What Is A Sound Card In A Computer?

Sound card

sound card (also known as an audio card) is an internal expansion card that provides input and output of audio signal to and from a computer under control of computer programs The term sound card is also applied to external audio interface used for professional audio applications.

Sound functionality can also be integrated onto the motherboard using components similar to those found on plug-in cards. The integrated sound system is often still referred to as a sound card. Sound processing hardware is also present on modern video cards with HDMI to output sound along with the video using that connector; previously they used a S/PDIFconnection to the motherboard or sound card.

What are different types of sound cards?

Currently you can find such basic types of sound card:

  • Integrated sound card. The integrated sound card is a card that is built into the motherboard of the computer. …
  • Internal discrete sound cards. …
  • External discrete sound cards.

History of the sound card

The first sound card is considered to be the Gooch Synthetic Woodwind, used by PLATO terminals. It was invented by Sherwin Gooch in 1972, and was a synthesizer capable of 4-voice music synthesis.

The Apple II computer was capable of using plug-in sound cards. The Apple Music Synthesizer was the first plug-in sound card used by the Apple II, developed by ALF Products Inc. in 1978.

FEATURES OF A SOUND CARD

When you are considering upgrading your computer’s audiovisual components, the first consideration is your PC’s sound card (naturally). You need to know what to look for when comparing sound cards.

Sound Card Function

Sound Card is an expansion component used in computers to receive and send audio. Sound Cards are configured and used with the help of software applications and device drivers

The input device attached to receive audio data is usually a microphone, while the devices used to output audio data are generally speakers or headphones.

Sound card converts incoming digital audio data into analog audio so that the speakers can play it. In the reverse case, the sound card can convert analog audio data from the microphone to digital data which can be stored on a computer and converted using audio software.

A sound card is also known as an audio adapter.

In the past, computers were initially only capable of producing beeps over a narrow frequency range. This beep is used primarily as a warning alarm.

The growth of multimedia created a need for high quality sound for both professional and entertainment reasons. AdLib is a pioneering sound card built to meet this need. AdLib allows programmable audio, featuring a 9-voice mode and a percussion mode that can be used with the AdLibs composition software.

usb sound card also available

The introduction of the Sound Blaster sound card by Creative Labs enhances the capabilities of a sound card by enabling digital audio recording and playback. For this reason, Sound Blaster is considered the pioneer of digital audio sound cards. This increased functionality led to the evolution of multimedia in computer and software applications, and resulted in Sound Blaster becoming the dominant sound card manufacturer.

Sound cards continue to evolve both in terms of hardware and software. Modern sound cards can produce ever higher quality 3-D sound and surround sound. Computer games and other applications are being developed to take full advantage of the new sound card capabilities.

The use of sound cards is so widespread that most motherboard manufacturers offer built-in sound cards for computers. However, advanced users generally prefer to customize using an expansion card selected to meet their specific needs rather than a built-in generic card.

Hopefully our explanation of what the Sound card fuction is will be able to help you get to know and explore more about the topics that we discuss in this article.

Sound Card Function

Sound Card is an expansion component used in computers to receive and send audio. Sound Cards are configured and used with the help of software applications and device drivers.

The input device attached to receive audio data is usually a microphone, while the devices used to output audio data are generally speakers or headphones.

Sound card converts incoming digital audio data into analog audio so that the speakers can play it. In the reverse case, the sound card can convert analog audio data from the microphone to digital data which can be stored on a computer and converted using audio software.

A sound card is also known as an audio adapter.

In the past, computers were initially only capable of producing beeps over a narrow frequency range. This beep is used primarily as a warning alarm.

The growth of multimedia created a need for high quality sound for both professional and entertainment reasons. AdLib is a pioneering sound card built to meet this need. AdLib allows programmable audio, featuring a 9-voice mode and a percussion mode that can be used with the AdLibs composition software.usb sound card also available

usb sound card also available

The introduction of the Sound Blaster sound card by Creative Labs enhances the capabilities of a sound card by enabling digital audio recording and playback. For this reason, Sound Blaster is considered the pioneer of digital audio sound cards. This increased functionality led to the evolution of multimedia in computer and software applications, and resulted in Sound Blaster becoming the dominant sound card manufacturer.

Sound cards continue to evolve both in terms of hardware and software. Modern sound cards can produce ever higher quality 3-D sound and surround sound. Computer games and other applications are being developed to take full advantage of the new sound card capabilities.

The use of sound cards is so widespread that most motherboard manufacturers offer built-in sound cards for computers. However, advanced users generally prefer to customize using an expansion card selected to meet their specific needs rather than a built-in generic card.

Hopefully our explanation of what the sound card function is, will be able to help you get to know and explore more about the topics that we discuss in this article.


3D spatial imaging

Most PC owners think of 3D sound as purely a gamer’s feature, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, today’s games are even more fun when you can use your ears as well as your eyes to locate your enemy, but 3D sound comes in handy when you’re listening to audio CDs, watching movies, or playing digital audio files from your hard drive.

With audio files and music, 3D spatial imaging can add an auditorium or concert hall effect, where the stereo separation is enhanced.

Surround sound support

With a Dolby Surround sound card and the right speakers, your PC can deliver Dolby Surround sound while you’re listening to audio CDs or watching DVD movies using your PC.

High-end Surround sound cards, such as the X-Fi Xtreme Audio card from Creative Labs, can deliver Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround sound, 24-bit/192 KHz audio playback (far superior in quality than even a commercial audio CD), and 3D imaging for your games — and all for about $50 (US) from most web stores. Life is truly good.

The figure illustrates an old friend to any PC audiophile: A subwoofer adds realistic, deep subsonic bass to not only your music but also your games. A subwoofer is an important part of any 5.1 (or better) Surround sound system. Whether you’re experiencing the grinding of tank treads or launching a Hellfire missile, a subwoofer provides the necessary sonic punch. Most subwoofers should be placed on the floor, where the vibration isn’t a factor.

MP3 encoding support

Anyone who’s heavily into MP3 digital audio will really appreciate a sound card with built-in MP3 encoding and digital effects. That MP3 hardware feature relieves your PC’s processor from the job of ripping and playing MP3 files so that you can rip music while you edit a digital photograph in Photoshop with nary a drop in performance. No stuttering audio or long delays, especially on older PCs.

Many hardware MP3 sound cards also allow you to introduce to the MP3 files you create the same concert hall environmental effect. (Now your garage band can claim to have played Carnegie Hall.)

SP/DIF ports

If you’d like to connect your PC to a home theater system, make sure the card you select offers this port — it provides the best possible digital connection (and therefore the maximum quality audio signal) based upon the source.

Game and FireWire ports

Many sound cards are equipped with a little something extra: a FireWire port or a joystick/gamepad port, which was once a dear friend of any PC game player (because it used to be the only way to hook up joysticks and external game controllers).

Lately, most PC controllers have switched to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) port, but it’s still a plus for a sound card to include a game port. Older game peripherals — many joysticks and flight throttles — don’t work with USB, so it’s a legacy thing.

MIDI ports

You can use a sound card with standard Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) ports to connect synthesizers and many different electronic musical instruments, such as drums and keyboards, to your computer. Most MIDI instruments now feature a USB port as well.

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With a MIDI instrument connected, your computer can play MIDI music files on the instrument, or you can play the instrument and record the music as a MIDI file on your computer. Note, however, that today’s sound cards can play MIDI music files without attaching instruments, so you don’t have to buy a card with built-in MIDI ports just to play MIDI music files.

About the Book Author

Mark L. Chambers has been an author, technical writer, and computer consultant for more than 20 years. He uses his experience as a computer hardware technician to demystify the workings of PCs. Mark has written a variety of books including Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies.

IMPORTANCE OF SOUND CARD

Why is a sound card important?

The sound card translates audio from digital code to the sound waves as needed. … However, sound cards also have another very important function. They have to do the same thing in reverse. If your computer has a mic (and nearly all do these days), then it too is routed through the sound card

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