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Superior Audio Quality: The Best Sound Cards

  1. ASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res 116dB SNR PCIe Gaming Card
  2. Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 Hi-Res Internal PCIe Card
  3. ASUS Xonar U7 Card
  4. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1 Card
  6. Buyer's Guide

For many years, sales of audio cards declined as the on-board audio on PC's grew better and better. However, the last few years have seen gamers, audiophiles, and even ordinary computer users seeking out the best in audio quality and thus are looking again to add-on computer audio cards. We’ve chosen the following best PC cards in 2022 because they offer a minimum of 24 bit audio reproduction for the highest quality sound reproduction. They also all possess class leading signal -to-noise ratios of at least one hundred decibels (DB) in addition to sampling rates of at least ninety-six kilohertz (Khz). Finally, all of these cards offer sound enhancement technology for the best multichannel surround sound experience you can hope for.

Consider These Audio Cards for Your PC

ASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res 116dB SNR PCIe Gaming Card - Best Audio Card Overall

This 7.1 channel, PCIE card from top tier manufacturer Asus is aimed at audiophiles but is sure to please any user or gamer as well. It offers an unprecedented one hundred twenty-four decibel (DB) signal to noise ratio for clear, noise-free sound. This card also features a multi-layer PCB circuit board design to help eliminate unwanted noise and distortion while the analog outputs are designed with shielding from elector-magnetic interference (EMI) for distortion free analog output. It also uses an exceptional Burr-BrownDigital-to-Analog Convertor (DAC) with a 127dB signal-to-noise ratio for the clearest digital audio possible. While all this performance comes at a high price, this card delivers the absolute best in sound quality for your PC.

Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 Hi-Res Internal PCIe Card - Runner Up

Aimed at audiophiles and gamers, this premium two piece offering from Creative has an input/output (I/O) module that fits in an external drive bay on your computer. This provides front panel access to headphone and microphone jacks, a volume control and THX TrueStudio controls. The card offers twenty-four bit audio reproduction and a one hundred two decibel signal to noise ratio. It’s equipped with Dolby THX TrueStudio Pro sound enhancement technology and a SoundCore 3D multi-core audio processor for best in class sound reproduction. However, all these great features come at a very steep price but it’s well worth the price of admission.

ASUS Xonar U7 Card - Honorable Mention

This 7.1 channel offering is different from the other PC cards on our list in that it’s an external device which connects to your computer through a SUB port. The may turn away some users, but others will appreciate that they they don't have to crack open their PC to install the card an added bonus. It features outstanding specifications with an output signal to noise ratio of one hundred fourteen decibels (DB), and one hundred ninety-two kilohertz KHz, 24 bit sound reproduction. It also features Dolby HomeTheater v4 technology for top of class surround sound reproduction. Best of all, it comes at a very affordable price which won’t break the bank.

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1 Card - Consider

What we have here is an outstanding 7.1 channel PCI card that doesn't skimp on features despite its affordable price. This card offers a one hundred decibel (DB) signal-to-noise ratio as well as full 24 bit sound reproduction. You’re also getting EAX Advanced HD audios effects for top notch sound enhancement which also provides full 3D positional audio reproduction when used with multi-channel speakers. Additionally, the card offers smart volume management, bass boost, and audio clean-up capabilities. The downside to this selection is that some users may not have a free PCI slot in their computer so make sure you have the required space available before purchasing.


This is an outstanding PCIE offering from Asus intended for gamers who simply don’t make any compromises when it comes to sound quality. It features an excellent signal-to-noise ratio of one hundred sixteen decibels as well as Sonic Pro sound enhancement technology for accurate sound location placement while playing games, a crucial factor to some users. It also features a built-in headphone amp with six hundred ohm output for the higher quality headphone bass reproduction. It’s designed with a multi-layer PCB for the best quality isolation of digital and analog outputs greatly reducing spurious noise and distortion. Best of all, it comes at a good price given its high end feature set.

Buyer's Guide

Best audio card buying guide

With the upgrade in high-end gadgets like gaming consoles or even PCs, you might be thinking of getting an audio card for a better sound experience. We have put together this guide that will aid you in choosing the best PC card for all your needs.

Why should you use a sound card?

Suppose you own a PC or gaming console. In that case, you might have to face different issues like frequency of sound, constant beeping and different annoying volume pitches. These issues urged the manufacturer to provide users with the ultimate solution to all these problems. Though an integrated card on the motherboard is enough for sound quality, if you are an audiophile or musician, you might want to invest in an add-on card to drive the audio to the best quality.

As we have seen a visible advancement in the digital world, getting a sound card solely to enhance the sound quality seems unnecessary. But it’s not. With an audio card, you can eliminate these problems and enjoy different features like

  • Elimination of excessive noise
  • Support for more audio channel
  • Premium sound card design
  • MIDI interface
  • A flexible connectivity
  • Significant improvement in sound quality
  • Prevention of electrical interference from other components

External or internal card - which is better?

A PC audio card is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to improve sound quality. Whether you are a competitive gamer or an audiophile, having the best card provides you with sound quality and makes the experience 100 times better. The best thing is, they are available as both internal and external options.

As the name implies, the external sound cards are the latest upgrade to hardware devices. They are easy to connect and only require a USB port for connectivity. The best quality of the external card is that they are portable. It is better to invest in these if you plan to use it on multiple devices. And yes, external cards are an excellent choice for gaming consoles.

On the other hand, opt for an internal sound card if you are looking for something fast and reliable. These cards provide high-end sound functionality as they are directly integrated into a motherboard.

What do you need to keep in mind while buying a card?

While you are out shopping for the best sound, there are several key factors to consider before picking the best one for you.

DAC quality

The DAC quality of your purchase is perfect for analyzing the noise and distortion of the sound. Digital to analog converter helps you with noise-free sound. In simple words, it also improves the audio quality of digital sound.

High-end audio quality

The first thing to look for in a card is the audio quality. Sound to noise ratio is the factor in evaluating the high-quality sound. If your sound card supports almost 100dB, that means sound coming from the console will be clear. Most PC cards offer 100dB, but you always consider getting a card with 124dB for enhanced and clear volume.

Channels - 5.1 vs 7.1

There are so many features other than sound quality to look for when it comes to PC cards. A decent sound card, whether internal or external, should have the ability to support 5.1 channel audio. Though you can easily up mix 5.1 channel audio to 7.1 surround sound, you can always spend more on a 7.1 headset and get an external sound card to enjoy 3D music.

Headphone amplification

Another important feature of sound cards is headphone amplification. Any headphones with a poor audio solution will provide you with a low level of volume. Make sure to look for a card that can support headphone amplification with higher headphone impedance.

Connectivity jack:

Look for a sound card that has a plethora of connectivity jacks to attach your headphones and speakers. Most of the sound cards come with a 3.5mm jack, so you can connect your mics easily.


Last but not least, Compatibility; if your PC does not support audio card standards, it’s better not invest in a sound card as you won’t be able to utilize this feature. Therefore, make sure to check the compatibility before running to the store and getting your hands on one.

How much does a sound card cost?

Starting from the most budget-friendly deals at 100$, you can find different variations of a sound card costing up to 500$. Most often than not, you will be able to get your hands on reliable and high-quality products within the 200-300$ range.

Fortunately, these add-on cards create endless possibilities for professional audiophiles and support their music gadget to record real high-quality music without exceeding your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1. Can a sound card affect microphone quality?

Yes. In most cases, the card affects the quality of an analog microphone to a standard port on your soundcard for recording. Try adjusting your microphone or switching to a digital one.

Q.2. How to configure an external soundcard?

The configuration of an external sound card is relatively easy. Connect the soundcard to any USB port, and the popup window will start to display on your screen. Now, install the driver of the external soundcard and change the settings of sound and hardware from the control panel. Your card will be up and running in a few seconds. Many sound cards have decoder chips that use signals to operate.

Q.3. How long can a sound card last?

Most sound cards come with a lifetime warranty, but in reality, you should replace them every 3 years.

Q.4. How do you clean a soundcard?

The best product to clean any computer component or external part is Isopropyl alcohol pads. Other than that, you can also use compressed air to clean your internal sound card.

Q.5. How do you know if your sound card is broken or not?

If the sound card doesn’t appear in the audio properties of your window, chances are it might be defective.

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