Find the Best sound card 2018

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

by Frank / Last Modified:

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 the best external sound cards around, which you’ll find below our top 10 internal sound cards list.

So What Is The Best Sound Card?

  1. ASUS PCI-Express x1 Sound Card XONAR ESSENCE STX II
  2. Creative SoundBlasterX ZxR – Best Soundcard for gaming
  3. Creative Soundblaster AE5 Gaming Soundcard
  4. ASUS STRIX SOAR Sound Card
  5. Sound Blaster Z PCIE Gaming Sound Card
  6. HT OMEGA CLARO II 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card
  7. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIE RX 7.1 Sound Card
  8. Asus Xonar GHX PCIe GX2.5 5.1
  9. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX
  10. StarTech 7.1 Channel Sound Card PEXSOUND7CH

10. StarTech 7.1 Channel Sound Card PEXSOUND7CH

Sale
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

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.

For the reasonable price, 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

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.

The Sputs 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

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

2. Creative SoundBlasterX ZxR – Best Soundcard for gaming

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.

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.

So What Is the Best External Soundcard?

  1. Creative Sound BlasterX G5
  2. Creative Sound Blaster Omni
  3. ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5
  4. Sewell Direct Soundbox Pro SW-30415
  5. Creative Sound BlasterX G1
  6. Startech External Soundcard

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

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
x5.1 surround soundx
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?

Other Posts You May Like:
» If you’re looking for a great stereo sound card – we have a post on the Best Stereo DAC’s
» Top 10: Best Gaming Headsets under $100
» The Best Headphone Stand From Style & Function to DIY

The Best Sound Cards Of 2019 (Internal & External) – PC Gaming Builds was last modified: July 31st, 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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