Best Sound Cards for Gaming 2023

Elevate your gaming experience with the best sound cards of 2023. Immerse yourself in high-quality audio and enjoy every moment of your gameplay.

Check out our top picks for the best sound cards of 2023

Having the right audio is one of the most important aspects of an immersive gaming experience, but only buying a great pair of headphones might just not be it. You would also need the right audio boost and the only way to get one is to choose the right sound card!

In this article, you will read more about the following –

  • What is a sound card?
  • What are some of the features to look for in a Sound Card?
  • Some of the best sound cards for gaming in 2023

What is a Sound Card?

A sound card also called an audio card is a device, either with internal or external configurations, that can be attached to the ISA or PCI/PCIe slot on the motherboard to enhance the computer’s availability to input, process, and deliver sound. Some of its key functions are to act as follows –

  • Synthesizer
  • MIDI interface
  • Analog-to-digital conversion (inputting audio)
  • Digital-to-analog conversion (outputting audio)

Features to Look for in a Sound Card

  • Audio Quality – One of the primary factors, beyond the technical aspects of the sound card, is to check if you like the quality of the audio it provides. While generally you should prefer a sound card with a Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 100dB, the best cards generally are in the range of around 124dB. At the end of the day, all that matters if that you love the audio quality.
  • Channels – While many decent, budget sound cards support 5.1 channel audio, the ones at the higher end offer 7.1 channels. Some sound cards also allow for the shifting of channels which can be very convenient.
  • Connectivity – Usually basic sound cards offer 3.5mm jacks that work decently, you should try to opt for ones with RCA jacks or a TOSLINK connections for improved connectivity.

Best Sound Cards for Gaming 2023

While it may sound simple, getting the best gaming sound card for your computer may indeed be a challenge. To make things easy, we have prepared a list of some of the best gaming cards in the market today.

Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 Review

Boasting a Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 127dB and offering a 32-bit/384kHz audio output, the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 is hands down one of the best sound cards available in the market. The sound card is powered by a powerful “Sound Core3D” processor and also features an integrated 600ohm headphone amplifier which works alongside the ESS SABRE-class 9018 Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) to ensure an immersive surround sound experience.

Even with all these features, the one feature that sets it apart is its “Audio Control Module” unit which has a knob that allows you to adjust the volume level conveniently. It also allows the user to adjust settings such as recording resolution, encoding format, etc. from the companion app itself.

The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 has a built-in microphone array, one TOSLINK port, two 3.5 mm audio ports, and two 6.3 mm audio ports to ensure easy I/O and connectivity. With so many features on offer, it does come at a premium, but if you want a serious soundcard to help you take your gaming to the next level, it does not get better than the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7.

Pros: Cons:
✅ Hi-res ESS Sabre-class 9018 DAC
✅ Sleek and clean design with white lighting
✅ Comes with an audio control module
✅ Several audio enhancements and customization options
✅ Ultra-low 1Ω headphone output impedance
❌ No swappable OP AMPS
❌ No support for encoding

Creative Sound Blaster Z SE

Creative Sound Blaster Z Review

Offering a host of features at a relatively budget-friendly price, Creative’s Sound Blaster Z offers a steal deal. It comes with a Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 116dB and can provide an audio output of 24 bit/ 192 kHz, ensuring you get the best of high-resolution music without burning a hole in your pocket.

Powered by a dedicated “Sound Core3D” to enhance overall sound/voice quality, the Creative Sound Blaster Z SE is one of the best sound cards for gaming. It also features Audio Stream Input/ Output (ASIO) support to minimize audio latency.

In terms of I/O and connectivity, the Creative Sound Blaster Z SE features five gold-plated 3.5 mm audio ports and two TOSLINK ports, allowing you to connect to multiple devices at once. The sound card also comes bundled with a beamforming microphone that reduces outside noise to create an acoustic zone and helps boost voice clarity.

Pros: Cons:
✅ Great value for money
✅ Excellent audio quality
✅ Improved microphone equalizer
✅ Connectors are gold-plated for improved quality
✅ Double low-dropout capacitors improve the quality of the sound
❌ The packaging is minimal and only includes a few leaflets.
❌ There is no software for Linux users

Creative Sound BlasterX G6

Creative Sound BlasterX G6 Review

While internal sound cards tend to work very well, the drawback is they are only limited to PCs due to their PCIe expansion bus interface. However, if you get Creative’s Sound BlasterX G6, you won’t have to face such a problem as it is powered by a USB. So, even apart from laptops and desktops, you can easily plug it into your gaming consoles like PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

Powered by a Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC chip, it offers an impressive Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 130dB on the headphone and 114dB on the mic input. It also supports 32-bit/ 384 kHz high-fidelity audio. It has a single side-mounted dial which allows you to control the gameplay audio and mic volume easily. Additionally, the companion app allows you to control everything from noise reduction and Dolby Digital effects.

The Sound BlasterX G6 comes with two 3.5mm audio ports, two Optical TOSLINK ports, and a micro USB port in terms of connectivity and I/O options. It also offers a 600ohm headphone amplifier, so things can get pretty loud with this external sound card.

Pros: Cons:
✅ Comes with a DSP that enhances the sound of games
✅ Compact and lightweight
✅ It has a Direct Mode that supports 32-bit 384 kHz PCM
✅ Has a dedicated ADC that improves the quality of voice communication
✅ Modern design
❌ Not compatible with Dolby DTS, Vision, and Atmos content
❌ The titanium-like surface is actually a painted plastic surface


ASUS Xonar SE Review

The ASUS Xonar SE is one of the best sound cards for gaming that comes at a budget price. This card features a Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 116dB and 24-bit/192 kHz Hi-Res audio with a 300ohm headphone amplifier which offers an immersive sound quality with well-defined bass. The PCIe sound card is powered by a Cmedia 6620A audio processor.

The sound card also comes with updated audio cables and is manufactured using ASUS’ exclusive “Hyper Grounding” fabrication technology, ensuring minimum distortion and interference.

The Xonar SE includes four 3.5mm audio ports, one S/PDIF port, and a front audio header for connectivity and I/O options. Additionally, its audio parameters can be easily configured by the Companion App.

So, if you want a great gaming sound card but without having to spend a fortune on it, the ASUS Xonar SE is indeed one of the most pocket-friendly options in the market currently.

Pros: Cons:
✅ Immersive audio optimized for gaming
✅ Integrated headphone amplifier
✅ Good value
✅ Hyper Grounding technology
✅ Handy audio controls
❌ The volume output is low
❌ Issues on Windows 10

FiiO K5 Pro ESS

FiiO K5 Pro ESS Review

FiiO had caught the attention of a lot of gamers with its K5 Pro external sound card, which offered great sound quality at a budget. Two years later, FiiO launched the K5 Pro ESS which was a more advanced version of the K5 Pro. It comes with a Sound-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 118dB and a dynamic range of 113dB and 32-bit/ 768 kHz of audio output.

The new ESS implementation in the K5 Pro helps it achieve 50% better distortion control, as well as higher 16% higher output power with USB and SPDIF sources. It can also work as a standalone headphone amplifier and with RCA input it can go as high as 1500mW and 6.9Vrms in terms of output power. It also has an universal USB, which makes connecting it to any device hassle-free and convenient.

Pros: Cons:
✅ High-quality DAC
✅ Improved distortion control
✅ Works as a standalone amplifier or preamp
✅ Can be used with a variety of headphones
✅ Intuitive and friendly ADC
❌ Slightly expensive compared to the previous model
❌ May not be suitable for users who prefer a warmer or colored sound signature

Wrapping Up

These are some of the best soundcards for gaming available in the market in the present day. While normal PCs and Laptops may do a decent job with the audio, having a good sound card will definitely take you to the next level of immersive gaming. Each of these cards has its own pros and cons, so it’s always best to do your own research and choose the one that meets your needs and budget.

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