Best Sound Cards for Your PC
For the average user, your computer’s sound card is probably enough. Actually, today, a lot of computers have their sound card attached to the motherboard to make for a computer that is smaller and is less expensive. However, this reduces the audio quality of your computer.
When you are a gamer, though, sound and audio quality becomes a little more important. For full immersion, you want to turn your game up to a level that you can hear it and the quality to be as high as possible even when you are wearing headphones. Luckily, you can buy sound cards for your PC that will improve the sound quality of your PC on its own.
However, there are a lot of options out there and they don’t all have the same level of quality. Don’t get stressed out yet, though! In this article, we are going to look at 5 of the best sound cards that you have to choose from so you know exactly what you need.
First up on our list, we have the ASUS Xonar DSX PCIe 7.1 GX2.5 Audio Engine. When it comes to audio quality for gaming, this is one of your best choices hands down. Not only will it upgrade the main sounds in your game such as music score but subtle sound effects as well. Any footsteps, faded whispers, and even small, immersive noises will be within your hearing range.
If you play without headphones, though, don’t think that this sound card won’t help you. It also has a feature called auto-detect front panel. This means that any sound that your computer emits from the back panel of your computer is now switched to the front. Unfortunately, this specific feature is only Intel HDA compatible.
This sound card is powered by interacting PC and DTS technologies called DTS Neo. It brings your PC one of the most popular sources of Hi-Fi audio. With the help of this card, you can turn your computer into your dream gaming center.
- Doesn’t need additional software to give you surround sound
- One of the more expensive options on our list
- Auto-detect front panel is only Intel HDA compatible
Next up on our list is the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 Sound Card. This sound card is one of the most budget friendly options on our list but it doesn’t skimp on quality at all. If you want to pay more money, though, you can get a higher quality 7.1 surround sound instead of the 5.1 surround sound that we are looking at now.
This sound card includes the Sound Blaster Audigy Fx Control Panel. If you aren’t sure what this is, don’t worry. It’s simply their software to control of the SBX Pro Studio technologies, including your new sound card.
The sound card by Creative comes with a 600-ohm headphone amp. This means that you will receive sound quality that performs at a studio grade level. Their software can be used with Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, so almost any Windows user can enjoy it.
- Budget friendly
- Compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows Vista
- Software Included
- Software allows you to control your sound settings
- Not compatible with Mac computers
- The 7.1 surround sound option is much more expensive
In this section, we are going to discuss the Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card. Unfortunately, this sound card is actually the most expensive on our list. However, it is expensive for a reason and it has many benefits that make it well worth your while. Actually, if you are willing to pay a little extra, you can even purchase this sound card with an audio control module.
Before we get into what this sound card does, though, let’s take a look at what it includes. For this sound card, you get an external, high-quality dual-microphone array. In addition, it also comes with the Sound Blaster Control Panel – the software that allows you to adjust its audio settings to fit your needs.
This sound card promises “unprecedented levels of audio realism”. This is thanks to its fantastic surround sound capabilities for both your speakers and headphones. So, you will get quality whether you enjoy headphones while you game or not. All it takes is the flip of a switch to toggle between speakers and headphones as well, making it easy to switch back and forth as needed.
- Comes with all needed software
- Easy to control
If you liked the idea of the last sound card but it’s a little out of your budget, don’t worry. In this section, we are going to look at another Creative Labs sound card; the Creative Labs SB0880 PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Sound Card. This sound card offers you all the quality that Creative Labs offers at not even half the price of the previous model we looked at.
Much like the other options that we have looked at, this sound card offers you surround sound for when you play games, music, or even watch movies on your PC. When you are playing games, this sound card even promises that you can hear so well, you will be able to locate enemies near you on the map by sound alone.
- Budget friendly
- Surround sound
- 3D Precision Audio
- Not quite as many features as the more expensive Creative Labs model
Last but not least, we have the Syba SD-PEX63081 Surround Sound PCIe Sound Card. Once again, this sound card comes at a rather budget friendly price. Actually, this is one of the cheapest options on this list.
The technology that this sound card is based on is the CM8828 multi channel Audio Processor and the C-Media CM9882A 8-Channel HAD CODEC. For playback and recording, you will get a sampling rate up to 24-bit and 192 kHz.
So far as ports go, you will be able to use line-in, front out, side surround out, center and base out, rear surround out, microphone input, s/PDIF and digital coaxial input, as well as s/PDIF and digital coaxial output ports.
When you go to the Amazon page, Syba offers you 4 different options. The first option is the one that we’ve been looking at, the 7.1 Surround Sound PCIe sound card. Other than that, Syba suggests their External Stereo Sound Adapter, External Stereo Sound Adapter with an Output Audio Dongle, and their Virtual Surround Sound External Adapter.
- High-quality sound chip
- Multiple ports
- Not as many control software features
When it comes to making your PC the perfect one for gaming, you don’t always have to spend a fortune to build your own computer or deal with the standard audio your PC came with. Any of these 5 sound cards will help you easily improve the audio with which you get to enjoy your games. Whether you play with headphones or prefer speakers, there is an option out there for you.