A lot of people when they build their own computer with as high specifications as they wish they always make a big mistake. They always forget about the sound card and they go with a motherboard which has an integrated one instead. I would say that it really depends on what you need your computer for. For instance if you are a sound producer or you work in a studio you’ll definitely need a decent sound card. On the other side if you’re just an regular gamer you don’t need to spend that extra money on buying one as they can be expensive and hard to afford.

First we have to see why it is important to get a dedicated sound card instead of an integrated one. It’s obvious that a dedicated one will provide the user much higher quality sound with less (almost none) background noise. Since you have the sound processed away from the tower and all the other components it’s guaranteed that you will get the best possible sound out of your computer. Many people might disagree here as integrated or on-board sound cards have improved dramatically the past few years.

Your surround system or headphones play a big role. If you have a really good system or headphones then it’s obvious that you want to make the most out of them. So you will need to spend a little extra on a dedicated sound card in order to get the full benefits. There are a lot of choices out there, so we will make the whole process easier for you and present you the best and affordable ones.

TOPRATEDLIST

#1. ASUS Xonar Essence STX

This is a great example which should be chosen over the on-board solutions. Xonar Essence STX achieves unprecedented 124 dB SNR (Single-to-Noise Radio) which has an about 64 times clearer sound than on-board cards. Moreover it’s Hyper-Grounding circuitry design ensures that you get the best sound with the background noise level being zero. Xonar Essence STX features a built-in headphone amp which drives every available headphone with <0.001% distortion.xonar, essence, sound, card

Sockets:

Main stereo RCA out, headphone out, SPDIF out, line in (Mic in) Other frount audio header, Aux in, S/PDIF header

Features:

  • Industry-leading 124dB SNR
  • Great Dynamic Performance
  • Swappable OPAmp socket
  • Built-in Headphone amp
  • 100% Noise Free
  • 7.1 Channel Output

 

 

#2. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi

This is a more basic model suitable for many different types of people. The card features a 108 dB SNR rating, a 24-Bit/96 kHz 7.1 rate, and 3 speaker and headphone connections for true 7.1 surround sound. Moreover is capable of delivering 3D sound which makes it great for gaming.creative, labs, sound, card, gaming

 

Sockets:

Speaker Out: 4x 3.5mm jacks
Line/Mic In: 1x 3.5mm shared jack
Optical Out: TOSLINK
Optical In: TOSLINK

Features:

  • High Quality Playback (24-bit/192kHz)
  • THX Certified Audio Quality
  • Connects to home theater system
  • Great for voice/music recording
  • 100% Noise Free
  • 7.1 Channel Output

 

 

#3.  Sound Blaster Z

This is the most ideal model for all-round audio and gaming solution. Sound Blaster Z is engineered to suit to everyone with high expectations from their sound cards. Allows the user to record super high quality audio with minimal noise levels and simultaneously delivers ousound, blaster, z, sound, cardtstanding 3D sound at 7.1 channels.

Sockets:

Headphone : 1 x Amplified 3.5mm jack
Speaker Out : 3 x 3.5mm jacks(F/R/C-Sub)
Line / Mic In : 1x shared 3.5mm jack
Optical Out : 1x TOSLINK
Optical In : 1x TOSLINK

Features:

  • Outstanding 116dB SNR
  • Dedicated Headphone Amp
  • High Quality Playback (24-bit / 192kHz)
  • Great for voice/music recording
  • 100% Noise Free
  • 7.1 Channel Output

 

 

 

Summarizing:

Unfortunately there are not many choices to choose from. As many motherboard manufacturers have improved their on-board sound cards capabilities people often go for an integrated one. However if you need to get the best possible quality out of your recordings especially if you are a musician I would highly recommend the ASUS Xonar Essence STX. On the other side if you just want something better than the most on-board options but you don’t mind if it’s not the best card then you’ll probably go with the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi as it’s the most affordable option as well. For gamers I would suggest the Sound Blaster Z as it’s 3D sound output is the greatest of the above and it promises to deliver unique gaming experiences to anyone who purchase it.

 

Models:

ASUS Xonar Essence STX – Here

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi – Here

Sound Blaster Z – Here

 

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