If you want to optimize your computer’s ability to play games, one of the most important components is the sound card. Just like a graphics card will improve the graphic performance of your PC, a sound car does to audio what the graphics card does to visuals. You may have the best sound system or best pair of headphones in the world hooked up to your computer, but if you’ve got a sound card that’s less than spectacular, that expensive system won’t sound as good as it could if you upgrade your sound card. So what is the best sound card that you can buy in 2013?
We’ll take a look at some of the top options for the best sound card on the market, along with their key features and price.
ASUS XONAR DG 5.1
First on the list we have the Asus Xonar DG 5.1. For $30, this card is a good entry point for someone looking to improve their computer’s sound, but not wanting to go all out and spend a ton of money on a high priced sound card. The Asus Xonar DG 5.1 is powered by Dolby Digital sound and features ASIO 2.0 Driver Support and a C-Media CMI8786 High-Definition Sound Processor. Again, while it’s not at the top of the line when it comes to the sound card with the most impressive technicalities, the Asus Xonar DG 5.1 is at a great price and will definitely be a noticeable upgrade over most stock sound cards.
Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D THX PCIE Sound Card SB1350 from Creative Labs
This sound card from Creative Labs is certainly in the running for the best sound card that can be found at around $70. The XCreative Sound Blaster Recon3D THX PCIE Sound Card SB1350 sound card is sure to impress gamers by transforming their computer into a machine that’s capable of booming sounds, creating a realistic atmosphere that draws you into the 3D gaming universe. Some of the best aspects of the PCI Express Sound Blaster are the low-latency ASIO drivers and the surround sound capabilities with the Power DVD software with DTS and Dolby Digital-EX decoding. It provides 24-bit sound quality and supports stereo to 7.1. The Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D THX PCIE Sound Card SB1350 sound card offers a nice boost in sound performance, validating the $70 price point.
Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Forte
Up next in the hunt for perfect sound cards, we have the Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Forte. For $135, this sound card has a great frequency response to cover all the fine intricacies going on in the sound department of whatever game you’re playing. Although it doesn’t feature 7.1 sound output, the Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Forte is still a very good and a very reliable sound card. If you’re looking to make a significant upgrade to the sound quality coming from your personal computer, the Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Forte is a great choice to make that happen.
HT Omega Striker
With A3D support and EAX support, plus a compressed sound revitalizer, the HT Omega Striker is a sound card that will fit the gaming needs of most. The Striker is sure to boost your computer’s audio performance and bring you one step closer to being fully absorbed in your gaming experience. With 7.1 sound support, the HT Omega Striker also has high level OPAMPs (operational amplifiers) for the sound card’s output channels, along with an enhanced design of the mic input level. This is certainly one of the best sound cards at the middle level. The HT Omega Striker can be had for about $80.
ASUS Xonar Essence STX
Finding themselves on the list for the second time, it’s no secret that ASUS makes high quality sound cards. Some might even consider the ASUS Xonar Essence STX the best sound card in the business. With superb THD (total harmonic distortion) and some of the best SNR (signal to noise ration), the ASUS Xonar Essence STX is simply hard to beat. Although it’s in the range of $170 to $180, the price of admission is worth it for the audiophile gamers. If you want to pick up every detail and feel like the game world is a living part of your room, the ASUS Xonar Essence STX is the perfect sound card for you. Even with its high price, it’s still easy to recommend this sound card to anyone who wants to see a major jump in there PC’s sound department.
The Best Sound Card Verdict
While it may not be at the center of everyone’s mind when they are thinking of ways to improve their gaming computer, having the best sound card is certainly a piece that will transform your gaming experience. In the game development cycle, the sound team puts a lot of work into making sure that the game is sounding its best. Without a good sound card, you won’t be able to pick up on those details that can take a game over the edge. Whether you just want to spend a little bit on an upgrade and go with something like the ASUS XONAR DG 5.1, or are looking to go for best of the best and aren’t afraid to spend a lot on something like the ASUS Xonar Essence STX, an upgraded sound card is going to make a difference in your gaming set-up. There are a number of options to check out when looking to purchase a sound card. The Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium, Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Forte, and HT Omega Striker are all excellent options that will revolutionize the way your favorite games sound. Explore the capabilities of each sound card and look for one that is suitable for your budget. If you’re someone who loves the audio side of games and you pay close attention to the details, you’re going to be satisfied when you install a new sound card and get to experience a whole new side of gaming.