Shop Sound Cards

Narrow your results

Top 10 Sellers


Home Sound Cards



PC Sound Cards

A sound card (also known as an audio card) is a computer expansion card that facilitates the input and output of audio signals to/from a computer under control of computer programs. Typical uses of sound cards include providing the audio component for multimedia applications such as music composition, editing video or audio, presentation/education, and entertainment (games). Many computers have sound capabilities built in, while others require additional expansion cards to provide for audio capability. Sound cards usually feature a digital-to-analog converter, to convert recorded or generated digital data into an analog format. The output signal is typically connected to an amplifier, headphones, or external device using standard interconnects, such as a TRS connector or an RCA connector.

Another important characteristic of sound cards is polyphony, which is more than one distinct voice or sound playable simultaneously and independently, and the number of simultaneous channels. These are intended as the number of distinct electrical audio outputs, which may correspond to a speaker configuration such as 2.0 (stereo), 2.1 (stereo and sub woofer), 4.1 or 5.1 etc.). Sometimes, the terms "voices" and "channels" are used interchangeably to indicate the degree of polyphony, not the output speaker configuration.

Today, a sound card providing actual hardware polyphony, regardless of the number of output channels, is typically referred to as a "hardware audio accelerator", although actual voice polyphony is not the sole prerequisite, with other aspects such as hardware acceleration of 3D sound, positional audio, surround sound, and real-time DSP effects being more important. For that reason Surround Sound PCI Cards are among the most popular.

Since digital sound playback has become available and provided better performance than synthesis, modern soundcards with hardware polyphony don't actually use DACs with as many channels as voices, but rather perform voice mixing and effects processing in hardware inside a dedicated DSP. The final playback stage is performed by an external DAC with significantly fewer channels than voices (e.g., 8 channels for 7.1 audio, which can be divided among 32, 64 or even 128 voices).

The leading manufacturers of sound adaptors today are: Creative Labs, Diamond Multimedia, Sabrent, and others.

Call 1-888-278-4437

Tiger Insider Sign up to receive special offers, deals and IT insight.

SystemaxVeriSign Secured Mastercard SecureVerified by VISA

Copyright © 2014 TigerDirect, Inc. All rights reserved. 7795 West Flagler St., Suite 35, Miami, FL 33144

Select a country:  Canada  |  United Kingdom

TigerDirect is not responsible for typographical or photographic errors. Prices and specifications are subject to change without notice.

* Price after manufacturer mail-in rebate. Restrictions apply.

† Where this symbol appears, it means the product has been factory recertified.

†† Coupons cannot be combined with any other coupon, offer, sale or discount. Coupons are not applicable to prior orders. Coupons are subject to change without notice. One coupon redeemable per item per customer. Not redeemable for cash. Limited to stock on hand. (ANY OTHER USE CONSTITUTES FRAUD)

TigerDirect and TigerDirect.com are registered trademarks of TigerDirect, Inc. All others trademarks and copyrights mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.