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Sound question.


Finn 7 five 11

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Finn 7 five 11

Ok i have all my music on my computer, and usually i listen to it through some good quality headphones, since i just use my pc for net browsing i have a relatively cheap computer that just uses mobo sound, when i listen to my music on my headphones is the sound i receive limited by my computers crappy audio? Or do headphones have their own sound card sort of thing?

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Umm... why would headphones have their own sound card? Unless they're high-end, 5.1/8.1 headphones which sometimes require their own, dedicated, sound card, but that's an entirely different story.

 

Generally the quality of sound coming from a computer is limited to the quality of the music files on the computer, the wear on the stereo jack (in rare occurrences) and the quality of the headphones themselves. Otherwise there really isn't any sort of difference as far as I'm aware.

 

Generally, the only use for high end sound cards revolves around surround sound systems which are only really useful for watching movies with surround and most games, especially ones utilizing EAX.

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The-King pretty much said it all.

 

Usually the only way to increase your music quality is to get better quality MP3 files, or get them in a different format altogether (FLAC is almost totally compressionless). There is debate about how much of an improvement you get though, so just leave it to your ears to tell you what sounds best.

 

Sound cards usually only offer the ability to have more channels for surround sound, and more interfaces. For example, the old CSB Audigy 2 had support for 6.1 channels and a Firewire port. The quality of the sound would stay the same, though.

user posted image

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In my experience a dedicated sound card does give a noticeable improvement over onboard sound, so to answer your question: Yes, your sound quality is limited. I know that there is a difference with my relatively cheap speakers; with quality headphones the difference is probably even more noticeable.

 

However, the others are also right, such an improvement would be wasted if you are listening to low quality audio files in the first place.

 

The difference between 128kbps and 320kbps mp3 is massive. The difference between 320kps mp3 and FLAC is a lot more subtle. (In fact, I have tried and basically can't tell the difference between them, but hard drives are so cheap nowadays I keep the lossless files anyway, just in case I upgrade to a much better audio setup in the future where I can tell the difference.)

 

Anyway, you certainly don't need a £200 sound card to enjoy high quality music. You already have good headphones, I would recommend listening to some lossless music (i.e. a CD), and if you think it sounds nicer/clearer, think about buying a sound card. Even a £40 card will not only be superior to your on board, but even stand up to much more expensive cards.

 

 

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http://www.tested.com/news/integrated-vs-d...difference/569/

 

That article has some very nice info for your question even though it isn't exactly directly regarding your exact issue.

 

 

Umm... why would headphones have their own sound card? Unless they're high-end, 5.1/8.1 headphones which sometimes require their own, dedicated, sound card, but that's an entirely different story.

 

USB headsets have their own "soundcard" built in.

Software sound processing, but it's still independent of any other hardware.

 

 

Sound cards usually only offer the ability to have more channels for surround sound, and more interfaces. For example, the old CSB Audigy 2 had support for 6.1 channels and a Firewire port. The quality of the sound would stay the same, though.

 

This isn't exactly true.

You get what you pay for in computers and soundcards are no exception.

A lot of the more expensive soundcards have better and more quality built chipsets to process sound with.

From what I am reading it's the "DAC" (Digital to Analog conversion) that really makes the difference in these expensive soundcards.

 

 

Though, the drawback here is that if you don't have the hardware or the ear to hear it it's all money wasted.

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Sound cards usually only offer the ability to have more channels for surround sound, and more interfaces. For example, the old CSB Audigy 2 had support for 6.1 channels and a Firewire port. The quality of the sound would stay the same, though.

 

This isn't exactly true.

You get what you pay for in computers and soundcards are no exception.

A lot of the more expensive soundcards have better and more quality built chipsets to process sound with.

From what I am reading it's the "DAC" (Digital to Analog conversion) that really makes the difference in these expensive soundcards.

 

 

Though, the drawback here is that if you don't have the hardware or the ear to hear it it's all money wasted.

Agreed. Going off of the CSB as the example. Not all CSB cards in the series are created equal. Take the X-Fi series. The X-Fi Titanium uses a completely different (and better) chip than the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer and Audio cards. The Audio card uses the CA0106 chip which '...based on the same chipset as the Audigy SE, Audigy Value and SB Live! 24-bit...' (source). The Gamer uses the EMU20K1. The Titanium uses the EMU20K2

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Finn 7 five 11

All my music is good quality so my music isn't limiting the sound.

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Onboard audio uses CPU cycle to handle its processing thus hurts performance where it counts. A dedicated sound card has its own audio processor so all audio chores are done on the sound card itself

without going through the CPU. Some of Creative X-Fi series has 64MB of X-RAM or 2MB on the none fancy models and games which utilized it can cache its sound file into the X-RAM for faster access when needed. Not all sound cards will have a dedicated audio chip, some will still use the CPU to do the work so do research before buying.

 

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Even the highest end onboard sound you can get right now can't hold a candle to a good dedicated sound card. If you want quality, the first place to start is the source smile.gif.

FIOszpJ.gif

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