10 Best Sound Cards for Gaming in 2019 – Do not buy before reading this!

If you are looking for some of the best sound cards for gaming, this post will help you make the right choice.

best-gaming-sound-cards

Our expert team has spent exactly 23 days to prepare this detailed review for you.

While looking for the best sound card in the market, one can easily get confused due to so many different options. Then, there are some YouTubers as well who are self proclaimed experts and try to mess with your mind.

To suggest a sound card, onc needs to be an expert in assembling a PC an know how the PC configuration works.

Our team reviewed more than 27 sound cards for gaming from which only 10 sound cards could make to our list.

So whether you are playing Half Life, Final Fantasy or Mass Effect, these gaming sound cards will make your life easy and help you live the game.

Moreover, it has been nearly 30 years since sound cards were first introduced. Since then, technology has evolved so much. You can get the gist about it in this amazing video:

Before delving into detailed reviews, its time to check the top rated gaming sound cards that we have covered in this post:

10 Best Gaming Sound Cards of 2019

Best Gaming Sound Cards: Detailed Reviews

Sound plays an important role while gaming. There are various games like COD, NFS and first person shooter games which cannot be enjoyed if you do not have a good sound mechanism.

Our main motive of covering these gaming sound cards was to bring you the best sound cards in your budget. Thus, you will find gaming sound cards from super affordable to advanced premium collection.

Without boring you further, let’s begin with the detailed gaming sound card reviews.

1. ASUS Sound Card Essence STX II

ASUS-Essence-STX-II

Asus has a sturdy reputation in the market for all major electrical equipment. They deliver premium quality products to the customers.

Talking about sound cards, there are two major brands that come into mind, Asus and Creative. A wide majority of the population would go for either Asus or Creative.

It has been four years since the original STX debuted, and the STX II is a successor. With this sound card, Asus tries to deliver a great sound experience to even the most sophisticated listener.

Here, before checking the features, do watch this unboxing video of this gaming sound card to get a better understanding about it:

Now coming towards the features of the ASUS Sound Card Essence STX II:-

  • It operates on unequaled 124 dB signal noise ratio.
  • It includes an exceptional TCXO clock source that ensures low jitters.
  • It uses 4-pin Molex power connection.
  • It is embedded with the eminent MUSES op-amps.
Pros
  • The sound quality delivered by this sound card is magnificent.
  • High-grade components are used by ASUS for making this sound card. ASUS always gives supreme quality assurance.
  • It has an operational driver suite.
  • It functions fine with both hard and easy to drive headphones.
  • Good after sale service.
Cons
  • The soundstage shortfalls of sound depth provided.
  • This sound card is a bit more expensive than the other competitors.
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2. HT OMEGA Claro Halo PCI Sound Card

HT-OMEGA-Claro-Halo

This sound card brand is not from a much-renowned brand. Still, it offers great quality for the price.

It definitely gives a tough competition to the Essence STX II and as it is fairly cheaper. The sound produced is clear and crisp with the help of this high performer.

Being a general buyer, you may not have heard about this brand so you might hesitate before buying this. Believe us, this is a great option if you want to buy a decent sound card which offers good quality other than ASUS or any other traditional brand.

HT-OMEGA-Claro-Halo-PCI-Sound-Card

Here are its features:

  • It is a 128 dB headphone amplifier with the user discretionary high or low hindrance setting.
  • Has convertible front and headphone out OPAMP socket.
  • It has external MIDI device support.
  • Supports has a selectable automatic mute feature.
  • Includes has professional grade RCA connectors.
Pros
  • Provides an unmatchable sound experience for this price.
  • Gives true 24-bit audio treatment.
  • It has solid state capacitors.
  • Offers a great value for the money.
  • The customer satisfaction for this product is very high as there are majority positive reviews for this on Amazon.
Cons
  • This sound card is not PCIe compliant but only PCI compliant.
  • It consumes a bit more processor power than the other competitors.
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3. Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Gaming Sound Card

Creative-Sound-Blaster-ZxR

Creative is another brand that comes to our mind for sound entertainment-related products. It is most famous for creating Sound Blaster sound cards.

This brand has created numerous audio tech products for mainstream gamers. The Creative Sound Blaster ZxR provides crystal clear audio and is surely a flagship-grade device.

The Creative Sound Blaster ZxR is assuredly worth buying as it offers many features which are not offered by any other brand at this price.

The design also looks cool as it is a gaming sound card but we do know that the design does not matter as it will be placed inside the cabinet.

Check this video to get a better understanding about the sound card:

Knowing more about its features:

  • Has an unparalleled 124 dB signal noise ratio.
  • This is the best sound card made for catering to your music needs.
  • It offers studio-grade content creation.
  • Provides SBX pro studio technologies.
  • It has a dedicated scout mode that allows the players to hear the enemy from far away.
  • Includes has high-quality audio cables.
  • It supports Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect.
  • Has a headphone/speaker switch.
Pros
  • It has the CrystalVoice voice enrichment and voice articulateness technology.
  • It can be easily connected to the home theatre system with a single digital cable with the help of the Dolby Digital Live technology.
  • It has a toggle switch which can be used to shift between headphones and speakers without unplugging the headphones.
  • The dedicated scout mode gives the gamers an upper hand as it lets them hear the enemy from the farthest distance possible. This gives them an evident tactical advantage over others.
  • The signal to noise ratio on this ensures 34.4 times better performance than the standard sound cards.
  • The design and build of this gaming sound card is extraordinary unlike any other sound card provided by any other brand.
  • The pricing of this sound card is also good.
Cons
  • Expensive premium option.
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4. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1: Best Budget Sound Card

Creative-Sound-Blaster-Audigy-RX-7.1

This is another high performer by Creative and is much cheaper than the previous one. This is an entry-level sound card in the market.

The specifications provided by this sound card are decent for the price bracket at which it is delivered, well at least on paper.

If we compare the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy with more budget oriented sound cards provided by a renowned brand like ASUS then it will surely be a tough competitor.

This sound card gives all the new hardware and such tech is not provided by any other brand at this price.

Talking about the features of the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1:

  • It has a 7.1 multi-channel audio system.
  • It has a 106 dB signal to noise ratio.
  • It has a 600-ohm headphone amp.
  • It has a 24-bit 192 kHz stereo direct playback.
  • Bundled with Creative WaveStudio and Creative Smart Recorder which are good recording software.
Pros
  • The best thing about this gaming sound card is that it is a great package at this price point. It gives us all the significant features which should be present in a standard sound card.
  • It also features the Creative E-MU chipset that delivers astonishing cinematic audio playback.
  • It has double microphone inputs.
  • It has an incredible bit rate of 124-bits at 192 kHz.
  • It has a 7.1 multi-channel speaker output which gives a deeply engaging cinematic audio experience.
Cons
  • Sometimes gives technical issues with Windows 10.
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5. Creative Sound Blaster Zx: Best Sound Card for Gaming

Creative-Sound-Blaster-Zx

This gaming sound card is a lower end variant of the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR. This is a mid-range sound card that offers great specifications at a decent price. The Creative Sound Blaster Zx also owns this price bracket as it gives an extraordinary performance with stupefying looks.

The Zx gaming sound card features glowing LED lights that add to the dazzling red colored body. If this sound card is bought for gaming purpose then this little effect matters the most.

This sound card comes with a desktop module which is a really useful accessory. It also has gold plated 3.5mm headphone jack, a gold-plated 3.5mm microphone jack, gold plated 3.5mm 5.1 channel connections.

Do check this official video to know more about this amazing gaming sound card:

Now coming towards the features of the Creative Sound Blaster Zx:

  • Has a really good 116 dB signal to noise ratio.
  • Driven by the Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor.
  • Features THX TruStudio Pro technology which is great indeed.
  • It has the CrystalVoice enhancement feature.
  • Supports Dolby Digital Live encoding.
  • It has a dedicated Scout Mode for gaming.
  • It has a headphone/speaker switch.
Pros
  • The high signal to noise ratio on this sound card is 35.4 times better than the standard motherboard audio.
  • It supports reduced latency with ASIO support.
  • At this price, it offers gold plated 3.5 mm headphone jacks, microphone jacks, and 5.1 channel connections.
  • It has a dedicated button or a switch that lets you jump between headphone and speaker connection without unplugging the headphone.
  • The Dolby Digital Live encoding is surely helpful as it lets the users connect to the home theatre systems easily.
  • The Scout mode offered by Creative in this sound card gives an edge cutting performance boost to the gamers as they can hear distant enemies by just sitting at one place.
  • The LED lights embedded on this sound card are gratifying and intensify the overall looks of the sound card.
Cons
  • The LED lights cannot be turned off.
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6. ASUS Xonar DSX PCIe 7.1 Sound Cards

ASUS-Xonar-DSX-7.1

This is a more budget-friendly option by ASUS and it is clearly made to offer competition to the Creative Sound Blaster Zx. It is the successor of the award-winning Xonar Ds 7.1 sound card.

It has the Dolby Digital Connect System that brings home theatre experience to the desktop. This is one of the best sound cards which can be used for having surround sound.

The ASUS Xonar DSX PCIe 7.1 gaming sound card is not a mainstream gaming sound card but still assures paramount gaming experience. If compared to other sound cards offered by Creative, then there surely are some features that ASUS Xonar lacks yet it gives a balanced experience to the users.

Now let us throw some light on some of the important features of the ASUS Xonar DSX PCIe 7.1 Sound Card:-

  • Has a playback support of 24-bit at 192 kHz.
  • It has the DTS Connect system that lets the PC support immersive surround sound.
  • Includes the GX2.5 audio engine.
  • The Intel HDA compatible front panel header on this automatically changes the output from the back panel to front panel once it is plugged in.
  • It has a 7.1 multi-channel audio system which helps in giving out surround sound.
Pros
  • The immersive audio experience that this sound card gives is truly commendable.
  • This sound card is not only good for regular use like listening to music etc. but also good for intensive gaming usage.
  • The all-powerful GX2.5 audio engines add to the overall sound quality.
  • This sound card is not dedicatedly sold as a gaming product but it still manages to beat other gaming sound cards in this price bracket and also in the price bracket higher than this.
  • The price at which this sound card is sold and the performance that it provides at the given price is satisfactory.
Cons
  • The user interface is a bit confusing for most of the users. The software looks outdated and should have been improved by ASUS.
  • There are no dedicated gaming modes provided with this if compared to the Creative Sound Blasters which are available at the same price.
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7. Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card

Creative-Sound-Blaster-Z

The Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card is just like the Sound Blaster Zx. Internally, it has got the same specifications. The difference lies on the outside. The Sound Blaster Z has a different bundle of accessories that come with it.

This gaming sound card also is a mid-range contender in the competition of being the best. Just like the Sound Blaster Zx, this also has all gold plated connectors and audio jacks. It has the same LED lighting as well.

If we talk about its performance then it would not be much different from the other Creative sound cards, especially the Sound Blaster Zx.

The Sound Blaster Z’s only accessory is a standard microphone that comes with it for the uses who do not have a standalone microphone or a headset. Some other extra accessories come with Sound Blaster Zx for which you will have to pay a higher price.

Now coming towards the main features of the Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card:-

  • Has a really good 116 dB signal to noise ratio.
  • It is driven by the Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor.
  • Features SBX Pro Studio sound technology which gives stunning 3D sound effects.
  • Includes CrystalVoice enhancement feature.
  • It has a headphone/speaker switch.
  • The dedicated Scout Mode by Creative is present on this one too.
Pros
  • A satisfying amount of features are provided with the Creative Sound Blaster Z. We get all these features at a price lower than the other variants of the same gaming sound card.
  • This sound card gives first-rate gaming performance.
  • It has all gold plated 3.5mm audio jacks and connectors at such low price.
  • The signal to noise ratio on this one is high so it surely is far better than standard motherboard audio.
  • The headphone/speaker switch is a good add-on as it lets you jump between headphone and speakers without unplugging the headphones.
  • The red colored LED lights on this are vivid and immersive and will go great with the whole setup if you are building a gaming PC.
  • The microphone provided with it is of decent quality and acts as a good add-on.
  • The driver suite is simple to handle.
Cons
  • The Scout Mode present on this is not as effective as it should be.
  • Some people may not like the bright red LED lights.
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8. Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 PCIe Gaming Sound Card

Creative-Sound-BlasterX-AE-5

The Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 PCIe gaming sound card is one beast. It comprehensively looks so ravishing that it easily stand out of the competition if we are just talking about the looks.

This is the only sound card on the list with RGB lighting. It comes with an attractive set of RGB lights that enhance the elegance of this little box. There is also an included RGB LED strip.

This is the first sound card to come with Xamp. Xamp is a conventionally designed diverse headphone amplifier. Each audio channel is independently augmented through this great technology.

Let’s discuss its features:

  • The main highlight is that it has the Aurora Reactive RGB Lighting System.
  • It features Xamp which is a custom software tailored by Creative to amplify the headphone experience.
  • It delivers 32-bit at 384 kHz playback.
  • The signal to noise ratio is of 122 dB on this sound card.
  • This sound card works with the BlasterX Acoustic Engine.
  • It features an upgraded version of the Scout system previously mentioned by us. The Scout 2.0 as it is called, enables the players to visualize where the enemies are on the radar.
Pros
  • The  Creative Sound BlasterX is visually stunning. The RGB LED lights are vivid and brilliant.
  • One RGB LED strip is also provided with this sound card.
  • The Xamp technology created by Creative is featured on this sound card and it works perfectly.
  • This gaming sound card has a higher bit rate of 32-bits at 384 kHz which is definitely higher than the bitrate provided by other gaming sound cards in this price bracket.
  • The audio suite provided with this is simply great. It is simply targeted for gamers and has some presets engineered for certain games. The user interface of this software is also top notch.
  • The upgraded scout mode, the Scout 2.0 is undoubtedly a big advancement from the previous version. It lets the player hear the enemy before the enemy hears them. It has a radar system that tracks down the enemy with the help of the noise created by the enemy.
  • The signal to noise ratio ensures that we get an immersive audio experience which is doubtlessly better than the standard audio output by the motherboard.
Cons
  • Switching between the headphone and the desktop speaker can a bit of a problem sometimes. The audio might stop playing and you may have to restart the audio from the source then.
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9. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1: Cheapest Sound Card

Creative-Sound-Blaster-Audigy-FX

This is another entry level sound card in the market right now. This one is the cheapest gaming sound card on the list but it does offer quite a few great features. The specifications provided by this sound card are fair for the price bracket at which it is catered.

This is a lower end variant of the sound card which goes by the same name, but the only major difference is that it has a 5.1 channel surround system.

The Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 5.1 is a little devil and is the ideal upgrade from the elementary motherboard audio. It is truly impossible to believe that such immersive audio experience is delivered at such a low price.

Now let us dig deeper into the features of the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 5.1:-

  • Has a 5.1 multi-channel audio system.
  • It has a 106 dB signal to noise ratio.
  • Includes a 600-ohm headphone amp.
  • It has a 24-bit 192 kHz stereo direct playback.
  • Unlike the  RX7.1, this is bundled with SBX Pro Studio which is a decent software.
Pros
  • The best thing about this sound card is that it is a splendid bundle at this price point. It gives us all the significant features which should be present in a standard sound card.
  • It has double microphone inputs.
  • It has an incredible bit rate of 124-bits at 192 kHz.
  • It has a 5.1 multi-channel speaker output which gives a decent cinematic audio experience.
  • It works perfectly fine with Windows 10, unlike the other entry level sound cards.
Cons
  • Just like some other Creative Gaming Sound Cards, if we go by the customer reviews, the audio quality of the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 5.1 also regresses over time.
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10. Creative Sound BlasterX G5 7.1: Headphone External Sound Card with Headphone Amplifier

Creative-Sound-BlasterX-G5-7.1

By now you all must have understood that who stands as the clear winner in the sound entertainment sector these days. Creative has made all kinds of products that will easily please audiophiles and has these products in different price segments.

This gaming sound card is different than any other sound card we have included in this list. This gaming sound card is actually an external sound card and is also supported by a wide variety of mediums such as Mac, PS4 and other consoles.

We can easily say that this is a true gaming sound card as it can be used with a PlayStation and Xbox too. It is also portable so you can carry it anywhere and use it on multiple PC’s.

If we focus on the performance then also it would not disappoint us as it has some great technical characteristics. This Digital Audio Converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier render the most quintessential audio experience.

Now let us focus on some of the most important features of the Creative Sound BlasterX G5:

  • Has a native 7.1 surround sound support.
  • It has a 24-bit 192 kHz stereo direct playback.
  • It has a 120 dB signal to noise ratio.
  • Gives a deeply engaging 3D PC gaming audio.
  • Supported by other platforms such as the Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, Mac etc.
  • Has a built-in SB-Axx1 Audio Processor.
  • It has backlit volume buttons and a gleaming volume indicator.
Pros
  • This external gaming sound card is cheaper than the traditional internal gaming sound cards but still predominates most of them.
  • It has some well-lit indicators and the logo gleams too.
  • It gives the best-in-class immersive audio experience. The stereo effects are supreme.
  • It is pocket-sized so you can carry it anywhere you want.
  • This pocket-sized giant is supported by every major platform out there like Mac, PlayStation, Xbox, Windows PC, Android, iOS etc.
  • It has a dedicated SBX Profile selection button and Scout Mode buttons.
  • It has the Scout Mode just like any other Creative Gaming Sound Card.
  • It is simply the best audio card for gaming as it is a true gaming sound card as already mentioned by us.
Cons
  • The cables provided with the package are quite short. The cables should have been a bit longer for it to be truly useful as an external gaming sound card.
  • The software supplied with it is a bit laggy and slow. More work could have been done on tinkering the software by Creative.
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How to Buy a Sound Card?

Now that you have checked various sound cards, you might still be left with confusion as to how to choose the best sound card among the lot.

Well, there are certain factors which you should look for while evaluating the selection of the sound card for yourself.

In the end, what matters the most is that you get a crisp sound with little to no distortion. For this, do check the signal to noise ration popularly known as SNR of the gaming sound card.

The best experience is when you get a surround sound experience.

Signal to Noise Ratio – An Explanation

SNR is one metric which would help you to segment the list of sound cards.

SNR effectively measures and states the quality of the audio in a sound card.

Basically, there are two parameters – signal and noise.

The signal is the actual sound that you would like to hear or want to hear. It could be sound of the instrument, dialogue, notes etc.

Noise is the sound of the background. Whenever there is an electric current passing through a medium, it results in generating some noise.

Overall, the higher the decibels of the signal as compared to the decibels of the noise, better will be the quality of the sound.

Our Top Recommendation

Creative Sound Blaster Zx PCIe Gaming Sound Card

Creative-Sound-Blaster-Zx

Buy on Amazon

There are only a few sound cards which have got more than 1000 positive reviews from the customers and the Creative Sound Blaster Zx is one of them.

This card hels you to experience a truly thrilling gaming session. You can enjoy cinematic movies, songs, games and what not.

Here is our quick review:

Creative Sound Blaster Zx Gaming Sound Card Review
  • Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Ease of Installation
  • Price
4.6

Final Words

We hope you must have gained some rightful insights about gaming sound cards. We tried our best to get you the most detailed info so that you can make a wise choice in deciding the best gaming sound card for your yourself.

Still, if you have any doubts or confusion regarding anything related to the above-listed gaming sound cards, do share it with us in the comments section below. We would be happy to help you!


Important: The images used in the post are taken from Amazon and stock photo sites.

Last update on 2019-11-14 at 08:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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