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Best External Sound Cards for Laptops and Desktop Computers

When it comes to leisurely pursuits, we all need a flawless audio set-up to truly enjoy our choice sounds, movies and video games. If you are tired of the crummy quality of your desktop electronics, an awesome external sound card will do your PC and laptop a new level of greatness. Setting up external sound cards will not require deep tech knowhow as well since it easily connects through a USB port. Here’s what you need to know about this innovative piece.

Buyers Guide

  1. What does an external sound card actually do?

    Answer: One of the best ways to improve your computer audio at home is thru a quality external sound card. This is a piece that needs to be linked to a desktop computer or laptop to provide audio ports. Once connected, it decodes data coming from the computer or laptop and resolves what to do with said data next. The external sound card translates every data that was fed to it.

  2. Why do I need an external sound card?

    Answer: External sound cards, as mentioned earlier, are no-fuss devices that are a welcome addition to your electronics set-up. They are easy to install since it’s a plug and play unit, it has a compact, portable size, it provides electronics protection from dust, grime and bugs plus it improves the sound features of your laptop immensely. You can connect the external sound card to your DIY home theater system and a 7.1 surround sound set-up. It can also serve as a nice replacement to damaged sound cards. Are you a budding musician? An external sound card can help you acquire a good range of microphone ports to accomplish recordings. Indeed, having this neat piece of technology around gives loads of benefits.

  3. What factors should I consider when choosing external sound cards?

    Answer: You need to choose the right number of audio channels depending on the sound quality you are after. If you want the subwoofer sound, get one that has 2.1 channels, 2 channels is for surround sound. High-quality surround rates 5.1 channels while the 7.1 channel kind offers the best in surround sound experience. Check the sample rate—sample rates for sound cards range from 44.1kHz-192kHz. Look for a model with a higher SNR (signal-to-noise) rating since this means it can churn out excellent sound quality. Do not forget to check the compatibility of the external sound card to your devices. External sound cards come in PCI and PCI-E formats.

Our Top Picks


Creative Sound BlasterX G1 7.1

  • Supports 7.1 channel audio input
  • Accommodates a good range of headphones
  • Customizable BlasterX Acoustic Engine
  • Features X-Plus Mode

For those who are hunting for a quality external sound card that supports 7.1 surround sound, the Creative Sound BlasterX G1 7.1 model is for you. This is a great sound card for gaming as well since it produces audio quality like no other care of its extensive, well-designed headphone amplifier, the X-Plus Mode feature and the BlasterX Acoustic Engine, a powerful component responsible for setting up excellent sound.


StarTech USB Sound Card w/ SPDIF Digital Audio & Stereo Mic

  • Includes SPDIF digital output
  • Works as great sound card replacement
  • Multi-use sound care
  • Adjustable sound output

The StarTech USB Sound Card w/ SPDIF external sound card is one budget-friendly external sound card that accommodates SPIDF output. It can generate great audio quality by means of its integrated DAC. The brand also made a bigger version of this model, which is capable of accommodating dual microphones for recording music. Other highlights of this model include additional bass adjustments and a volume knob.


Bengoo USB Sound Card Adapter

  • Made for 3.5mm jack
  • Works for 7.1 channel output
  • Accommodates a nice range of devices
  • UV-400 lenses

The Bengoo USB Sound Card Adapter is designed for 7.1 channels and 3.5mm jacks plus it accommodates an extensive selection of devices from standard stereo, earphones to headsets built for gaming. It also works with popular operating systems like Windows 7, Mac OS, Linux and more. The microphone quality that this external sound card presents is also top-quality. It releases a clear, crisp sound once its amplification is boosted.


ASTRO Gaming MixAmp Pro TR with Dolby Audio

  • Great gaming external sound card
  • Features Astro Command Center software
  • Presents Dolby audio
  • Offers customizable stream output

The ASTRO Gaming MixAmp Pro TR with Dolby Audio is another first-rate pick for a gaming sound card since it provides lots of control; you can perfect the quality of the sound output by using related features. It also includes an impressive Dolby audio and a companion application which allows further modifications and specially-made sound profiles. This is one flexible sound card with an audio engine that’s potent and watertight.


FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

  • Internal DAC chip (PCM102)
  • Includes optimized low-pass filter
  • Has select bass boost circuit
  • Portable design

The FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier makes use of a PCM102 internal DAC chip so this means it supports PCM files rated at 24-bit/96 kHz. It will not release any phase-shifting and it has the capability to modify and enhance sound quality thru its reliable combo of linear filter, internal silence while changing audio tracks and reduced delay. It accommodates a good range of connections as well from a 1/8¡± headphone jack to a rear-panel coaxial digital output. This is a great external sound card for those who love relaxing while listening to their favorite musical tunes.


Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound Card

  • Uses SBX Pro Studio and Crystal Voice technologies
  • Supports 5.1 channels
  • Includes built-in microphones
  • Compatible with current Windows operating systems

The Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound Card might be the piece you are searching for which is capable of providing flawless audio. It comes with built-in microphones to enhance voice call quality and for better control and management of audio balance, it also includes a convenient software for fine-tuning. The device supports 5.1 channels and it also presents 600 ohms impedance to suit the best headphones in the market. A nice reasonably-priced addition to your desktop set-up.

There is an external sound card with great quality that suits all budgets. Check out our selection and find which one caters best to your needs.