A sound card is generally an internal expansion card for PCs that provide input and output for audio signals. In professional audio environments, external audio interfaces may also be called sound cards. Most modern motherboards include onboard audio input and output that are high quality but many audiophiles prefer to spend the extra money purchasing a separate sound card as they do produce higher fidelity audio.
Technipages Explains Sound Card
Sound cards used to use a DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) to convert the digital audio signals from the computer into analogue signals to be forwarded on to the speakers or headphones potentially via an amplifier. With the advent of digital audio playback modern soundcards do away with the DAC and do all of their audio processing in hardware with a DISP (Digital Signals Processor) before outputting the audio.
The main function of a soundcard is to output the highest possible audio quality from a range of sources and potentially multiple sources at once. Sound cards tend to require specific drivers to ensure that the card communicates properly with the operating system, in some cases, for popular models, these drivers may be preinstalled in the operating system in other cases they might have to be downloaded from the manufacturer. USB sound cards do exist although they require a USB2.0 socket to work at their full capabilities.
Common Uses of Sound Card
- The main function of a sound card is to play audio, usually music, with varying formats and degrees of control.
- Sound functionality is generally integrated onto the motherboard, using components similar to those found on plug-in sound cards.
- An important sound card characteristic is polyphony, which refers to its ability to process and output multiple independent voices or sounds simultaneously.
Common Misuses of Sound Card
- A sound card is the tech within a speaker – it’s used to play sounds from various devices.