What is a Sound Card?
A Sound Card is also referred to as an audio output device, sound board, audio card and audio adapter. A sound card is an expansion card or an integrated circuit which produces sound on a computer which can be heard through speakers and headphones. Computers do not need a sound card but they are included in every computer in various forms like an expansion slot or in the motherboard.
Types of Sound Card.
Motherboard sound card.
Motherboard sound cards are built into a computer, rectangular shape hardware. If you have a computer, and it has audio jacks and other expansion and USB ports, it has a motherboard sound chip or sound card.
Standard Sound cards.
A standard sound card is an expansion card that connects to slots inside a computer. A standard sound card puts less pressure on the main processor inside the computer, improves the performance when playing games. Standard sound cards also have added features like 24-bit recording or multiple channel surround sound. Standard sound cards have their own processor chips. Motherboard sound chips that rely on the computers processor.
External Sound Adapters.
Normally box containing all the features of a standard sound card but connects to a computer via a USB or a FireWire port. External sound adapter / sound cards are versatile, easily moved to different computers. This enables you to upgrade your computers sound just using a USB or FireWire expansion slot. An external sound adapter can have added features, extra inputs and outputs, including volume control knobs, microphone inputs.
Many sound cards now support sound Blaster and general MIDI standards.
Uses for a Sound Card.
Audio, playing music
Sound Card Connections.
Connections are normally at the back of your computer or laptop though this varies dependent on the type of device you use. The connections are audio ports or audio jack ports. The connection ports are normally colour coded with symbols to recognise their use.
White or yellow – words digital or digital out
Sound in or line in.
Blue – symbol an arrow pointing into waves
Microphone / Mic.
Pink - symbol of a microphone/headphones
Sound out / line out.
Green – symbol arrow points out of waves – primary connection for speakers / headphones.
Also has a second, black, and a third orange sound out connector
Midi / Joystick.
Yellow – 15-pin connector
Used with high-quality sound cards for digital video cameras and similar devices