The 6 Most Important Moments in PC Audio History



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What does everyone think about HDMI audio output via modern video cards versus a separate sound card?



I just recently built a new PC and decided to finally stop using my old Sound Blaster Audigy 2 from 2002 which has made its way through many builds over the years.

But I put the thing back in last night. I was having problems with sound in games, and I could no longer easily record the sound from my pc using software, a feature I use a lot to get recordings of music from live (streamed) performances.


Travis Penner

Interesting Article, I love PC history.  Although being that I'm hard of hearing, sound is the last thing I ever want to invest in. :)



To say that there is no (or little) difference between on-board audio and a dedicated sound card is asinine. If you don't notice any difference, then you obviously haven't even attempted to adjust the settings on your sound card.

I just bought and installed an ASUS Xonar Essence sound card and the sound coming out of that thing rivals my $700 stereo receiver.  I'm hearing instrumentation I've never heard before on songs that I've listened to for years.  And just discovered a whole bank of new sounds on Mass Effect 2 I wasn't getting before.



How can you completely ignore the awesomeness that was RealSound back in the late 80s?  Mean Streets was the first game I played that used it and it was amazing.

God bless RealSound!



In response to ShadowDragoonFTW

The sound card takes the sound processing off the CPU, and thus allows more CPU cycles for other in game functions.


Bullwinkle J Moose

The most important event in the history of the PC was in the fall of 1975 when I convinced Sony management that the digital audio standard should be disk based and not tape based as outlined in my designs for a digital disk player including the now famous shuffle play mode

Random access was the greatest moment in the history of everything


The second greatest moment was when we realized how good the USB bus was compaired to all the bus noise of internal sound cards

The 3rd greatest moment in the history of PC audio was to realize how far ahead of Maximum PC we are at this very moment in time

I am truly in awe

of the genius less advertized

and even lesser quoted

or credited




Were you even reading the title or the article?  If you would have they didn't say the most important stuff in PC history they said the most important in PC Audio History. 




Second family PC had, Diamond MX300 (Vortex 2) and Diamond Riva TNT with Pentium II 400Mhz, can't get any better for those times...



We really need a spam button or comment mods.



I've played on PC's within days of each other, one with 5.1 and Xi-Fi, and one with 5.1 and onboard. Could I tell a difference? Not really. Minus that the Xi-Fi computer had a much huger bass, and that was it.

Discrete audio cards are being hampered by the fact that onboard is "just good enough" that the differences are minscule.



I gota call bull shit on this. Ive been using the X-Fi since its launch and can tell a huge difference. You either made your entire story up or that xfi wasnt configured for those speakers. the xfi crystallizer is awesome. Most people use  head phones not 5.1 any way and the XFi adds much better directional positioning. And yes, it sounds better and runs games faster.



Um... wat? How the heck does having a sound card "run games faster"??



by taking the clock cycles that the game using processing sound away from the CPU, and letting the sound card do the work. Howevre not all games support this and this difference is 5% or less.

  I also think a sound card sounds much better than built in. The X-FI card really makes my sennheisers shine, the asus sound commander that came with the board was now where close. I swapped the cards out when I thought I had a hardware problem...turned out to be drivers....but the difference in sound was like night and day. I personally think it is worth it if you are really into video games. The positioning in the headphones with the x-fi is almost unbelieveable, you can tell exactly where they are at,...hi, low, left, right, front, back, and about how far away, I really think some times it is a big advantage in FPS games.



The author is obviously not a PC gamer because onboard audio is a joke for games. I'll keep my X-Fi card in there, thanks. Until the onboard audio is as good as a X-Fi card I don't think you're going to get any believers in the "audio card is dead" myth.



I can tell a huge difference between running with the onboard and my X-Fi card, especially in games. X-Fi may not have made the soundcard an essential item for the average PC user, but I bet the majority of gamers have a sound card in their rig. And those with a home built HTPC. And anyone doing anything with audio/music.



I remember once when they were amazing, top of the line hardware. Then one day in 2007 i decided to buy a webcam, bad idea after all the problems i had with my laptop's creative sound card. The drivers for this thing not only locked up during install and had to be reinstalled twice. When they were installed properly, they still had tons of errors, Functions with sliders missing text explaining what hte function did. The face tracking was so awful it made me look like an old Horror movie when steaming anything. Not only did the sound card cause my laptop to BSOD constantly, so did the webcam.  If the sound card market is failing creative has only itself to blame.

Fast forward to 2009 I buy a creative soundcard because my onboard realtek card was lying about supporting 5.1. THE DRIVERS STILL BLOW! Not only that several months later they rename the product and i can't find drivers for it for a long time, I literally had to download drivers based on a vague picture on creative's website that looked like the card.

Do yourself a favor, buy an Asus Xonar card and save yourself the headache. I replaced my SoundblasterLive! and Xifi Pro with Asus cards and couldn't be happier. Once creative gets their shit together maybe i'll give them another shot.



Heh I have a PCI Express X-Fi card and I'm ready to go back to the onboard audio. Really doesn't offer me more than what my onboard chipset can offer.



WHATTT!!!?? I have a X-Fi titanium as well and i will never go back to onboard audio; onboard just sounds like crap.

back in the day when i used onboard audio, if i moved my mouse the electrical noise carried over to my speakers b/c the onboard ran off of usb (it also ate most of my usb bandwidth as well).

with an X-Fi card, CMSS-3D and Crystalizer make most things sound a lot better

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