Yes and no.Summer Solstice Girl wrote:Should I be worried about the sound quality?
Yes: You should improve the things under your control until you reach the point of diminishing returns. In general, this means using good quality sources for your music, higher bit rate mp3s (192kbps or higher seems to be preferred), and an external sound card. This will not make up for a poor sound system that you plug into.
No: While you can take a few reasonable steps to improve the quality of the sound over the "built in sound card"...until you can control the sound system, you will reach the point of diminishing returns very quickly. Everything in pro audio is a compromise, and "the best" sound for even a modest sized room runs $$$$$ (and up). Do not start to chase some ethereal audiophile nerd-vanna of sound.
Be reasonable, them move on. You will get more return on your time and effort by focusing on your music collection and on your programming skills rather than the quality of the sound.
An external sound card will generally be a higher fidelity and offer more bits for processing the sound than a built in sound card. There is more difference between the internal and *any* external sound card than there is between most "consumer" grade external sound cards. Said another way, once you have any external sound card, you have gotten 80-90% of the gain that is possible...until you get into the $1k+ sound cards.Summer Solstice Girl wrote:I know some external sound cards will enhance the sound besides allowing me to preview. Although my main goal is to be able to preview songs - and therefore DJ, I want to be able to deliver a good quality set in terms of sound.
No. At best the venue sound system will not make a lousy sound card sound even worse. Very high fidelity sound systems will actually bring out the imperfections in a sound card...and may sound worse than a lower quality sound system.Summer Solstice Girl wrote: Will the the venue's sound system compensate for a lousy sound card? again, I have no idea if my laptop's sound card is any good.
For most "average" venue sound systems, an onboard laptop sound card will sound "OK" - not good, not great...but "usable." Most external sound cards will stop being the weakest link in a typical sound system.