An Overview of the Best USB Surround Sound Cards for Computers in 2018

An Overview of the Best USB Surround Sound Cards for Computers in 2017

Has your computer stopped producing sound? Does it produce a low-quality sound that fails to meet your needs whilst entertaining? It is not the end of the world. To forge a lasting solution, you need to understand how the sound systems of computers work. To play quality sound, computers need two main things – a set of speakers and a quality sound card. Most models have quality speakers. However, because of the fragility of their inbuilt sound cards, they develop sound problems over time. Replace your existing sound card with a new one to solve your sound-related problems permanently.

To produce quality sound, multimedia devices such computers and the best audio mixers use sound cards. Even though most products have built-in ones, having an external one is beneficial in many ways. First, they generate quality digital and analog signals via USB or 3.5mm jacks. If you use one to bypass your computers inbuilt sound card, thus, you will have better sound whilst entertaining. These sound cards are also customizable. You can adjust how they produce sound. Finally, they are easy to use. You do not have to tear apart your computer to install one. A simple USB or AUX connection is all that you need.

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  • Universal
  • Material
  • Microphone
  • Weight
Creative X-Fi
Creative X-Fi
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight15.2 ounces
Creative Omni
Creative Omni
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight15.2 ounces
StarTech Digital
StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2D
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight4.2 ounces
Sewell Direct
Sewell Direct
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight7.2 ounces
Vantec USB
Vantec USB
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight4.8 ounces
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  • Universal
  • Material
  • Microphone
  • Weight
Creative G5
Creative G5
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialMetal
  • MicrophoneNo
  • Weight14.4 ounces
VAlinks 6
VAlinks 6
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialMetal
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight15.5 ounces
UGREEN USB
UGREEN USB
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight2.1 ounces
BENGOO External
BENGOO External
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight0.8 ounces
KOTION EACH
KOTION EACH
  • UniversalYes
  • MaterialPlastic
  • MicrophoneYes
  • Weight2.7 ounces

1. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi

Creative Sound Blaster X-FiCreative Sound Blaster X-Fi tops our list of the best USB surround sound cards in 2018. Featuring gold-plated optical and RCA stereo outputs, its performance is desirable. It lacks static and the funny sounds some USB sound cards generate over time. Both its microphone and headphone jacks are powerful, while its Dolby Digital Live technology is like no other. Via a single cable, you get compelling 5.1 surround sound from most computers.

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi is a popular because of its functionality. It generates quality sound. It also relays sound well. Finally, because of its ease of use, it has found its way onto thousands of computers in homes and office. Unlike inbuilt sound cards that require a lot of effort to install, this one is ideal. Its BUS-powered USB2.0 system is plug and use. All you need is a compatible USB port for it to work well.

Are you tired of adjusting sound on your computers manually whilst entertaining? Buying this Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround Sound Card is a good remedy. Each model has a compact IR remote that works well. With it, you can adjust volume remotely. You can also mute sound and control music playback from across the room.

Do you have a Macintosh or Windows computer that you use to entertain often? Are you looking for an affordable external USB surround sound card that never disappoints? Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi is one of the best. Buy one to get a sleek and durable surround sound card that delivers a full audio experience. It is also perfect for watching movies and or playing games on Macintosh and Windows computers.

Our Verdict

Popular among music lovers, Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi is a cheap surround sound card with an IR remote. It is Windows and Mac-compatible. Even though compact, you get a powerful plug-and-use device that produces 5.1 surround sound. This product will improve how you entertain indoors.

Pros
  • Windows and Mac compatible
  • Compact and portable design
  • Easy to install (plug and use)
  • Powerful infrared (IR) remote
  • Bus-powered USB2.0 technology
  • Compelling 5.1 surround sound
Cons
  • Buggy software

2. Creative Sound Blaster Omni

Creative Sound Blaster OmniDo not waste money on a low-grade surround sound card that will fail to satisfy your needs. If you enjoy listening to music but your computer’s sound system lets you down every time, buy Creative Sound Blaster. It works with Mac and PC. The powerful sound blaster technology that it uses, on the other hand, is beneficial in many ways. It improves sound projection. Coupled with this device’s Crystal Voice and SBX Pro Studio technologies, it also generates clear and immersive sound.

In homes, Creative Sound Blaster takes entertainment to the next level. Its discrete 5.1 channels, for instance, streamline sound production. They also convert standard computers into cinematic entertainment systems for playing video games or streaming music. Finally, because it has dual microphones, it is an ideal product for audio recording and or video conferencing.

The simplicity of this Creative Sound Blaster card is one of its major strengths. You do not need special tools to install it. Its plug and play system is convenient. It also supports most types of computers and has a lightweight and portable design that you can travel with effortlessly. If you are a student or office worker with a portable laptop, do not hesitate to buy one. It will boost the value of your machine.

Headphones deliver a quiet listening experience. They are also comfortable and therefore recommended for gaming or listening to music. If you own one that you use often, you will enjoy having this sound card at home. The 600Amp headphone amplifier that it has improves sound quality. You will listen to music for long without getting tired. This sound card also has an advanced scout mode that enables gamers to hear enemies from far. In the heat of battle, you will have an advantage over your competitors.

Our Verdict

Even though its warranty service is a sham, the quality of the sound card you get is on another level. Because of its SBX Pro Studio technology, sound amplification and clarity are admirable. It also has a scout mode for gamers and a powerful 600A amplifier that improves sound quality further.

Pros
  • 600Amp headphone amplifier
  • Advanced scout mode for gamers
  • SBX Pro Studio technology
  • Discrete 5.1 sound channels
  • Built-in dual microphones
Cons
  • Disappointing warranty service

3. StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2D

StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2DEven with a good set of speakers or a headset, a computer with a poor quality sound card does not sound nice at all. The crackling and buzzing noises that they make irritate people. To solve this problem, do not tweak the treble or bass output of your computer. Large third-party speakers will not serve you well too. Visit Amazon and buy this StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2D USB Stereo Audio Adapter instead. It is affordable. It also has a universal system that boost the performance of most computers.

This Stereo Audio Adapter’s versatile design has many applications. If you have a home theatre system that you want to connect to your computer, for instance, it is one of the best products to use. You can connect most brands via its digital S/PDIF audio port. If you have a small form factor (SFF) computer or a notebook without internal expansion bays, this adapter will also benefit you. It relays quality audio through 3.5mm jacks and S/PDIF connections. You do not need expansion slots or bays.

Even though advanced, StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2D has a simple design that most people can install and use easily. Unlike inbuilt sound cards that require skill to install, for instance, this is one has a plug and use interface. If your computer has a free USB port, all you have to do is stick in it to improve its sound output. The durable 16-inch cable that this sound card has also come in handy. It enables you to use it from various locations without issues.

The installation of StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2D USB Stereo Audio Adapter is a piece of cake. Its operation is even easier. Because it has an all-in-one standalone design, for instance, you do not need a computer to customize its system. You can do so at any time using one of its onboard controls. It also has an external volume control and an equalizer (EQ) switch for customizing bass and treble output.

Our Verdict

StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2D is an all-in-one surround sound card that supports most computers. Its onboard controls are easy to use. Its high-powered system is not only durable but also sounds great.

Pros
  • Onboard controls (volume and EQ)
  • Compact and portable design
  • Sampling rate indicator (LED)
  • 3.5mm jack and S/PDIF connections
Cons
  • No 7.1 output on Windows 10

4. Sewell Direct Sound Box

Sewell Direct Sound BoxAre you planning to upgrade the sound system of your laptop or PC? Whether you like playing games, watching videos, or listening to music, Sewell Direct Sound Box will serve you well. Featuring a full analog 7.1 audio channel, the performance of this sound card is desirable. Supported by a Fiber Optic S/PDIF input, the digital 7.1 audio that people get is top quality. You can also use this sound box with headphones with good results.

Recording professional-grade audio is a challenge with most old computers. The low-quality sound cards that they have distort sound. Others introduce noise, which compromises quality further. If you have such a computer, Sewell Direct Sound Box will improve your experience. Do not look down on its simple design. You get two high-fidelity microphone inputs for recording stereo sound. It also has a high sample rate (48/44.1 kHz (analog) and 48 kHz digital) for full duplex recording.

When shopping for a new USB sound card, do not buy a product that will frustrate you over time. Easy to use brands such as Sewell Direct Sound Box are the best. Its USB 2.0 compliant system works well with most computers. Because it is backward compatible, you can even use it with old computers without issues.

The operation of Sewell Direct Sound Box External USB Sound Card is easy. Because it bypasses inbuilt sound cards automatically, you do not have to adjust settings for it to work. Once you have plugged it as instructed, it does the remaining legwork for you. Its small and compact design is not only portable but also has onboard controls that boost its functionality.

Our Verdict

Even though Sewell Direct Sound Box lacks full surround for windows 10, it ranks among the best for many reasons. Its portability, for instance, is desirable. It also has a backward-compatible USB technology with microphone inputs and a volume control. You will enjoy using one.

Pros
  • Compact and portable design
  • Convenient volume control
  • Full surround sound (7.1)
  • USB 2.0 compliant system
  • High-fidelity microphone inputs (two)
Cons
  • No full surround for windows 10

5. Vantec USB Audio Adapter

Vantec USB Audio AdapterWhile listening to music or playing video games, sound quality is important to most people. Some like it loud. Others want clear static-free sound whilst entertaining. If you are one of them, avoid the low-quality sound cards that sell cheaply online. They stifle sound output. Others have “noisy” systems that worsen the experience of people. Vantec is different. Even though compact, it has a powerful 7.1 channel system that satisfies the needs of most people.

The setup of Vantec on computers is a simple process. You do not have to tear up part your computer to update its sound system. The simple USB 2.0 connection that this product has is convenient. Because of its backward compatible technology, you can use it on USB 1.1 ports with good results. This is unlike some modern sound cards that work well only on newer computers.

Do you record digital and analog audio for your projects often? If your fans or recipients complain of quality, you should do two things. First, change the microphone that you use. The best noise canceling ones work the best. You should update your computer’s sound system with this Vantec USB External Audio Adapter. It plays both digital and analog audio. It also has quality mic inputs (right and left) that support up to 48/44.1 kHz sampling rates.

Vantec is an affordable yet powerful USB surround sound card that boosts the performance of computers. If you are upgrading your system on a budget, this product will serve you well. It is easy to install. Made of quality materials, it also lasts longer than similar brands.

Our Verdict

While this sound card’s short cable is a bummer, its performance is appealing. Whether you enjoy gaming or listing to music during your free time, this product will serve you well. Its 7.1 channel sound system is loud and clear. You also get a convenient plug and use device that supports most computers.

Pros
  • Convenient plug-and-use design
  • Supports up to 48/44.1 kHz sampling rates
  • Separate mic inputs (right and left)
  • Backward compatible USB 2.0 technology
  • Powerful 7.1 channel surround sound
Cons
  • Short cable (2.5-feet)

6. Creative Sound BlasterX G5

Creative Sound BlasterX G5In the music industry, Creative products are among the best because of their superior designs. The car speakers in its arsenal, for instance, are loud and durable. This brand is also home to professional-grade sound cards for bringing computers to life. Creative Sound BlasterX G5, for instance, offers value for money. Made of metal, it is a durable product. It is also portable and has a well-engineered sound system that boosts the performance of most computers.

When shopping for a new external USB surround sound card, do not base your decision solely on style. Eye-catching products are valuable. However, buying a model that will not improve the performance of your computer is one of the worst decisions you can make. Choose Creative Sound BlasterX G5 instead. It has an eye-catching dark theme. Its native 7.1 surround sound system is also one of the best. It delivers an immersive 3D experience every time.

When listening to music, most people prefer to use headphone to third-party speakers for many reasons. They are cheaper. The quiet listening experience that they deliver is also impressive. If you are part of this group, this USB sound card will serve you well. Its headphone amplifier (audiophile-grade) works well. It also has an SB-AXX1 audio processor that boosts the sound quality of headphones.

You do not need a lot of skill to set up and use this Creative Sound BlasterX G5 sound card. Its plug-and-use interface is convenient. You also get a universal product that works well with most PCs, notebooks, and laptops. This is admirable, considering its price. Finally, its illuminated volume control (with indicator) is visible even in the dark.

Our Verdict

Whether you enjoy a loud or a quiet listening experience, this Creative Sound BlasterX G5 sound car will benefit you. Powered by an SB-AXX1 audio technology, the 7.1 native surround sound that it produces is impressive. It also has a powerful blaster acoustic engine and a headphone amplifier that improves sound quality further. It rarely disappoints.

Pros
  • SB-AXX1 audio processor
  • Headphone amplifier (audiophile-grade)
  • Native 7.1 surround sound system
  • Immersive 3D experience
  • Advanced blaster acoustic engine
Cons
  • Buggy headset software

7. VAlinks 6 Channel Sound Card

VAlinks 6 Channel Sound CardSurround sound is loud and immersive. It is also clear and lacks static. Even though some modern computers have this system pre-built, most models have low-grade sound cards that often disappoint. If your computer falls into the latter group, do not sell it. Install a quality sound card such as VAlinks. It delivers 5.1-surround sound. Its six-channel system, on the other hand, does not support only computers. You can also use it with the best dancing water speakers.

Computers and gaming stations such as PlayStation are worthless without quality sound. If yours has no sound or fails to satisfy your expectations, install this VAlinks 6 Channel surround card. Ranked among the best in 2018, it supports both 32, 44.1, and 48 kHz sampling rates. This makes it one of the best devices for analog and digital recording. During analog and digital audio playback, it also works flawlessly.

Recommended for day-to-day use, this is a durable product. Its heavy-duty metallic case does not break easily or degrade as fast as cheap plastics often do. It also dissipates heat well, which protects this sound card from damage. Second, this card’s plug and play system is convenient. Even with your limited computer knowledge, you can install it easily. VAlinks transmits data according to IEC60958, AES\EBU, and S\PDIF standards.

Our Verdict

Do not let the low-powered sound card in your computer affect how you entertain at home. Buy VAlinks to get a powerful 6-channel sound card that works via USB. Made of metal, it is a durable product. Its plug and use system is convenient, while the clear 5.1 channel surround sound it generates appeals to most people.

Pros
  • Durable metallic case (blue)
  • Versatile six-channel design
  • USB plug and play system
  • Analogue and digital audio playback
  • Analogue and digital recording
  • 5.1-channel surround sound
Cons
  • Poor quality line port

8. UGREEN USB Audio Adapter

UGREEN USB Audio AdapterComputer with poor sound frustrates many individuals. To solve this problem, many buy new computers. This is expensive. It is also a poor decision, considering that many cheap and effective USB sound cards are available online. Try UGREEN USB Audio Adapter, for instance. Even though simple looking, you get a top-rated USB sound card that works well. It also has a durable design with an audio-out and a powerful microphone-in port.

With UGREEN, the fact that you are spending money on a cheap sound card does not mean you sacrifice quality. It is a durable accessory. The ABS plastic used to make it does not fade or break easily. Contacts are professional-grade, while its advanced C-Media IC technology produces clear and static-free sound.

Replacing the inbuilt sound cards in computers requires a bit of skill. If you are considering replacing yours, we have a better option for you – UGREEN. This external USB sound card is not only powerful but also one of the easiest to use. Its plug and use system, for instance, works well out of the box. You do not have to hard wire anything or install drivers to enjoy quality sound. It even bypasses in-built sound cards automatically, which is notable.

Do not waste money on a complicated sound card that works with only a few selected devices. A universal model such as UGREEN works the best. You can use it with a Windows computer or a Mac. Paired with gaming stations such as PlayStation 4 (PS4) it also delivers good results.

Our Verdict

Set up well, this sound card bypasses the stock models that come with most brands of computers. In terms of quality, its system is also one of the best. It is durable. Users also enjoy clear sound from computers and gaming stations.

Pros
  • Compact and portable design
  • USB (2.0) plug and play system
  • Powerful 3.5mm ports
  • Durable ABS plastic case
  • Advanced C-Media IC technology
  • Bypasses internal sound cards well
Cons
  • None

9. BENGOO External USB Sound Card

BENGOO External USB Sound CardBENGOO stands out in many ways. Unlike some brands that crack, snap, and or lose connections easily, it delivers good results always. It works well with most devices with 3.5mm ports. These include computers and external speakers. You can also use it with a microphone, headsets, and or one of the best earbuds available online with excellent results.

BENGOO has produced many generations of external sound adapters over the years. Even though most of its products have are of high quality, this model is among the best. You will like its low profile design. It does not clutter desk space, as most large and bulky models often do. The quality of the sound that it produces is also impressive. Whether you like using headphone and or external speakers, it will add an immersive surround effect to its sound.

With some brands of external USB sound cards, people have to hard-wire parts for them to work. People also have to install drivers and update them often to keep their sound cards working well. This is not the case with BENGOO. It comes ready to use. Simply plug it into the USB port on your computer or gaming station to improve sound.

Our Verdict

Made of quality plastic, BENGOO is a durable external surround card with a plug-and-use design. It works well with most computers and gaming stations. Its advanced mixer function and cost-effective design also appeal to most people. This product will improve how you entertain indoors.

Pros
  • Plug and play design
  • Advanced mixer function
  • Attainable pre-assembled
  • Does not need drivers to work
  • Durable plastic case
Cons
  • None

10. KOTION EACH USB Sound Card

KOTION EACH USB Sound CardDo you have a computer that you use for entertainment? Do you enjoy playing video games during your free time? KOTION EACH will improve the sound system of your computer. Whether you have a PC or laptop, you can set it up and use it easily. It also supports most operating systems and gaming stations such as PS4 and PS4 Pro.

Sought-after by individuals and professionals, this is a durable item. If you have used brands that have broken down without warning, this one will serve you well. It has two USB hubs that work well. It also has a 3.5mm mic jack and a 3.5mm jack that you can use, as you desire. Finally, you will enjoy the 3D HiFi surround sound this external sound card produces.

Internal sound cards are frustrating. They break down easily. Their replacement is also a chore, which requires a lot of skill to do correctly. If you have noticed that your computer’s sound quality has dipped over time, use this KOTION EACH external one instead. Because it overrides internal sounds cards, you do not have to remove the damaged one to use it. Off the shelf, it comes pre-assembled and ready to use.

Buying an external sound card that does not improve the quality of sound is a poor decision. Models that crackle whilst in use are even worse. Buy a trusted product such as KOTION EACH to enjoy the time of a lifetime. It generates clear sound. It also has interference-free wires (braided) and a noise canceling magnetic ring that improves sound quality further.

Our Verdict

Fitted with both mic and sound ports, this all-in-one sound card rarely disappoints. You will like its noise-canceling properties. It high-speed hubs and convenient plug-and-use design have attracted it a lot of attention worldwide.

Pros
  • Noise canceling magnetic ring
  • Noise reducing braided wires
  • 3.5mm mic and sound ports
  • Convenient plug and play design
  • Two high-speed USB hubs
Cons
  • Poor bass output

What to Look for in a USB Surround Sound Card

Compatibility: Before you buy a USB surround sound card, make sure that it is compatible with your device. If you have a computer, it should support its system. This should also be the case with gaming stations and speakers. If possible, buy a universal sound card. They support most devices.

Standard: External USB sound cards come in many shapes and sizes. They also have different technologies that deliver different results. Before you buy one, therefore, check its USB standard. Is it USB 2.0, 3.0, or 3.1? USB 3.1 devices are faster than USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices.

Convenience: Does your external USB sound card of choice require a lot of skill to install. Does it require special equipment to work well? Avoid such products. Look for a convenient model that you will enjoy using. It should be easy to install. Pre-assembled plug and use models are ideal. You should also look for a noise-canceling model that produces loud and clear sound.

Performance: The main aim of installing an external sound card is to improve sound quality. This should be a priority when shopping for a new one. Check the performance of your preferred product. What are people saying about its sound? Avoid cheap yet low-grade ones.

Conclusion: Computers and PlayStations have inbuilt sound cards. Even though effective, they require frequent updating to work well. If the sound quality of your computer has degraded over time, use our recommended external USB surround cards. These are reliable products. They also have powerful systems that generate quality sound.

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