Soundcards - How much difference do they make?

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Evilfairy, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Evilfairy

    Evilfairy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    This is probably going to be one of those stupid questions you get every so often, yet nonetheless I don't know the answer to it;

    Having recently (last night) ordered a pair of headphones from you and waiting for them to arrive, I was considering whether or not it would be worth purchasing a sound card.

    How much difference does a high-quality sound card actually make compared to the onboard sound that ships with most computers? At the moment I can't really seem to get any more information from my sound card other than "Realtek High Definition Audio" which really isn't too helpful.

    The sound quality seems decent, but I've never actually heard audio through a professional sound card. So to summarise:

    1. Is there a large enough difference between onboard sound and high quality sound cards to justify buying one (personal use only)?
    2. Is there a reliable way to work out what my sound card's model number is?

    Thanks a lot
    -Evilfairy
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,325
    Hi Evilfairy,

    Internal integrated soundcards have several problems for which there is only one solution - a new external soundcard! Basically an integrated soundcard cannot be properly shielded from your hard disk and processor without making your laptop annoyingly heavy and awkwardly shaped. Also when most people will just put up with shoddy audio output why would the manufacturer increase costs and choose lovely components when they have to find a great quality screen and make the PC as fast as possible to be able to sell any at all.

    So what makes an external soundcard better? - Well first of all it will be properly shielded so in quiet portions of music you will not hear your hard disk spinning like crazy. secondly the Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC), the chip(s) which change your WAV's, MP3's and Apple Lossless files from noughts and ones into exquisite music, will be of much better quality. The quality of a DAC is the all important part of your source be it CD or PC. Also the more work your soundcard does the less work your PC will need to perform, an integrated soundcard relies on software to do a lot of the work which takes up processing power and slows down your laptop. Finally Operational Amps, jack sockets and the volume stage all the physical parts that are supplying the music to the headphones will be of much better quality.

    Why not have a look at some of the great Headphone amp/USB DAC products out there like the iBasso D2 or D10 and the Music Fidelity X-Can V8 or for a Desk top PC the Cantatis Overture or go totally crazy with the Lehman Audio Black Cube USB.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  3. Evilfairy

    Evilfairy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    This is a wonderful answer, and it looks like we both just got our first posts :)

    Thanks!
     
  4. Tomb

    Tomb New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    :) ,good to know!!
     
Loading...

Share This Page