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    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,HDTV, or to a multi-channel computer speaker system. 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. Sound cards may also include a microphone input for improved voice recording and vocals when used for chatting, streaming, and video conferencing.

    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. They also offer an audio upgrade for laptops, which lack the ability to swap out slotted sound cards. 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.

    What are Sound Blasters?

    Sound Blasters are high end PC sound cards from long-time PC audio specialist Creative Technology. Creative has now been making Sound Blaster cards for three decades.

    What do Sound Blasters do?

    Sound Blaster sound cards are designed to deliver a premium PC audio experience, whether gaming, streaming video, listening to music, or using headphones. Features and capabilities will vary by model, but Sound Blaster cards offer upgrades over standard onboard audio such as multi-channel surround sound, high resolution (24-bit or higher) audio, support for Dolby and DTS encoding, a DAC (digital audio converter), and a discrete headphone amplifier. The cards also include software with EQ and other controls that let you fine-tune and customize your computer’s audio output.

    Some Sound Blaster cards are equipped with their own processors that support hardware-accelerated audio performance. This allows your system to deliver immersive, multi-channel audio while taking the load off your computer’s CPU.

    Want more info on sound cards? Check out some of our resources on the Best Buy blog:

    Boost your PC audio with a new sound card

    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,HDTV, or to a multi-channel computer speaker system. 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. Sound cards may also include a microphone input for improved voice recording and vocals when used for chatting, streaming, and video conferencing.

    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. They also offer an audio upgrade for laptops, which lack the ability to swap out slotted sound cards. 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.

    What are Sound Blasters?

    Sound Blasters are high end PC sound cards from long-time PC audio specialist Creative Technology. Creative has now been making Sound Blaster cards for three decades.

    What do Sound Blasters do?

    Sound Blaster sound cards are designed to deliver a premium PC audio experience, whether gaming, streaming video, listening to music, or using headphones. Features and capabilities will vary by model, but Sound Blaster cards offer upgrades over standard onboard audio such as multi-channel surround sound, high resolution (24-bit or higher) audio, support for Dolby and DTS encoding, a DAC (digital audio converter), and a discrete headphone amplifier. The cards also include software with EQ and other controls that let you fine-tune and customize your computer’s audio output.

    Some Sound Blaster cards are equipped with their own processors that support hardware-accelerated audio performance. This allows your system to deliver immersive, multi-channel audio while taking the load off your computer’s CPU.

    Want more info on sound cards? Check out some of our resources on the Best Buy blog:

    Boost your PC audio with a new sound card