5 Best Sound Cards for Windows 10 PC to Improve Audio

Best collection of high-performance sound cards

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
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Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Windows Server & Networking Expert
After moving away from the corporate work-style, Alex has found rewards in a lifestyle of constant analysis, team coordination and pestering his colleagues. Holding an MCSA Windows Server... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • We prepared the best sound card for your PC, whether you are an audiophile or a gamer.
  • Our best choice is a device from Creative that comes with a Quad-Core processor.
  • Another choice from the same manufacturer is excellent for multi-purpose audio and comes with an attractive price.
  • You can also try an ASUS audio card with an industry-leading 124 dB SNR sound.

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This guide gives you some of the best sound cards for Windows 10 PCs.

An onboard or integrated sound card is sufficient for most users. It works great when you listen to music, watch cool YouTube Videos, and do other light stuff with background music.

However, if you are an audiophile or a hardcore gamer, you are serious about sound. You want something that will heighten your immersion levels.

This will mean an investment in a sound card.

Does a PC need a sound card?

It is not an absolute need, but for the best sounds, it is the better option.

You probably own high-quality headsets, but you feel something is ruining your immersion level. So buying a dedicated sound card becomes your only option.

And here are some benefits of using them:

  • System resource conservation – It lessens the central processing unit (CPU) burden. This makes more processing power available for demanding activities like gaming or other applications.
  • Sound quality – As expected, they will improve the sound quality of your device.
  • Immersive experience – Separately installed sound cards may provide immersive 3D audio, which is particularly important for high-end games that otherwise would need a specialized sound processor or solution.
  • More audio channel support – Improved surround sound and headphone precision are made possible by adding extra audio outputs for 5.1 and 7.1 channel audio.

This article lists the five best sound card options for your Windows 10 PC.

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NOTE
Note: Deals are subject to change. Keep in mind that the price tag often varies. We recommend going to the vendor’s website to check the price. Also, some of the products may be out of stock by the time you’ve made your purchasing decision. So, hit the buy button while the sale is on!

What is the best sound card for Windows 10 PC?

Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 is our first pick in this guide, as it offers some handy features that are sure to improve your audio-listening experience whether you’re watching a movie or playing a game.

Using this sound card while gaming enables you to feel integrated into the environment that you’re exploring, thus allowing you to focus even more on the task at hand.

The double amplifier offers crystal-clear sound, perfectly covering low, mid, and high-pitch noises.

Besides this, it also uses accurate hardware-accelerated audio powered by a quad-core processor that will never leave you lagging power and clarity.

It comes with a top-notch 127dB DNR ESS SABRE-class 9018 DAC and a Quad-Core processor that perfectly handles all the audio tasks.

The Xamp discrete headphone bi-amplifier powers each earcup of your headphones separately with 1Ω output impedance.

It can also drive studio-grade headphones of up to 600Ω, including high-end planar-magnetic headphones, so the better your equipment, the better the sound quality.

Important features:

  • Powerful bi-amp technology
  • ESS SABRE-class 9018 DAC
  • DSD64 playback support
  • DTS Connect Encoding/ Dolby Digital Live
  • Software customization tool included
  • The bass control setting from the software is sometimes lagging

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX

The Sound Blaster Audigy is also an incredibly cheap, high-performance sound card. Creative has positioned itself as a top brand in producing sound cards.

Their Sound Blaster Audigy has earned customers’ trust due to its simple design, quality features, and affordable price.

This sound card delivers a compelling 5.1 multichannel surround sound that easily converts your PC into a cinematic entertainment system.

The Audigy is not as complicated as most top-end sound cards but delivers 106 dB of signal-to-sound ratio (SNR).

This means you get 20 DB more than on the standard sound cards on motherboards.

It comes with a suite of Sound Blaster audio processors, such as SBX Pro Studio, that allows you to change the bass level, left/right balance, and more.

The high headphone amplification of up to 600-ohm impedance results in high-performance and distortion-free audio.

Important features:

  • 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound
  • SBX Pro Studio - advanced audio processing
  • Comes with the Sound Blaster Audigy Fx Control Panel
  • 106 SNR and 24-bit 192kHz DAC playback
  • 96kHz ADC recording
  • Needs updated drivers to run at full power

Creative 70SB174000000 Sound BlasterX

The Creative 70SB174000000 Sound BlasterX AE-5 PCIe gaming sound card is one of our top picks in this department, as it offers mighty and crisp sound.

This helpful sound card not only allows you to immerse yourself fully in the environment you’re exploring in your games but also defies explanations regarding its sound clarity.

Besides this, it is the only sound card from this range that allows you to use the Xamp, a customized headphone amplifier that will take your gaming session to the next level.

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The AE-5 Plus is the equivalent of a high-end graphics card for sound, and it supports 5.1 discrete and 7.1 virtual surround, as well as Sound Blaster’s Surround Virtualization technology.

The SABRE32 ultra-class PCI-e DAC provides Hi-Rez sound with up to 32-bit / 384 kHz playback and a 122 dB DNR, practically removing distortion and jitter.

This sound card is about the perfect sound and ensures the show because it features customizable RGB LEDs on its body and an included RGB LED strip.

So, it doesn’t even lack the bling of a gaming card. Even if it’s an internal device, you will find a way to display its talents.

Important features:

  • Professional-level surround sound
  • Immersive highs and lows
  • Incredibly crisp sound overall
  • Customizable RGB LEDs
  • The sound blaster software has some minor issues

Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe

sound card for pc windows 10

If you are looking for a classy sound card that is powerful enough to handle all your gaming audio needs, you might want to try out the Sound Blaster Z PCIe.

This sound card has a series of attractive features that every audiophile would want. It features a Sound Core3D Audio processor for advanced audio capabilities.

This adds to the inbuilt SBX Pro Studio sound technologies to deliver unprecedented sound clarity with stunning 3D surround effects.

An inbuilt control panel allows you to switch between two options. A flip switch lets you toggle between your headphones and the computer speakers.

This sound card delivers 116 DB of sound-to-noise ratio (SNR), which Creative claims it’s 99.99% pure sound, and 34.4 times better than motherboard audio.

In addition, this sound card comes with a removable, beam-forming dual microphone perfect for in-game communication.

The Sound Blaster Z is compatible with Windows 10, and you can download the driver from the manufacturer’s site. Its price fluctuates, but keep an eye on the discounts.

Important features:

  • Dual-microphone array
  • Sound Core3D Audio Processor
  • SBX Pro Studio for 3D effects
  • Audiophile-grade capacitors
  • Gold-plated I/O connectivity
  • When drivers are not updated popping sound appears

ASUS Essence STX II

sound card for pc windows 10

ASUS hi-fi sound cards deliver sound quality that is hard to describe, and the STX 11 is no exception.

These high-end sound cards don’t come cheap, but they deliver quintessential performance that keeps the spirit and philosophy of audiophiles alive.

The signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio of the Essence line is usually higher than that of standard cards found on motherboards.

While standard cards hover around 88 dB SNR, the Essence STX 11 boasts an industry-leading 124 dB SNR.

Another essential feature that every audio-savvy looks for in a sound card is surround sound support. The STX 11 provides 7.1 multichannel surround sound.

This allows you to hook up to an 8-speaker audio system and get rich surround sound as opposed to the 5.1ch setup, which can only support up to 6 speakers.

In addition, Asus provides an op-amp swap kit with the STX 11 that allows users to easily change the tone and timbre of the sound they hear.

And if you like using headphones, then you’ll love the Asus headphone amplification that supports up to 600-ohm impedance.

This amplification boosts the sound while removing any distortions to deliver a sound close to the original recordings.

Moreover, the STX 11 is compatible with Windows 10 PC. ASUS has drivers for Windows 10, both 32 and 64-bit. However, they are not on the CD; you must download them from the Asus site.

Important features:

  • Amazing sound quality
  • Muses op-amps
  • Powerful 124dB SNR
  • Output can be changed only from the driver

We can now conclude our list with the best sound cards for Windows 10 PCs.

We have not made our list in any particular order, and we recommend that you get what seems most suitable.

Our list contains only the sound cards that are compatible with Windows 10. They include excellent 5.1, PCI, external, and USB sound card options for Windows 10 PCs.

If you have any other suggestions about sound cards, we will wait for them in the comments section below.

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