7 Best USB Sound Card for Better Gaming and Streaming

It’s time to replace your computer’s inbuilt sound card now that you’ve noticed it’s broken. If you have a laptop, your only alternative is to use external USB sound cards. Furthermore, if you’re using a PC, an external or USB sound card is a good idea. You may avoid any internal crosstalk and interference this way. Everyone now has a different reason for purchasing a sound card. A sound card may be required just to add an extra 3.5 mm port or to boost the audio quality of your gaming headphones. Whatever the case may be, here are the top USB sound cards for PCs.

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Difference Between Sound Card vs DAC vs Amp

First and foremost, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the differences between a sound card, DAC, and amplifier. Let’s get that out of the way first. Theoretically, these are distinct, but in practice, most sound cards incorporate a DAC. You can obtain a sound card with a strong DAC/AMP combo, such as those from Creative or Focusrite if you invest enough money.

The mic port, on the other hand, is the only difference between a sound card and a dedicated DAC. A mic input port on sound cards allows you to use your headphone and mic with the same sound card. The majority of DAC/AMPs do not feature a microphone input, although there are exceptions.

As a result, if you need to use a microphone and headphones, purchase a sound card. If you only need a device to drive high-end headphones, a DAC is a way to go. With that said, let’s move to the list.

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Best Budget Sound Cards

1. UGreen USB Sound Card

The UGreen USB sound card is a wonderful alternative if you’re searching for a straightforward way to add an extra 3.5-mm connection to your computer. It features a simple USB-to-3.5mm connector that does not require the installation of any additional drivers. It simply works out of the box.

The sound card is made entirely of metal and has a sleek metallic appearance. It can simply access the USB port without interfering with other peripheral devices. The 3.5-mm jack is a TRRS port when it comes to the port. So, via the same 3.5-mm connection, it offers a dedicated mic, inline mic, and audio out for headphones.

The sound card is compatible with a variety of operating systems, including macOS, Linux, Windows, PS4 and above, and so on. It also has a noise isolation IC to aid remove hissing from the audio output.

UGreen best USB sound card

Who is it for?

The UGreen USB sound card is a fantastic choice if you only need an extra port to connect to your headphones or microphone.

An extra 3.5 mm port is provided by a USB Sound Card.

Pros

  • All-Metalic Construction
  • TRRS microphone port or inline mic
  • To avoid interfering with other peripherals, the device has a small footprint.

Cons

  • There are no controls aboard.
  • DAC is mediocre.

Price: $7.99

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2. Vention USB External Sound Card

Vention also offers an all-metallic USB sound card, similar to the UGreen USB Sound Card. The Vention sound card, unlike the UGreen, has two 3.5-mm connectors. The first is for headphones, and the second is for a 3.5mm microphone input.

Unfortunately, the Vention USB sound card’s headphone jack does not support TRRS. As a result, if you have a headset with an inline mic, you won’t be able to use it with this sound card. It is strictly for dedicated headphones and microphones.

Vention USB External Sound Card

Who is it for?

People who require a soundcard that can function as both a microphone and a headphone using a single USB connection.

A dedicated headphone and microphone in one package

Pros

  • Stereo audio output is available.
  • Noise Isolation Chip onboard

Cons

  • An inline microphone is not supported by the headphone port.
  • There are no controls aboard.

Price: $6.99

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3. USB-C Sound Card

CreationCable Sound Card is a generic USB-C sound card, similar to Vention Sound Card. Windows laptops, particularly MacBooks, now solely have USB-C connectors. As a result, rather than purchasing a USB-C OTG and a USB soundcard, it is preferable to purchase a USB-C soundcard.

The ports are comparable to those found on a Vention USB sound card. There are no TRRS ports on any of the 3.5-mm ports. As a result, you’d have to utilize a special headset and microphone.

USB-C Sound Card

Who is it for?

Those who are limited to USB-C ports. MacBook M1, Intel MacBook, and so on.

SoundCard for Macbook M1 and Pro through USB-C

Pros

  • Headphone Port Stereo Output
  • The inline microphone is supported by the headphone port.
  • Works with Windows, MacBooks, Android, and other operating systems.

Cons

  • Earphones from Apple aren’t working.
  • There are no controls aboard.
  • Onboard Controls for Sound Cards

Price: $12.99

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4. TechRise USB Sound Card

Now, you should acquire the TechRise USB sound card if you want a sound card with a few onboard settings and a superior audio experience. The TechRise USB sound card, first and foremost, includes three 3.5-mm connections. It allows you to connect two headphones and a microphone at the same time.

TRRS is enabled on the black headphone port, allowing you to use two 3.5-mm microphones. A TRRS cable or an XLR cable would be required for the secondary mic.

A volume knob on the USB sound card allows you to adjust the volume on your headphones. There are also dedicated mute controls for the headphones and microphone. I’d rather have this sound card than a generic one because it has onboard controls and excellent audio quality for the price.

TechRise USB Sound Card

Who is it for?

People who require a low-cost sound card with multiple headphone outputs or multiple microphone inputs for podcasting.

SoundCard with Onboard Controls is a better SoundCard.

Pros

  • Volume and mute controls are located on the device itself.
  • Multiple headphone and microphone inputs are supported.

Cons

  • Constructing using Plastic
  • USB light that flashes incessantly
  • Sound Card for Video Games

Price: $12.99

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5. Creative Sound BlasterX G3

Moving on from the affordable sound cards, the Creative Sound BlasterX G3 is a soundcard that costs roughly $50. The BlasterX G3 is a gaming headset that allows you to drive high-impedance gaming headphones. The G3 can power headphones up to 300 watts and has a 24-bit 96.0 kHz audio output/recording resolution.

The G3 has three 3.5 mm ports: audio-in, audio-out, and optical port. And that G3 comes with a slew of inbuilt controllers. Headphone and microphone volume is controlled by a pair of volume knobs. You also get a switch to regulate the loudness of in-game communication and a dedicated mic mute switch.

Furthermore, the G3 has a one-of-a-kind trick up its sleeve. The Footstep Enhancer is what it’s named. By clicking the large circular button on the sound card, you can change the EQ. The Sound Blaster Connect software allows you to customize the button action. You have the option of going back to your personalized EQ settings.

Not to mention that the G3 works with virtually all game systems, including the PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, MacBooks, Windows, Android, and iPhone.

Creative Sound BlasterX G3

Who is it for?

Budget soundcard for gaming and high-impedance headphones.

For better game audio, get a cheap SoundCard.

Pros

  • Inside the box Converter from USB-C to USB-A
  • Volume controls for the microphone and headphones on the device
  • Supports headphones with a high impedance of up to 300 ohms.
  • Software-based customization via Creative software app

Cons

  • If your setup is too far away, you could need an extension.
  • The default setting for a footstep enhancer is terrible.

Price: $49.99

Buy from Amazon

Download Sound Blaster Connect for Windows PC | Android | iOS

6. Creative Sound BlasterX G5

If you increase the budget to $100, you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the premium USB sound card section. It all starts with the Sound BlasterX G5 from Creative. If you have exceptionally high-impedance headphones or a condenser microphone, buying pricey sound cards is the only way to go. Those aren’t compatible with the low-cost sound cards stated earlier.

The Sound BlasterX G5 supports headphones ranging in size from 16 to 600. The Creative BlasterX contains a button that allows you to switch from low to high impedance mode. The low-impedance mode is compatible with headphones ranging from 16 to 149 ohms, while the high-impedance mode is compatible with headphones ranging from 150 to 600 ohms.

The Creative Sound BlasterX can output 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound through its speakers. However, you’d have to utilize the optical port for that. The sound card comes with an optical cable from Creative.

The Creative BlasterX G5 additionally comes with extra functions. It has a hardware button called “Scout Mode” that can improve in-game audio such as footsteps, reloading sounds, and weapon swaps, among other things. The Sound Blaster Connect software may be used to tweak the EQ settings on the G5, just like it does on the G3.

Creative Sound BlasterX G5

Who is it for?

People who require a soundcard for gaming or a 600-ohm high-impedance headphone.

Condenser Microphone with High-End Headphones Sound Card

Pros

  • With an onboard volume knob, the build quality is excellent.
  • High-impedance headphones up to 600 ohms are supported.
  • Support Windows, XBOX, PS4+, macOS, and other operating systems.
  • 5.1 and 7.1 audio outputs are supported.

Cons

  • The phantom power microphone isn’t supported.
  • Podcast/Music Production Sound Card

Price: $99.99

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7. Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen)

Moving on, you’ll need to spend a little more than $100 if your setup includes a condenser microphone that needs to be phantom powered. At $119, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd gen) is the cheapest option. Phantom condenser microphones that require a 48V input can be powered by it.

A USB-C connector connects the Scarlett Solo to your PC. There are two TRS audio output ports, a headphone jack for monitoring music, one instrument input, and an XLR mic input. The maximum resolution for playback is 24-bit/192 kHz. A pre-amp supplies power to the XLR mic port.

Multiple volume knobs are included in the controls. It has separate gain knobs for the mic input and the instrument, for starters. A monitor knob is also included for controlling the monitor volume. You also have an Air button, which amplifies the shine of your mic input on higher frequencies. Focusrite also includes DAW software such as ProTools First and Ableton Live Lite as part of the package.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

Who is it for?

Individuals who require a soundcard for solo podcasting or music production. These are capable of powering phantom-powered condenser microphones.

Soundcard for live music production and solo podcasting on a budget

Pros

  • Mic input XLR
  • Condenser microphones require 48V phantom power.
  • ProTools First and Ableton Live Lite are two examples of bundled DAWs.

Cons

  • There is only one instrument input/mic port.
  • There isn’t a separate volume control for the output.

Price: $119.99

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8. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Sound Card

The only reason the Scarlett 2i2 is on the list is that it has more inputs than the Scarlett Solo. Not only is the Scarlett 2i2 larger than the Solo, but it also has two mic inputs and two instrument inputs. You can record two mics or two instruments at the same time. It’s perfect for interviews, multi-person podcasts, and live music recordings because of this.

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 have the same rest of the features. A 48V phantom button, an air button, separate gain controls, and a monitor knob for direct input level are all included.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 SoundCard

Who is it for?

Interviews, multi-person podcasts, and live music creation can all benefit from a sound card.

Pros

  • Two mic inputs have their own amps.
  • Condenser microphones require a 48V phantom power supply.
  • External audio output and monitor output have their own volume controls.
  • In DAWs like ProTools First and Ableton Live Lite, it’s included.

Cons

  • None

Price: $169.99

Buy from Amazon

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Final Thoughts: The Best USB Sound Cards

So there you have it. If all you need is a sound card with an extra 3.5 mm port, the UGreen or TechRise USB sound cards will suffice. If you have a MacBook, I recommend obtaining the Creative BlasterX G3 or a USB-C sound card. The Creative BlasterX G5 or Scarlett 2i2 is an excellent choice for game streaming or podcast production.

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