What is ST Audio Central?

ST Audio Central is the unofficial support and product archive website for ST Audio users worldwide, provided and maintained by RIDI multimedia (the ex-distributor for ST Audio products in Germany) with the support of other ex-distributors and ESI Audiotechnik GmbH plus Ego Systems, Inc..

After the financial problems of the owner of the "ST Audio" brand name (Hoontech Co. Ltd. - sadly the website is no longer online) the exclusice sales and distribution agreement with Ego Systems, Inc. had to be cancelled in January 2005, because Hoontech Co. Ltd. was no longer able to provide the services required by the agreement. This prevented further production and service. All employees of Hoontech Co. Ltd. had to leave the company already in December 2004. The result was that the basics for the exclusive agreements with Ego Systems, Inc. no longer existed.

After the cancellation of this agreement, Hoontech transfered the intellectual property of the ST Audio products as well as the brand name to the korean company HiTeC (www.digitalaudio.co.kr). Since then, HiTeC controlls the domain name staudio.com; for some time they have keept the connection to the old ST Audio webserver, however at times this has been changed. This means that the continuous access of this server via www.staudio.com is no longer ensured. We do not know what plans the owner of the domain has with it or with the ST Audio brand.

Sadly we have not reached an acceptable solution for the issue in discussions with HiTeC in order to ensure continuous service & support for the ST Audio user community via www.staudio.com.

Please note that this means that Ego Systems, Inc. is no longer responsible for the development or the worldwide support for ST Audio products. The main reason is that there is no longer a legal base to do driver development based on existing sources, code and other intellectual property from Hoontech Co. Ltd..

As conclussion, we (RIDI multimedia, ex-distributor for ST Audio products in Germany) are providing the ST Audio Central website in english and german language as a database with information about the products. ST Audio users find detailed information about the products in the archive, detailed support information (FAQ, Knowledge Base), the Q&A forum (where users can help other users) and of course all important driver and software utilities in the download area. RIDI multimedia is supported by ESI Audiotechnik GmbH (providing the server and resources for the Q&A forum) as well as by other ex-ST Audio distributors. We will do our best to provide help for ST Audio customers around the world, but please understand that this is not the core of our business. That means that this website mainly has the intention to inspire users that help other users.

Can I continue using my ST Audio hardware?
Of course, nothing described here has any relation to the technical functionality of your ST Audio hardware.

Will there be driver updates for the ST Audio hardware?
Shortly after the transfer of the ST Audio brand to HiTeC, ESI released new and updated EWDM drivers (v8.4) for the DSP24 hardware. You can find them in the download area of ST Audio Central and in the Q&A forum.

Will there be any official technical support for ST Audio users in the future?
Some of the local distributors (like RIDI in Germany, Austria and Switzerland or Sound&Music in Australia) will be able to continue to provide technical support by email or on the phone in, however not all of them. The main support now comes from FAQ, Knowledge Base and the Q&A forum where users can help other users.

What happens with driver problems that are unresolved?
Currently we are aware of two main issues:

- problem no 1 is the missing support for multiple DSP24 cards in a single system when the v8.x driver from ESI is used. The only solution is to use v7.2 or v7.3 instead (developed by Hoontech) where it is important to remember that v7.3 is only required if newer Steinberg apps are used (Cubase SX 2.0 or newer, Nuendo 2 or newer).

- problem no 2 is the appearance of a "NMI PARITY ERROR" blue screen when using the 2nd MIDI port on some systems with OEM versions of Windows XP (e.g. some Dell, HP-Compaq or Fujitsu-Siemens systems are affected).

There are no other problems known except these that would you prevent from using the DSP24 series hardware in a productive studio envrionment with current modern audio applications (preferably Windows XP).

Is it best to sell the ST Audio hardware now?
Let's say it like that: why get rid of something if it is working fine? If that is the case -and it should be normally- there is absolutly no reason to replace the hardware with something new.

Is it correct that ESI took over ST Audio and then shut it down?
No. Ego Systems, Inc. had an exclusive distribution agreement with Hoontech that has been cancelled in January 2005. ST Audio was until that point still a brand owned by Hoontech. ESI only licensed it and was responsible for worldwide sales, support and marketing. After the agreement was cancelled (following severe financial problems of Hoontech that ultimativly resulted in closing the company), the rights and intellectual propery of ST Audio and its products was sold to HiTeC, totally out of the control from ESI.

Obviously ESI "killed" ST Audio (as a competitor) that way ...
Alright, we understand that this comment is heard from time to time, however it is not really true. The fact is that at the time ST Audio sales and support was taken over by ESI in September 2003, Hoontech would not have been able to do any further support or development themselve. The company put a lot of resources into the development and production of other products (e.g. mobile phones, totally different from pro audio hardware) and the resources for ST Audio have been cut back. ESI became part of the picture in September 2003 in order to help with the support for end users (only because of that, the v8.x drivers could be developed) and to provide a future for the brand. Without ESI as partner, the support for Hoontech and ST Audio products would probably have ended some time in 2004. Sadly the relationship between Hoontech and ESI was more difficult as originally expected by anyone. Hoontech was because of their financial situation not able to keep the agreement with ESI (mainly the production of ESI and ST Audio products that was done by Hoontech at that time could not be done with the required cost and in the required quality). This resulted already in 2004 that some newly planned ST Audio products have been released with ESI brand instead (like ESI Juli@ and ESP1010 as replacement for DSP24 Value and DSP2000 C-Port). Just before the total financial collapse of Hoontech, the setup could not continue after January 2005.

If this is an inofficial website, who is officially responsible for ST Audio?
The owner of the ST Audio product intellectual properties, the brand and the staudio.com domain is HiTeC: www.digitalaudio.co.kr - this website, ST Audio Central, is maintained totally independandly from HiTeC.

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