9 Best External Sound Cards in 2019 for Your PC

External sound cards are for anyone, not just professional musicians and hardcore audiophiles. They can transform ordinary PCs and laptops into full-fledged multimedia centers capable of driving even the most expensive headphones and speakers. Unfortunately, the integrated or default sound card found inside your motherboard or in your PC is often not enough to bring you immersive, high quality sound.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CreativeCreative Sound Blaster X7 High-Resolution USB DAC 600Buy on Amazon|$289.12(Price as of 09/12/2019 23:59 ET)
CreativeCreative Sound BlasterX G5 7.1 Headphone Surround HD Audio External Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$109.99(Price as of 09/12/2019 23:59 ET)
Sewell DirectSewell Direct Soundbox Pro External USB Sound CardCheck Price on Amazon
StarTech7.1 USB Audio Adapter External Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$32.36(Price as of 09/12/2019 23:59 ET)
PECHAMBeexcellent External USB Stereo Sound CardCheck Price on Amazon

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That’s where an external sound card comes in for your PC or laptop. These are beneficial in a number of ways, first meaning that you don’t have to open up your PC or laptop and find a way to fit in new hardware — you can simply plug an external sound card in via a USB port. Plug it in, and with a pair of headphones or speaker system that can take advantage of it, your sound experience will be completely transformed.

So are you not sure what external sound card to pick up for your PC or laptop? Follow along below, and we’ll show you seven of our favorites on the market today.

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi

Creative is a leader in external sound cards, making their brand an excellent option to use over the stock or integrated card you have. Creative’s X-Fi is able to easily connect up to any home theater system, speaker setup or headphones to bring you some beautiful 5.1 surround sound technology. Not only that, but many of the slots on the Sound Blaster X-Fi are gold-plated to prevent rust as well as a better transmission.

This is also quite easy to install, even if you aren’t familiar with technology. It operates over USB 2.0, so it’s literally just a cable to plug into your computer or laptop’s USB port. This external card even comes with its own IR remote, which allows you to mute, adjust volume, play/pause, and so much more.

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi 5.1 Surround Pro

Also from Creative, this one will bring you some excellent sound capability. This audio system will be able to upgrade your sound ability quickly.

This one connects up to your studio setup via a single digital cable, and is able to output some excellent audio performance. Your PC will need to at least have an integrated audio chip, but most hardware does today.

This one actually comes with both microphone and headphone jacks for better voice recording ability, or for more private or detailed listening via headphones.

Creative BlasterX G6

Next up, we have another choice from Creative, this time the BlasterX G6. This is one of the best external sound cards that you can buy today, allowing you to make some massive and immersive sound upgrades to your gaming system, your computer setup, and more. Want better, more clear sound over what your integrated sound card can provide? This is it.

Creative’s BlasterX G6 provides industry-leading audio processing technology, upgrading almost any sound system instantly. Users will have full audio customization with the BlasterX G6, as well as enhanced audio realism over immersive 7.1 surround sound virtualization. It’s not true surround sound, but it does get pretty close. If you’re a gamer at all, the BlasterX G6 has a feature called Scout Mode, which works to specifically enhance in-game audio cues, letting you hear your enemies before they hear you.

 

Creative Sound Blaster X7

Aimed at serious gamers and audio enthusiasts, the Sound Blaster X7 external USB sound card features a powerful amplifier with low-latency Bluetooth connectivity and Dolby Digital decoder, allowing you to stream audio wirelessly from your mobile devices. The sound card is built around the state-of-the-art SB-Axx1 multi-core Digital Signal Processor (DSP) capable of voice processing, audio restoration, and proprietary effects processing. The X7 supports high-resolution audio playback of up to 24-bit 192kHz, and it can effortlessly drive any headphones up to 600 Ohms. At almost $350, the sound card is far from cheap, but you can rest assured that you’re getting an excellent value for your money.

External USB Sound Card

If you don’t have a sound card, or don’t know about adding an external one, you might want to consider this USB option. Plug it int your PC or laptop, and you’re ready to go.

It easily converts a computer USB port into a sound card, and still allows compatibility with any existing 3.5mm audio headphones, headsets, speakers or microphones. It’s not the most attractive piece of hardware, but does at least get the job done for you.

This one is obviously most ideal for bypassing broken sound cards, and might not be a true option that can upgrade existing sound that you have.

Creative Sound BlasterX G5

Not every gamer or fan of music can spend hundreds of dollars on a sound card, and that’s perfectly understandable. After all, the law of diminishing returns states that more expensive sound cards sound only marginally better after you pass a certain point. The Sound BlasterX G5 could easily be this point. We can wholeheartedly recommend it to all gamers, streamers, YouTubers, and audio enthusiasts who would like to experience what high-fidelity audio sounds like without spending too much money. The card itself is small, yet it includes all key features, such as native 7.1 surround sound support, 3D audio, Baster Acoustic Engine Pro, audiophile-grade headphone amplifier, and built-in SB-Axx1 audio processor.

Sewell Direct Soundbox Pro

If you have an audio device that connects using the RCA connector, you naturally want a USB sound card that allows you to plug it directly without any adapters. Perhaps surprisingly, there’s not really that many high-quality sound cards with RCA connectors. The Sewell Direct Soundbox Pro features front RCA connectors, 3 standard 3.5mm outputs for surround sound, 1 line-in 3.5mm input, a dedicated microphone connector, and 2 optical connectors for SPDIF input and output. With such outstanding connectivity options, you can easily use any audio device you come across, including bookshelf speakers, mixers, amplifiers, mixing boards, and many others.

StarTech.com 7.1 USB Sound Card

The StarTech external USB sound card may not look as stylish as many high-end cards from Creative, but it fully makes up for its modest exterior with its outstanding features. It supports 2 to 7.1 channel analog and digital audio, handles 44.1 KHz and 48 KHz sampling rates for both playback and recording, and the front-panel includes just about every audio connecter you might ever need. Included in the box is only the sound card itself and a USB cable, and that’s not a bad thing. It means that the manufacturer focused on sound quality instead of spending money on features that would only impress people who have no need for high-quality sound in the first place.

Beexcellent External USB Sound Card

The most affordable sound card on this list is also the most unique. The Beexcellent sound card combines a USB hub with 2 audio outputs and 1 microphone input. The card connects to your PC via a long USB 2.0 cable with an integrated noise-reduction magnetic ring. A sound card like this is great for travel, and it’s also perfect for people who have decided to build a gaming rig using a server motherboard.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CreativeCreative Sound Blaster X7 High-Resolution USB DAC 600Buy on Amazon|$289.12(Price as of 09/12/2019 23:59 ET)
CreativeCreative Sound BlasterX G5 7.1 Headphone Surround HD Audio External Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$109.99(Price as of 09/12/2019 23:59 ET)
Sewell DirectSewell Direct Soundbox Pro External USB Sound CardCheck Price on Amazon
StarTech7.1 USB Audio Adapter External Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$32.36(Price as of 09/12/2019 23:59 ET)
PECHAMBeexcellent External USB Stereo Sound CardCheck Price on Amazon

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Verdict

Here we’ve shown you seven of our favorite external sound cards that you can use for your PC or laptop. Hook any one of these up to a USB port, and you can start to take advantage of new heights in sound quality. Do you have a external sound card that you’re planning on picking up? Let us know in the comments section below.