Best Cheap Sound Cards 2019

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We understand how frustrating a poor audio quality could be. You may decide to purchase high-quality subwoofers or bookshelf speakers to make things better. Sometimes, this seems not to be enough and that is where the need for the sound card comes in. It makes all of these frustrations go away and you can once again listen to great music.

In our review today, we will be evaluating the best sound card ― internal and external ― you can get for under $100 and still enjoys superb quality sound. This will come in handy for gamers. It makes you enjoy and feel the game instead of just catching fun.

  1. Creative Sound Blaster Z

This sound card has a great signal-t-noise ratio of 116dB with game-friendly audio features. With a flip of a switch, you can easily toggle between your headphones and speaker. This makes it very easy to control the sound especially in the middle of the night you don’t want to wake others.

The Creative Sound Blaster Z comes with two different types of software ― Z-series control panel for functionalities management and the Alchemy for EAX support on older games.

Features

  • Sound Core3D Audio Processor
  • 116dB SNR
  • 3D surround effects
  • Price: $99.99

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great for gamers
  • Support windows

Cons

  • Does not support Mac
  • Bright red LED can be annoying
  1. ASUS PCI-Express x1 7.1 Channel

The manufacturer, ASUS is a well-known hardware producer. The soundcard is a great choice for both movies and gaming purposes. Its PCIe x1 slot is well compatible with recent motherboards and the operational amplifier assists in improving signal produce a better sound.

The Xonar brings with it a hi-fi theater that supports DTS Connect in desktop to present superb sound quality.

Features

  • CD/DVD Drive
  • 116dB (front-out), 112dB (other channels)
  • Audio Processor
  • Audio Card Slot
  • Price: from $69.99

Pros

  • Support older version of Windows
  • Affordable
  • Great sound quality

Cons

  • Not compatible with Mac
  1. ASUS Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5

The Asus Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5 provide realistic 3D audio effects. This effect is most appreciated when a gamer also uses a top-notch graphics card. The experience is heaven.

You do need to manually change your audio settings when plugging or unplugging headphone, the jack-sending front panel automatically does that. The built-in audio amplifier allows three choices ― VOIP, pro-gaming and exciter gaming.

Features

  • Audio auto-switch
  • 3D audio effects
  • Built-In Headphone AMP
  • Price: from $56.85

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Perfect for Windows
  • Works on Linux

Cons

  • Installation may be complicated
  • Not compatible with Mac
  1. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX

In case you are considering spending even lesser than $50 but still want something that will satisfy your need for good quality sound, look no further. The Creative Sound Blaster comes with SBX Pro Studio that is capable of processing audio behind the scenes to give a top-notch sound result.

The main drawback is that the sound card lacks EMI and this may result in interference.

Features

  • 600-ohm headphone
  • 106 SNR
  • SBX Pro Studio
  • Price: $39.99

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Affordable
  • Perfect for Windows

Cons

  • Installation may be complicated
  • No EMI shield
  1. Sound Blaster Audigy RX

The EAX engine of the Sound Blaster Audigy is well handled by an advanced chipset. To fully enjoy its functionalities, you will need a great headphone or speaker of good output.

The dual microphone port allows connection of two mics at a time giving you a chance of a karaoke duet. There is yet another port you can use for recording.

Features

  • 7.1 multi-channel audio
  • EAX reverb engine
  • 106dB SNR
  • Creative WaveStudio
  • Creative Smart Recorder
  • Price: $59.99

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Quality sound
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Installation may be complicated
  1. StarTech.com 7.1 USB External Sound Card

This is our first external soundcard on our review list. The manufacturer Startech was founded in 1985 and ever since then have been making auxiliary hardware products that make laptop usage more fun and safer.

The sound card is connected via the PC USB port and provide a high-quality 7.1 surround sounds. Very easy to install, just plug in and wait for the driver to install.

Features

  • Dual-Mic input
  • Ten ports
  • 7.1 Surround Sound support
  • USB Sound Adapter
  • Price: $30.79

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Saves internal device interference headache
  • Works with Linux
  • Compatible even with old Windows version

Cons

  • S/PDIF limitations
  • Mic quality not ideal
  • No software provided
  1. Creative Sound BlasterX G1 7.1

The Creative Sound BlasterX G1 7.1 is an external sound card that is very portable such that it conveniently fits into the pocket. It is designed in the shape of your conventional USB drive and supports both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

Features

  • 300ohm headphone amplifier
  • BlasterX Acoustic Engine
  • X-Plus Mode
  • Price: $49.99

Pros

  • Supports true 7.1 channel audio input signals
  • Compact sized
  • 1 virtual surround sound
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Lacks volume control
  • Mic/line input should be separated
  1. ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5

This small-sized and lightweight external sound card is designed with 192KHz audio quality and a true 5.1 channel surround sound. It gives you a better experience during gaming or watching movies.

The perfect voice feature ensures you are heard clearly on the mic without any background noise interference.

Features

  • True 5.1-channel HD surround sound
  • Sonic Studio
  • Perfect Voice
  • Independent mic and master-volume controls
  • Price: $69.99

Pros

  • High sample rate
  • 1 surround sound
  • Sound quality is okay
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Surround sound can be better
  1. Creative Sound Blaster Omni

This creative sound blaster is a good choice for both gamer and normal computer users especially if you watch movies and listen to music often. Its rated 100dB SNR gives it a crisp and clear sound output with lesser noise.

The external sound card features two RCA ports and 3.5mm jacks located on the back for the 5.1 channel output.

Features

  • Built-in dual mics
  • 5.1 Surround sound
  • SBX Pro Studio
  • Crystal Voice Technologies
  • Price: $69.99

Pros

  • Compatible with Mac
  • Affordable
  • Windows compatible
  • Built-in dual mics

Cons

  • Surround sound can be better
  1. Creative Sound BlasterX G5

Yet another external sound card from Sound Blaster manufactured by Creative Labs. This sound card comes with an integrated headphone amp with the capability of multiple connections to computers.

It is a good choice for both gamers and good sound lovers.

Features

  • 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Blaster Acoustic Engine Pro
  • Backlit Volume Control
  • Price: $99.99

Pros

  • Audiophile quality Digital Analog Converter (DAC)
  • 1 Surround sound
  • Great sound output
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Volume knob location not good enough
  • Limited connections

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