How does audio work on a PC?



Like, how can we listen to certain music and PC’s can play that automatically?

In: Engineering

Audio as far as speakers and headphones are concerned is a matter of electrical pulses at the right frequencies. A computer or a phone or other device generates those pulses using a chip called a Digital Analog Converter. The DAC takes digital audio data and outputs the proper analog electrical pulses to the speaker/headphone devices where it powers an electromagnet that moves a paper come that moves pulses of air. Pulses of air is what we call sound.

Sound is a wave that travel through matter (in most case, air). Speakers or headphone are devices that react to an electrical input to produce waves. Depending on how that electricity come and to which part of the speaker, the waves coming out of the speaker are different.

A computer (computer in the large sense, including smartphone, PC, calculators, consoles, etc..) simply has what is called an interface with the speaker. An interface is simply a translator from one language to another.

From then on, it’s pretty simple. It doesn’t matter what computer you have, or even how the “soundtrack” is saved. can be MP3, can be WAV, or it can be any other type of storage. As long as the computer can read that file, and it has a translator from his language to the speaker’s language, everything will work.

If you want to look more into it, the “interface” used are often called “drivers”. It’s simply a way for the computer to know HOW it’s supposed to communicate with another device. In modern computer and device, drivers can easily be found on the internet (you computer check what the name of the device is, then call a database to see if they have the drivers) or sometime the driver is itself on the device (more useful for lesser known device or companies)