sound card

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sound card

[′sau̇n kärd]
(computer science)

sound card

A plug-in optional circuit card for an IBM PC. It provides high-quality stereo sound output under program control. A "multimedia" PC usually includes a sound card. One of the best known is the Sound Blaster.

sound card

Also called a "sound board" or "audio adapter," it is a plug-in card that records and plays back sound. Supporting both digital audio and MIDI, sound cards provide an input port for a microphone or other sound source and output ports to speakers and amplifiers. Sound circuits are typically built into the chipset on the motherboard, but can be disabled if a separate sound card is installed. See Sound Blaster, AC'97 and HD Audio.

Digital Audio
Digital audio files contain soundwaves converted into digital form. Sound cards convert the digital samples back into analog waves for the speakers using digital signal processing (DSP). See sampling, digital audio and DSP.

MIDI
MIDI files contain a coded representation of the notes of musical instruments such as middle C on the piano. Taking considerably less space than digital audio, MIDI files require a wavetable synthesizer on the card, which holds digitized samples of the instruments. See MIDI.


Anatomy of a Sound Card
PC sound cards typically have all the components in this picture. Some have only one output, which may be amplified (Amp) or not (Buffer amp). These components may also be built directly into the motherboard. (Illustration courtesy of Peter Hermsen.)







High-End Sound Card
This Audigy card from the Creative Labs Sound Blaster family cables to an external hub that supports surround sound with seven speakers and a subwoofer. It provides a wealth of connections for A/V equipment, including ports for MIDI synthesizers and musical instruments.
References in periodicals archive ?
The CD drive has a tiny amplifier and volume control in it, but the audio board has neither.
Because the PC expansion board provides real-time compression, you can use a high-speed phone connection instead of an audio board for terrestial transmission.
The audio board contains a standard digital signal processor (Texas Instruments 320C10).
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1 or Windows 95 operating system, 4 MB of RAM, 6 MB of available hard-disk space, doublespeed CD-ROM drive, an audio board, a VGA or higher-resolution monitor with minimum 256-color support, Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device, and headphones or speakers.
The audio production room, which receives audio feed from major productions held in either the auditorium or TV studio, is outfitted with a 16-channel audio board, Ramsa speakers and an amp; three DAT machines and a DAT field recorder; a CD player; and digital delay and sound effects gear.
User input came from a serial joystick attached to the VAX, and the audio was generated from a custom audio board also connected to the VAX by a serial line.
1 or later, 30 MB hard drive, MPC-compatible CD-ROM drive, SVGA display, audio board and mouse, and Microsoft CD-ROM extensions 2.
Audiophiles will delight in the sophisticated internal engineering featured in the new player, including a devoted power supply for the analog audio board, eight Wolfson[R] WM8740 Audio DACs, one for each audio channel, and custom-made capacitors.
A multimedia kit with a double-speed CD-ROM player and audio board cannot perform miracles in the running of a heavy duty multimedia title when attached to a PC with 2 MB of RAM, a 33-MHz processor, a video controller on the ISA-bus, and a 100-MB hard disk of 30 msec access time.
Ensley brings to the audio board more than 27 years of semiconductor industry experience centered around analog and DSP IC solutions for audio, industrial and communication markets," said Gary Warzin, CEO of Audiophile Systems and Chair of the CEA Audio Division.
The technology can be used with any standard audio board, requires no DSP, and requires no training.