Will I get better digital audio from a soundcard?

AlexanderDomin

Estimable
Dec 8, 2014
7
0
4,520
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I asked a similar question a week ago, but got no response. Here is a rephrase...

If I have a motherboard with an SPDIF output, and I have a PCI-E soundcard with an SPDIF output and a much better signal-to-noise ratio, will I get better audio from the soundcard or will the two be identical?
 

Chayan4400

Estimable
Apr 12, 2015
21
0
4,570
4
It depends. If your speakers are someting like Audio engine A2s or better/comparable, you will like notice crisper highs, deeper bass and more mellow mids. However, if you are just driving cheap logitech speakers, it is likely you will hear little to no difference. Also, it does depend on whether you have a good ear for music or not, and whether you can tell the difference between mediocre and high-quality sound. Last but not least, your source (ie your audio file) should also be of high-quality (lossless, such as FLAC or apple's ALAC). If 'lossy' formats such as MP3s are used, you may not benefit from a higher quality sound card. However, since your sound card has a better signal-to-noise ratio, you will likely have less unwanted background noise in your music, which will most probably lead to more clarity in your music (but dont expect a huge improvement).
 

Chayan4400

Estimable
Apr 12, 2015
21
0
4,570
4
It depends. If your speakers are someting like Audio engine A2s or better/comparable, you will like notice crisper highs, deeper bass and more mellow mids. However, if you are just driving cheap logitech speakers, it is likely you will hear little to no difference. Also, it does depend on whether you have a good ear for music or not, and whether you can tell the difference between mediocre and high-quality sound. Last but not least, your source (ie your audio file) should also be of high-quality (lossless, such as FLAC or apple's ALAC). If 'lossy' formats such as MP3s are used, you may not benefit from a higher quality sound card. However, since your sound card has a better signal-to-noise ratio, you will likely have less unwanted background noise in your music, which will most probably lead to more clarity in your music (but dont expect a huge improvement).
 

ien2222

Distinguished
Mar 28, 2010
465
0
19,260
78
They will be mostly identical. SNR has to do with the analog outs on the soundcard and motherboard and does not refer to the digital connections. However, you may have access to more features that may come with the soundcard on the software side than the motherboard.

But all other things equal, not really going to be different.
 
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