Top 7 Best Sound Cards 2019 – 2020 [BUYER’S GUIDE]

Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1

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Experience the wonders of multi-channel surround sound and create high-quality podcasts! Hardware-accelerated EAX effects let you incorporate many types of sound effects with ease! Sound Blaster Audigy Rx features an SNR of 106dB, a 600-ohm headphone amp for studio monitoring, and a software suite that allows full audio customization.
The Sound Blaster Audigy Rx is an advanced sound card that represents the perfect upgrade from basic motherboard audio to immersive cinematic surround sound. With its advanced chipset designed to process our legendary EAX reverb engine, you can look forward to experiencing superb 7.1 multi-channel audio. It also features an SNR of 106dB and the Sound Blaster Audigy Rx Control Panel, a dedicated PC software that allows you full control of every aspect of your sound card
If you’re big on entertainment, you would also love it for its EAX Studio software that allows for additional hardware-accelerated environmental effects to your music, movies, games as well as for your voice input and communications.
E-MU Chipset for Advanced Effects Processing
Sound Blaster Audigy Rx features the Creative E-MU chipset, which was designed to process our legendary reverb engine EAX (Environmental Audio eXtensions) and deliver amazing cinematic audio playback effects without having to bog down your CPU. This ensures you get great quality effects and audio without affecting your computer’s processing power.
Dual Microphone Inputs
The sound card has two microphone inputs to allow you to grab a friend to sing simultaneously! Or, use the second input to record the music accompaniment while you sing. The possibilities are endless!
Super Low-Latency Audio Recordings
Enjoy reduced latency with the support of Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO) drivers, making Sound Blaster Audigy Rx the perfect solution for high-quality, low-latency audio recordings.
Control and Customize Your Audio
Sound Blaster Audigy Rx Control Panel is a dedicated PC application that lets you control and customize every aspect of your sound card. You can adjust your Creative Multi Speaker Surround (CMSS or CMSS 3D) settings to upmix stereo content to your multi-channel speaker system and add acoustic depth to your multi-channel content. Or, use Mic Monitoring and Stereo Mixing to hear yourself while you record and so that you can hear the effects instantly.
Fine-Tune Your EAX Settings
The powerful EAX Studio software lets you control and perform detailed adjustments to all of the EAX Advanced HD settings such as adding environmental effects to your music, movies and games, or change the key of your music on the fly to match your voice.

ASUS Sound Card Essence STX II

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Keeping the audiophile spirit and philosophy alive
Four years after the debut of Essence STX — the long-term holder of the number-one position in Head-Fi’s Sound Cards segment, as voted by highly-satisfied users globally — ASUS remains committed to delivering ever better high-end sound cards to delight the most demanding audiophiles. Drawing on years of experience in developing Essence One, Essence STU and Essence III, Essence STX II delivers meticulous design, quintessential performance and profound musicality — elements that shape the spirit of the whole Essence Hi-Fi series.
Easily adjust the sound for your ears
Three swappable op-amp sockets.
Essence STX II benefits from swappable op-amp sockets that allow users to create different timbres and tonal combinations.
Additional op-amp swap kit
Essence STX II even comes with a swap kit that includes three additional op-amps — two Texas Instruments LME49720s and one MUSES 8820 — and a clamp tool that makes it easy to remove the op-amp microchips.

ASUS Xonar DSX PCIe 7.1

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The ASUS Xonar AE delivers 7.1-channel, 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res audio with a 110dB signal-to-noise ratio and built-in 150ohm headphone amplifier that provides rich, detailed sound and defined bass. An exclusive EMI back plate shields static noise for incredibly clear audio while the intuitive Sonic Studio interface enables full audio control.
110dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)
A hi-fi-grade ESS 9023P DAC delivers an exceptional, jitter-free audio signal with a 110dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for 12-times greater clarity than average onboard audio chips.
Integrated headphone amplifier reveals every sound detail
Since many gamers choose to play wearing headphones, Xonar AE features a high-quality, 150ohm headphone amplifier that delivers detailed, immersive sound with punchy, defined bass.
Hyper Grounding technology
Exclusive ASUS Hyper Grounding PCB fabrication ensures strong signal insulation to reduce distortion and interference, also known as component crosstalk.
Exclusive EMI back plate
Xonar AE is built with an ASUS-exclusive EMI back plate that blocks static noise to provide you with the purest audio experiences.

Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe

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Creative Sound Blaster Z SBX PCIE Gaming Sound Card with Beamforming Microphone
This Sound Blaster Z is an ideal all-round solution for your PC gaming and entertainment needs. It comes complete with the Sound Blaster beamforming microphone for crystal clear voice communication.

Our Sound Blaster product philosophy comes from a total system approach. We’ve designed the Z series cards to give the best experience for not only those wishing to experience content, but those wanting to create it as well. This includes optimizations for voice chat and recording in addition to all of the amazing SBX Studio Pro audio output enhancements.

High-Quality Connections
The Z card is equipped with gold plated connection points to ensure the card delivers the best possible audio signal.

3.5mm gold plated headphone jack driven by the 600 Ohm Maxim MAX97220 amp
3.5mm gold plated microphone jack
3.5mm gold plated 5.1 channel connections
TOSLINK digital audio input and outputs
What’s in the Box?
Sound Blaster Z sound card, Sound Blaster Beamforming Microphone, Quick Start Leaflet, Installation CD containing: Drivers for Windows, Creative Software Suite, User’s Guide

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5

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The Sound BlasterX AE-5 is a SABRE32 Ultra Class Hi-Resolution PCIe Gaming Sound Card and DAC with Xamp, a brand new discrete headphone amp utilizing bi-amplification technology. It delivers astonishingly pristine audio, and also shows off the Aurora Reactive Lighting System with 16.8 million customizable colors.
Xamp Discrete Headphone Amplification
The Sound BlasterX AE-5 is the first sound card to feature Xamp, our custom-designed discrete headphone amplifier. Each audio channel is individually amplified, allowing the AE-5 to deliver a whole new level of pristine audio fidelity in an unaltered lossless model to each earcup regardless of demand.
Aurora Reactive RGB Lighting
Enjoy a symphony of lights and sound with the Aurora Reactive Lighting System! The AE-5 has customizable RGB LEDs on its body, and also features an included RGB LED strip. Program up to 16.8 million colors in different patterns with the free downloadable Sound Blaster Connect software for PC.
Audiophile Quality Meets Powerful Audio Processing
The Sound BlasterX AE-5 is a SABRE32 Ultra Class PCIe DAC which is perfect for hi-resolution audio for games, music, and movies. It delivers up to 32-bit 384kHz playback with a 122dB DNR, ultra-low distortion and jitter.
The Sound BlasterX AE-5 works with BlasterX Acoustic Engine, a suite of fully customizable audio processing technologies that deliver new levels of audio immersion and precision for the ultimate competitive advantage. These sound technologies create unprecedented levels of audio realism, including stunning 3D surround effects for your speakers and headsets.
Expand your horizon with Scout 2.0! Working with First Person Shooters, Scout 2.0 is the world’s first smart gaming companion that enables you to visualize and see where enemies are on the radar. The gaming companion combines perfectly with Scout Mode, a technology that allows you to hear your enemies before they hear you!

AudioQuest – DragonFly Red

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Audioquest DragonFly Red v1.0 USB Digital-to-Analog Converter
Combining award-winning performance and exceptional value, DragonFly Red is a portable, plug-and-play USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter), preamp, and headphone amp that connects to laptops, tablets, and smartphones to deliver clean, clear, naturally beautiful sound to headphones, powered speakers, or complete audio systems. While DragonFly can natively decode resolutions up to 24-bit/96kHz, it can play any file type regardless of resolution, from MP3 to MQA and Hi-Res.

Plays all music files: MP3 to high-res
Compatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices (requires Apple Camera Adapter or Made for Android/OTG adaptor)
Drives headphones directly
Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
Asynchronous transfer ensures digital timing integrity
High output (2.1 volts) drives almost all headphones, including power-hungry models
32-bit ESS 9016 DAC with minimum-phase filter
Bit-perfect digital volume control

Audioengine D1

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Desktop Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)
• Mac or PC plug-and-play, no drivers to install
• High-performance headphone amp included
• USB and optical inputs, RCA output
• USB-powered, no separate power supply needed
• Stream bit-perfect HD audio
• Based on high-performance AK4396 DAC
• Front panel volume control
• Process digital audio up to 24-bits and same rate up to 192kHz
Works With:
• Any computer (Mac or PC)
• Headphones
• Apple TV or any product with optical outputs
• Powered speakers
• Any audio system with mini-jack or RCA inputs
PREMIUM 24-BIT DAC
Audioengine D1 Premium 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) allows you to bypass your computer’s soundcard or headphone output and send audio through USB or optical.
D1 will process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any sample rate to 192kHz. With it’s high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion, the D1 delivers sound quality generally heard only in more expensive DACs. The high-performance headphone output was designed for a wide range of headphones and will satisfy even the most demanding headphone enthusiasts.
D1 is the perfect digital interface between your computer and music system and will improve the sound of ALL your music.

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