Sound Card

Yes, most of the PCs have basic support for audio with the motherboard containing an integrated audio chip. However, the sound generated is very basic and the audio handling is done by the CPU, thus eating up resources that you would otherwise need. If you really want a PC that can also work as a home theatre for you, then an external soundcard is what you should consider seriously. Here is the guide to find the soundcard you need: Read buying guide

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Buying guide

Creative Sound Blaster ZChoosing your soundcard


Check the compatibility in your PC or laptop

When you want to hear audio from your PC or laptop, you want it real good. So, you must invest in an expansion soundcard. These are soundcards that you insert into one of the expansion slots of the motherboard. Here is where you need to be a bit careful. If you buy a PCI soundcard, your motherboard should have a PCI slot. It wouldn’t go into a PCI-E slot and for that you need a compatible soundcard. You can get rid of all these issues with a USB 2.0 or higher soundcard that requires no slots in the motherboard. But your PC should have USB 2.0 or higher slot.


How about multi-channel soundcards?

If you are into recording music or audio, a multi-channel soundcard is what you need. However, to get a multi-channel soundcard to show its potential, it is important that you have an appropriate PC or laptop. You can add some plugins and you will get benefits like reverb duty and flanging and echo effects. You will also be able to enhance and compress the audio and parametric EQ can be included. You can even record separate audio tracks and mix them in real time.


ASUS Xonar Essence STXSoundcards with connectors

If you have a home theatre and want to connect it with your PC or laptop, there are specific soundcards available. These soundcards have connectors like TOSLINK through which the audio can be transmitted to any external receiver. Some of the soundcards may also have an external box for connection and managing the audio controls. The external soundcard box can be fitted into one of the spare drives of your PC or you may just let it sit atop your computer.


The types of soundcards available

Depending on your requirement, there are different kinds of soundcards that you can buy from the online market.


Standard soundcards

These soundcards are used for listening to audio in media files. Because these soundcards are external and they can produce much better sound, these are highly in demand. Everyone who wants to use their PC for entertainment purposes uses one of these soundcards, as they have low distortion and high signal to noise ratio.


C2G Digital to Analog Audio Converter (DAC) Sound cardRecording soundcards

These soundcards can be used on laptops to record music. They are ideal for musicians and music artists who want to create their own music at home. You can also expect ASIO driver support for the recording software in these soundcards and also multiple audio channel support.


Gaming soundcards

Gaming soundcards, as the name suggests, are specially designed for computer game enthusiasts. These high-end soundcards have features like real-time effects and environmental and positional effects. The sound generated by these soundcards is astonishingly real and they can make the gamers feel inside their games.


3D soundcards

These soundcards are more used for positional sound effects. To really get the best out of them, you need more than two basic speakers. If you have a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system, your gaming experience is bound to be fantastic and lifelike.



Top soundcards for each use


Best PCI-E soundcards

You can go the established way and use a PCI-E soundcard. Just make sure that your PC or laptop has a PCI-E slot where you can fit your soundcard.

The bestselling PCI-E soundcards available in the market include:

- Creative Sound Blaster Z (photo 1)

- Creative Sound Card 30SB150200000 Sound Blaster Z PCI-EXPRESS

- Creative Sound Blaster Zx

- ASUS Xonar DX

- HT OMEGA Amp 124 OMEGA EClaro 7 1 Channels PCI Express X1 Interface Sound Card


Best PCI soundcards

On the other hand, you can always opt for one of the PCI soundcards provided your PC or laptop has a PCI slot. The better the soundcard, better is the sound output for you.

For the best performance in PCI soundcards consider products like:

- Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Rx


- Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Fx

- ASUS Xonar Essence STX (photo 2)

- Creative Sound Blaster ZxR


Best USB soundcard for easy compatibility

And of course, you could decide to opt for a USB soundcard to avoid any hassle. Some of the top products to choose from in this category are:

- Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1

- Vantec USB External 7.1 Channel Audio Adapter NBA-200U

- C2G Digital to Analog Audio Converter (DAC) Sound card (photo 3)

- Creative Labs Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD Sound card USB 2.0

- USB Stereo Audio Adapter External Sound Card with SPDIF Digital Audio

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