Computer Sound Cards

Do you like music on your computer?

Of course you do!

But did you know you can drastically improve how you hear the music being played?

Depending on how much you want to spend you can turn your computer in one amazing sound machine!  This transformation can be done through your existing speakers or headphones, or both!

1.  Sound Cards  (Range from $100 to $1000)

Adding a device called a sound card to the computer is one of the cheaper ways to do this.
"Sound Cards" have been around for ages but not too many people even know what they are, or to even consider buying one when purchasing a computer. 

Not only do sound cards have built in amplifiers for your headphones and speakers but sound cards also have much better sound outputs than sound chips that come standard with your computer, among many other niceties.

These sound cards are hardware devices that go inside your desktop as an add-on card.  If you don't have a desktop you can add parts to internally, you can buy an external sound card that hooks into the computer via USB.  However, external sound cards are usually are not as good as sound cards that can be placed inside your desktop.

Creative, Asus, EVGA, HT Omega, and Sennheiser are some of the more popular sound card brands.

2.  Speakers / Headphones

Usually the speakers that come with your computer or laptop aren't the greatest, but buying new ones can make a big difference.

With laptops you cannot upgrade the internal speakers, but you can usually plug external speakers or headphones into the auxiliary jack of your laptop.

3.  Sound Source  (CD RIP, MP3, FLAC, OPUS, etc....)

The actual source of your music will make a dramatic improvement too.  If you rip your own music CDs or download them from the internet.

If you rip your music from a CD you always want to rip it to something called "Lossless".  This means that it is the exact same quality that is on the CD.  Any other type of ripping to the computer is called "Lossy" and will downgrade the quality of the music to save space on the computer.

Most places you download your music from have ripped the music to "Lossy" format to save space for people to download.  It just sounds OK.
BUT, if you can find a place that you can buy music in "Lossless" or "HD" quality music from that would be ideal.  Tremendous quality difference from the "Lossy" formats.

Lossy (Small File Sizes) - MP3, AAC, OPUS, OGG, WMA, and others
Lossless (Big File Sizes) - FLAC, WAV, APE, ALAC, DSD, AIFF, MQA, and others

Overall combining a decent sound card with decent speakers/headphones and a good audio source will turn your computer into an amazing sounding machine.  The difference is night and day and you will never go back.

-- Jim