A soundcard is a expansion card for a computer that provides audio inputs and outputs to which you can connect other devices such as speakers, amplifiers, microphones, guitars and synthesizers.
Soundcards come in many shapes and sizes.
Some are ‘internal’ to your computer like the ever popular SoundBlaster sound card. Internal sound cards plug into your computers PCI expansion slot inside the computer.
Many soundcards are ‘external’ to your computer, although these external types are typically called an ‘audio interface’. External USB sound cards connect to your computer via a USB connector.
But external soundcards are also available that plug in using connectors such as Firewire or PCMCIA. These types of devices are often better quality and are favoured by DJs and performing musicians because of thier portability and conveinence.
There are literally hundreds of soundcards on the market. The type of soundcard you choose will depend on what sort of features and functions you require.
You will also need to ensure that the sound card is compatible with your computer and its operating system.
Most modern soundcards are compatible with both PCs and MACs, but it is worth checking that software drivers for your computer and the version of operating system that you currently use, come packaged with the soundcard, or is available for download.