FAQ About Sound Cards
Selecting a great sound card is an easy way to add immersive depth and true-to-life audio to the movies, music, and games you watch and play on your computer or laptop.
What is a sound card?
A sound card, also known as an audio card or sound board, is a PC component that allows your computer to process audio signals. All computers now come with sound cards already installed, but these stock audio cards often lack the quality and features needed to bring movies, music, and games to spine-tingling, immersive life. The best sound cards can deliver high-definition audio along with surround sound support and 3D effects.
Why should I consider upgrading my sound card?
A proper sound card is essential if you stream content from your computer to your home theatre, or if you're a musician who wants to lay down your own multitrack recordings directly to your PC or laptop. Look for 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound support if you're streaming content to your home theatre or HDTV. And if you're a musician, you'll need a sound card with MIDI, which allows you to connect and record multiple electronic musical instruments to your computer.
What is a USB sound card?
A USB sound card is an external audio card that plugs directly into a USB port on your computer, saving you the hassle of opening your PC and installing a sound card in an internal expansion slot. These USB sound cards are often plug-and-play, meaning they require little to no setup before use. If you don't feel comfortable installing a conventional sound card inside your computer, but still want to bring rich audio to your movies, music and games, a USB sound card is a great way to go.
Want more info on sound cards? Check out some of our resources:
Plug-in Blog: The Ultimate PC Multimedia Setup
Build Your Own PC Buying Guide