Why use an external soundcard or D/A converter instead of the internal soundcard for external listening?
I've long been using the headphone output of my laptop to feed either my headphones or my HiFi amp (via a cable). Both are "decent" rather than top-notch.
And for almost as long I've been wondering why people sometimes recommend using external soundcards or digital-to-analogue converters (sometimes very expensive ones) attached to an USB port instead of simply using what the computer has on-board already.
I've never seen the HiFi quality gain of such devices over the "regular" soundcards that every run-of-the mill computer already comes equipped with being discussed in any detail (not that I've looked all that hard).
As the same advice has cropped up again in http://www.gramophone.co.uk/editorial/connecting-your-computer-to-your-a... I wonder if anyone here can shed a bit more light on this?
My soundcard is a "Realtek HD" device, and I don't need any of the additional options an external soundcard would provide - just a decent analogue signal to my headphones or amplifier. Would I likely benefit from using one of these things?