5 Best Sound Cards for Your PC in 2021

To obtain decent sound quality on your PC a few years ago, you required a specialized sound card. Modern PCs do not require sound cards because audio hardware is built into the motherboard.

Although the built-in audio hardware is adequate, upgrading to a higher-end sound card can improve sound quality, particularly if you plan to purchase a surround sound system and link it to your Windows 10 PC.

Take your audio experience to the next level with these finest sound cards for your PC, whether you’re a gamer, audiophile, or simply want the greatest in audio quality.

What to Look for in a Sound Card for PC

If you don’t know what to look for, finding the best sound card for your PC can be difficult. Here are a few things to think about when buying for one:

  • Overall audio quality: A good sound card comes with a SNR of over 100dB, but the best ones are in the 124dB range.
  • DAC quality: The key component responsible for bit-depth, audio sampling rate, and playback is the digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The higher the DAC quality, the less noise there will be in your audio. The SNR level, which should be at least 100dB for decent audio, is a good indicator of DAC quality.
  • Channel audio: 5.1 channel audio is supported by a good sound card. Look for a sound card that can upmix 5.1 to 7.1 channel audio or can handle 7.1 surround sound.
  • Multiple ports: Look for a sound card with many connection ports so that you can connect all of your audio gear. Most headsets and headphones work fine with 3.5mm audio input or output ports on basic sound cards. If your audio equipment, on the other hand, requires a TOSLINK optical connection or RCA ports, look for a sound card with these qualities.

Software options like Virtual Surround Sound, complex audio capabilities like equalization settings, and configurable frequency response are all things to think about. Check if the sound card has a user-friendly, intuitive interface and a swappable operating amplifier so you can tailor the sound to your preferences.

1. Creative Sound Blaster Z

Creative is one of the oldest makers of PCle audio cards and PC sound cards. The Sound Blaster Z is a high-performance gaming and entertainment sound card with new features that make gaming and entertainment even more enjoyable.

At a modest price, the sound card offers high-quality audio specs. It’s also got microphone EQ presets and game acoustic profiles to help you get the most out of your entertainment and gaming.

For games like Fortnite and PUBG, Optimized Gaming Profiles are offered, but you may alter the EQ settings to design a profile that’s uniquely yours.

Creative Sound Blaster Z sound cards

You can also choose a pre-tuned microphone EQ for voice chat that compensates for the built-in microphone of your preferred headset. This allows you to communicate in a better and more natural manner.

For the greatest digital audio quality, the sound card supports up to 7.1 virtual on speakers and headphones, DTS Encoding, and Dolby Digital Live. A multi-core Sound Core3D is also included, ensuring that you enjoy crystal-clear music without taxing your primary CPU.

You’ll get a set of gold-plated connections to plug in your headphones or home theatre system for connectivity.

The Sound Blaster Z delivers high-fidelity and low-latency audio, even for your recordings, thanks to its Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO) capabilities. The sound card is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10.

2. ASUS Xonar SE

The ASUS Xonar SE sound card is the perfect upgrade over the basic motherboard audio if you want great sound but don’t have the funds for a top-tier PC sound card.

The PCIe gaming sound card is created with high-quality components for the greatest entertainment and gaming experiences and is compatible with Windows 10.

The Xonar SE ensures reduced audio distortion, crossover interference, and excellent noise blocking thanks to its patented Hyper Grounding Technology.

ASUS Xonar SE  sound cards

Furthermore, the Xonar Audio Center software suite and its intuitive, user-friendly interface provide you with complete control over sound quality, including equalization and 5.1 speaker-level balancing.

On top of that, the sound card boasts a 116dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for high-fidelity immersive sound. For clean, detailed sound and increased bass, you also get 192kHz/24-bit hi-res audio output, 5.1-channel playback, and a 300-ohm headphone amplifier.

3. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy

Creative’s SBX Pro Studio technology powers the Sound Blaster Audigy, which delivers high-quality cinematic sound for your entertainment and gaming demands.

An Fx Control Panel is included with the sound card, giving you complete control over your SBX Pro Studio settings. You also receive 5.1 channel outputs, allowing you to connect your multi-channel speakers with ease.

The half-height PCIe sound card fits nicely into your home theatre PC and provides 106dB SNR and 600-ohms of power, allowing you to increase your cinematic immersion.

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy sound cards

Through the separate line-in and microphone connectors, you can connect two distinct audio sources to your PC. You can, for example, use your MP3 player to record a singing session and sing along in karaoke style.

The Stereo Direct function allows you to listen to your music at the greatest bit rate in the industry, 24-bit 192 kHz.

4. EVGA Nu Audio 712-P1-AN01-KR

While many audiophiles considered sound cards to be outmoded, the EVGA Nu audio card debunks that notion. Because of its straightforward software features and intelligent engineering, the sound card provides excellent performance for gamers and audiophiles.

With a suite of equalizer software, the card offers crystal clear, strong music. The EVGA Nu Audio also includes Nichicon and WIMA capacitors, as well as an ADI OP275 op-amp that you may replace if it doesn’t meet your needs.

EVGA Nu Audio 712-P1-AN01-KR

The design has a noise reduction SNR of 123 dB and a side panel connection that is directly connected to the primary headphone output. You will not feel any decrease in audio quality this way.

With a 3.5mm line input and output, microphone input, 6.3mm headphone input, and optical S/PDIF output, the EVGA Nu Audio card supports a 5.1 system. The music is kept clean and undistorted by the electric signals from your PC’s components thanks to an ultra-low noise linear power supply.

The sound card is simple to set up and install, and you can play with the equalizer settings until you find the sound that suits you best.

5. Diamond XtremeSound Sound Card

The Diamond XtremeSound sound card is worth considering if you want to boost the sound quality of your games, MP3s, music, and movies.

While gaming, listening to music or watching films in genuine 7.1 channel surround sound, the card allows you to experience high-level, theater-quality sound. This improves your computer audio experience while also freeing up valuable computer system resources for other tasks.

Diamond XtremeSound Sound Card

Audacity, a multi-track recording, and editing studio that can record live audio using a line-in or microphone on the sound card are also included with the card. You can use level meters to keep track of volume levels when recording, and you can copy existing tracks to make multi-track recordings.

Sound files can also be imported and edited, then combined with new recordings or other files. You can export the recordings in MP3 or WAV, among other standard file formats, once you’re through.

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