What does a sound card do

If you want to learn about sound cards, you are in the right place.

The sound card is an expansion card that enables the transfer of audio information from the computer or laptop to an audio device like headphones or speakers, like an external DAC.

A sound card is also used to identify an external audio interface used for professional applications.

Sound cards provide audio output for various applications, including playing music files, audio-video editing, video projection, teleconferencing entertainment etc.

Sound cards and audio interfaces

There was a time when sound cards were a vital component of computer hardware.

However, now audio interfaces have pretty much taken over the job. The sound card uses a digital to analog converter for converting the digital signal data into an analog signal. The output signal is then connected to an external device.

Unlike audio interfaces, dedicated sound cards are installed inside a computer case and are connected to the motherboard through a PCIe or PCI card slot.

Importance of sound card

Most PC motherboards have an integrated sound, and so do laptops and smart devices. In the ’90s, most plug-in sound cards were replaced by a chip integrated into the motherboard.

If your motherboard has good sound processing and audio quality, you may not need a sound card. The increasing use of laptops and smart devices has reduced the need for expansion cards.

So PC builders might wonder if a sound card really is important for sound quality. Although modern devices are quite an upgrade, you will feel a noticeable difference in the sound quality of onboard audio and a high-quality sound card.

If you have an old computer, you will need a sound card or an external DAC to improve the audio quality.

More importantly, sound cards enable EMI shielding through high onboard sound quality. Also, if you have the right sound card, you can have a superior and immersive surround sound system.

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