Sound playback and recording became mainstream on computers today, the most known introduction was around 1989-1991 with the release of windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions. However, what was the first computer to introduce this functionality?
However, what was the first computer to introduce this functionality?
Recording and playback has been always there - at least for micros.
Early S100 systems are a great example for example by using Cromemco's D+7A board of 1977, or Ithaca Audio's 8 chanel ADDA card of 1981 (AFAIR even MITS offered a suitable board in 1977) and sufficient storage.
Heck, there was even software to record and playback sound using an unexpanded Apple II. Ok, maybe not great, but quite functional.
The main issue for sound recording and playback is the availability of large RAM portions for buffering (I'd say anything above 16 KiB) and mass storage fast enough to store or retrive data fast enough. While floppies could deliver the needed transfer speed, their capacity was rather limited. So the critical point for availability can be set in 1980 with the introduction of Seagates ST-506 hard disk.
Now, a complete different issue might be when sound recording and playback became a mainstream commodity. This is way more related to system software able to mange sound streams. Apples Mac series was for example beginning with the very first 128k Mac capable to produce a continuous background sound stream. The hardware integrated Sound DMA it as part of the video timing. And it wasn't long that sound input hardware was as well available by third party (*1) and well supported by OS extensions. So it's safe to set a date around 1984/85 here.
*1 - Apple didn't supply any sound input hardware at all until the LC series, and no high quality until the Quadra 840 AV in 1993. This was due a settlement with the Beatles' Apple Corp, which prevented Apple Inc. of going into 'musik business'.
Arguably, for some definitions of computer:
This was a speech encryption system that did all the things a modern computer would do when recording and playing back sound, except storing it...:
-Encode analog sound as quantized digital samples (albeit some analog pre-processing happened to conserve bandwith).
-Process the resulting data digitally (not by a programmed CPU though, more of a hardwired - but digital - set of circuits).
-Reconstitute an analog signal on the receiving end from the digital samples eventually.
This depends on what quality you want (e.g. music and speech or something more crude) and whether you want this to be intended functionality or some by-product.
For instance, any computer with magnetic tape storage could use the tape recorder's microphone as a kind of input device. For instance, I remember using the recorder's microphone for controlling BK-0010 with hand slaps or loud shouts. Of course, this functionality was never intended, but since analog input was mapped to an input registry, a program could do whatever it wanted with it.