Sound card


Sound Blaster (1989) with 23 kHz audio playback



In those early days of the PC, discreet sound cards where used for gaming.
Later they where also used for audio.
Up to 2010 a discrete soundcard was considered the way to improve sound quality.
Some went as far as to buy a pro card (Lynx , RME) not for the AD or the DA but just to get best possible SPDIF out to feed into a external DAC.

Around 2010, external “sound cards”, better known as USB DAC’s took over.
A far more flexible solution and “mandatory” in case of a laptop.


Over the years the onboard audio improved as well.
Some even claim it to be undistinguishable from high quality external DAC’s.

How On-Board Audio Works - Gabriel Torres 2008

Multimedia Reviews - IXBT Labs (2009)

Best sounding PC soundcard - Computer Audio Asylum 2008

The Sound Blaster Story - Custom PC magazine (2020)

What Does It Take To Turn The PC Into A Hi-Fi Audio Platform? - Filippo L. Scognamiglio Pasini February 25, 2014