Alternatively referred to as a sound board or an audio card, a sound card is an expansion card or integrated circuit that provides a computer with the ability to produce sounds that can be heard by the user either over speakers or headphones. The computer sound card is considered a peripheral, although the computer does not need a sound card to function almost every computer today will include a sound card in the expansion slot or on the motherboard (onboard). Below is an image of the Creative Sound Blaster sound card and an example of what a sound card that connects to an expansion slot may look like.
Sound card connections
In the picture to the right, is an example of what a sound card audio ports aka audio jacks may look like on the back of your computer, associated colors, and the connector symbols usually found next to each of the connections.
- Digital Out (White or Yellow) (words: "Digital" or "Digital Out") - Used with surround sound or loudspeakers.
- Sound in or line in (Blue) (Arrow pointing into waves) - Connection for external audio sources, e.g. tape recorder, record player, or CD player.
- Microphone or Mic (Pink) (Microphone) - The connection for a microphone or headphones.
- Sound out or line out (Green) (Arrow pointing out of waves) - The primary sound connection for your speakers or headphones. This sound card also has a second (black) and third (orange) sound out connector.
- Firewire (Not pictured) - Used with some high quality sound cards for digital video cameras and other devices.
- MIDI or Joystick (15 pin yellow connector) - Used with earlier sound cards to connect MIDI keyboard or Joystick.
Tip: Usually the cables connecting to the devices are also color-coded and will match or be close to the colors the cables connect into. For example, the end of the speakers cord may have a green line or be completely green.
Uses of a computer sound card
- Audio CDs and listening to music
- Watch movies
- Audio conferencing
- Creating and playing Midi
- Educational software
- Business presentations
- Record dictations
- Voice recognition
Sound card related questions and answers
- Missing or lost sound in Windows.
- Computer sound card manufacturers.
- Computer sound card help and support.
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