Find the Best sound card 2018

The Best Sound Cards Of 2019 (Internal & External) – PC Gaming Builds

In Best Of, PC Components by FrankLast Modified: / 7 Comments

Today, we will be taking a look at ten of the best sound cards for the PC. These sound cards may range in price, features, and aesthetics, but one thing is true for all of them, and that is that they will be just what you need to not only play a game, but to experience a game.

We also have looked at the best external sound cards around, which you’ll find below our top 10 internal sound cards.

10. StarTech 7.1 Channel Sound Card PEXSOUND7CH

StarTech.com 7.1 Channel Sound Card
  • Add hi-fi digital optical 7.1 surround sound to your computer through PCIe
  • 7.1 Channel PCIe Sound Card

If you can get past the StarTech 7.1 Sound Cards looks, then this is a very affordable 7.1 Surround sound card. It’s a very versatile device, that will allow you to use it in many ways, while still maintaining a small size.

Pros

  • 7.1 Surround
  • Small Form Factor
  • Optical, SPDIF & 3.5mm outputs

Cons

  • Not the best design
  • No EMI Shield

9. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX – Amazon Besteller and Cheapest Sound card

Sale
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX 5.1 Sound Card
  • Easily converts the PC into a cinematic entertainment system by providing a compelling 5.1...
  • Advanced Audio Processing with SBX Pro Studio, a suite of Sound Blaster audio processing...

If you’re just looking for something cheap, then the Audigy FX should be your go-to option, as you can see below, it is easily the cheapest option on this list. That’s not to say that it’s bad, as it features 5.1 surround sound and actually impressive sound production. For someone who just wants to try an interal sound card, the Audigy FX is a good choice.

Pros

  • Best seller for a reason
  • Supports 5.1 Surround
  • Very Affordable

Cons

  • Don’t use the CD, download driver from creative
  • No EMI Shield

8. Asus Xonar GHX PCIe GX2.5 5.1 – Best sound card under $50

Sale
ASUS Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5 5.1 Sound Card
  • Built-In Headphone AMP. Powers up every sound detail in gaming. 3 headphone Amp gain modes for...
  • Dolby Headphone for an immersive 5.1 surround imaging

Overall this is a very good sound card for the price, depending on the time of year there may even be mail in rebates to drop this price even further. As it’s from Asus, you get a good software package that is bundled with the sound card.

Pros

  • Cheap (with rebates too!)
  • 5.1 surround sound

Cons

  • Need to download driver from website (Win 10)
  • No EMI Shield

7. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIE RX 7.1 Sound Card

Sale
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIE RX 7.1 Sound Card
  • Advanced chipset is designed to process the legendary EAX reverb engine for powerful enhanced...
  • Immerse yourself in full cinematic 7.1 multi-channel audio, perfect for games, movies and music

At such a cheap price, the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for something on a budget. Coming in at around $60, you’ll be getting 7.1 surround sound for your games at the cost of one triple A title. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, then the Audigy is hard to beat.

Pros

  • Great Value
  • 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Lousy software (but improving)
  • No EMI Shield

6. HT OMEGA CLARO II 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card

HT OMEGA CLARO II 7.1 Sound Card
  • CMI8788 Audio Processor
  • 24-bit/192kHz AK4396VF front channel

I’m a huge fan of the HT Omega CLARO Sound Cards design and sound.

The CLARO’s straightforward and elegant design help it stand out It also has a very good audio processor that just brings out an amazing output from both headphones and speakers.

Regretfully, I downrated this soundcard as it only has PCI connectivity.

Pros

  • Great Audio Processor
  • 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Linux and Windows support

Cons

  • No PCI Express support

5. Sound Blaster Z PCIE Gaming Sound Card

Sale
Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card
  • Includes an external high quality dual-microphone array standard with card. Supported operating...
  • Features Sound Core3D Audio Processor for accelerating advanced audio and voice technologies

If you’re looking for a stylish sound card that has earned the trust of many gamers, then the Sound Blaser Z PCIE, is a sound card to look out for. The only complaint I have with the Sound Blaster Z isn’t the hardware itself, but the software. It doesn’t support Linux and even Windows has some issues. This card annihilates any onboard sound card that’s on the market and has truly earned its place as one of the best sound cards for gaming.

Pros

  • Reasonably Affordable
  • Built in Mic
  • Easily switch between headphones and speakers

Cons

  • Software isn’t the best

4. ASUS STRIX SOAR Sound Card

ASUS STRIX SOAR Sound Card
  • Crystal Clear Audio - 116dB SNR and ESS SABRE9006A DAC for supreme audio performance and...
  • Innovative audio software - Sonic Studio lets users intuitive control all audio aspects and...

The Asus STRIX SOAR sound card fulfills all the points of a high-quality gaming sound card that puts out some amazing sound for a decent price, but where this Sound Card truly stands out is not in the hardware, but the software. Asus’s Sonic Studio has to be one of the best software I’ve ever seen for sound cards as it allows you to completely tailor your sound card to your specific values.

Pros

  • Great Software
  • 600 Ohm headphone AMP
  • Great Sound

Cons

  • Needs external 6-pin connector to power

3. Creative Soundblaster AE5 Gaming Soundcard

No products found.

The newest soundard on the block is aimed directly at gamers – with RGB lighting and specialized software.

Pros

  • New!
  • 32 bit DAC
  • 7.1 Surround Sound

Cons

  • Works best with Windows 10
  • Connection to power lights is not available on all motherboards

2. Creative SoundBlasterX ZxR – Best Soundcard for gaming

Sale
Creative SoundBlasterX ZxR
  • CrystalVoice Voice Enhancement and Clarity Technology, express yourself and be heard crystal...
  • CrystalVoice FX, forge your own unique team identity in crystal clear audio; match your voice...

Overall, the SoundBlaster ZXR, while expensive offers as many features as you may need.
Packaged with an Audio control module for easy volume adjustment is a great addition and only quality parts are used in this gaming soundcard.

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Far better gaming audio than onboard
  • Built in microphone

Cons

  • only 5.1 surround
    • Daughter board isn’t always used
    • Expensive

    1. ASUS PCI-Express x1 Sound Card XONAR ESSENCE STX II

    Best Sound card – Internal Configuration

    Sale
    ASUS Sound Card Essence STX II
    • Keeping the audiophile spirit and philosophy alive
    • Legendary audio quality that just got better

    If you’d like a high-end internal sound card that brings out the clearest of sounds in speakers and in headphones, then I’d recommend you get the Xonar Essence.

    If you’re looking for an audiophile quality internal soundcard, then this is the one to get. It’s going to cost you some money, though. If you are an audiophile, then looking to an external sound card (or DAC) is likely your best bet.

    Pros

    • Audiophile Internal Soundcard
    • Great Stereo Sound
    • Optical and 5mm sound output

    Cons

    • Expensive Drivers
    • Expensive

    Best External Sound Cards

    We also need to speak about the opportunity to also have external sound cards for gaming.

    We will categorize the difference between a digital analog converter (DAC) and an external sound card.

    We assume that anything that is capable of producing a surround sound will be an external sound card. A DAC has a sole purpose of delivering sound out to a speaker or a headphone in stereo format.

    Certainly a big benefit you would want to consider getting an external card is to further reduce the electrical interference produced from all the other components within your computer.

    This interference is what causes that annoying buzzing sound you can hear.

    The internal sound cards above do their best to protect against this interference by shielding their components as best they can.

    We’ve outlined 6 of the best external sound cards at varying budget levels.

    All of these are USB Sound cards.

    6. Startech External Soundcard

    Startech External Soundcard
    • 7.1 SOUND CARD: This 1.7 USB sound card turns your laptop or desktop PC into a 7.1-channel home...
    • COST-SAVING UPGRADE: With support for analog and digital audio output for stereo to 7.1 channel...
    • BUILT-IN FEATURES: The external sound card features easy-to-use volume control and two external...


    This external sound card turns your ordinary laptop or desktop into a 7.1 channel home theater-ready system.

    It’s wicked cheap, but will provide very good sound for the price you’re paying.

    Pros

    • Dual-Mic input
    • Ten ports should be enough for anyone
    • 7.1 Surround Sound support

    Cons

    • S/PDIF limitations
    • Mic quality not ideal
    • No software provided

    5. Creative Sound BlasterX G1

    Sale
    Creative Sound BlasterX G1 USB Soundcard
    • Supports true 7.1 channel audio input signals for realistic virtualization of gaming effects...
    • Enhance your gaming experience through the headphone amplifier, capable of driving a wide range...
    • Powerful and fully customizable BlasterX Acoustic Engine, powers the Sound BlasterX G1 to...

    A super portable and effective external sound card.

    Creative is geared traditionally towards gamers, with software packages. But this soundcard is a very good choice for anyone looking to upgrade their sound on the cheap.

    Pros

    • Affordable
    • Portable and pocket-sized
    • 7.1 virtual surround sound

    Cons

    • No volume controls
    • no separate mic/line input

    4. Sewell Direct Soundbox Pro SW-30415

    Sewell Direct Soundbox Pro SW-30415
    • Supports 7.1 channel output; front RCA connectors, 3 x 3.5mm stereo outputs: rear R/L, side R/L...
    • Playback supported at 24-bit 192/96/48/44.1 kHz, THD at -90 dB and SNR at 100 dB
    • Recording supported at 24-bit 192/96/48/44.1 kHz, THD at -85 dB and SNR at 100 dB

    Being one of the only external sound cards on this list that has RCA connectors, this is a great all around device that offers basically every connection type available.

    Pros

    • High sample rate
    • 7.1 surround sound
    • Good resolution

    Cons

    • Low supply,
      can lead to expensive prices

    3. ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5

    True 5.1 Channel output in HD, you won’t believe it can come from a compact USB powered device.

    ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5
    • True 5.1-channel HD (192kHz/24-bit) surround sound from a compact USB-powered device
    • 104dB signal-to-analog ratio (SNR) ensures pure sound
    • Sonic Studio provides complete control over loads of sound technologies

    The ASUS Xonar U5 is an external sound card that’s capable of delivering true 5.1-channel surround sound.

    Primarily it is aimed at audio starved gamers using laptops. It has a simple design, but it comes with a bevy of connectivity features that made this device a strong option in its price range.

    Pros

    • High sample rate
    • 5.1 surround sound

    Cons

    • Not many (unless you need 7.1 surround)

    2. Creative Sound Blaster Omni

    Sale
    Creative Sound Blaster Omni
    • Hear the power of sound blaster technology on your PC and Mac with our SBX Pro Studio and...
    • Advanced audio technology that delivers 5.1 discrete channels of vibrant sound for your digital...
    • Easily converts the PC into a cinematic entertainment system by providing a compelling 5.1...

    This small device is able to include everything in a small package.

    If you’re looking for great sound, and have an included microphone – this is the device to get.

    Pros

    • High sample rate
    • 5.1 surround sound
    • Built-in microphone

    Cons

    • Not many (unless you need 7.1 surround)

    1. Creative Sound BlasterX G5

    Sale
    Creative Sound BlasterX G5
    • Native 7.1 Surround Sound Support
    • Immersive 3D PC Gaming Audio
    • Best-in-class Console Gaming Audio

    7.1 Surround sound headphone output, this sound card can also give you an edge when playing games.

    While focused more so at gamers, this sound card offers very good sound reproduction for other uses as well.

    Another impressive external sound card from Creative.

    Pros

    • Audiophile quality Digital Analog Converter (DAC)
    • 7.1 Surround
    • Great sound

    Cons

    • Volume knob in awkward location
    • Not many connections available

    Conclusion..

    So which do you choose, internal sound card or external?

    Personally, I would recommend the external sound cards – as they provide an even greater chance of eliminating interference and they offer more flexibility (installing on laptops, other computers etc).

    In addition, you can usually find a better external sound card for less money!

    What do you think; External or internal?

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    The Best Sound Cards Of 2019 (Internal & External) – PC Gaming Builds was last modified: June 15th, 2019 by Frank

    Comments 7

    1. I’ve been looking for something that can handle wavetables through Cakewalk software, as my onboard audio seems to choke on it. The creative Soundblaster X sounds like a good choice! Thanks so much for this article.

    2. What receiver/speakers do you recommend for a living room setup? about 15×21 size room, but utilizing the left side of it (about 15×15 space). 7.1 speakers please.

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