sound board

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sound board

[′sau̇n ‚bȯrd]
(computer science)
An adapter which provides a computer with the capability of reproducing and recording digitally encoded sound. Also known as audio adapter; sound card.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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 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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
I know only of one fairly high-quality sound board, the recently announced Echo eDSP of Echo Speech Corporation, that offers the feature that most of the customers would really need: playback of high quality audio through a programmable digital signal processor (DSP) selling for less than a hundred dollars.
You may recall that I discussed in detail some of the video developments in the multimedia marketplace, but I remained silent about sound boards and speakers, the other key components of multimedia.
I had two reasons for not discussing the sound boards demonstrated in the exhibit area.
While there are more and more companies involved in producing sound boards and speakers, there have not been many significant developments since the first 16-bit (theoretically audio CD-quality) boards were introduced well over a year ago.
The sound boards that promise CD audio quality fall short of that promise (with the notable exception of the Turtle Beach Multisound that costs an arm and a leg even today after a 60% price cut).
The difference is not the fault solely of the sound boards (assuming that you use a self-powered good quality speaker).