a line of audio ASICs.) The company was the reincarnation of the, at the time, bankrupt Media Vision Technology. Media Vision was a developer and manufacturer of multimedia peripherals such as the Pro Audio Spectrum 16.
On March 5, 1998 Creative Labs sued Aureal for patent infringement. Aureal countersued because they believed Creative was guilty of patent infringement. After numerous lawsuits Aureal won a favorable ruling in December 1999, which vindicated Aureal from these patent infringement claims, but the legal costs were too high and Aureal filed for bankruptcy. On September 21, 2000, Creative acquired Aureal's assets from its bankruptcy trustee for US$32 million. The purchase included patents, trademarks, other property, as well as a release to Creative from any infringement by Creative of Aureal's intellectual property including A3D. The purchase effectively eliminated Creative's only competition in the gaming audio market. It also eliminated any requirements for Creative to pay past or future royalties as well as damages for products which incorporated Aureal's technology.
Technologies and products
Aureal's 3D audio technology was originally developed by Crystal River Engineering for NASA's Virtual Environment Workstation Project (VIEW). Crystal River later commercialized the technology with a series of products including the Convolvotron and the Acoustetron. Aureal acquired Crystal River in May 1996 and rebranded the technology A3D.
Contrary to OEM companies (such as Creative which builds, brands and sells their own devices), Aureal was a fabless semiconductor company. This changed with their final product: the Aureal SuperQuad. However, to not anger the middlemen, Aureal did no marketing of its self-branded product.
On the software side, A3D was supported by 3DMark along with many other software titles of the late 1990s, including Half-Life, Unreal, Quake II, Jedi Knight, and SiN, Quake III Arena Until Version 1.25 of this software title was the last version to support A3D.
While Windows XP will recognize and work with the 8830 Vortex 2 chipset, there is an official Final Beta (v5.12.2568.0) available for download from a variety of sites which can be found via most internet search engines.
There is also a modified version of that XP driver that can provide basic audio functionality for the Windows Vista operating system. It may also function with Windows 7 beta releases as well.
- "AUREAL SEMICONDUCTOR ACQUIRES CRYSTAL RIVER ENGINEERING" (Extract; registration required). HighBeam Research. PR Newswire. 1996-05-08. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- "Aureal vs Creative - Timeline of Aureal and Creative's legal battle and its purchase by Creative". Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2015-04-17.
- Arstechnica Audio Review
- Vista Driver For Vortex 2 (AU8830) Chipset
- Crystal River spinoff from NASA
- 3D Audio Revolution - A legacy web site featuring news about Aureal and its A3D technology.