A good sound card is essential for luxurious sound input and output, and PC Gamers usually overlook them, but they only come in handy when you have good Speakers or Headset.
So, the question is, You may have the best Gaming PC but do you have a good sound card? No? Don’t worry! We are here to provide you with the top 5 Sound Cards for PC Gaming.
Table of Contents
1. Creative Sound Blaster Z
The Creative Sound Blaster Z is a definite sound card. The red-themed shroud adds to the aesthetic of your Gaming PC as well as the audio will be a massive upgrade from your previous sound card.
Sound Blaster Z provides you with crystal clear communication, and it is quite easy to use. With Sound Blaster Z-series Control Panel, you can do many things such as tweaking the card, changing presets, switching from your headset to speakers in a single click. Making it cost-efficient.
Sound Blaster Z provides you with 116dB Signal-to-Noise Ratio. Furthermore, it records audio with super low latency. It has 24-bit / 192kHz audio output, and the card uses SBX pro studio technology and uses the 5.1 audio channel
When you purchase the Sound Blaster Z, it will come with a beamforming microphone which uses a 3.5mm jack and a DVD which contains the drivers of the sound card. The microphone that comes with The Sound Blaster Z can be detached and deactivated. However, you can replace the microphone with any microphone you want if it has a 3.5mm jack.
If you have the cash to spend and want top-tier sound quality, then it’s a must buy. This card also has Dolby Digital Live you can find it in the software under the “cinematics” settings.
– Compact Design
– Good Features
– Quality Microphone Included
– Driver Suite Is Easy To Navigate
– Compatibility and Drivers Recognition Can Be Hard Sometimes
– Scout Preset is not that effective
– Headphones Output Is A Bit High
2. Asus Xonar DSX
The Asus Xonar DSX is one of the best sound cards out there in the market right now. It has a sleek black design. It’s a Hi-Fi card, which provides you with 7.1 surround sound and realistic 3d audio, which is why it’s one of the best for gamers as well streamers and YouTubers. Its 192kHz/24Bit playback supports high-quality sound without any downgrade. The DTS Connect provides excellent surround sound. With the GX2.5 audio engine, your games will feel more alive and immersive then it did before on your old sound card. It comes with an auto-detect front panel, which means Intel HDA compatible front panel header automatically shifts output from the back panel to the front once you are plugged in.
The Asus Xonar DSX is better than some Realtek sound cards; Some even think that it is better than Sound Blaster. The Xonar DSX uses S/PDIF optical adaptors for the Optical Out. It also supports 5.1 audio system. It includes a low profile bracket. Though the sound card doesn’t support Linux, If you pair the sound card with Linux then the card will sound like an average built-in chipset. Moreover, it also doesn’t support headphone amp. If you want a headphone amp, then you will need to get a Xonar DGX or Xonar Essence.
– Full Hi-Fi Capability
– DTS 7.1 Surround Sound
– Drivers Issues
– Confusing Control Panel
3. Asus Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5
If you are tight on budget, and you want a sound card which won’t break your wallet and is dominant at the same time, then look no further, The Asus Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5 is an excellent sound card which has built-in headphone AMP, It features three different AMP modes to make your gaming sessions more immersive. It uses a 5.1 surround sound plus It uses the GX2.5 audio engine for realistic sounds providing you an edge over your foes. The Xonar DGX contains a magnificent Sound processor, which is 96kHz/24bit. It also features a jack-sensor which means it automatically shifts the output from back to front once your headphones are plugged in. The sound card can only carry 2-channel PCM data or non-PCM AC3/DTS data.
It is compatible with every OS, Just make sure that the drivers are up to date, If you want to download the drivers just go to Asus’s webpage and download the latest drivers respectively to your OS, for example; If you have Window 8.1 64Bit then download the drivers for Windows 8.1 64bit and you will be set. The Asus Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5 also includes a low-bracket profile. This sound card holds numerous benefits over your built-in chipset on your motherboard. You will get further effects, mixer, an equalizer. It will also boost your output, which will enable you to listen to the audio two or three times higher than your built-in chipset.
– Great Sound Quality
– Built-in headphone amplifier
– Compact Size
– Drivers Are Hard To Install
– High Output Impedance
– EAX Support is Not That Great
4. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative of the Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5 then you are in luck cause Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX is a cheap cost-efficient sound card which uses a 5.1 channel surround sound, which is marvelous if you are looking to set-up a home theater or if you want to play games with high quality and lifelike audio. Audigy Fx also uses SBX pro studio technology, which boosts the overall quality of the audio by a vast margin. It comes with its own Sound Blaster Audigy FX control panel, which lets you fully customize the card’s properties. It fits in a single PCIe x1 slot. A headphone amp is also an option for you in this sound card you can amplify it up to 600 ohms. This sound card supports the following Windows Operating Systems: Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. It provides you with high-quality playback 106 SNR and 24-bit 192kHz DAC and recording 96kHz ADC.
The Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX comes with an AC97 and HD header. It supports Intel front panel header. The Audigy FX Control Panel lets you adjust everything to your liking such as the operating mode, surround sound, stereo, etc., Or if you have a hearing impairment you can balance the left/right and left-rear/right-rear audio to your liking. It supports “What you hear” on top of that, it also has “Quick Turn Off” which is used to turn off all the effects you added when you play a CD.
– Can Fit In Small Cases
– Supports every high impedance headphones
– High-Quality Audio
– May Not Improve Audio Over Newer Cards
5. Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe
The Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe is the complete package, it sounds brilliant, and it looks great, but the only drawback to this beast is the sticker price, other than that this sound card is unrivaled. With the CrystalVoice Enhancement and Clarity technology, it provides you squeaky clean audio input and output. Do you find switching between your headphones and speakers irritating? Well, This card brings you the solution for that, it is as easy as flipping a switch, go to Sound Blaster control panel and choose between speakers or headphones. This card has a 600-ohm impedance which implies it can power up any top tier headphone. It comes with its own Audio Control Module, which has a built-in beamforming microphone which lets you record your audio at a high caliber, and furthermore, it has a volume knob so you can adjust the volume precisely to your liking. ZxR also features a “Scout Mode” which is exceptional for gamers who play competitive FPS games because you will hear enemies further away from you. It has an SNR (Signal to noise ratio) of 124dB meaning your audio will be of studio quality. You can connect your home theater system with a single connector through Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect. Creative excelled themselves If we analyze the build Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe uses exclusive audio technologies. It has Nihicon Capacitors which are agreed to be fantastic for audio performance. The connectors are gold plated which you can use to connect studio equipment. It also has an EMI shield for protection. If you want to buff out your PC, then you should consider purchasing it.
You might ask, Is it worth it to upgrade from ZX to ZXR? Well, It’s entirely up to you, but we can tell you the benefits ZXR holds over the ZX. First of all, The ZXR has a better SNR 124dB while the ZX has 116dB, it has better options for connectivity, higher amps plus they can be swapped. The Creative Sound Blaster ZxR is an overkill. If you are an audiophile, then you will love this card because it’s good at everything gaming, music you name it. It can support every headphone there is on the market and records audio with super low latency.
– Top Tier Gaming Audio
– Easy to use
– Many Features
All of the sound cards that we have mentioned meets up to the customer’s necessities. If you are an audiophile, you should consider buying one of these. However, if you are already satisfied with your built-in chipset then it’s all right cause at the end of the day it’s your call whether to upgrade to a better sound card or not.