PC Sound Card Buyers Guide

What makes a great sound card?  We take a look in our PC Sound Card Buyers Guide.

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Ah, sound clarity.  Whether it be through better headphones, mp3 players, or speakers, we have been chasing fidelity all our lives.  Furthermore, some people took it to such extremes, we coined the term ‘audiophile.’  While audiophiles will stop at nothing until they get the so-called music high, you don’t have to be so picky.  Let’s say you decided to compliment your new computer by adding a sound card to it.  Or perhaps you’re building a brand new gaming PC.  And as with any gaming PC, it’s never complete without a good sound card, to help you experience orgasmic sound quality when gaming.

Do I really need a sound card?

Your obvious answer is yes to the above two scenarios.  But if you’re not really an audiophile.  And you’re not really a die-hard gamer.  Do you really need a sound card?  In most cases, no.  And that is because most PC motherboards, smartphone or tablet SoC (system on chip) come with pretty decent onboard sound.  If you’re on a budget, or if you don’t really need that sound boost or high fidelity sound on a daily basis, then you do not need a sound card.

But what if I want it?

If your neighbor made you jealous by boasting about it.  Or you’re competing against your best friend who just bought a brand spanking new gaming PC with a stonking sound card.  If you feel like a kid without a candy.  Then you MUST purchase a dedicated sound card.  Also, other questions to answer first would be do you like music?  Do you appreciate good sound quality when watching movies?  Do you think a good sound card can help you with audio transcription?  If your answer is yes to all of those, then ta-da!  A sound card you must have.

To produce top-notch sound clarity, a good sound card needs to have:

  • 24-bit sound for the best audio reproduction.
  • High sampling rate – the higher the frequency, the higher sampling rate and thus higher performance.
  • Good signal to noise ratio.
  • Multi-channel capability.
  • Multiple options for connectivity.
  • Large wavetable – if required
  • Surround sound support – 3D environmental audio. (You would also need kickass speakers for this).

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