Everything You Should Know about PC Sound Card [MiniTool Wiki]

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An Overview of PC Sound Card

The sound card is an internal expansion card or IC used for producing sound on a computer, which can be heard via speakers or headphones. The sound card PC is also referred to as an audio output device, sound board, or audio card.

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Different from CPU and RAM, PC sound card isn’t a vital piece of hardware for the running of computer. The sound card PC usually installs in a PCI or PCIe slot on the motherboard or expansion slot.

The PC sound card has plenty of contacts on the bottom of the card and multiple ports on the side for the purpose of connecting to audio devices like speakers. Besides, USB sound cards are also available for plugging headphones, microphones, as well as audio devices with the help of a small adapter.

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The Development of PC Sound Card

The sound card for PC was rather uncommon until 1988. The internal PC speaker was the only available method to produce sound and music for the most of IBM PC users. In addition, the speaker hardware usually is limited to square waves.

The sound made by internal PC speaker was described as beeps and boops. The well-known Access Software brought techniques for digital sound reproduction over the PC speaker as RealSound into existence.

Although the resulting audio is functional, it suffers from distorted output and low volume. Moreover, it requires all other processes to be stopped when playing sound. The home computers of 1980s supported digital playback and music synthesis, which was not supported by IBM PC multimedia applications.

The early PC sound cards for IBM platform were not built for gaming or multimedia applications. They were designed for specific audio applications like music composition with the AdLib Personal Music System, IBM Music Feature card, etc.

In 1989, a survey called Computer Gaming World found that 18 of 25 game firms planned to support AdLib, six Roland and Covox, as well as seven Creative Music System or Game Blaster.

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Main Sound Card Connection Types

The sound card for PC comes with various types. In this section, several commonly used sound card types will be introduced.

  • Sound in or line in: It is bule and its arrow points into waves. It enables you to connect to external audio sources such as tape recorder, record player or CD player.
  • Sound out or line out: It is green and its arrow points out of waves. It is the leading sound connection for speakers or headphones. Besides, it has a second (black) and third (orange) sound out connector.
  • Digital out: It is white or yellow. You can see words like Digital or Digital Out next to the port. It is often used with surround sound or loudspeakers.
  • FireWire: It is used with some high-quality sound card for digital video cameras and some other devices.
  • Microphone or Mic (pink): The connection is built for a microphone or headphones.
  • MIDI or joystick: It works with previous sound cards to connect MIDI keyboard or joystick.

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Applications of Sound Card for PC

PC sound card can be applied to multiple areas. The following aspect are common sound card uses.

  • Games
  • Watch movies
  • Record dictations
  • Voice recognition
  • Audio CDs and listen to music
  • Audio and video conference
  • Educational software
  • Create and play MIDI
  • Business presentations

Bottom Line

What is a sound card for PC? Read here, you may have answer now. Based on that, you can learn some addition information about PC sound card.

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