Best Sound Card for PC, Gaming And Audiophiles
The sound card is an expansion card or, simply said, an integrated circuit that can be fitted into a PC to enhance the quality of audio from the device, as well as, increase the input and output audio options of the device.
A sound card is also known with other names like the audio cards, soundboards, and also audio output devices. As tiny and feeble as it may sound, but audio cards can take your experiences on the PC to a whole new level using their on-chip components.
People who play online games or watch movies on PC regularly know the value of a good sound card. The sound card not just enhances the default audio system, but also increases your options by giving extra input and output ports.
They provide you with extra digital I/O ports, headphone jacks, SPDIF connections, and HDMI connections. All of the best sound card have great sound processing hardware that enables you to get optimum quality audio output.
There is a lot of best sound card available in the market with different features that come along with various price tags.
I have done the treacherous job of finding out the best sound card available in the market, for you. Let us now have a look at the list of the sound cards available in the market along with their features, advantages, and disadvantages.
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REVIEW OF BEST SOUND CARD
1. CREATIVE SOUND BLASTER AUDIGY RX 7.1
Let me start the list of sound card with the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1. The RX 7.1 is a mid-priced sound card that is perfect for all your music, gaming, and movie needs. Although this sound card has a competitive price tag, some of the features it has to offer like, the built-in headphone amplifier, 7.1 channel support, gold plated connectors, are all hallmarks of a high-end sound card.
It has an SNR of 106 dB, which gives you the best audio quality omitting all other interferences. A headphone amplifier of 600 Ohm gives you the ability to power even the best studio headphones.
It offers low latency audio recordings with the support of ASIO drivers. The hardware-accelerated EAX effects enable you to use and enjoy several types of sound effects with ease. Thi card also features an advanced chipset and the Creative E-MU, which maintains the reverb engine EAX hardware sound acceleration.
The EAX settings can be tweaked using the EAX studio software, which puts you in the driver’s seat to adjust all EAX Advanced HD settings. The RX offers two microphone inputs, one headphone input, several line-ins, and one optical output.
The software excels in its reverb, pitch, and distortion effects. It also allows you to drastically change the audio to mask your voice. The RX 7.1 is a great sound card for all the features it has on the offering, but the sound card seems to offer less as compared to other sound card in this price range.
2. CREATIVE SOUND BLASTER Z PCIE SOUND CARD
Joining the list for the second time, the Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe gaming sound card is a robust, entry-level sound card with loads of features up its sleeve like, unexceptional audio, 5.1 surrounds sound support, a great microphone, and a comprehensive EQ solution that suits gamers, music lovers, and film watchers.
It has an SNR of 116 dB, which ensures low noise interference. The included beam forming microphone is small, and has a clip, so it can be attached to the top of monitors. Using the SBX Pro Studio Suite bundle on, you get the option to tweak the sounds, and also get access to several Creative tools and applications.
The manufacturer doesn’t provide a frequency response for the sound card. The Sound Blaster Z offers ASIO support, 24-bit 192kHz stereo direct audio, and 5.1 surround support. This card connects to your on-system audio decoder, or home theater by way of a single digital optical cable.
The embedded headphone amplifier of 600 Ohm gives you the ability to power even the best studio headphones, which are connected through the 3.5mm jacks. The microphone also sounds crisp, and it does a great job of reducing the ambient noise.
Sound Blaster Z is a best sound card that boasts loads of features, an exquisite microphone along with comprehensive EQ software. The sound card is recommended for everyone who seeks to enhance their system’s audio.
3. SEDNA PCIE 7.1 CHANNEL SOUND CARD
The third place in this list of the best sound card is taken up by the Sedna SE PCIe SC-10 PCIe 7.1 Channel sound card. This sound card creates a high-quality home theatre sound system, as it offers SPDIF input and output ports.
The sound card comes with 24-bit and 192kHz recording and playback, and it provides optimum quality crystal-clear digital optical audio, that gives you exquisite listening experience. The 7.1 surround sound adapter card delivers high-definition audio for superb sound quality. The sound card has an SNR of approximately 92 dB.
This best sound card is known for its versatile performances. It gives you access to SPDIF input and output options making it one of the best options you can go with for your needs in multiple situations. The SPDIF helps you connect the sound card to the output audio to give high-definition audio.
The sound card offers ASIO driver support, which ensures the low latency and the high-fidelity between the software and the Sedna sound card. The sound card also gives you an option of six 3.5mm mini-jacks.
The entire Sedna sound card package contains a sound card, a user manual, a driver CD, a low profile bracket for the sound card, and a low profile SPDIF bracket.
The sound card is compatible with Windows 10 (32bits/64bits), Windows 8/8.1 (32bits/64bits), Windows 7 (32bits/64bits), Windows Vista (32bits/64bits), and Windows XP (32bits/64bits). The sound card is recommended for people who want to have a high-definition home theatre audio experience.
4. STARTECH PCIe SATA III CONTROLLER CARD
StarTech PCIe SATA III controller card is a versatile best sound card works with almost every primary audio device. The sound card has a total of 4 ports, 2 each for internal and external, and this PCIe SATA 6 Gbps controller card adds 2 internal or external SATA ports to your computer through a single PCIe card slot.
The on-board jumper selection of the card allows you to configure the card to provide 2 internal or external SATA III. The SATA channels can be chopped and changed between the input and output ports, according to your needs.
The SATA III controller card boasts a port multiplier support on each port, which enables you to connect multiple drives over a single cable if it is necessary. The controller card complies with the much-coveted SATA revision 3.0, which can support high transfer rates of up to 6 Gbps.
Using this sound card enables you to upgrade an older PCIe system with SATA 6 Gbps connectivity to better utilize faster SATA drives.The sound card also complies with the standard SATA I and SATA II connections, which provide transfer rates of up to 1.5 Gbps and 2 Gbps respectively.
This feature also saves you quite a lot of money as it eliminates the device upgrading expenses. The sound card includes a full and a low-profile bracket for installation into the desktop of any size. It supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and ATA/ATAPI commands.
This sound card is compatible with a lot of operating systems like Windows 8 (32/64bit), Windows 7 (32/64bit), Windows Vista (32/64bit), and Windows XP (32/64bit). So over all this is also one among the best sound card.
5. ASUS XONAR SE 5.1 CHANNEL SOUND CARD
Another best sound card in my list is the Asus Xonar SE 5.1 Channel sound card. The Xonar SE is a budget-friendly and well designed, high-resolution 5.1 PCIe sound card, made up of high-quality components, specially made for gaming purposes.
The sound card produces 192kHz and 24-bit high-resolution impressive audio. The Realtek ALC1220X codec delivers high-fidelity crystal clear SNR of 116 dB, which ensures low noise interference. The sound card comes with a built-in 300 Ohm headphone amplifier that provides rich, detailed sound and defined bass.
The sound card can be controlled and the settings can be tweaked using the Xonar Audio Center software, which provides a user-friendly experience via an inviting and intuitive interface.
The Xonar Audio Center software suite enables you to get full control over every aspect of sound, from equalization to 5.1 speaker level-balancing. The Xonar SE is fully compatible with Windows 10, and features Windows Hardware Quality Labs support, which ensures great audio experience with minimal setup hassles.
The sound card features ASUS Hyper Grounding Technology PCB fabrication, ensuring minimal interference, cross-talk, and audio distortion. The Xonar SE sound card comes with a low-profile bracket to fit into mini chassis. It is a great gaming card that comes along with a low price tag and gives great performances.
6. ASUS SOUND CARD ESSENCE STX II
The sixth place in this list of the best sound card is taken up by the Asus Xonor Essence STX II PCIe sound card. This sound card is a premium card, which aims at getting the best out of your headsets, and is made for music rather than gaming purposes.
The 7.1-channel high-fidelity quality sound card features an SNR of 124dB, which ensures low noise interference. The sound card has a BurrBrown PCM1792 DAC-chip, a model also used in many premium audio equipment. To reduce the jitter Asus uses a premium TCXO clock source.
It features a top-notch headphone amplifier that supports up to 600 Ohm headphone impedance. The amplifiers use MUSES 8920 and 8820 chips, to provide spacious sound imaging. The sound card is powered by LDO TPS 7A4700 si 7A3301 regulators, which deliver cleaner voltage.
The STX II is designed for high-sensitivity IEM headphones, with low impedance and high efficiency.The sound card features swappable op-amp sockets that enable you to create different timbres and tonal combinations.
The entire kit comes with a swap kit that includes 3 additional op-amps, 2 Texas Instruments LME49720s, MUSES 8820, and a clamp tool that makes it easy to remove the op-amp microchips.
The Asus Xonar Essence STX II is a great sound card made for music lovers and is recommended for everyone who doesn’t mind spending a lot of money to get premium-quality audio. Asus is a huge name in this industry and this best sound card won’t disappoint you.
7. EVGA NU AUDIO CARD
The Evga NU audio card is on the expensive side of the list of the best sound card. This sound card from Evga was made for playing back source material as close to the original creation, with minimal filtering. The NU audio card is filled with premium-grade components like Nichicon solid-state capacitors and audio-grade resistors.
The audio card boasts an SNR of 121 dB that ensures low noise interference. It also comes with a headphone amplifier that supports up to 600 Ohm headphone impedance. The NU audio card has an XMOS xCORE-200 DSP.
The NU audio board has a silver and gold-plated construction with multi-layer PCB to decrease the noise transfer and interference. It boasts an AKM AK4493 32-bit DAC that feeds the balanced linear phase low-pass filter.
The audio card consists of ADI AD8056 dual op-amp, which can be upgraded according to your needs. The external I/O on the audio card consists of gold-plated stereo line-outs, a 6.3mm headphone output, 3.5mm line, microphone inputs, and a SPDIF output.
The setup and installing of the sound card is simple. The software installation needs negligible human interaction and is easy to use.
The main four control panel screens consist of a volume controls (for the headphone, speaker, and microphone inputs and output), simple equalizer controls with six locations to save presets, RGB lighting controls, and a setup page for localization. The Evga NU audio card works great for listening to music, watching movies, and even playing games.
8. PADARSEY PCIE SOUND CARD
The Padarsey PCIe sound card supports high-resolution 5.1 surrounds sound audio stereo. This sound card is great for movie lovers, music enthusiasts, and hard-core gamers. The sound card enables you to easily convert the PC into a cinematic entertainment system by providing you with 3D stereo surround sound.
The Padarsey PCIe sound card is affordable, but also has some great components in the sound card hardware, which is a testimony to the great value this product has in the offering, owing to its rightful place in this list.
This sound card has a powerful CMI8738 chip in the heart of the hardware. The PCIe 5.1 sound card supports 32/64-bit audio processing, recording, and playback. It has a 16-bit multimedia digital signal editing decoder inside.
This cheaply priced sound card comes with a low profile bracket for 2U cases, making it your best sound card choice for PC desktops.
This sound card is effective, especially with older systems, where the audio is much worse. The 5.1 surround sound is definitely something you will like no matter what you are up to.
The sound card software is easy to install and use the software. It supports direct sound, A3D, EAX, and HRTF 3D tone. The sound card is compatible with Windows 7, Windows XP, and Windows 10.
9. INTEFIRE SOUND CARD
The Intefire PCIe sound card supports high-resolution 5.1 surround sound audio stereo for PC. This best sound card has the capability to easily convert your PC into a cinematic entertainment system by providing a 5.1 3D stereo surrounding sound.
Thus it is a great option for movie lovers as it enhances the sound system of your PC drastically. In the heart of the sound card, resides the CMI8738 chip that supports 32/64-bit audio processing, recording, and playback.
The sound card is not a great asset, but because of its affordable price tag, it deserved a place in this list. It has a 16-bit multimedia digital signal editing decoder inside. The Intefire sound card comes with a low profile bracket for 2U cases, making it your best sound cards for PC desktops.
It is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows XP. The 5.1 PCIe sound card also supports direct sound, A3D, and EAX, HRTF 3D tone. It is recommended for people who have an old and mediocre PC to liven up their systems audio and exploit its full potential.
10. HT OMEGA FENIX PCIE SOUND CARD
Rounding off this list of the best sound card is the HT Omega Fenix PCIe sound card. The Fenix will take the audio of your PC to a whole new level. The Omega Fenix is powered by the C Media CM18828 chipset.
It uses 7.1 channel surround sound with the help of analog, optical, and co-axial outputs, which enables you to get exquisite cinematic audio experience from your PC. The sound card has a sample rate of up to 24-bit and 192kHz and supports playback and recording features.
The front panel audio support consists of a couple of optical connectors for input and output of SPDIF, along with a built-in gold plated RCA connector offering a coaxial output of up to 192kHz. The Fenix uses high-quality op-amps for every analog channel, with a swappable socket type op-amp at the front channel out.
The Op-amps can be swapped for headphones and front output. They can also be exchanged when you wish to upgrade sound color. There is also an audio pin built in the front panel that can be used for HD audio connections.
The SPDIF optical outputs are useful for expanding the system audio with an additional amplifier that enables you to transfer audio without hampering the quality. The sound card also boasts Xear Magic Voice that helps you in masking your voice during an online chat. The sound card is great for gaming and watching movies.
This was my list of the sound card. I hope this list helps you choose amongst the sound card, according to your needs and choices, available in the market at your disposal.
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