You don’t need to buy a new computer if you want to improve the sound on your laptop or desktop; all you need is the best portable sound card. External sound cards are a simple and portable solution to improve the sound quality of your computer, especially if it’s an economic or midrange model. They offer a wide range of features and functionalities. Additionally, users of external sound cards have simple access to various audio input and output connectors so they can connect a microphone, a gaming headset, or extra speakers. You could utilize an external sound card to record music or podcasts, connect a home theatre sound system, or both. External Sound Cards That Are Best What to Think About
Each external sound card in this list includes one (or more) audio jacks, allowing you to connect external speakers, headphones, and other devices like external microphones. For our top recommendations, we looked for items connected to a computer or gaming console via a USB-C port. The most reliable alternative is the one that was just discussed, and it will give you many years of dependable service.
Sound cards that link to your computer via USB are simple to set up and connect to a computer via USB, as the name implies. You might need to download and install software drivers that ordinarily come with the device before you can start using a PC. The setup process on a Mac is frequently simpler; users typically only need to connect the device and choose it as an audio source from Mac’s sound preferences.
CAPABILITIES FOR AUDIO
Ensure the external sound card you select can support the highest bit depth you stream if you’re streaming high-resolution audio from apps like TIDAL or Apple Music. CD-grade audio at 44.1 kHz and 16 bits is the norm for hi-fi. The resolutions of Apple Music streams range from 16 bit / 44.1 kHz to 24 bit / 192 kHz, while TIDAL streams are typically 96 kHz / 24 bit. If you’ve spent money on a nice pair of headphones, an external sound card will enable you to get the most out of them while expanding your port section. As a result, they are undoubtedly worthwhile to include in your setup. Here are the top external sound cards to consider at various price ranges to boost the audio on your computer.
Last update on 2023-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Sound Blaster X4 External Sound Card
The ideal option for improving your music experience at your desk is this high-resolution USB DAC. In addition to supporting 32-bit 196kHz high-resolution audio, it is the only external USB DAC with Super X-Fi technology, simulating the sound of a premium multispeaker system in your headphones. This external sound card is compatible with most current configurations because of its USB-C connector.
In addition, it has five 3.5-millimeter ports on the back for a 7.1 speaker system (plus a line-in device), 3.5-millimeter headphone and microphone connections on the front, and an optical output. You can discover the ideal balance between two audio sources with the help of the Sound Blaster. This is useful when you want to adjust the volume mix between your video game’s audio and your teammates’ audio so that you can hear them better. This audio solution can be used by Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PCs, and Macs. Additionally, as it can handle impedances of up to 600 ohms, it is ideal for powering high-end headphones.
- high-quality audio performance
- simple setup
- affordably priced
- Not ideal for use when traveling
E10K-TC External Sound Card
The elegant, uncomplicated design of FiiO’s E10K-TC USB headphone amplifier is highlighted by its brushed aluminum body, one front-facing audio connector, and big power and volume control knobs. The last item has extraordinary tactility that belies the product’s price of under $100; it is consistently fun to interact with.
For the price, the E10K-TC offers superb audio performance. High-impedance headphones can be powered by the device’s top-notch audio components, which enable it to provide Hi-Res Audio content. The amp contains an easy-to-use switch for increasing power output, and the front-facing button for boosting bass delivery is also highly practical. The E10K-TC received a fairly comprehensive set of connectivity options from FiiO. They range from a dated co-axial output to a distinctly contemporary USB-C.
- sleek construction and simple controls
- Fantastic audio for the price.
- No support for multichannel sound
Bolt USB-C DAC/AMP
The most understated choice on this list is, without a doubt, the Helm Audio Bolt. The tiny device, less than four inches in length, connects to any desktop or laptop computer through USB-C or USB-A to produce studio-quality sound and support for high-impedance headphones. Additionally, the gadget works with Android phones and iPads with USB-C connections.
The Helm Audio Bolt offers THX- and MQA-certified audio in terms of audio fidelity. Such certifications guarantee that you can enjoy distortion-free, audiophile-grade content even at loud volume levels. Considering the reasonable price of the goods, their availability is outstanding. The Bolt also has a fabric-covered cable, gold-plated connectors, and a discrete light indication that changes color based on the value of the content. A USB-A adaptor is included in the retail packaging.
- Incredibly compact
- Audiophile-grade audio performance
- There aren’t any other controls.
Sound Blaster G3 External Sound Card
Gamers should look no further than Creative’s Sound Blaster G3 sound card to enhance the audio for their portable gaming headset. As a result of its compatibility with lossless audio and high-impedance headphones, the device is also a fantastic choice for audiophiles.
With this selection, the audio quality will immediately improve, and the game experience will be more immersive. When you’re playing games like Fortnite or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, it will help you hear distant footsteps. Additionally, its GameVoice feature is useful for balancing the audio of your games and chat conversations on your PlayStation or gaming PC. The best part is that it may be used without drivers or software!
- Small design
- outstanding audio performance
- Comfortable controls
- It does not allow surround sound in many channels.
Audio GSX 300 External USB Sound Card
The GSX 300 is a small external sound card that lets customers choose between stereo or virtual surround sound settings with a button. It supports 24-bit / 96 kHz uncompressed audio and has separate 3.5-millimeter analog headphone and microphone connections. It lacks certain bells and whistles compared to the GSX 1000 PRO and requires software modifications rather than being made directly on the device. However, it’s still a solid external sound card, especially considering its reasonably priced price. You may switch between custom EQ presets, and the music will unquestionably sound cleaner and better.
- good sound performance
- sleek style
- uses a stale micro USB connector
MixAmp Pro External Sound Card
Xbox players frequently suffer from poor audio quality. There aren’t many wireless headsets for the platform, and the original Xbox One didn’t even have a 3.5-millimeter socket for plugging in your gaming headset – but ASTRO is not willing to abandon Xbox owners once more.
This phrase With only a dial turn, you may instantly change the volume using the accessory’s several configurable EQ modes. A MixAmp from ASTRO is also available for the PlayStation 4 and 5. Our audio solution is ideal for gamers who want to enhance their favorite games’ voice connection and sound quality. To prevent your friends’ voices from being overpowered by your furious game soundtrack, it has Dolby Digital Surround Sound processing and allows you to modify game and speech balance rapidly.
- complex controls
- outstanding audio performance
- affordably priced
- Utilizes an old-style micro USB connector
If you have one of these gadgets, it’s easy to make your computer sound wonderful. However, if you want the best experience possible, you must choose the appropriate one. We heartily recommend the Creative Sound BlasterX G6 Hi-Res External USB Sound Card if you are unsure what to choose. It is, without a doubt, the most dependable, user-friendly, and performance-focused model on the list because it is directly from one of the greatest brands on the market. However, keep in mind that the finest USB sound card is the one that satisfies your demands and preferences alone. It will be the best choice if your gadget works well with what you need. Pick one now.