Best External Sound Cards 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best External Sound Cards 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Last updated: 18 February, 2021

Models Considered 28 Models Considered
Hours of Research 240 Hours of Research
Experts Interviewed 19 Experts Interviewed
Reviews Analyzed 235 Reviews Analyzed
Confused about picking up the best external sound cards for PC or Laptops? Not worry as I have compiled a list of the 10 Best External sound cards totally based on personal experimenting and gathering authentic reviews through different but mega reliable sources. In fact, I have also written a buying guide which would help you in buying the best card for your gadget under the limited budget or instead with an extra budget in your pocket too.

This dedicated and specific guide does not only include the best external sound cards, but also a comparison list which lets you know the reasons which and why to buy a specific kind of external or USB sound card whether for a Laptop, PC, or Mac. So these are the best External Sound Cards Reviews that you would come across today, I am sure.

Best External Sound Cards Comparison table:

Excellent Compatibility
Sound BlasterX G6 – All In One

Creative, the leading company is manufacturing excellent sound cards and best audio gadgets

Read Our Review
10
TechscoreTM
?
Lifetime Technical Support
StarTech ICUSBAUDIO2D – Economical

If you have less budget and you want to buy a finest quality sound card which has latest

Read Our Review
9.9
TechscoreTM
?
Excellent Sound Quality
Omni Sound Blaster – Perfect Sound Card

I found this sound card perfect for external use with Laptops, PC or Mac on the behalf

Read Our Review
9.8
TechscoreTM
?
Next Level Audio Customization
Sound Blaster RX 7.1 – High Performance

Wonder I am putting internal sound card in the list of external sound card

Read Our Review
9.7
TechscoreTM
?
Gold Plated Mic Jack
Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIE – Best Sound Quality

If you are looking for a best external Soundcard in wide budget

Read Our Review
9.6
TechscoreTM
?
High-Performance Headphone Amp
AudioEngine D1
9.5
TechscoreTM
?
Sound quality is very good
Fiio E10K
9.4
TechscoreTM
?
High Grade Components
ASUS Strix Soar
9.3
TechscoreTM
?
Class Leading Sound Quality
Creative Soundblaster AE5
9.2
TechscoreTM
?
High Performance PCIe Sound Card
Soundblaster ZxR
9.1
TechscoreTM
?

1. Sound BlasterX G6 – All in One - Excellent Compatibility

Features
  • Dimensions: 4.37 x 0.94 x 2.76 inches
  • Item Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Item model number : 70SB177000000
  • ASIN : B07FY45F2S
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across the world has launched few of the top notch External sound cards and no doubt they have produced fantastic results according to me and yet I have witnessed satisfied masses in the entire world.

Sound BlasterX G6 stands at top of the list of Best External Sound Cards that I have reviewed and it has many reasons to get top position (In my Opinion). It is one of the best compatible gadget on the behalf of advanced and enhanced variations that help together in connectivity with the Gaming Consoles, Laptops, PCs and MP3 players.

Keeping the Dolby Digital decoding at priority, 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound and excellent Hi-Res Audio format, this combination makes this sound card highly valuable. It does not require any kind of license key or generating key like many other sound cards, while the compatibility of Mic is way too good in result.

If you find it a bit heavy in picture then in original its quite light in original form and the button layout is also durable and soft. Another interesting part of this sound card is it has different lights placed around the buttons which let you know the current mode while you are using this in the dark.

Now comes the important part and that is its software compatibility. You just need to download the drivers of for this sound card from their official website.

Pros
  • Non-Metallic Body
  • Long Mini USB
  • Matchless Sound Quality
  • Portable
  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Compatibility
Cons
  • Little Expensive
  • Short Cables

2. StarTech ICUSBAUDIO2D – Economical - Lifetime Technical Support

Features
  • Dimensions: 6.89 x 5.59 x 1.18 inches
  • Item Weight : 4.2 ounces
  • ASIN : B00F7120TQ
  • Item model number : ICUSBAUDIO2D
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and advance multi features in it then StarTech is a perfect match to this combination.  Star Tech is one of the leading companies in making Audio gadgets and no doubt that they have produced excellent quality gadgets as well as budget friendly.

This model produces an excellent quality of sound through its Built-In DAC and it also has a dedicated section through which you can control the Terrible and Bass. This sound card contains SPDIF digital output which is simply a bonus in any sound card.

There are total 6 different multi-purposes ports in it, first is made for headphone jack and others are for in-put output ports. I did not find any issue in this external sound card because it does not acquire any kind of lack or serious durable problem.

Another big advantage of this device is it has stereo audio adapter which can easily be replaced with a compact device in laptop or PC. StarTech offers two years of warranty and free lifetime technical support which is not that bad.

Pros
  • Dual Mic Input
  • Too Many Ports (10 Min)
  • 2 Years Warrant
  • Lifetime Technical Support
  • Surround Sound Support
Cons
  • No Software Provided

3. Omni Sound Blaster – Perfect Sound Card - Excellent Sound Quality

Features
  • Dimensions: 9.06 x 2.95 x 6.1 inches
  • Item model number : SB1560
  • ASIN : B00EZT7RE4
  • Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
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I found this sound card perfect for external use with Laptops, PC or Mac on the behalf  many reasons and few of them I am mentioning here. First of all this external sound card is affordable for every person and can be used for gaming purposes as well as music passion. It also produces Surround Sound instead of just stereo output.

Omni Sound card is supportive to 24-Bit resolution, while that can be maximized to 96KHz. This sound card helps in producing the noise free sound because it has a rated SNR of 100db. The crystal Voice Technology and SBX Pro Studio, this combination is enough for any sound card that can give you an excellent sound quality.

You can enjoy the vibes of theater using this sound card with your PC or laptop easily because it gives you a surround sound of 5.1 ranges. It also has built-in dual microphone systems which enable the optimal performance.

Keeping in mind, it does not matter whether you are using Windows OS 32/64 Bit, Mac OS and any other Operating system on PC, Laptop or Mac it is compatible to every gadget easily.

Pros
  • Surround Sound
  • Built-In Dual Microphone
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Budget Friendly
Cons
  • Heavy

4. Sound Blaster RX 7.1 – High Performance - Next Level Audio Customization

Features
  • Dimensions: 5.71 x 4.72 x 0.71 inches
  • Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
  • Item model number : 70SB155000001
  • Hardware Platform : Headphones
  • ASIN: B00EO6X7PG
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Wonder I am putting internal sound card in the list of external sound card, but that is too for few reasons as if we use this card smartly, then it can give us a best sound quality. Every PC has a built-in sound, but being an enthusiastic if we place this sound card in PC, Desktop system with little technical knowledge then we can have excellent results in sound quality.

This sound card has extra hardware-accelerated EAX effects that help in bringing the neat and clean audio sound. If you have doubt about compatibility, then don’t worry because this sound card is completely compatible with different Windows like 7, 8 or 10.

Sound Blaster 7.1 is designed with 106db SNR. In this limited price, no other sound card can give you excellent quality of sound as well as different features. I found an amazing level of audio customization in it, while this sound card also has an enhanced Chipset with EAX reverb engine which is actually for high quality sound.

 
Pros
  • Surround Sound 7.1
  • Compatible with Windows & Mac OS
  • Next Level Audio Customization
  • Dual Stereo Microphones Output
  • Powerful Reverb Engine EAX
Cons
  • No S/P-DIF Interface

5. Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIE – Best Sound Quality - Gold Plated Mic Jack

Features
  • Dimensions: 5.35 x 4.98 x 0.91 inches
  • Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
  • Item model number : SB1500
  • ASIN: B009ISU33E
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If you are looking for a best external Soundcard in wide budget then this is a perfect sound card whether you use this with Laptop or PC for just music purposes or gaming purposes.

It comes with an external high quality dual Microphone with card which actually gives an excellent neat and clean voice quality. It is also compatible with any operating system like Windows 7, Windows 8 and Window 10 or Mac.

This soundcard is featured with Core3D Audio Processor for accelerating advanced audio and voice technology. While SBX Pro Studio helps in creating the unprecedented levels of audio even in speakers or in headphones.

It delivers 116dB SNR, plus audiophile-grade capacitors and Gold Plated I/O connectivity and that’s why you would be able to listen the pure quality of sound even at the amazing bit rate of 24-bit 192 KHz.

Pros
  • TOSLINKS Digital Audio Input & Output
  • Gold Plated Mic Jack
  • Digital Audio Converter
  • Best Onboard Gaming Sound
Cons
  • Little Expensive

6. AudioEngine D1 - High-Performance Headphone Amp

Features
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.75 x 1 inches
  • Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
  • ASIN: B006IPH5H2
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7. Fiio E10K - Sound quality is very good

Features
  • Dimensions: 0.83 x 1.93 x 3.11 inches
  • Output Wattage : 10 Watts
  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight : 2.72 Ounces
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8. ASUS Strix Soar - High Grade Components

Features
  • Dimensions: 17.4 x 12.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
  • Item model number : STRIX SOAR
  • Color : 116 dB
  • ASIN : B019H3BI4W
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9. Creative Soundblaster AE5 - Class Leading Sound Quality

Features
  • Dimensions: 5.71 x 0.79 x 5.04 inches
  • Item Weight : 1.12 pounds
  • ASIN : B086QN3WNX
  • Item model number : SB1740
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10. Soundblaster ZxR - High Performance PCIe Sound Card

Features
  • Dimensions: 14.58 x 4.12 x 7.92 inches
  • Item Weight : 2.75 pounds
  • Item model number : SB1510
  • ASIN : B00AQ5PK6I
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Buying Guide

Of course, depending on the use you are going to make of your audio interface in your (home) studio, so depending on your needs, you will choose a different model. Fortunately, technology has come a long way in recent years, and there are few really bad models that would prevent you from recording your music in good conditions.

Unless you buy ultra entry-level or maybe some models. really obscure. However, to choose your next external sound card, it is essential that you have a number of criteria in mind. Otherwise, you risk going around in circles reading the myriad of comments saying everything and its opposite on forums or other groups on social networks.

From one audio interface to another, you can find quite different functionalities or characteristics that must be taken into account in your choice. Consider how you are going to set up the device in particular: is it portable if you need to move it? On the contrary, is it “rackable”, to install it in a more durable way? Is the on/off button on the front, or on the back?

And then, also pay attention to the different recording level indicators on your future external sound card: not necessarily essential, it is however useful to be able to identify if the signal is too strong or not (via an LED indicator or via a screen ).

Finally, think about the power supply: some external sound cards are powered through the USB (2 or 3) or Thunderbolt ports – while others need to be plugged into the mains. The latter is theoretically more efficient (because more electric current available), but it is necessary to make sure to have an available outlet.

In the past, if you wanted to improve the sound reproduction of your PC, you had to change the internal sound card (PCI or other port). With the reduction in latency times for both USB and Firewire ports, it is now possible to use an external device to enjoy the superb sound, without having to open your computer. The good thing is that this audio technology is also accessible to laptops, which until then were unable to make such hardware changes!

Important:

Important: I have no doubt gathered the best sound cards’ data, but they are compiled randomly and yet on the behalf of too many factors that are mentioned below in the list. You must take a look at these important facts in order to pick up a sound card of your own choice and as per the compatibility. Although all these sound cards that I have mentioned are highly compatible and they have excellent results too.

  • USB Ports: Many sound card lovers prefer to have maximum USB Ports in a single Sound Card because it gives you the entertainment the way a user wants. So all the mentioned below sound cards do have USB ports and they also include plug and play mode.

  • Connection Variety: Another important factor that I kept in mind while reviewing and checking different ones is their connection varieties that help in connecting with headphones and Mic.

  • Design: The portable design is also an issue with most of the sound cards, but this issue is no more alive especially with those that I have reviewed and provided in one place.

  • Built-In Features: The Built-In features of many sound cards are also a few of the important factors because they play a significant role in making a sound card perfect. These built-in features may consist of USB ports, Mic for different models, Dual Mic, or Multi-Outputs. So will find answers to all these questions.

FAQ

How to Use External Sound Card?

First of all, you need to install the compatible software for external sound cards. The 2nd step is to plug in or connect with a PC or laptop. The third step is based on the configuration and enhancement of audio levels which you can do in the “Control Panel” section.

How to Use External Sound Card on Macbook?

Follow the simple and easy method mentioned below in order to use External Sound Card on Mac.

Step 1: Open Audio MIDI Setup
Step 2: Pick Audio Device
Step 3: Select “Use this device for sound input”

How to Use External Sound Card on M1 Macbook Pro?

There is a compatible and supportive USB port that can be used for external sound cards. So you cannot use the external sound card in the M1 Macbook Pro.

Conclusion:

As you have read the complete article or you have gone through to the list of 10 Best External Sound Cards, this is for sure that you won’t be disappointed after buying among the mentioned ones. Keeping the specifications, compatibility, durability, and prices in mind, I have compiled the list of best gadgets.

Formerly used by studio musicians and experienced composers, these sound cards have become essential for gamers looking for perfect 3D sound, so find below our ranking of the best external sound cards for versatile use (games, music, etc.).

Just like video cards, sound cards also allow you to relieve your computer of complex calculations, so you must also take this into account if your games and applications slow down, a good sound card can in addition to bringing you audio pleasure, speed up your computer by relieving it of its tasks!

THE TEAM THAT WORKED ON THIS REVIEW

Merry

Merry

(Research Writer)

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