Is a sound card worth the money?

First off i will say i know basic NOTHING about what makes good or bad sound from a sound card of any sort. So i wish to ask people who have had to use standard on-board mobo sound then switched to a dedicated sound card. 

How much difference does it make? 

Is there much difference between low to high end cards?

If i am just using mid-range gaming headphones and mid-range earphones (nothing too flashy but good quality for i use them for) would it even be worth the money? 

Any input would be really helpful because as said...i know nothing on this subject. 



Lastly if it really is worth the money what would be recommended for a low/entry level card and for a mid-range card?

above video is a good one. however, i also could never tell a difference and i run sound through a pioneer/jbl stereo. with that said, my stupid pci soundblaster card which i bought because way back when many motherboards did not have sound, has come in handy as a troubleshooting device.

Got half way though the video and made up my mind. The video is very insightful and thanks for the link, on-board mobo sound is the way ahead for me :) 

The video was very very helpful and has solved my issue, but i can see why a dedicated card would be good for troubleshooting however does not really apply to me for home use (though i know if i do ever need to replace the sound for whatever reason a cheap card should do just as good)   

Also if you are going through speakers it is just better to run the sound through HDMI and output it through a AV receiver 

    This GREATLY depends on your uses for the sound card. For me, my sound card provides options I did not have previously; flexibility that is not offered with on-board. If you are Looking to make use of some audio set-ups, you may need one. But for the average user with just two speakers or headphones, you will not hear a difference. As a matter of fact, you will not HEAR a big difference with a high quality P.A. system either. They have their uses, But, not being rude, if you are not certain why you need a high cost audio card, you will not get the benefits from it on it's own. It is not as useless as some have said, but is defiantly not a miracle cure for better sound.    if you want better sound, it is a lot cheaper than $500. The following applies to regular speakers

  • reposition your speakers 
  • sound dampening foam or a decorative blanket on the wall
  • move obstacles out of the path of sound.
  • close door where you game and hang clothing or blanket securely, and safely behind door.
  • look into building your own speakers.....Or the tried and true method of upgrading speakers.
  • Raise speakers to ear level via stands.
  • Be sure that the power to your PC is clean power. This counts more so if you are using a receiver.  Use a power conditioner like a furman which will not only provide clean power, but will also protect your gear from spikes and surges. a simple surge protector will work alright in its place, just remember to fill out the insurance card and send it back in. Many protectors will specify how much money they will cover on the box. This saved my entire audio and PC setup at least once as it took my power amps and PC. About $12,000 of gear damaged. Dirty power can be a cause of "buzz"

All that is good advice certain processors/receivers can do room correction, it won't fix all issues though