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Do you really need a dedicated sound card? (plus one other question)

#11GipFacePosted 9/4/2013 5:11:55 AM
The most audible reason to get a sound card is to eliminate hissing from electromagnetic interference (EMI). Even with cheapo headphones you'll hear this hissing from front audio panels. The front audio cable is usually never shielded.

The best sound cards are shielded from EMI, or have an optical/coax output so that you can hook up a shielded DAC.
#12Ch3wyPosted 9/4/2013 5:42:43 AM
It really depends. Sometimes onboard sound is good but it generally doesn't have a lot of power and you'll get more power out of pretty much any sound card. So if your volume doesn't go high enough it would be a good choice.

Also it has simulated surround sound tech for headphones built into most sound card. I think realtek is starting to do that as well but I doubt it's as good or as in-depth as Creative's CMSS-3D or the Dolby Headphone that's on Asus soundcards.

As far as sound quality, it can be completely negligible but it depends.
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#13SlaynPosted 9/4/2013 6:39:17 AM
Even a cheap Asus sound card should have better audio than onboard. If you can't tell, then your speakers/headphones are just not good enough to tell. The onboard all generally sound "tinny". Even some of the super low end sound cards have headphone amplification, which should give a little boost to most headphones.
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