Sound Cards & Media Devices
A sound card, aka an audio adapter, is a separate expansion card installed into a PCI/PCI-e slot on the motherboard, or a piece of hardware already integrated into the PCB. Its main function is to enable PC/laptop (or other computing device) to generate sounds; the latter are heard via speakers or headphones, providing a background sounding to multimedia applications. Nonetheless, audio adapters cannot interact with the system without sound cards & media devices drivers which serve software means in this case.
Sound adapters might be divided into two grades: consumer and professional. Consumer-grade equipment is intended for home, office and entertainment use, ensuring high-quality playback of sounds in game, audio and video applications. Their key disadvantage lies in a large sampling latency, i.e. they require more time to complete conversion of a sound sample from analog to digital format.
In their turn, professional devices are targeting mainly low-latency multi-channel sound playback and recording as well. Hence, they might be widely used in audio engineering and music editing.
Physically, sound cards represent a board with multiple contacts, circuits and connectors. The most typical set of connectors (usually visible at the back of the PC case) includes: Digital-out of white or yellow color, Mic of pink color, blue Line-in, green Line-out, MIDI/Joystick. All of them are predestined for specific devices, such as speakers, microphones, MIDI keyboards, headphones, which communicate with the system due to drivers for sound cards & media devices.
To continue, audio adapters are frequently used for the connection of varied media items. Those devices serve the needs of display, record, playback, and storage of multimedia content (video, photo, music). Depending on these criteria, all media might be divided into:
In recent years users have become increasingly interested in dealing with media content. Thus, they acquire various gadgets and download drivers for sound cards & media devices to ensure their efficient operation.
» Sound Cards & Media Devices: Full list of devices
- audio devices that record and playback music;
- video pieces that record and playback animation, video and slide show content;
- recording items (cameras) that record and playback real-time action;
- display devices (projectors, screens) that display information in video applications.
List of Manufacturers