9 Best Sound Cards in 2019

Using your computer is just not the same without sound. In this case, finding the best sound card is necessary for you to make the most of your viewing, gaming, and using experience. Sure, you may have a legacy sound chip installed in your purchased motherboard or laptop, but it does not always make the cut. Particular to those who like to hear their sounds with more depth, breadth, and spectrum, a sound card compensates to what the usual sound hardware is lacking. From the software that enables the user to hear more detail to the overall solution that makes audio listening a pleasure, different sound cards cater to various needs from a variety of users.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CreativeSound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$94.99(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)
AsusASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res 116dB SNR PCIe Gaming Sound Card with Windows 10 CompatibilityBuy on Amazon|$41.21(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)
CreativeCreative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$69.99(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)

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What are the best sound cards in 2019 that you should consider checking? Depending on your preference, whether internal or external, you’ll be able to find the one you need. With different names, brands, and specifications available in the market, there’s a sound card that’s right for you.


Creative Sound Blaster Z

For those who want an all-around solution for their gaming and entertainment needs, Creative’s Sound Blaster Z should be an option to think about. One distinct feature that makes this sound card stand out from the rest is its external Sound Blaster Beamforming Microphone that offers crystal clear voice communication. When it comes to other brands, they only provide mic support as a port for jack-connected third-party computer or chatting microphones.

When it comes to audio performance, the Sound Blaster Z provides a signal-to-noise ratio of over 116 decibels. This simply indicates that even at the noise level reaching to 116 decibels, the signal being produced to provide sound is as clear and as sharp – definitely way clearer if the signals are created in a more silent and serene environment. Disruptive background noise, such as computer fans buzzing, or wind indirectly blowing is a thing of the past when chatting to someone via the mic or listening to music. Compared to the stock motherboard, Creative’s sound quality is 35.4 times better!

The company also considered content creators during the inception of the Sound Blaster Z, from latency, to output, and even connection. With Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO) support, you’ll be able to process your audio and video recordings with lesser latency, especially if you’re using your computer as a media center for podcasts, video blogs, or editing your material. Pure music and sound can be heard seamlessly with over 24 bits and 192kHz, provided via Stereo Direct that’s perfectly distributed for left and right hearing with consistency and precision. Connecting your speakers, microphones, and our jack-supported audio equipment to the Sound Blaster Z will never make those static, jitter, or popping noises thanks to the gold-plated connectors that tend to last longer than with conventional connectors. Creative included other technologies that make content creation convenient with speaker optimization and digital content encoding capability that significantly improves overall output quality.

The Sound Blaster Z also provides a gateway to realistic and immersive audio with the SBX Pro Studio technology that improves the quality of how audio is processed to speakers and headsets. Both the SBX Pro Studio and the CrystalVoice Focus microphone enhancement are managed by the onboarded Sound Core3D audio processor that dedicatedly takes care of running audio improvement technologies instead of having the said process being executed by the motherboard’s CPU.

BENGOO External Audio Adapter

One of the common reasons why people purchase external USB sound cards like the BENGOO External Audio Adapter is due to faulty and defective earphone jacks or the internal sound card in laptop or desktop computers. If you’re in a pinch and you need to purchase something practical and economic, then obtaining devices like BENGOO should be more than enough of a solution. After all, it has been designed to be a quick fix when buying a sound card or having your unit repaired is a costlier option. With the external audio adapter installed in the USB port, you could have your headphones, speakers, headsets, even your auxiliary cables work better than it did without the device. It also works on both iOS and Windows systems, even on Chromebooks and Linux too!

Other than providing ports when your sound card is defective, the BENGOO External Audio Adapter delivers better sound quality that you’ll never look back to returning to your old setup. With the volume dial accessible on the sound card, it will boost your audio, not just sound per se, but also the quality due to the surround effect that can be configured in the downloadable software. It’s also simple to use as you only need to plug the USB sound card with nothing to install. With existing buttons on the device such as microphone and earphone mute button, it’s easy to switch to whatever plugged audio equipment you want to use.

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX

If you’re looking for Sound Blaster that’s half the size, but still full on features and performance, the Audigy FX from Creative should meet your expectations. Considered to be a perfect upgrade, you’re in for some audiophilic experience as Creative upgraded from dual audio ports into a configurable 5.1 system setup that’s excellent for those who are into watching movies, playing exhilarating video games, or listening to wonderful music while being immersed into true-to-life sound delivery. Playback is at its best range of 24 bits and 192kHz, which lets you hear actual sound as it’s carried from the source to the speaker. Couple it with a 106-decibel signal-to-noise ratio and a 600-ohm headphone amplifier, and you won’t be missing any valuable detail with what your hearing.

Worried that the half-size sound card may not fit your full-height PC? The Audigy FX also comes with full-height and half-height frames that provides you the flexibility of fitting it to your computer case and setup of choice. The customization does not stop with the frame. If you have a 5.1 channel speaker that’s waiting to be connected, the PCI sound card can cater to it with ease; all for your listening pleasure. And because the Audigy FX is a prodigy that presents flexibility to its users, its connectors also cater to needs, such as independently using the in-line and microphone jacks that could be from entirely different gadgets.

And in case you need to personalize your sound card settings, such as 3D effects, equalizer and mixer options, along with adding some extra oomph when you need it, the Sound Blaster Audigy FX also comes with an SBX Pro Studio suite. Set your sound system with deeper bass, optimize subwoofers, and even enhance dialog audio that avoids voices being drowned from the improved music and sound effects.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CreativeSound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$94.99(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)
AsusASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res 116dB SNR PCIe Gaming Sound Card with Windows 10 CompatibilityBuy on Amazon|$41.21(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)
CreativeCreative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$69.99(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)

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StarTech 7.1 USB Audio Adapter

Connectible via a USB 2.0 port, the StarTech 7.1 USB Audio Adapter is an excellent solution for those who’d like to level up their audio listening experience without the need of purchasing expensive hardware or breaking the computer apart to install a new sound card. The external audio adapter runs on plug-and-play that’s easy to connect to different laptops or computers without the worry of installing drivers or compatibility issues across operating systems. It’s also capable of running both analog and digital audio, from two to seven speakers, which provides a viable option for any setup you want, from earphones, to home theater systems, and even to entertainment packages that support a 7.1 channel output.

One thing that’s peculiar with the 7.1 USB Audio Adapter is that it has two microphone jacks – something that’s not usually found with other brands or models. This is an excellent option for those who’d like to use more than two microphones, whether in events or singing some karaoke duet. As for the interface accessible via the external buttons, you have master volume buttons, along with a mic and volume mute.

When it comes to audio quality, StarTech assures that the external audio adapter would produce sound that’s considerable of the purchase. Analog playback, commonly accessible via the 3.5mm jacks, could support 44.1 kHz to 48 kHz of high-quality sound. Via the SPDIF, the optic digital connection can accommodate 48 kHz, letting you hear audio that’s clear, crisp, and detailed.

Upon purchase, you could use the StarTech 7.1 USB Audio Adapter directly into different Windows operating systems from XP, to Vista, and to the recent Windows 7, 8, and 10. It also includes a USB cable, an installation CD for the additional software, and an instruction manual.


ASUS Xonar SE

ASUS’ Xonar SE gives you a listening experience that sharpens your ear and lets you dominate all – in viewing movies, in playing video games, and in hearing your preferred music. As this PCIe sound card is intended to provide gamers with exceptional sound, expect that the craftsmanship, together with the technologies included, are all focused with the best in mind.

High resolution audio, specifically with support for a maximum of 192kHz 24-bit, brings out clarity and sharpness with the sound played. This brings out the detail when setting your equalizer to optimize how your treble delivers the well-defined music you’re looking for. Since the sound card can support a 5.1 channel output, it can render excellent audio intended for home-theater systems. The 116dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) also utilizes the signals being played from the internal sound card so that even at high volumes, you will not hear buzzing or static that’s usually prevalent in low-class audio equipment. With amazing highs and deep lows, especially when you’re dedicated to hearing your games or music through the headphone, the built-in 300ohm amplifier provides rich and full sound, even to the faintest of detail.

ASUS makes its Xonar SE distinct from other internal sound cards by its meticulous Hyper Grounding PCB fabrication technology. What it does is it reduces audio distortion and interference with the use of strong insulation that promotes stable signals, avoiding component crosstalk. This technology also strengthens the performance of the circuit board’s parts through analog, ground, and digital layering.

Included in the ASUS Xonar SE is the Xonar Audio Center Suite that lets you take control of how you want your listening experience should sound. From equalization, speaker balancing, to optimizing how your device delivers audio quality, you can do everything with a user-friendly and intuitive interface. Known to work well with Windows 10, though it also works with other compatible backward systems, the sound card is enhanced further with the Windows Hardware Quality labs that increases the audio experience by a notch, without all the hassle.


Creative Sound Blaster Omni

For those who want to experience the power of a Creative Sound Blaster, there’s no need to replace your existing sound card for the audio kick you want to hear. In fact, you could just purchase the Omni, an external sound card that can be operated via a USB port, completely improving your current sound setup with a simple and seamless connection. Compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, the Sound Blaster Omni can easily convert your computer or laptop to become a powerful viewing device that produces 5.1-channel quality sound, together with effects that provide a dimension to how you experience your audio, whether in games, movies, or music.

The Sound Blaster Omni has amped the audio performance for its users. For one, there’s a Dolby Digital Live technology that’s supported by the device. With a single optical cable that could accommodate converting ordinary sound into 5.1 channels, you’ll experience hearing in-depth, in full detail, with vibrant surround sound as if you have a home theater setup without the additional hardware. For the serious gamers or the critical audiophiles that aim for deeper and richer audio, the 600-ohm headphone amplifier brings in the bass and the treble with clarity. Another unique technology applied by Creative when it comes to gaming, Scout Mode is designed to let you hear the competition from farther distances. This is particularly valuable in first-person shooting games as certain sounds that indicate enemy proximity is enhanced, adding realism to how certain video games are supposed to be played and enjoyed.

Though the external sound adapter is mainly created for producing quality sound, Creative also added microphone technologies that makes the Omni even more desirable. There are two built-in microphones that focus on enhancing the user’s voice and minimizing background and environmental noise. Though it sounds too good to be true for a device that’s not near-to-mouth-and-ear, the CrystalVoice technology enables mic features that performs like a Bluetooth headset.

StarTech PCI Sound Adapter Card

Even though the StarTech PCI Sound Adapter Card is thin and looks a little less than other brands and models, the performance and features it offers prove to be worth the purchase. For starters, you can enhance your audio output with 4 channels, instead of the usual 2, providing you better sound quality that’s distributed across speakers for that surround kind of feel when you watch movies, play video games, or listen to music. With accessibility via 3.5mm mini-jacks, you could plug your sound system easy and ready to use.

For those who are looking for a different kind of listening experience apart from the conventional, the PCI sound adapter from StarTech improves the way you hear your audio with the Environmental Audio Extensions (EAX) technology. Commonly heard from Creative, EAX lets listeners perceive sound the way they look at the source. This goes well with the 5.1 channel support, especially when you’re interested in hearing your music move the way how visuals move. For those who are interested in using their computer for recording music, there are features such as the Karaoke Key and the Echo sound effects that gives your computer a whole new purpose.

The sound adapter also fares well with audiophiles that seek for clarity and richer detail. It can support playing audio up to 48kHz or 16-bit sampling rates, way better than sound produced by legacy onboard sound cards. For the gamer that usually plays with the headset on, you’ll hear your games with much bass thanks to the built-in 32-ohm earphone buffer. With full-duplex operation for recording and playback, it means that you can do more tasks all at once, instead of just using the mic and muting it when you need to play music.

ASUS Xonar DG

A sound card designed for the digital gamer? The ASUS Xonar DG is designed to provide gamers an immersive audio experience that amps their game and heightens the adrenaline of play. For sound enhancements alone, a plugged in-ear headphone’s audio quality is exponentially improved with the Dolby Headphone 5.1 Channel HD Surround system. The immersion is so real that what you see on your screen is how the sound is audibly visualized. Add that amazing performance with the GX 2.5 Gaming Audio Engine from ASUS and you know that each sound made in the game is clear and detailed. Include an on-board headset amplifier and you’ll also hear deeper notes, more powerful bass, and that captivating “umph” that reverberates in your ears.

Though the headphone has only two points where sound comes out, the Dolby Headphone technology makes it possible for sound to be projected from 5 points, whether left, right, upper left and right, or in the middle. You’ll feel that surround sound travelling within your headset, as if you’re playing in an enclosed room.

As for the ASUS GX 2.5, it enhances how your 3D effects should sound when you’re playing your game. The usual problem with low-tech sound cards is that though it can produce 3D effects, such as reverbs, tones, pitches, and distance, the output is usually cramped that it’s hard to distinguish especially when your ear is keen to detail. The EAX-compatible Xonar GX 2.5 technology makes it possible for you to experience over 128 3D effects being played at the same time. You could compare this kind of musical wonder when hearing a full orchestra. You’ll be able to uniquely differentiate the sound being made, separated, individualized 3D sound effect for each register available in a particular scene or situation.

The on-board headphone AMP is a story of its own, apart from the Dolby 5.1 and the GX 2.5 audio improvements. Almost every detail in the game, whether it’s a steady wind that rustles the wheat fields, or heavy kabooms, engine movements, or ricocheting bullets, you’ll know that every sound made is close to the real thing. Not only does the AMP improves the gaming experience, it also provides output flexibility based on scenario, usage, and mood. There’s the VOIP Mode that caters to devices that produces less than 32 ohms; the Pro-gaming Mode that caters devices that can generate 32-64 ohms of sound boost; and the Exciter Mode for audio hearing equipment that can handle more than 64 ohms in producing quality, deep, and rich sound.

Sabrent SBT-SP6C Sound Card

The Sabrent SBT-SP6C Sound Card has many things in its sleeve due to its massive level of supporting hardware and devices. Though it’s recognizable that the sound card has a 6-channel 5.1 surround sound, it could be surprising with the value buyers are getting. Even though playback for audio is at 32kHz max, it handles home systems well, with technologies such as DirectSoundTM3D and EAX for rendering sound that utilizes multi-speaker support. It also applies other technologies such as the Karaoke key and Echo sound effects that’s usually used for producing music or customizing audio in the sound card level.

But Sabrent created the SBT-SP6C with not just listeners and gamers in mind. The sound card is also compatible for musicians and composers with MPU401 compatible MIDI interface, GM Comply with Microsoft PC99 specification, and DLS-base Wavetable music synthesizer.

The Best Sound Card

The best sound card, whether external or internal, would be those that are manufactured by Creative due to the technologies, the output, and the features that come with the purchase. On a general perspective, Creative sound cards bring out the best in your devices due to connector enhancements and technology-driven boosts to audio, bass, and even 3D effects. However, if you’re a gamer and you need that extra thump on your immersive gaming experience, sound cards from ASUS should be more than enough. Some may consider budget to be a factor for being the best. Brands such as Sabrent, BENGOO, and StarTech may come to the picture for alternatives that could still bring out the best in home systems or computers, when it comes to enhancing sound quality.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CreativeSound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$94.99(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)
AsusASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res 116dB SNR PCIe Gaming Sound Card with Windows 10 CompatibilityBuy on Amazon|$41.21(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)
CreativeCreative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound CardBuy on Amazon|$69.99(Price as of 03/19/2019 17:00 ET)

* 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.