|Original author(s)||Matthias Juwan|
|Initial release||31 January 2004|
1.0.1 / 1 June 2004
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Type||Digital Audio Workstation|
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.
KRISTAL began development in 1999, as the university thesis project of Matthias Juwan. At that time it had a different look and feel, and it was known as the Crystal Audio Engine, a name derived from the song The Crystal Ship by The Doors.
The initial version, renamed to KRISTAL Audio Engine, was released in 2004.
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. Among other things, the development team planned to include cross-platform support for Microsoft Windows and macOS.
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. Ownership for the original KRISTAL Audio Engine, however, did not transition to KristalLabs.
KristalLabs further developed K2 in cooperation with PreSonus, before becoming part of PreSonus in 2009. The final result of the K2 development was re-branded and released as the first version of the PreSonus DAW, Studio One. The former KristalLabs logo (representing a series of hexagons, like the one from the original KRISTAL logo, tessellated together) was used as the basis for the logo of Studio One.
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. It provides built-in effects, such as EQ, chorus, delay and reverb, but also includes support for third-party VST plug-ins.
The application uses 32-bit audio processing and supports both MME & ASIO drivers. In addition to its native Kristal project files, it also supports the use of WAVE, AIFF, FLAC and OGG Vorbis files.