Talk:Sound card

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Computing (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Computing, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of computers, computing, and information technology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

Work needed[edit]

I added some stuff whose lack really showed, but the article really needs a lot of work and IMHO it's little more than a stub at its present state. EpiVictor 13:10, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This article definitely needs work, right from the git-go. Definitions may legitimately vary from person to person but "sound card" pretty explicitly refers to a *card* -- a circuit board (card) inserted into the expansion buss. More later. Dogmo1001 (talk) 17:15, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

USB soundcards[edit]

"Contrary to the name, most of these boxes make no sound at all. The sound is produced in software within the PC."

While this is true, it is also true for nearly all modern soundcards! And since the USB soundcards *do* contain digital to analog converters that produce the actual audio output, I'd say they very much *do* make sound at all. (talk) 19:44, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

SBLive Outdated?[edit]

The SBLive Value is described as "Outdated". I have that card on a high-end Vista gaming rig and it works perfectly. To me it is not outdated, but to a gamer who uses only the latest hardware it would be. What I'm trying to say is if a card can be described as "outdated" or not relies solely on opinion and feelings, wikipedia must avoid "facts" based solely on opinions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:10, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Two channels[edit]

I wonder what the best solution to play two music channels might be? I've got two rooms and I'd like to play two different songs in each room, both receiving their audio from the computer. I would be greatful for some good advice.

Hope this helps[edit]

There are probably more effective ways to do this but this is probably easiest and cheapest.

I would use some editing software (audacity would probably do it) to mix down a stereo song into a mono one and pan that hard left. Do the same with the right channel. Keep them in the same project in your software and align as appropriate.

I assume you're using a consumer-grade soundcard, in which case you will have a single stereo output - what you'll need to do is a get a "Y-splitter"; this is an adaptor cable that turns one male stereo jack into 2 female mono-jacks (these are quite widely available). On one end you'll want a 1/8" TRS jack (the kind that plugs into your computer) and what you have on the other end depends on the inputs for your sound systems in the two rooms.

Connect it all up and press play.

(Alternatively you can use a mixing desk - which you can get fairly cheaply [Behringer Xanyx 502 or a Tapco 50 for example] - if you do this then you'll have more control over levels.)

A (much) more expensive (stereo) solution would be to get an audio interface with 4 channels or more. You could then put the left of one song, into channel one; the right into channel 2; left of the second song in 3; and right of it in 4 - link up as apropriate and press play.



Are the colors of the different jacks standardized or does each company do it differently? It looks like all of them have green, pink, and blue. — Omegatron 15:30, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm just going to be bold and add this to the article, and other people can correct it if it's wrong. Obviously no one looks here. — Omegatron 20:24, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Could someone add description for grey jack to the list?

I haven't seen one of those before. What does it do? --DanielRigal 18:06, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

My sound card doesn't work. Why and how is that possible? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

sound card[edit]

Pls I want to know comprehensively how a sound card works and I will also like to see the circuit diagram of the different components of the sound card . Thank you.

Good idea. This page needs a block diagram. — Omegatron 20:23, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

can a computer produce a good quality sound without sound card but with 5.1 channel home theatre.

It actually can't produce *any* sound without a sound card, except from the noise & humming from the PSU and the cooling fans, and the PC speaker. EpiVictor 17:51, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

==' Connecting Headphones via Rear Speakers Socket ==


Say you've got a surround sound soundcard in your PC, that has sockets for both front and rear speakers. Also say that you've only got a pair of stereo speakers for it, and some headphones. Does anyone know if it would be possible to get the socket for the rear speakers to output the same sound as the front ones, so that you could plug some headphones into the rear speakers socket? I have this kind of setup, and it's kind of annoying to have to keep switching the plugs around every time I want to use the headphones- it would be much easier if you could plug both in and then just mute the one you're not using.

Cheers! Doom jester 11:34, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like you want a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card. Mine has a 5th "Versajack" that I can pick what it does. I pick headphones, and just leave my headphones plugged in all the time. --Trixter 21:21, 20 March 2006 (UTC)Italic text'[[[Link title]


Headline text[edit]


Headline text[edit]



]] != Trixter[edit]

I saw this comment in the edit history: "Reverted edits by (talk) to last version by Trixter". Just for the record, that wasn't me :-) All edits I make are with the Trixter id, and are not vandalism. --Trixter 16:28, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Don't worry. That wasn't what the comment was implying. What Omegatron was doing was getting rid of the rubbish added by by going back to the version before, which was yours. He was mentioning your version as being the last good version, not one of the bad versions.
Excuse me as I remove my foot from my mouth :-) --Trixter 19:39, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

disabled onboard audio?[edit]

If the onboard sound is disabled in the motherboard's bios, how can you tell if the new soundcard has been enabled, and actually get it to output to a 2.1 speaker setup?

Because the new sound card will work. Disabling on-board audio does exactly what it says. It does not disable add-on board audio. --Trixter 16:48, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Best sound card[edit]

What would you guys say is the worst sound card? Something we could add, and something I need, because I have no idea what all these random letters and numbers mean.


Do you want it for just listening to music and gaming or for Music Production?

If you want the former, it probably doesn't have to be anything extensive; just a Soundblaster will do (presuming you're a PC user, if you're a Mac user then the built in one will be best).

If you want to do music production I'd recommend you use a USB or Firewire (Mac) audio or midi interface, depending on what medium you'd work with most.

The kind of interface you want would depend a lot on it's application (e.g. if you're a drummer you'd want one with lots of inputs, if you're just a guitarist/singer then a more basic one would do).

Sebbi 21:20, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

What's the difference?[edit]

Why do some sound cards cost so much more than others?

Depends on what their capabilities are. Cheap ones usually carry a simple DAC chip with no multiple voice capabilities: e.g. a "5.1" sound card will only carry 6 DACs with exactly 6 voices, and when outputting stereo only 2 will be used. Multiple channel support will be entirely dependant on software, just like the "good old days" of 1994 where Soundblaster sound cards had to perform software mixing of sounds to play back more than one digital voice at once. Cheap soundcard also lack any direct MIDI support capabilities, which are, again, based entirely on software. "Expensive" sound cards on the other hand have their own little processors, RAM and have the ability to play back multiple digital voices on their own, as well as having some form of built-in wavetable MIDI support, or at least FM synthesis. This is usually marketed as "hardware acceleration", nowadays. In retrospect, the Amiga had this in 1986... EpiVictor 12:21, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Music production-targeted sound cards?[edit]

Why isn't there any mentioning of professional sound cards targeted towards music production? These are very different from cards like Sound Blasters etc. both in functionality and price range with break-out boxes with up to 16 channels in and out and four digit prices in US$. I can help, but I can't do it properly alone.

And also, this talk page is starting to look like a forum. Zondran 20:33, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Maybe because there has been a historical confusion about what represented a "professional sound card": not even 10 years ago, the only sound cards that could be considered "professional" were the ones by Roland and Turtle Beach, and mostly because they had Wavetable MIDI synthesis, something which today is considered mainstream and commonplace, even if entirely emualted by software. Professional musicians would use dedicated external MIDI samplers with their own high quality DACs and mixing. Some links to modern "pro grade" sound cards would be appreciated, if they are indeed sound cards and not e.g. computer-controlled mixers of some sort. EpiVictor 21:21, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest that audio interfaces (whether internal or external) get split from this Sound Card article. First, the Sound Card terminology is fast becoming antiquated, and second because Sound Cards such as Soundblasters have typically included sound-creation capabilities (i.e. synthesis of some form). Professional Sound Cards are basically Audio Interfaces (or Digital Audio Interfaces), which perform the same function whether being card-based or external USB or Firewire units. Synthfiend (talk) 04:45, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Professional soundcards[edit]

I took the liberty and heavily edited the professional soundcard section. First of all ASIO != professional soundcard, even an AC'97 can have an ASIO driver. Secondly, these devices have a very different role and purpose than "traditional" soundcards, which was essentially adding life-like sound to games and multimedia applications, so their relation to soundcards is that they can both playback and play sound, but I doubt anyone would use an external audio rack or even the cheapest "pro" audio card to play games (and in that respect, it would probably sound worse or perform worse than an e.g. Soundblaster Audigy 2). They are essentially huge DACS/ADS with more channels and some architectural optimizations compared to the typical sound card mixer. Perhaps they should have a separate article and be placed in the same category as audio engineering and professional midi sampler racks. EpiVictor 20:01, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Qualitative overview[edit]

I do not know the answer to this, but I think a qualitative overview would be of use to a lot of people, including myself. I may have missed something but I don't notice much evaluation of sound cards as say, vs an amplifier for a hi-fi system, or more interestingly to me, onboard sound in 2007. Any comparisons state what features but don't compare them. I know myself that onboard sound may require more CPU power and RAM space, as would cheaper cards that don't have any, or much memory of their own. The most useful thing to me would be someone definitively stating if a sound card is going to improve the sound in a PC that has onboard sound. It is quite hard to describe my request, I may just do the research myself and propose what to add.

Comparing a hi-fi system to a sound card is a bit pointless. As a general rule, a hi-fi system includes its own amplifier, while sound cards don't (at least they don't anymore), plus a lot of other functionality like an FM Tuner, a greater number of sound inputs/sources etc. which aren't commonplace even on hi-end sound cards. Consumer sound cards have a great feature gap between cheaper ones (onboard) and "audio acceleratiors" like e.g. the Soundblaster Audigy or X-Fi. The former are basically just a controller connecting the CPU and the RAM with a DAC/ADC, with no processing power, while Audigys and X-Fis have an advanced DSP capable of actual autonomous operation and real-time effects. There used to be "mid tier" cards like the Yamaha Waveforce, but such mid-tier alternative are all but gone as of 2007: certain mid-priced proposals like most soundcards using C-Media chips, are really not more advanced or feature-rich than an onboard, despite the greater price. "Improving" the sound is also subjective and open to interpretation. An expensive sound card may have better analog parts and a higher quality DAC/ADC, while certain effects like EAX 3D positional sound may sound "better" on a card that does them in hardware than one that uses some simplified software algorithm for the same task. In general, onboard audio today is pretty high quality, and anything below 100$ is not very probable to improve (most cards up to that price are just chips used as onboard audio solutions placed on a PCI card). EpiVictor 23:01, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Sound Card Question[edit]

Is it possible to map the input of one sound card to the output of another sound card? Please e-mail me at if you have any ideas on this!

By hardware, up until Vista came around, yes (I can't find the line-in passthrough enable in Vista). I personally have two of such setups- the first one linking a SoundBlaster Live! to a Realtek 850 onboard source, and the second one from another SoundBlaster Live! to a NForce2 onboard sound source. All you need is a cable with a stereo jack on both ends (should be readily available at most electronics store). If you want to do it by software, however, yes, it can be done too. Last time I tried, Winamp's line-in plugin mapped to the source card and wave output plugin mapped to the target card works quite well. Hope this helps! RAM 08:21, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Microphone/line in[edit]

I'm not sure of the protocol of asking about personal problems on Wiki, but I can't find info on this anywhere: I think my sound card has no mic/line in capability. The 'Speech Recognition' tab is missing in my audio options in control panel. I can't get my mic to work no matter where I plug it in. How do I find out if I am right or wrong, or how do I fix this? I have XP home basic. I have never had any problems with playing music or other sounds, streaming etc.

Thank you very much, 01:59, 23 July 2007 (UTC) moke.

If your sound card is on an older laptop, it's entirely possible that you have no mic in or line in capability. If this is a PCI/onboard soundcard, unless it's something specialized like a professional MIDI device, it should have a mic in and a line in. However in most soundcards, selecting multichannel sound output (e.g. 5.1 ) disables the line in/mic in jacks, because they are shared. EpiVictor 10:33, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Its a new PC. I have SigmaTel Audio 5.10. The SigmaTel Audio dialouge box shows the 5 jacks (two front, three back) and lables them as mic & phones at the front, mic, phones & line in at the back. But no matter what mic I use it can't hear my voice on the test. 00:29, 3 August 2007 (UTC) moke

Stereo Mix being removed?[edit]

Well I read in the article that it says new sound cards no longer has a stereo mix this is not quite true as the stereo mix is still installed on a new computer but is is just disabled in the recording tab if you want to able it you can just click show disabled devices and able the stereo mix Totalaero (talk) 23:54, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

POV Editorializing[edit]

I'm confused as to why the article states "Confusingly, the term sound card is also applied to external audio interfaces that use software to generate sound, as opposed to using hardware inside the PC." What source says that people are confused by this? USB sound cards do virtually the same thing as internal cards. They are cards, just in a different form and connected with a cable instead of PCI. It just seems unnecessary, POV and unsourced. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 05:28, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Problem with this sentence[edit]

"... with units providing separated outputs usually allow both playback and monitoring from one system." There is something fishy with this sentence. --Mortense (talk) 21:37, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Supported sample rates[edit]

There are some uncited statements about supported sound card sample rates at Sampling_rate#Audio. I came here hoping to borrow something but I find no discussion of sample rates in this article. Seems like it should be here. --Kvng (talk) 16:28, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Proposed merge with List of sound card standards[edit]

I see no real reason why this page needs to be standalone. It would be better merged into the Sound card page Skamecrazy123 (talk) 20:03, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

adlib picture[edit]

what does the caption there even mean? could someone with information about the card improve the grammar because the caption is garbage the way it is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:06, 12 March 2016 (UTC)