Updated at: 16-06-2022 - By: Leo Hall

A sound card and high-quality speakers/headphones are highly subjective purchases based on personal needs and tastes when it comes to audio quality.

The integrated audio solution on your motherboard may not operate properly or may be missing features that you require, in which case you should consider purchasing a dedicated sound card.

The process of building a gaming PC is usually quite simple.

You should choose a graphics card based on your specific needs at a certain resolution.

If you want to stay up, you’ll need a strong CPU.

Add 8-16 GB of RAM, an SSD, and a hard drive large enough to hold all of your data.

Get a motherboard and a power supply to connect everything.

When it comes to PC building in 2022, the sound card is a component that is typically disregarded and rarely given any consideration:

Almost all motherboards include an inbuilt audio chip that can easily handle the audio requirements of the majority of users, thus this is understandable.

Are Sound Cards Worth It? [Simple Guide] - YouTube

Because of this, specialized sound cards are still available for those who need them, and there are a number of benefits and drawbacks to their use.

To discover out if you should invest in a dedicated sound card in 2022, keep reading!

Dedicated Sound Card vs Integrated Sound Card

Although they are not technically “cards,” most modern motherboards include built-in sound cards, as previously indicated. Instead, they’re tiny chips built right into the motherboard, with audio ports tucked away on the board’s back panel and, in some cases, even further out in the open on the front.

Internal or external specialized sound cards can be used for this purpose. Using a PCIe slot, an internal sound card connects to the motherboard just like any other expansion card. Instead, a USB sound card is used to connect to a computer.

Generally speaking, internal sound cards tend to give higher audio quality than external sound cards, although this depends on the brand, model, and price. External solutions, on the other hand, are simpler to set up and much more portable, making it possible to use them across many devices.

Surround Sound and Connectors

There may be a lack of available connectors on the integrated sound card, or the correct connectors may not be available. When it comes to surround sound systems, this might provide a challenge.

In most motherboards, you’ll find six common connectors:

  • In the shade of pink (mic in)
  • The color blue (line-in)
  • Stereo speakers/headphones in a shade of green
  • The center channel and subwoofer are both orange.
  • The color black (rear speakers)
  • The color gray (side speakers)

There are motherboards that lack the orange, black, and grey connectors, and hence do not support the above-mentioned layouts. Additionally, certain systems may use RCA or optical interfaces.

A good sound card will be needed if your motherboard doesn’t have enough ports or isn’t powerful enough to support the surround sound system of your dreams.

Faulty Integrated Sound Card or Connector

Computer components and peripherals are often replaced rather than repaired when they fail. Repairs are typically either impossible or too costly and time-consuming to be worth the effort and expense.

Since integrated sound cards and audio connectors have become more widespread in motherboards, hardware issues related to these components are less likely to arise now. You’ll get a new, fully functional motherboard under warranty if there’s an issue with the motherboard when it comes out of the box.

It’s possible that if something goes wrong, and you don’t want to deal with the hassles of a new motherboard or having your PC out of service while it’s “in the shop,” a sound card could save you time and money.

Audio Quality – Do I Need a Sound Card?

As a general rule, you’ll always ask yourself, “Do I need this?” if you’re considering spending money on a computer component. Audio, on the other hand, is as subjective as it gets. We’ve all been there with expensive graphics cards and monitors.

We could go on and on about frequencies, bitrates, etc., but in the end, audio quality can only be determined by listening to the music itself. There are ardent audiophiles everywhere who insist on FLAC audio and high-quality headphones as the only acceptable options, but others, even with the necessary gear, can’t discern the difference between FLAC and MP3.

Both the sound card and speakers/headphones are significant in terms of audio quality, though. If you want to get the most out of a high-quality sound card, you’ll need to invest in high-quality speakers or headphones as well. Because the benefits are speculative and difficult to quantify, this would be a significant financial commitment.

When it comes to upgrading your audio experience, the decision is totally up to you to make. However, most gamers would rather to spend their money on a stronger GPU, CPU, or any other component or accessory that may have a more immediate impact on their gameplay.

However, if you need a sound card because your motherboard’s integrated audio solution doesn’t have the proper ports or isn’t working properly, a new dedicated sound card could make your life easier.

The Purpose of a Sound Card

It is possible to deliver sound data to various audio devices such as headphones and speakers using a sound card, which is an extension card for your sound system. For example, they can use this extension to listen to music, play games, watch videos, or read text using this extension.

PCIe or PCI slots are used to attach sound cards to the motherboard of your computer. A higher volume of sound is delivered to your headphones and speakers through this connection.

Installing your sound card will be a breeze because you won’t have to mess with wires. You only need to screw the backplate on after inserting the card into the PCIe slot.

Is a Sound Card Worth it? Integrated vs Dedicated Sound Cards

The Benefits of a Sound Card

Most of the time, sound cards come in handy when the sound quality on your computer is inferior to that of other devices, such as your phone.

A desktop PC with crackly sounds or a lack of the music standard you desire can benefit from using one of these.

When: Buying a sound card is a good idea.

– Your Music Isn’t Supported: FLAC and Lossless Files

Subpar audio outputs are common on low-cost computers, and some don’t have any at all. The latter is becoming increasingly difficult to find, whilst the former is still readily available.

If you’re stuck with shaky Bluetooth connections, speakers that sound like they’re about to fail, or no audio output at all, a sound card might be worth the investment.

Additionally, if you’re a music enthusiast or use FLAC or lossless audio files, a sound card may be in your best interest. Some motherboard processors, even those from high-end manufacturers, may not be able to playback your files at their native sample rate or support your files’ bit depth.

With a sound card, you can fix this problem quickly and still get the high-quality sound your audio file should have.

– When Your Computer Offers Crappy Audio: Audible but Bad

Lack of appropriate shielding around the motherboard is the primary reason of poor PC audio. As a result, the sound output of your PC is influenced by external noise.

As a result, your PC’s audio quality will be improved by installing a sound card, which shields your motherboard from noise.

However, if your speakers aren’t up to snuff, a sound card won’t do you any good.

– When You Need More Ports: Music Producers Get In Here

There’s a strong chance your computer doesn’t have a port big enough for your microphones, studio monitors, and headphones.

Adding a sound card gives you access to additional inputs and outputs than your computer can supply. Surround sound out, optical out, left/right subwoofers, subwoofer out, etc., are just some of the ports you’ll find.

The colors, forms, and meanings of the ports on high-end sound cards are listed below.

Investing in a sound card is essential if you want to use your computer to record music. PCIe or PCI sound cards may not be the greatest choice if you have a laptop or notebook computer. A DAC and amplifier are preferable to an external sound card. A USB connection on your laptop will allow you to connect various items.

A sound card’s DAC and amplifier perform the same functions. The only difference is that they don’t reside on the motherboard, but rather on the outside of your computer.

For your headphones and speakers, make sure that your DAC offers volume controls or knobs. The output might assist you determine whether or not an amplifier is necessary.

Types of Sound Cards

For the most part, sound cards fall into two categories: those that are built in and those that are separate.

– Integrated Sound Cards

These are the sound cards that come pre-installed on your PCs. The outputs of these cards are provided by the built-in speakers and headphone connectors on your PC. It’s simple to use the built-in sound cards. Some of them have decent sound quality and can be used for listening to music or playing games.

– Dedicated Sound Cards

We can divide all types of dedicated sound cards into three types: those used in video games, those used externally through USB, and those used for audiophile purposes.

Gaming Cards

Sound is generated by these cards’ integrated processors, which frees up your PC’s CPU to handle other tasks. You can achieve greater shielding and lower noise levels than you can get from your PC’s built-in input and outputs with these external devices.

It’s also possible to use these cards to improve the quality of sound in 3D environments by employing sound enhancement technologies that can break down or equalize the noises.

External USB Sound Cards

Sound cards come in a variety of configurations and specs. Some are designed with a direct connection line, like a headphone jack, while others are more advanced and resemble premium sound cards.

It is not possible to place these on the motherboard of your PC because they are connected via USB. If you have a notebook computer, USB cards are a good idea because the heat and tight designs can cause noise that can interfere with the sound quality of your device.

Are Sound Cards Worth It? [2022 Guide] - GamingScan

Audiophile and Recording Sound Cards

If you want nothing but the greatest sound, these sound cards are worth the investment. They use analog circuitry and fully insulated outputs to provide precise sound reproduction while also reducing background noise.

These professional sound cards also provide extras like compatibility for professional audio connectors and several input channels.

Surround sound and connectors

An audio output that appears to surround the listener in all directions, known as “surround sound,” is what we’re talking about. It has the flexibility to operate digitally or analogically.

Two sets of speakers make up surround sound: front stereo speakers and rear surround speakers. A central channel is also included. The front speakers of a movie theater have a speaker in between them to aid in reproducing the sound of the dialogue. There are usually five speakers involved, although the number might be increased.

Evolution of surround sound

Dolby Surround and Dolby Pro Logic were the first surround sound formats to employ Matrix as their foundation. High-bandwidth Dolby digital 5.1 (the number of speakers and subwoofers are indicated by the digits before and after the decimal point) was a stereo format.

A low-frequency effects channel has been added to the product’s features. By delivering digital surround-sound mixing services for movie production, Digital DTS (Digital Theatre System) made its debut with Jurassic Park. A greater bit rate and more audio data were the benefits of this upgrade.

THX and Dolby partnered to create a 6.1 channel. The term “Back surround” was coined to describe the additional speaker. DTS-ES Discrete and DTS-ES Matrix were introduced by DTS. In the first case, the audio data was encoded onto a DVD or Blu-ray disc before playback. The matrix in the latter, on the other hand, uses the same technique as Dolby Digital Ex to gather data from adjacent channels.

Dolby’s Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby True HD surround sound systems are the most advanced currently available. Each has its own unique rendition of 7.1 surround sound. All of the individual audio channels are compressed using lossy coding in Dolby Digital Plus. True HD does not use any compression at all in the Dolby True HD format. In the same way that Dolby has two 7.1 versions, DTS also has two 7.1 versions. Similar to Dolby’s, they also share the same characteristics

Audyssey DSX uses a blend of 5.1 and 7.1 signals to provide extra channels to surround sound. It also supports surround sound with a total of 11.1 channels. It is possible to blend stereo signals into surround sound with the Audyssey DSX 2.

The history of surround sound has been completely altered by the advent of 3D surround, often known as object-based surround. The easiest way to describe this new technology is through 3D, which gives the impression that the listener is actually moving across space.

No Sound From Your Computer: Troubleshooting Sound Card Issues

While a disconnected speaker or sound card may be the cause of your computer’s lack of sound, your sound card software could also be causing the problem.

As a preliminary step, make sure the system and any media you’re using aren’t set to mute. Make sure the sound card isn’t disabled in the system’s device management. Using the Start menu, type “Device Manager” into the search box, and seek for your sound card in the Sound and Game Controllers section.

If your sound card’s drivers are missing or corrupt, you may not hear any sound from your speakers or headphones. You can fix this by updating your sound card’s drivers. For each manufacturer, there is a specific driver that must be downloaded.

After completing these procedures, if your computer still doesn’t produce any sound, you either don’t have the proper software or your sound card is disconnected.


Is a Sound Card Worth It?

Yes, if you care about sound quality, it’s worth the investment. Modern PCs have decent audio hardware. Audio quality is excellent and it’s suitable for most people. Due to audio interference, this hardware does not provide the same level of detail, clarity, and effects as dedicated audio cards.

Due to the electrical interference on the motherboard, PCs are unable to deliver high-quality audio. From the GPU to the PCIe to the CPU’s constant and persistent tumult, a normal computer motherboard is buzzing with electrical activity. Additionally, there are USB ports, PC fans, RAM, and RGB lighting for gamers.

The operations of these components generate some background noise, which might have a negative impact on your computer’s overall audio and performance quality. The audio components are shielded and isolated to compensate for this interference. There is still some interference, but this is a significant improvement.

Even if you’re not engaged in a high-intensity task or gaming, the fundamental shielding and isolation prevents you from hearing the disturbance. You may need to turn up the volume on your headphones to drown out the noise if your PC becomes overworked, such as while you’re playing a game or transmitting a large file.

To alleviate CPU stress, sound cards offer improved shielding and isolation for audio creation.

Allows you to enjoy minimal or no noise at all by eliminating the audio interference. It’s possible that you’ll hear sounds and sonic details that you’ve never heard before in your music or games. When you hear things like footsteps or gunshots or other background noises, it will be easier to determine where they’re coming from.

Audiophiles, music makers, and gamers alike will benefit from this, as it will enhance their enjoyment of music. If you’ve got a great set of headphones, you’re in for a real treat when it comes to sound quality and enjoyment.

Are Sound Cards Worth It for Gaming?

Adding a sound card to your gaming rig is a terrific way to reduce the strain on your PC’s processor while still delivering outstanding in-game audio. You and your colleagues will be able to effectively express your strategies and locations, as well as receive clear feedback from the game itself.

Many of them also include software suites compatible with sound technologies such as Bang & Olufsen, Dolby, Atmos, and DTS for enhanced sound quality and sound reproduction.


Ultimately, it is up to you to determine if a high-end sound card and audio equipment are worth the money if you merely want to improve the sound quality. A dedicated sound card, on the other hand, could save you time and money if you’re looking to replace an ineffective or defective integrated sound card.

I recommend reading this article if you’re in the market for a new sound card. In addition, here are our picks for the best gaming headphones, speakers, and surround systems on the market right now. These buying guidelines are routinely updated, so if you find any products that appear to be out of date, don’t worry; an update is just around the corner!