I found that a lot of your sound quality runs down to your speakers. If you have a ridiculously crazy sound card with some garbage speakers and you try to pump up some bass and volume, your speakers will probably just end up popping. Then again, if you have some ridiculously crazy BOSE surround sound speakers with garbage integrated audio, then you won't get much out of anything.
I think you can be relatively
safe buying a cheaper sound card with good speakers. Or if you're buying a new motherboard, some new ones have some actual integrated sound cards. My new motherboard has an actual soundblaster or something (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...130-487&depa=1
). Then again, then doesn't matter much to me because of my trash speakers!