Digidesign Sound Designer (1984)
Originally called Digidrums, Peter Gotcher and Evan Brooks’ company began as a means to sell custom samples on EPROM chips for the primitive digital drum machines of the day. They later changed their name to Digidesign and expanded the catalogue to include Sound Designer, a dedicated sample editor for Mac. Designed to help fine-tune and process samples for popular hardware samplers such as the E-MU Emulator and Ensoniq Mirage, Sound Designer allowed users to access the same sort of graphical editing interface previously restricted to high-end workstations from Fairlight and Synclavier. The second generation of Sound Designer’s file format became a standard that’s still recognised today.
Inevitably, Digidesign would evolve their technology into a full-blown stereo audio editor called Sound Tools, released in 1989. Billed as “the first tapeless recording studio”, it worked with Digidesign’s custom 16-bit Sound Accelerator card that plugged into the then-new Macintosh II computer’s NuBus slot. Two years later, Sound Tools would beget another hardware/software combo, this one capable of recording and playing back four tracks. The company called this new system Pro Tools and the rest, as they say, is history!