A sound card, as the name suggests, is a computer component that processes sound signals and enables the computer to provide a rich audio experience. Before the sound card was invented, a computer could only make sounds in the form of beeps which could be changed depending on their frequency and depth. Early developers created music for games from these beeps by varying their pitch and duration. It was only in the 1980s that manufacturers began to introduce add-on, dedicated sound cards for computers. Computers could now provide not only multi-channel, high definition, surround sound and the ultimate 3D sound effects for gamers but computers could also record sounds from external sources with higher degree of clarity.
The earliest known digital audio player was created in 1979. It was created by Kane Kramer, who called it the IXI. The IXI could hold close to 3.5 minutes of playback. However, being incapable of holding a large duration of audio playback, it didn’t come into the market for commercial production. Incidentally, Kramer was hired by technological giant, Apple as a consultant. The first commercially produced digital audio player was introduced by the company, Audio Highway.