Internal Speaker Conundrum

by John

Creative Labs Recon3D Fatal1ty sound Card

Creative Labs Recon3D Fatal1ty sound Card

When I bought my computer, I didn't pay any attention to the type of integrated sound card it came with. The machine had sound and that is all I was interested in.

As it turned out, the integrated sound card model was pretty good. It even has 7.1 Channel Outputs, which means it has surrounded sound capability.

However, I didn't bother plugging in external speakers as I was happy with the sound quality from the internal speaker.

I didn't use sound that often. I would use to listen to the odd YouTube video clip, or listen to a sound that was part of a website. I was delighted with this.

However, my son joined a band and wanted to use the family computer to record their songs. We bought some external speakers, and it sounded fine to me - better than the internal speaker.

The sound was inherently louder, and you could pick up more of the detail with the surround sound capability. I thought my son would be happy with this too....

However, a few months later, he complained that the sound quality wasn't up to scratch. He was also watching films and playing games which he said weren't coming out in surround sound.

I couldn't tell the difference, if the truth be told - the sound is in the ear of the listener!

He said some drum and symbol sounds were distorted on playback and there was a slight hissing sound in the background.

I eventually gave in and for his birthday we bought a Sound blaster recon 3D Fatal1ty Professional Sound Card and Gigaworks T3 speakers.

He was delighted. It didn't take him long to rig it all up and try them out. He says the distortion and hissing sound on his bands playback has gone, and his games/films sound great in true 3D sound.

Again it does sound louder, and I suppose crisper when words are spoken, but I can't help but think there is a fine line between the quality of the original internal sound card and speaker and what we have now.

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Speaker Conundrun To Be Solved
by: Steve

Hello John. Thank you for taking the time to create your web page.

Historically, integrated sound cards and speakers were poorer quality than sound cards you plug into your motherboard and external sound cards.

On board audio always required more processing power than a PCI connected sound card. There were also reports of the motherboard's electrical activity causing interference with on board audio output.

This is maybe where your son picked up on the static noise, sound popping and other odd noises that you may not have picked up on.

Whilst I think a dedicated Sound Card improves audio output, I do acknowledge integrated sound cards are improving in quality.

As you say, John, your computer come with an integrated sound card with surround sound built in. As on board audio cards become smaller, more 'basic' features can be added.

In addition, many computer games and movies do not include surround sound capabilities. This is why when you are using an integrated sound card, some games and movies broadcast in surround sound, and some don't.

Only a PCI or external sound card can broadcast such games and films in surround sound.

The sound card and speakers you bought are of high quality in today's market. They should serve you well for several years to come.

I'm sure sound technology will evolve to such an extent that the gap between the different types of sound card will become smaller and smaller.

I do believe that it comes down to one thing when deciding on what is the right sound card solution for you - What do you plan to do?

This is evident in your web page, John. You were happy with the onboard sound card quality for what you wanted to do, but your son wasn't for what he wanted to do.

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