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Osmium
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So it is pretty common knowledge around here that internal soundcards have no reason to exist really. But how is it that an AMP improves audio quality vs a soundcard? All it does is boost the signal yes? 

 

I guess what I am asking is what do soundcards do specifically that is supposed to boost quality.

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But how do DACs improve quality? Do they reduce interference.

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But how do DACs improve quality? Do they reduce interference.

It's this: -V

 

Convert ones and zeroes to a more accurate sine wave. If you've ever seen integration by first principles, it's the same as making the rectangles smaller, aside from the fact that you're creating a curve with the value of the rectangle, instead of the other way around.

Interference screws with the wave formation basically. A Sound Card reduces interference and has dedicated hardware for the actual audio calculations. So it can do it more accurately.

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Dacs don't inherently improve audio quality. Don't really know why that's a thing, it's on the lower part of the audio chain and not a major upgrade. Most on board dac's are good. The thing manufacturers mess up is the amp. High output impedance and bad circuit design is what plagues the industry right now. (Among other snake oil/false advertisements). Your headphones/speakers make up around 70% of your audio chain and that should be your main focus.

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Dacs don't inherently improve audio quality. Don't really know why that's a thing, it's on the lower part of the audio chain and not a major upgrade. Most on board dac's are good. The thing manufacturers mess up is the amp. High output impedance and bad circuit design is what plagues the industry right now. (Among other snake oil/false advertisements). Your headphones/speakers make up around 70% of your audio chain and that should be your main focus.

This.

The DAC should not improve audio quality unless you have hideously crappy DAC right now.

Amp exists to increase the power of the signal and is required when using headphones with high impedance.

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Convert ones and zeroes to a more accurate sine wave. If you've ever seen integration by first principles, it's the same as making the rectangles smaller, aside from the fact that you're creating a curve with the value of the rectangle, instead of the other way around.

That's not true. On lower end sound cards and onboard solutions, the calculations are done on the CPU. It's only the ones with heatsinks on them that have hardware acceleration. It's just that the DAC and caps are of higher quality on dedicated cards.

I really, really hope you're trolling...

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There is no such thing as improving an audio signal. You can only degrade it and the less you do the better the sound. A good amp doesn't magically make the sound better; all it does is amplify the signal without audibly degrading it. That is why they sound better than poorly designed amps.

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That's not true. On lower end sound cards and onboard solutions, the calculations are done on the CPU. It's only the ones with heatsinks on them that have hardware acceleration. It's just that the DAC and caps are of higher quality on dedicated cards.

O.K I'm going to bite,  where did you get the idea that the cpu does any of the processing for audio? And what do heatsinks have to do with anything? In your opinion what's the technical difference between onboard, low end soudcards and hi end soundcards?

Grammar and spelling is not indicative of intelligence/knowledge.  Not having the same opinion does not always mean lack of understanding.  

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All a sound card does is slightly amplify the audio, and convert ones and zeroes to a continuous sine wave. Any calculations in terms of where the sound comes from, which channel to go to, et cetera are done with the CPU, hence why it was almost essential for very old gaming PCs to have sound cards. As to their difference, to put it in a graphical sense, it is how close it can take a series of points, and interpolate the data into an analog wave as close to each of the original points as possible.

I have some news for you, All sound solutions operate exactly the same way, the cpu does not care what sound solution you are running, it sends the same stream of data,  the DAC, which ALL sound solutions must have dictates the number of channels it can decode and the bit depth along with the SNR and sample rate.  After that the sound is either amplified for headphones or sent to a lineout.  It does not matter whether you have a $300 uber gamer sound card hand crafted by God, or an onbaord Asus with realtek chip, the CPU does not do any more or less work.

 

The perceptional difference between an STX and modern onboard sound is marginal volume levels at best.

Grammar and spelling is not indicative of intelligence/knowledge.  Not having the same opinion does not always mean lack of understanding.  

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So it is pretty common knowledge around here that internal soundcards have no reason to exist really. But how is it that an AMP improves audio quality vs a soundcard? All it does is boost the signal yes? 

 

I guess what I am asking is what do soundcards do specifically that is supposed to boost quality.

 

well, volume is a very important part of improving your audio experience, for one.  Good amps make it less worse, but like most of the posters have already made clear, the headphones count many times more than the amp.

 

basically, it's all marketing.

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Thanks for the insight. I grasped these concepts at a pretty basic level but I like knowing what I am talking about.

"If you do not take your failures seriously you will continue to fail"

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