With computer systems evolving on a daily basis, sound cards have improved quite drastically too over the last few years. These hardware components came separately back in the day but in modern day, most of the sound cards are integrated into the motherboards. Since the introduction of these integrated cards, they have been neglected by many users.
Although the majority of people never really have the need the upgrade in the quality, there are still audiophile enthusiasts, and especially gamers, who are looking for a premium sound experience that only the best sound card models can deliver. This device is capable of providing better sound quality as compared to regular cards.
How to choose the best sound card
With a good sound card, you get the best out of the audio peripherals out of the existing systems. Buying a quality sound card is not an easy process. Especially when buying without knowing what to look for in your sound cards for PC. In order to find the best sound card for your system, there are some factors to keep in mind before purchasing them.
Improving Sound Quality
Logically, the most important feature to look for in a sound-producing device is the quality of sound it produces. This feature is extremely subjective according to the taste and requirements of the user and it is important to listen to the reproduction of these devices before the purchase to find the one according to your needs.
This quality can also be judged according to the signal-to-noise ratio of the device. This ratio correlates to the degree of the signal power to the noise power. The higher ratio will imply better sound quality and experience of the sound card. Most of the integrated sound cards come with 60-70db ratio while good sound cards have 100db signal-to-noise ratio. However, 124db or more signal-to-noise ratio completely eliminates the noise in the system.
The transformation of PCs into laptops in the last couple of decades has inspired the portability in the sound cards as well. In modern days, these sound cards have come in form of an external USB in the market. Unlike internal variants, which are integrated as a sound card via PCI interfaces, USB sound cards can be plugged directly to the computer and is capable of producing good sound quality.
However, these portable sound cards are quite noisy and may lag. Additionally, in case of a laptop, external sound cards occupy USB slots which is not a good feature. The internal sound cards, however tricky to install, are very reliable and will produce outstanding audio experience for a system like a gaming desktop PC.
ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5 – Best Value External Sound Card
Whenever it comes to mentioning quality computer products, it seems impossible to keep Asus out of the equation. The ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5 is one the most popular sound cards in the world and the best available external Sound Card in the market. the best thing about ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5 External Sound Card is that it is compact. So much so that you can easily carry it in your backpack whenever you want.
In addition, Asus also provides with a Sonic Studio software that is extremely easy to use and allows to customize the sound the way you want. The external sound card also doubles up as a 5.1 DAC/amp combo, which makes it a complete package. This external sound card is certainly the best USB sound card available for its value in the market.
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX – Best Value Internal Sound Card
The Sound Blaster Audigy Rx is an advanced internal 7.1 PCIe sound card. This card features 600-ohm headphone amplifiers, a 106dB SNR and full customization via their respective PC software suites. The included Audigy RX control panel adds dedicated PC software for providing complete control over every aspect of the sound card, allowing users to find their ideal pitch, tone and bass.
In addition, the Sound Blaster Audigy Rx has an advanced recording capability, with a dual microphone input for simultaneous multi-person audio recording, useful for podcasting or singing along with a friend. It is one of the most affordable sound cards for PC in the market and is worth its value.
Creative Sound BlasterX G1 – Best External Sound Card
Creative has long been known for quality peripherals. The Sound BlasterX G1 is one of the best USB sound cards available in the market. The Sound Blaster X G1 offers native 7.1 channel input in order to deliver 7.1 surround sound on PC or laptops. The Sound Blaster X G1 also comes with the Blaster X Acoustic Engine Pro application for PCs and laptops that lets you fully customize your audio as well as create optimized audio profiles.
The G1 is truly designed with gamers in mind. It comes packed with 17 preset game audio profiles that lets you enhance gaming audio with surround sound, bass boost and added clarity. It also supports Creative’s very own Scout Mode technology that lets you hear your enemies before your enemies can hear you, during a gaming session. Creative Sound BlasterX G1 has certainly maintained its value in the market for being one of the best USB sound cards.
Creative Sound Blaster Z – Best Internal Sound Card for PC
Creative’s Sound Blaster Z is currently the best available sound card in the market. Priced at just 100$, the Z is powered with a SoundCore3D processor known for its iconic sound quality. The sound card is exclusively designed for gaming systems with gamer-friendly audio features that will enhance any type of game in the market. It has a 116dB signal-to-noise ratio, 600ohm headphone amplifier for high impedance headphones and five different 3.5mm headphone jacks.
The Z series has a similar software as to the previously mentioned Creative’s sound cards with a unique Scout Mode technology that will help you sneak and surprise your opponents before they can. Additionally, the Z series panel is capable of controlling audio and microphone parameters with equalizers and presets according to the need of the gamer.
Along with other technological advancements, sound cards have seen quite revolutionary changes in the past few years and have managed to produce the best sound quality for the gamers and audiophiles to take advantage from. Although there are many other good sound cards available in the market, above mentioned cards are currently the best available sound cards in the market according to their performance and value.