10 Best USB Sound Cards [Buying Guide]

Want to enjoy your favorite music at the highest quality possible? Use the best USB sound card, and that can become a reality.

Many people don’t know about them, but sound cards improve the quality of music exponentially. Not only that, but they also help to make video games and other types of media much more enjoyable.

But sure, only the right product can offer such an advantage. And that’s what we’re going over today.

Here, you’ll learn all about the different USB cards available in the market and a little more. If you’re a massive music lover or just someone who wants a decent quality for his laptop audio, this article is for you. Read up!

10 Best USB Sound Card

There are too many sound cards in the market, and going through them all will take a lifetime. To save the time and effort of browsing, here are 10 reviews to consider:

1. BENGOO USB External Audio Adapter

USB Sound Card Adapter BENGOO External Audio Adapter Stereo Sound Card Converter 3.5mm AUX Microphone Jack for Gaming Headset Earphone PS4 Laptop Desktop Windows Mac OS Linux, Plug Play

Practicality is always rewarded with superb results. The Bengoo USB Adapter is precisely that – a convenient sound card that makes it easy to enjoy your favorite music.

At first sight, you’ll know this model is convenient and well-made. It comes with three 3.5mm jacks. One jack is for microphone only in pink, so you can pair your mic directly. Then you’ll have a green jack, ideal for headphones only. And if you have a headset that does both, then use the black jack in the middle.

Whether it is your desktop PC or your laptop, you’ll find this USB adapter a perfect choice to power up the audio.

You won’t need drivers or any kind of installation. Just hook up the device to the USB 2.0 connector, and you will be ready to enjoy high-quality music without problems.

But that’s not all you can get. This adapter even comes with a muting option for both mic and headphones. You can mute them up and enjoy the right experience according to your needs. And with the volume wheel, you won’t have any problem fixing it up to desire.

There’s nothing that makes this model unusable. In fact, it is one of the most practical you can get, especially with its long design that places all the outputs a little farther than usual. And that’s just amazing.

Highlighted Features:

  • An ideal set of jacks for convenience
  • Superb USB 2.0 compatibility
  • Long design for extra cable reach
  • Easy use with mute buttons & volume wheel
  • Effortless plug-n-play installation

2. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro USB Sound Card

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro USB Sound Card for Computers and laptops

If there’s a brand that’s always worth considering, that would be Creative. And for sure, the Sound Blaster X-Fi is not a model to ignore.

This is one of the highest quality models you can get to power up your home-theater or 5.1 sound systems to the max. It offers all the outputs as well as the fantastic quality so you can enjoy all kinds of media without problems.

You will get three outputs on the side, one for the Mic, one for Line In, and a Headset one. But you can also use the outputs on the back, two for Left and Right, one for D-Sub, and a Rear jack. Along with the Optical Out and the USB-charging port – you will have enough to enjoy a practical USB sound card.

Remember that this is a USB 2.0 model that you can start enjoying in just seconds after connecting. You may need to install the SBX Pro Studio software, but it will improve the quality of your audio exponentially. The device itself comes with a volume wheel on top for smooth operation.

And to make it an even better choice, you get a small IR remote, with controls like volume, mute, playback, and much more.

If you want a high-quality sound card that works with any 5.1 home-theatre or Dolby Digital system – then the Sound Blaster X-Fi from Creative won’t let you down.

Highlighted Features:

  • Outstanding quality with SBX Pro Studio feature
  • Easy to use with remote control & volume wheel
  • Works well with high-quality 5.1-channel peripherals
  • High-quality gold-plater outputs for sound delivery
  • Fast & smooth installation via USB 2.0

3. StarTech.com 7.1 USB External Sound Card

StarTech.com 7.1 USB Sound Card - External Sound Card for Laptop with SPDIF Digital Audio - Sound Card for PC - Silver (ICUSBAUDIO7D)

If you want the highest quality possible, you won’t think twice before considering the StarTech.com 7.1 USB External Sound Card a great choice.

Powering up your 7.1-channel audio system will be a piece of cake with this reliable and quality-oriented adapter. Just hook it up to your PC, and it will start playing everything with clear audio. Whether it is music or movies, this adapter plays it all on your 7.1-channel system.

For sure, it comes with all the jacks you could need for powering up your audio devices. It offers the back, line-in, surround, front, and even center/bass for extra capacity. And if you’re using headphones, then that won’t be an issue either, as there’s a single output just for that.

The best of all is that nothing is keeping you from enjoying exceptional audio with straightforward audio control, S/PDIF out and S/PDIF in. You will have enough to pair it up with any audio-playing component to enjoy fantastic results.

Apart from all that, this device still manages to be one of the most affordable in the market. Using USB 1.7, you can connect it directly to your PC and enjoy instant audio. That’s how fantastic it is.

If you want something simple but still highly capable, then this model works for you. It will save you time, effort, and money at the same time.

Highlighted Features:

  • Works with 7.1-channel systems effortlessly
  • Compatible with old USB 1.7 ports
  • Easy adjustments with volume buttons
  • Straightforward plug-and-play installation
  • Super affordable for the quality

4. StarTech.com USB External Sound Card

StarTech.com USB Sound Card w/ SPDIF Digital Audio & Stereo Mic – External Sound Card for Laptop or PC – SPDIF Output (ICUSBAUDIO2D)

It looks simple and not so much of a performer – but this sound card is actually the opposite. It is one of the most effective and performance-oriented options you will find.

The device is perfect for surround sounds. You can make it work with any home theater or living room system without losing a single bit of audio. Just connect it to any SPDIF output, and it will work wonders with your Dolby Digital AC3 or DTS pass-through.

You can pair this up with the dual output for both microphone and headphones. It offers the chance to enjoy high-quality audio directly from your computer without having to make much of an effort.

However, the real advantage of this sound card is the superb volume and EQ system. You can easily tweak the sound you get from this device in seconds.

Whether you want to improve the Bass, the Treble, or the Direct, you can do it effortlessly. And that’s something you won’t get with other devices.

Whatever kind of sound you want, you can make it happen with this system. It is easy to tweak directly from the device, which adds convenience to its operation.

The whole device is super reliable still and comes with one of the most affordable price tags in the market. You’ll have the chance to enjoy super personalized audio from a USB sound card without breaking your wallet.

Highlighted Features:

  • Works well with surround audio systems
  • Convenient headphone & mic outputs
  • Practical volume knob for operation
  • The superb external EQ for easy tweaking
  • Reliable and easy to use design

5. Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound Card

Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Integrated Beam Forming Microphone

As soon as you take a look at the Creative Sound Blaster Omni – you’ll know this is the best USB audio adapter in the market. Just pair it up with your computer, and you’ll receive fantastic sound quality.

Yes, this device is not only ideal for making your computer sound, it actually makes it sound better. Everything it offers, from its hardware to the software, it’s specially made to improve how well your audio sounds.

It all starts with the 600-ohm amplifier, capable of making your media much more exciting. And with the capacity to work with 5.1-channel audio systems, then you’ll enjoy a fantastic experience without problems.

The device even comes with a Scout Mode, ideal for gamers and other audio-demanding users. It will let you hear even the smallest of sounds so you can enjoy a superb experience at all times.

And to make it even better, you’ll receive the SBX Pro Studio and the Crystal Voice Technologies software. They make it easy to tweak the audio according to your needs while making sure you always get quality sound.

There’s no limit to what you can tweak with this model, which adds to its outstanding performance. And with the volume wheel on the physical device, then you’ll get even better results.

If you’re a demanding user who wants nothing less than the best out there – this is the model to go for.

Highlighted Features:

  • Outstanding amplifier for extra sound performance
  • Perfect for 5.1-channel audio systems
  • Excellent software for more tweaking & quality
  • Unique Scout Mode for gaming performance
  • Handy controls and outputs for ease of use

6. Creative Sound BlasterX G6 Hi-Res External USB Sound Card

Sound BlasterX G6 Hi-Res 130dB 32bit/384kHz Gaming DAC, External USB Sound Card with Xamp Headphone Amp, Dolby Digital, 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound, Sidetone/Speaker Control for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo

After going through some of the highest-quality cards out there, it is time to learn more about the best external USB gaming sound card you will find.

Creative never let anyone down, and with the Sound BlasterX G6 this becomes even truer. It will improve the quality of your sound exponentially, making it easier to enjoy a nice round of gaming or a high-quality movie with a 7.1-channel home theater.

The device boasts a virtual Digital Audio Converter (DAC) that delivers 130dB of sound sensitivity along with a frequency response from 32 Hz to 384 kHz – superb for bass and treble. You won’t get anything less than perfection in the sound.

Apart from that, you get a superb amplifier with the Xamp feature. It is enough to make your headphones sound better than never before. And when you pair it up with the Scout Mode feature, you can achieve exceptional response & quality for gaming.

It comes with the super helpful SBX Pro Studio software, ideal for tweaking the audio to the max so you can get a magnificent performance. And with the physical volume knob, you can adjust the sound in just seconds with this device.

It doesn’t matter how much quality you’re looking for – you will probably get it all with this device. When it comes to having every single feature for performance & quality, the Sound BlasterX G6 doesn’t disappoint.

Highlighted Features:

  • Unbeatable DAC for exceptional audio quality
  • Unique Xamp feature for superior headphone delivery
  • Easy tweaking with SBX Pro Studio software
  • Works well with any 7.1-channel sound system
  • Performance-oriented Scout Mode feature for gaming

7. Vantec NBA-200U USB External 7.1 Channel Audio Adapter

Vantec NBA-200U USB External 7.1 Channel Audio Adapter (Black)

Coming back to the affordable yet still reliable models, we know meet the Vantec NBA-200U. This is a well-made option for users who want quality without spending a fortune.

Despite its affordability, this device matches audio systems with 7.1 channels easily. You won’t have any problem hooking it up with your home theater. And it’s all thanks to the S/PDIF optical input and output, so you can connect high-quality sound systems without problems.

The device comes with two microphone inputs so you can use the device as a karaoke system. You can also get the most out of this card as a recording aid for music or videos if needed. This will improve the quality of the sound, delivering True Stereo Recordings.

An exciting part of the system is the 48/44.1 kHz sampling rate capacity. This is enough to meet high-quality audio in your system without having to tweak anything. Simply hook up the device to your computer, and it will produce an exceptional sound.

Another exciting part of this device is the USB 2.0 compatibility, which can go back to USB 1.1 if needed. You can achieve exceptional sound even in the oldest PCs out there.

In short, it makes quality sound possible without costing too much. Whether you have a home theater or a simple set of speakers – this system will not let you down.

Highlighted Features:

  • Superb price for the quality it offers
  • Excellent sampling rate for extra sound performance
  • A unique set of microphone outputs for extra sound delivery
  • Compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1
  • Effortless installation and operation

8. Micolindun GM-280 External Sound Card

Micolindun External Sound Card USB Hubs Audio Adapter to USB Port & 3.5mm Audio & Micro Jack for PC Laptop. Plug and Play (Blue)

Affordability is always something to strive for, especially if you don’t have many demands. And that’s what the Micolindun GM-280 external sound card delivers.

You won’t get the highest-quality sound or the most fantastic compatibility with home theater, but you will get a super affordable product that will make your computer have excellent audio.

It is the simplest sound card on the whole list, but also one of the most convenient. You can connect the device via USB 2.0 and multiply the number of 3.5mm jacks you get. This allows several headphones and speaker sets to be connected to your computer without problems.

Another exciting part is that you will be multiplying not only the audio jacks but also the USB ports. You’ll get two additional USB 2.0 inputs so you can connect any drive or device without problems.

It has nothing to envy other sound cards despite not being the most powerful. But its practicality will easily surpass any other model in the list.

You can also start using it after hooking it up. That’s how convenient this excellent external sound card is.

If you are on a short budget or want something that multiplies the number of audio outputs from your computer, then this model is a perfect choice. You can use it for simple audio delivery, gaming, or music – and it won’t disappoint.

Highlighted Features:

  • Multiplies 3.5mm jacks for practicality
  • Increases the number of USB ports
  • Fantastic cost for low-budget users
  • Delivers decent sound quality for the price
  • Comes in stylish color options

9. Optimal Shop USB 2.0 External Sound Card

Optimal Shop USB 2.0 External Sound Card 6 Channel 5.1 Surround Adapter Audio S/PDIF for PC (Blue)

Everyone wants a simple device that connects to the PC directly and instantly offering quality audio delivery. And that’s precisely what you get with the Optimal Shop USB 2.0 External Sound Card.

It is a 5.1-channel device that you can connect to any computer or laptop and enjoy a superb audio performance. You can receive top-notch sound delivery with either digital or analog playback.

The device offers a frequency response of 32 kHz to 44.1 kHz, ideal to receive a perfect sampling rate with any type of media. This all happens to the 6-channel codec that makes sure the audio goes out with superb efficiency, making it easy to enjoy quality sound.

The device even comes with S/PDIF output and input, ideal for making even the most demanding home theater work perfectly.

You won’t have any problem making this device power up your audio system to the max. Even if you have a DTS décor with an amplifier or any kind of system – this sound card will help you sound well enough.

The device comes with two color options in black and blue, so you can enjoy the right equipment according to your desires. And with the simple design it offers, you won’t have any problem fitting it to your system.

Highlighted Features:

  • Ideal for 5.1-channel audio systems
  • Excellent sampling rates for extra audio quality
  • Superb compatibility with all kinds of equipment
  • Easy to use and reliable
  • Comes in two colors for extra convenience

10. Creative Sound BlasterX G1 7.1 Portable Sound Card

Creative Sound BlasterX G1 7.1 Portable HD Gaming USB DAC and Sound Card (70SB171000000)

We love Creative sound cards if you haven’t noticed yet. But it is the Sound BlasterX G1 that we think is always worth considering as a cheap yet hugely effective model.

Despite being one of the smallest cards in the list, this device can still deliver a 7.1-channel capacity for your audio systems. It offers enough sound quality so you can enjoy the magnificent sound with any type of media you’re consuming.

The device is specifically designed to provide proper visualization and gaming effects. You will receive an almost perfect accuracy that will make the sound quality super enjoyable. And when you add the headphone amplifier, you get an even wider set of sounds with outstanding quality.

A similar feature to consider is the BlasterX Acoustic Engine. It makes sure you can obtain the highest-quality audio with your system, no matter what you have.

This pairs up well with the X-Plus mode that improves the gaming experience exponentially, delivering perfect clarity for the most challenging sounds in games.

And what will undoubtedly make your experience better, you will receive an instant plug-n-play capacity, so there’s no installation needed.

For such fantastic quality and practicality, you can’t ask for anything else. Creative went farther than expected with this model, and it will surely match your gaming needs completely.

Highlighted Features:

  • Super small design for practicality
  • Unique headphone amplifier for gaming
  • Exceptional X-Plus mode for sound clarity
  • Handy BlasterX Acoustic Engine for audio quality
  • Works with 7.1-channel systems without problems

How to Choose the Best USB Sound Card

Picking the best USB audio adapter won’t be easy unless you know what to go for. Here, we explain different factors to consider when choosing an external audio adapter.

Sound Quality

Probably the most crucial part: the sound quality lets you know how well the device will make your computer sound.

This is difficult to pick because all devices have different ways to deliver quality. But overall, going for a DAC system like Sound Blaster devices offer and an amplifier feature will be enough to get perfect sound quality out of a USB audio device.


The number of output coming out of the device will make a huge difference in whether you can pair it up with your sound system or not.

Here, we recommend getting devices with as many ports as possible. We recommend at least 2.1 channels for Microphone and Headset/Speakers. But if you can go for models with 5.1 or 7.1 channels, that would be ideal.

This means going for devices with Rear, Front, Bass/Sub, Left, Right, Line-In, Line-Out, and S/PDIF outputs.


Want to tweak the audio coming out of the device to the max? Then choose something with as many controls as possible.

Usually, external sound cards come with their own volume wheel or knob. This is ideal for changing the volume handily from the device. But others offer the chance even to tweak the EQ system completely.

That will help you get the perfect audio delivery according to your demands. You won’t have any problem focusing the system on either bass, treble, direct, etc.


Finally, ensure the device is portable enough to carry it everywhere without problems. We recommend small sound cards that you can take everywhere without problems. But we also love those that have a long wire so you can place them far away from the PC for extra handiness.

Your whole focus should be on something that delivers practicality over everything else. As long as it fits your needs, then it won’t be a problem to enjoy what it offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

External audio adapters are not simple, so people tend to have tons of doubts about them. Here are some of them with their corresponding answers that may help you get the best external sound card

Is an external sound card better than an internal sound card?

In terms of quality, both internal and external models are almost identical. But when it comes to portability, external models are better, which makes it easier to enjoy what they offer.

Does an external sound card make difference?

Sound cards will improve the sound quality of your system, but you won’t notice the change if you don’t have the right speakers or headset.

Are external sound cards good?

These USB sound cards can provide audiophile-quality sound for your device, making them great options for video editors and music producers. The best USB sound cards can make a significant difference, even if you don’t work in the audio industry but enjoy listening to music while you get creative.

Is a sound card really necessary?

Technically speaking, a sound card is an optional component, but it’s essential if you wish to connect an analog microphone or listen to your PC’s audio through wired headphones or speakers (much like an external DAC).

Does a sound card boost volume?

Upgrading to a sound card with an improved DAC will improve the sound quality of music played on the computer, and the amplifier will not only improve sound quality but also boost the maximum volume.

Is an external sound card required for gaming?

Unless you decide to use high-fidelity audiophile headphones as a gaming headset, you won’t need to buy a separate sound card for your headsets. Your motherboard’s integrated sound card should work well for gaming and offer up to 7.1 surround sound.

Should you use a USB sound card?

No, you don’t need a USB sound card. However, they can improve sound quality, add new features, and are less likely to be affected by electrical noise than the sound cards built into laptops and desktop PC motherboards.

What are sound cards good for?

The sound card is an expansion card that lets the computer send sound to a device like speakers, headphones, etc. A sound card can be used for various things, like hearing video game sounds, listening to music or watching movies, having text read to you, etc.

Can I use an external sound card on my laptop?

If you want to improve the sound quality on your laptop or desktop computer, you don’t have to buy a whole new PC. All you need is an external sound card.

Do I need an external sound card for my laptop?

Technically, a sound card is an optional component, but it is required if you want to listen to audio from your PC using wired headphones or speakers or connect a microphone with an analog output.

Will my speakers or headphones work with a USB sound card?

Yes, most speakers and headphones can handle external sound adapters without issues.

Will my computer support an external sound card?

As long as your computer comes with USB 2.0 ports, then there won’t be any problem when hooking up a USB audio adapter. Make sure you have enough spare ports for the device before getting it.

Final Words & Recommendation

Making your computer sound amazing is not hard when you have one of these devices. But still, you’ll have to pick the right one if you want the best possible experience.

If you don’t yet know what to go for – we heavily recommend the Creative Sound BlasterX G6 Hi-Res External USB Sound Card. Coming directly from one of the best brands in the market, it is easily the most reliable, easy-to-use, and performance-oriented model in the list.

But remember that the best USB sound card is the one that matches your needs and desires; and nothing else. As long as the device you’re using goes well with what you need, it will be an ideal option. Choose one now.

Josef is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing gadgets reviews. His love for technology started at an early age and he has been writing tutorials about various aspects of technology ever since. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other people and helping them understand the latest innovations in this field.

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