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[ The PC Guide | Articles and Editorials ]

Sound Beginnings

by Leif Gregory, PCWize

Note from the Editor: As my regular readers know, I have not yet covered sound cards in The PC Guide. This article provides a nice introduction to the topic of sound on the PC, covering the basics of how sound is stored digitally and reproduced on the PC. I hope you enjoy it! If you are not yet familiar with digital and analog information representation, or binary and hexadecimal numbers, reading this introduction page first will be helpful. I do still plan to cover sound cards fully within The Guide, soon! Thanks to all for your patience.

At one time PCs were "seen, but not heard". Well, you could hear the occasional beep or squeak from the built-in speaker, but that wasn't much. Creative Labs changed the PC landscape forever by popularizing its Soundblaster sound cards, and the computer world has never looked back. Today it's hard to find a modern PC that doesn't have sound capabilities that put the original Soundblaster to shame. But how is the sound produced? This is not a simple question, but we can at least start answering it!

Next: The Representation of Digital Audio


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