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This is known as gain-staging. In a pro environment this is done by watching the meters at each stage, setting levels to give the highest signal without ever going near distortion (leaving headroom). High signal gives a lower noise-floor, higher SNR (signal to noise ratio). In a semi-pro or consumer environment with no accurate metering you can really only ...


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If you are happy with the inbuilt sound card, by all means keep on using that. External sound cards are generally much better if you want to record from a microphone. If all you do is listen on headphones, the difference is much smaller. Some external sound card, the expensive ones generally, might have better headphone amplifiers allowing you to drive the ...


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