Audio interface technology has grown to a state of near perfection, with great deals of new products coming out every month. However, there still seems to be some confusion as to whether or not sound cards are worth it – we’ll try to put that question to rest. This ultimate guide takes you through all the pros and cons of audio interfaces, how to choose the best one for your needs, how they work, their advantages and disadvantages and, finally, what the future holds in terms of sound card technology!
The world of sound cards has changed greatly over the years and at times it can be hard to see the value in purchasing one or not. If you’ve never owned a sound card before, then the first thing that you need to know is that they are indeed still available and are an excellent way to boost your computer’s audio capabilities…if you are willing to spend the money on them of course. This article will walk you through what sound cards do, how they work, why they matter and even discuss some of the best models on the market so that you have no trouble finding what you need!
What are sound cards?
Sound cards make up a crucial part of any studio. They are used to take analog audio signals from various sources like microphones and instruments and convert them into digital data that can be sent over cables or digitally streamed. From their humble beginnings in the ’80s to what we have today, sound cards have transformed a number of industries by increasing the quality of the recordings, improving speed for higher-quality video editing, and even making gaming possible! But should you get one or not? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. The answer is…It depends. If your computer already has an internal sound card (like most do) then there isn’t much need to buy an external one if all you’re looking for is improved speakers and some better recording quality. External sound cards require more power than internal ones, so it might just be better to invest in a set of headphones instead if you’re looking for better quality than your computer’s built-in speakers provide. However, if your computer does not have an integrated sound card (uncommon these days) then investing in an external card might well be worth it since they can greatly improve your recording process without having to purchase another machine with better specs just for audio recording purposes.
What do sound cards do?
A sound card allows you to listen to music, watch movies, and use other media through your computer’s speakers instead of earbuds. They can also allow you to record audio by plugging in a microphone and make video calls through an application like Skype. Depending on the types of things that you need your sound card for, you may want to invest in one or not. If you plan on listening to music or watching movies at home, then yes, investing in a sound card might be worth it because they will be able to produce more quality sounds than any other device. However, if all that you need your sound card for is recording audio from the microphone and making video calls with friends and family then there are much cheaper alternatives. The most common alternative would be a USB microphone which costs about $20-$40, depending on how much quality you want and how many features you want. That said, USB microphones do not come with some benefits that come along with having a sound card, such as surround sound (which helps to create 3D-like audio) and built-in effects that help you mix the volume of different instruments in your songs. In conclusion, whether or not a sound card is worth it depends on what you need it for.
How to use a sound card
At the end of the day, sound cards are just about improving your audio experience and gaming. Although not entirely necessary for general use, investing in a sound card does have its advantages. Plus, with so many different options on the market, there’s bound to be something for everyone. It all depends on what you need from your sound card and if you have the budget to spare. As an example, the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR is pricey but it has great features like integrated Bluetooth 4.2, great connectivity and support for future formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound standards. However, if you’re looking for something more affordable that still has decent quality then try the Asus Xonar DGX or Creative Recon3D SE (the latter of which doesn’t come with Bluetooth). You could also look into buying an external USB soundcard such as the ASUS Essence STX II or Razer Hammerhead Pro V2.
Recommended brands and models
The better your sound card, the clearer and crisper your audio will be. If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly model or one that’s designed to handle multi sound files better, the Turtle Beach PX5 performs well across the board. If you want something top-of-the-line, Roland has a great range of models that deliver excellent results with music and gaming too. For an even more in depth look at what matters when buying a sound card as well as some suggestions for individual needs, check out our handy guide here! What is a sound card?
Sound cards were created so that people could experience audio quality on their computer instead of on traditional platforms such as stereo systems. Without the correct kind of hardware, your computer can’t produce sound, but with a sound card attached to your motherboard (which should come standard), you can get beautiful music from just about anywhere. Whether this is from web videos, games or just simple tunes played through YouTube; having one gives you so much more control over how these sounds are experienced than without it. What does my PC need? In order for these awesome additions to work properly on your PC there are certain specifications that need to be met before installing them properly.
In short, sound cards are a powerful way to control the quality of your recordings and the equipment you have access to. Some high-end sound cards can also act as external interfaces, but they’re fairly rare. If you only record one or two instruments at a time in your studio, then an external interface will do. You may want to add a sound card if you need to record vocals on location or if you have loud or low-quality instruments that can’t be close-miked for some reason. Ultimately, though, sound cards are more about increasing the fidelity of your recordings than anything else.