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Seer Systems History

History

Seer’s founder, Stanley Jungleib, joined the staff of Sequential Circuits (creators of the groundbreaking Prophet-5 synthesizer) in 1979. Working as Publications Manager, he drafted the technical manuals for all Sequential products.[1] Mr. Jungleib was a charter member of the International MIDI Association (which later became the MIDI Manufacturer’s Association [2]) and helped to establish the MIDI protocol. In 1992, Jungleib was invited to teach a seminar on MIDI at Intel Architecture Labs. This led to the launching of an Intel project to create a software synthesizer for the 80486 processor. Jungleib assembled a development team, and at the end of 1992 founded Seer Systems [3] to work on the project. The resulting synthesizer, code-named Satie, was demonstrated by Andrew Grove in his keynote speech at Comdex in 1994. Intel discontinued the project in 1995, possibly due to friction with Microsoft over Native Signal Processing[4].

Seer began afresh with a Pentium-based architecture. That same year, the founder of Sequential Circuits, Dave Smith, joined as President. [5]

Seer struck a distribution deal with Creative Labs in 1996, which contributed to strong financial results for the AWE64. [6] Over 10 million software synthesizers, the “Creative WaveSynth”, were shipped as a result. It was the first publicly available synthesizer to use Sondius WaveGuide technology developed at Stanford’s CCRMA.

In 1997, Seer released Reality, the world’s first professional software synthesizer for the PC. [7] Reality won the 1998 Editors’ Choice Award from Electronic Musician Magazine. Industry veteran Craig Anderton [8] called it a “groundbreaking product.” [9] 1999 saw the introduction of SurReal 1.0, an affordable player for Reality and SoundFont instrument sounds, [10] the release of Reality 1.5, which added web features, more polyphony and better sound card support, [11] and the issuance of US Patent #5,886,274 (“System and Method for Generating, Distributing, Storing and Performing Musical Work Files”/Inventor, Mr. Jungleib/Assignee, Seer). [12]

But by 2000, legal struggles with hostile investors, limited distribution and piracy caused Seer to cease active development, suspend sales through retail outlets, and briefly shift to an online sales model.[13] An unrelated company, Seer Music Systems, founded by Canadian engineer Ian Grant, acquired the distribution rights and continues to offer legacy demos and support.[14]

Since 2003, Seer’s primary focus has been upon protecting its intellectual property (the ‘274 patent). Over several years, and following related litigation, the technology was licensed to Beatnik [15] (2004), Microsoft (2006) and Yamaha (2007).