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KRISTAL Audio Engine

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KRISTAL Audio Engine
Original author(s)Matthias Juwan
Initial release31 January 2004; 20 years ago (2004-01-31)
Final release
1.0.1 / 1 June 2004; 20 years ago (2004-06-01)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
TypeDigital audio workstation
LicenseProprietary Software

The KRISTAL Audio Engine (commonly referred to as KRISTAL or KAE) is a digital audio workstation for Microsoft Windows. It is free for personal & educational use, with licensing options for commercial use.

The successor to this product became what is now known as Studio One.



Initial Development

The original Crystal Audio Engine interface.

KRISTAL began development in 1999, as the university thesis project of Matthias Juwan. At that time it had a different look and feel, and was known as the Crystal Audio Engine, a name derived from the song The Crystal Ship by The Doors.[1]

Following a public beta period, the initial version, renamed to the KRISTAL Audio Engine, was released in 2004, under the developer name of Kreatives.[2]

K2 and KristalLabs


On 24 December 2004 the KRISTAL development team announced that they were working on the successor to the KRISTAL Audio Engine, based on a new infrastructure. The development team planned for this successor to include cross-platform support for both Windows and macOS.[3] The new software, known as K2, entered the Alpha development stage in July 2005.[4]

The KristalLabs logo, later used as the basis for the Studio One logo.

On 18 September 2006, it was announced that all work and rights to the source code of K2 had been taken over by KristalLabs Software Ltd., a private start-up company co-founded by KRISTAL lead developer, Matthias Juwan, and Wolfgang Kundrus, who had previously worked on Cubase, Nuendo and HALion.[5][6][7] Ownership for the original KRISTAL Audio Engine, however, did not transition to KristalLabs.[8]

PreSonus and Studio One


KristalLabs further developed K2 in cooperation with the American music technology company, PreSonus, before becoming part of PreSonus in 2009.[9] Following this acquisition, the final result of the K2 development was re-branded and released as the first version of the PreSonus DAW, Studio One, for macOS and Windows.[5][10] The former KristalLabs logo (representing a series of hexagons, like the one from the original KRISTAL Audio Engine logo, tessellated together) was used as the basis for the logo of Studio One.[11]

Since this time, all versions of Studio One have been developed and released by PreSonus.



KRISTAL is free for personal & educational use, with licensing options for commercial use.[12]

The primary window of the application is a digital mixer, but it provides separate, built-in components for additional functionality, such as audio sequencing and live audio input/recording.[13] It includes built-in effects, such as EQ, chorus, delay and reverb, but also supports the use of third-party VST plug-ins.[14] It can support up to 16 channels of audio; however, it does not provide support for MIDI.[14]

The application uses 32-bit audio processing and supports both MME & ASIO drivers. In addition to its native Kristal project files, it is also compatible with WAVE, AIFF, FLAC and OGG Vorbis files.[14]

See also



  1. ^ "Details - KRISTAL Audio Engine". Kreatives. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Kristal Audio Engine v1.0 released". KVR Audio. 3 February 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  3. ^ "KRISTAL 2 - The Future". KRISTAL User Community. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  4. ^ "KRISTAL 2 reached Alpha Status!". KRISTAL User Community. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b "News - KRISTAL Audio Engine". Kreatives. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Kundrus is Senior Developer for Software Architect". Music Connection. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  7. ^ Randall, Brent (29 April 2009). "Interview with Jim Odom and Jim Mack- President Of Presonus". ProRec. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  8. ^ "K2 - KRISTAL Audio Engine". Kreatives. 19 September 2006. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  9. ^ Teignos, Los (2 January 2013). "AudioFanzine met Studio One's technical director". AudioFanzine. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  10. ^ "PreSonus announces Studio One". KVR Audio. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Where Did The PreSonus Studio One Logo Come From?". Pro Tools Expert. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  12. ^ Walker, Martin. "PC Freeware Sequencers & Editors |". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  13. ^ Juwan, Matthias. "KRISTAL Audio Engine :: Reference Manual :: 1.0". Kreatives. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "Kreative's Kristal Audio Engine". Home Recording Connection. Retrieved 18 April 2018.