High quality sound is essential for elite gamers, recording artists, videographers, or those who simply want to experience the best clarity and exceptional audio that technology can offer. Rather than using onboard sound that’s attached to your motherboard, an upgraded PCI Express Sound Card provides the best sounding tones at the right levels for your listening pleasure.
Whether you want to record sound or play movies, games, and entertainment in full 5.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound, this is an easy upgrade to justify saving some room in the budget for. If you’re like most, you’ll want the best for your money for the 2017-2018 year. We’ve scoured the market and reviewed a few options that are definitely worth considering.
Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card
- Sold with either an audio control module or a beam forming microphone, the Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card provides an exceptional sound experience that any audiophile can fall in love with.
- Featuring the incredible Sound Core 3D Audio Processor, it delivers the latest professional-grade accelerating audio and voice advancements for bringing out the best sound quality in high end video games, Blu-Ray movies, studio recording, and more.
- The beam forming microphone is excellent for those who want excellent recording, but the audio control module brings all of the ports and controls right to your desktop for easy plug and play access. On the audio control module, there’s a knob, I/O connections, mic/headphone connections, and everything you need to adjust your headphones to the best level.
- The perfect option for those who want to experience fully three dimensional effects in realistic 5.1 channel surround sound. Works equally well with speakers as it does with headphones.
- Install the free and included Sound Blaster Control Panel application and you’re given even more options to adjust specific controls that relate to the sound whether you’re recording or just listening.
- Delivers 116 decibels of SNR with gold plated I/O inputs for the best and most solid connection so there’s never any clarity or distortion issues.
- With the newest Crystal Voice Technologies, background chatter and unwanted grey noise including echoes and ambient noises are automatically discarded so there’s no ill effects when your computer may not necessarily be in the most ideal location for high fidelity stereo sound.
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy RX and FX PCIe Sound Cards
- With the RX available in 7.1, and the FX available in 5.1 surround sound, the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe Sound Cards provide a state of the art chipset design that utilizes the remarkable EAX reverb engine. This gives the best effects for powerful, high-volume audio with rich and vibrant details.
- Offers 106 SNR and 24-bit 192 kHz stereo direct playback and 96 kHz ADC recording capabilities for audio-engineers, elite gamers, or those who simply want the full advantages of an upgraded sound card.
- Comes included with feature-rich software known as the Sound Blaster Audigy FX Control Panel that gives you full insight and total control over the cards technology for a fully custom-like sound experience.
- Equipped with a 600 ohm headphone amp that delivers high performance monitoring for those who seek studio quality recording and listening.
- Priced very affordably ranging from $37 to $54 depending if you want to select the RX or FX card.
ASUS PCI-Express x1 Sound Card
- Although it’s quite expensive, the ASUS PCI-Express x1 Sound Card offers an elite design for the most pristine and incredibly rich, 124 decibel SNR ultra clarity sound. Ideal for audio-professionals who need the best of the best, it’s equipped with powerful features that truly stand out.
- With the 600 ohm high fidelity headphone amplifier built-in, it delivers powerful, rich-volume sounds for gaming, recording, producing, or enjoying movies with <0.001% distortion through every available headphone.
- Specifically designed with audiophiles in mind with a beautifully shielded EMI-free analog output path.
- The capacitors are made from an advanced Nichicon “Fine Gold” material that produces the best dynamics for the proper tones, levels, and clarity.
- Using a hyper grounding circuitry design, ASUS designed it in a multi-layer fashion to guarantee that pure signals are passed on to each individual component on the PCB.
- Beautiful and sleek design that looks awesome through any computer case with a window.
Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card
- Well known as the flagship of the Z-Series, the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR is an audiophiles dream PCIe Sound Card that delivers the best of the best with an external Audio Control Module and a DBpro card for optimal performance for any situation.
- With a signal to noise ratio of 124 decibels, your sound will be 99.99% pristine, offering a performance upgrade from standard motherboard audio that’s up to 90 times better.
- With ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) Support, latency is virtually non-existent at less than one millisecond so your audio is always matching the content on screen without lagging behind or causing any interruptions.
- Ideal for those who seek studio-grade content creation and the best recording capabilities possible. With 123 decibel analog to digital converters and an RCA auxiliary-in and optical inputs, you’re given full possibilties to record with the best quality. Music engineers love this card.
- The audio control module brings all the plugs and a dial control right to your desktop for easy access.
- Equipped with the latest Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect feature so you have the ability to connect your home theater system or decoder for lifelike 5.1 surround sound.
- The Scout Mode plays a huge importance if you’re a video gamer. It’ll improve the audio so you can hear enemies coming from a further range away.
Asus Xonar DX PCIe x1 7.1 Channel Sound Card
- With a 116 decibel sound to noise ratio and full 7.1 channel surround sound, the Asus Xonar DX PCIe x1 Sound Card is a great choice for those who want the full Dolby Home Theater lineup of technologies.
- Equipped with Dolby Digital Live, you’re given real time 7.1 surround sound with the best encoding for the price. Using the Pro-Logic IIx feature, it’ll automatically convert boring stereo or 5.1 channel sound into full fledged 7.1 channel audio.
- Specifically designed with gamers in mind with the latest DS3D GX 2.0 feature that delivers the most realistic, lively effects when you’re in the heat of a battle.
- Equipped with VocalFX that brings out the best in online voice chatting through video games and chat clients. It’ll clear out unwanted background noise so there’s never any distractions for you or the person you’re speaking to through your microphone.