What we hear, plays a critical part in every aspect of our life. Those that can’t hear, just as critical. Sound tells us what the world around us is doing. When we hear traffic pass by, planes above, waves, birds in trees. Whatever we hear, it confirms and validates the world around us. In terms of entertainment, sound is important there too. There is depth, highs and lows, screeches and vibrations. In terms of music, movies, and video games, the depth and quality of sound plays an important part in the experience and thus the industry pays close attention to it. However, sometimes our devices have low quality integrated sound cards. In these cases it’s time to reach for an external sound card: that is where the best USB sound card becomes something to think about.
USB Sound Card Adapter BENGOO External USB 2.0 Audio Stereo Sound Card Converter with 3.5mm.
This article will discuss what USB sound cards are, what the benefits are of owning the best USB soundcard. Furthermore, we will explain what factors you need to consider before purchasing USB sound cards, and what are the best USB sound cards you can obtain in today’s market.
USB sound cards primarily act as a digital translator. Since most of today’s music is digital, it is written in bits, in strings of ones and zeros.The excellent sound card will translate this digital code and output the sound. USB sound card acts as if it is DAC, a digital audio converter.
However, it doesn’t output the sound. The purpose of the card is to translate and convert the digital audio into analog form and send the process to your speakers or headphones. In general, people buy USB sound cards because their devices have poor quality integrated sound cards.
USB sound cards can replace that built in sound card in your laptop or desktop pc, or any other sound-playing device. Not all laptop or pc manufacturers pay attention to their sound cards; they do, but it is not of their primary concern.
On the other hand, USB sound card manufacturers have to worry about one thing; that their device helps produce high-quality sound.
USB sound cards aren’t integrated, they aren’t built-in into your devices. They are portable, allowing you to bring them with you on the go and use with multiple devices.
High-quality USB sound cards will also have several jacks, allowing you to plug in several devices simultaneously.
There are various things you must to consider before you decide on which is the best USB sound card for you. Here are the most critical factors:
Compatibility: make sure that the USB sound card is compatible with your device, that it supports your channel output
Function: some USB sound cards work best for video games, some work better for playing music. Make sure that you understand the technology that comes with the device: does it feature 3D sound, what kind of audio processing unit it uses and so forth.
Material and Design: material affects the case quality, and it determines the sound quality too. Also, check the dimensions, color if you care about such things, assuring it looks nice with other devices.
Naturally, these aren’t the only factors to consider but are the basic ones. Now we will move one to our list of ten best USB sound cards, where we will discuss in detail all the pros and cons of each particular sound card.
Driver Genius have brought a real contender to the world of the external USB sound card, in the form of a 7.1 Channel Sound Card. With transfer rates of up to 480 mbps across USB 2.0, this USB audio adapter is a great choice for all audio demands. It’s a good, affordable choice to add oomph to your gaming, music or movies. The audio output on this device can accommodate up to 7.1 channels, or as few as a 2 channel (pass through) stereo audio adaptor. As there are so many audio outputs, it can support a wide range of speaker set ups as well as multi directional audio for headphones.
Inputs include an Optical S/SPDIF digital audio input, and this USB external sound card adaptor will connect either directly to PC, 3.5mm jack speaker systems or headphones. The simple to use audio buttons are nicely positioned on the device and there are no complicated sequences or combinations to press. It’s a simple plug and play sound adapter, and a good one at that!
Creative Sound BlasterX G5 is a gaming USB sound card, featuring 3D gaming audio technology, allowing gamers to enhance their audio experience.
The product has native 7.1 virtual surround sound played on 24-bit technology and an absolute 120db limit. The product is best suited for ps4 and pc gaming rigs.Creative Sound BlasterX G5 uses Acoustic Engine Pro virtualizer, sending signals in all directions, working perfectly with headphones (it has incredible headphone amplifier).
It has an SB-Axx1 chipset to accelerate the hardware decoding and converting, bringing out the best out of any device. Though suitable for several functions, this is a gaming USB sound card, one of the best of its kind.
Creative Sound BlasterX G5 is beautifully designed, featuring easy to navigate illuminated wheel for convenient volume control. It uses quality parts and smart technology and is undoubtedly a valuable option for any audiophile or gamer that appreciates quality sound.
Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 utilizes several awesome technologies, including SBX Pro Studio and Blaster’s Crystal Clear technology. This produces fantastic sound on both pcs and Macs.
The device is simple to use, utilizing Sound Blaster Omni software for easy control and navigation. It is suitable for gaming too, featuring scout mode, allowing you to hear your enemies better than they hear you, giving you a competitive edge (it is not cheating, its just technology).
The device is created for digital entertainment, best suited for the enhanced gaming experience, as well as music and movie playing. Upon purchase, you will receive the Sound Blaster card, USB 2.0 cable, stereo jack adapter and installation cd containing instructions and drivers.
Xonar U5 features 5.1 channel HD sound, able to transfer 104 dB signal into analog audio using SNR technology. Sound technology is controlled by Sonic Studio software, easy to use and navigate, giving you full control over the desired sound specifications.
Xonar U5 features built-in headphone amplifier, assuring that you hear every bit of that digital sound, which can come in handy for all musicophiles and gamers. The stereo audio adapter also pays close attention to unnecessary noise, reducing it to a minimum, assuring that you hear only relevant data. You power it via USB cable.
Though ASUS didn’t have any particular purpose for this device (other than quality sound output), it seems as if this USB sound card is intended for gamers, since they emphasize headphone sound quality.
Creative Sound BlasterX G1 supports 7.1 sound channel and can translate digits and convert them into quality sound at high speed without sacrificing the quality.
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Headphone amplifiers will satisfy hardcore gamers, especially the ones playing FPS games. The Creative Sound BlasterX G1 is also suitable for amplifying studio headphones.
BlasterX Acoustic Engine brings the best out of this device, allowing numerous modes and enhancements. It is very compact, simple, but efficient, and it delivers in sound quality too.
This audio sound card also features X-Plus mode and configurator. The work best with an H5 headset, giving you a competitive edge over your opponents. The mode selects and recognizes sounds that matter, filtering out unnecessary noises and sounds. Note that you will have to purchase H5 headset separately. This additional technology will help gamers, but not non-gamers.
Unlike most products on our list, BC Master Karaoke System is particular and explicit when it comes to usability. This karaoke sound system features eight different modes and is portable, allowing you to sing, record and stream anywhere you want.
It features two in one 3.5 mm mic jacks and can be connected to the speaker without any third party object. You can charge it with simple USB cable, anywhere you want.
The device is simple, easy to use, having only several buttons with which you control the entire device. It has a built in BC Master sound card, best suited for singing.
BC Master Karaoke System is smart, having the option to change male to the female voice and vice versa, allowing the users more freedom and fun. And that is the point of this device; that you have fun with it and share it with your friends and family.
Baile Portable Sound Card works with Windows and Mac OS platforms, featuring 7.1 channel with 3D adapter, ultimately producing high-quality sound.
It is inexpensive and cost-effective, offering a lot for a small price. The device supports 2.0 USB ports and will work with almost any laptop and desktop PC.
It supports 48/44.1KHz audio sampling, suitable for playing and recording. The product is made of aluminum, is relatively lightweight, has two mic jacks, and four control buttons that make it very simple to use.
Upon purchase, you will receive the Baile Portable Sound Card, USB cable, and instructional CD. It is also worth mentioning that its signal to noise ratio (SNR) is 90 dB, which isn’t top quality, but still high quality.
Tech Rise Card Adapter works with international USB standards (2.0) and is truly beautiful. The Tech Rise sound card is simple to use, its unique and compact design making everything look simple and organized.
It works with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, headphones, gaming headsets and so forth; it is highly compatible because it doesn’t require driver installation.
LED indicators make it simpler to use, and the volume wheel is smooth and functional, allowing you to control the volume. The product is built for musicophiles, featuring 16 different rhythmic patterns and 23 environment modes (yes, 23!)
The product is also fit for casual gamers since it does have a gaming mode, working best with gaming headset because the Tech Rise stereo sound adapter brings best out of any devices. So if you already have quality headphones or headsets, prepare to be blown away by this small but unique device.
StarTech External Sound Card has many advantages: it is the smallest adapter on this list, it requires no driver installation (at least not for the older windows version, and has only two buttons (volume up and down).
However, StarTech External Sound Card doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but it will come in handy if your laptop or pc don’t have a mic jack (most modern laptops don’t).
Furthermore, the device does its job, and it does produce good sound for such a small device. After all, it features 7.1 channel sound and comes with a CD containing XEAR 3D software to boost the 7.1 channel sound.
VAlinks External Sound Card features 5.1 channel audio, giving you the ability to record and play high-quality digital-to-audio content.
It supports up to 44 kHz sampling rate in both recording and playing options. It is relatively inexpensive, made for both analog and digital recording and representing. The product also features Full-duplex playback.
It is compact and lightweight, has line and mic input, as well as SPDIF input. Upon purchase, you will receive a sound card, USB cable, and the cd containing the driver.
Consumers reviews are mixed, some claiming it works correctly others claiming it didn’t work at all so that we can assign it to manufacture problems. But, when it does work, it works as described: smoothly, producing and recording high-quality sound.
Again, it is hard to pick the best USB sound card and proclaim it the winner of this list. Some of these devices are good for gaming (most focus on delivering enhanced gaming experience), others are made for karaoke, and some are multi-purpose.
Moreover, they differ in sizes, some inputs and outputs, design and many other things. Naturally, there is also the price involved in all this.
The top one on the list (Sewell Direct Soundbox, Creative Sound BlasterX G5, and Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround) are probably your safest bet, but they are also the most expensive ones.
You can also go for cheaper version because any of these devices will give you better sound than your integrated sound cards; you can bet on that. In any case, make sure it is compatible with your devices and that it suits your needs.
You can create Aggregate Device to increase the number audio inputs and outputs available at the same time. You can also use an Aggregate Device if your application doesn't support separate input and output devices.
With Logic Pro, GarageBand, and MainStage, you can use a separate device for input and output. For example, you can use a USB microphone for input and the headphone jack of your Mac for output. Some applications not manufactured by Apple don't support separate input and output devices.
When you create an Aggregate Device, make sure to connect all external audio interfaces first.
The list on the right shows the currently connected audio devices and the number of input and output channels for each one.
When you set the Aggregate Device as the sound output for your Mac, sounds from other apps on your Mac play through the Aggregate Device. The Aggregate Device also becomes the System Setting option in the Output and Input Device menus of your Apple music creation apps.