Internal computer sound cards, are also called audio cards, sound boards or audio output devices as a more general term. The sound card is used on a computer in order to receive and deliver the signal that produces sound. In order to listen to the sound it produces, you need a pair of studio monitors, speakers or headphones.
Sound cards can be found on computers in two different forms, placed either in an expansion slot or as a part of the motherboard. The cables needed to connect the devices that produce or receive sound on the sound cards, are coded by colors, for easier use. They also have symbols to guide the users as to where to connect the devices.
Internal sound cards used to be the most common way to record or playback music in home studios, until the external USB audio interfaces made their appearance. External audio interfaces tend to be more useful due to their portability, and higher level of functionality compared to the internal computer sound cards.
However, there are some amazing sound cards available in the market, which produce excellent sound results and are capable of providing awesome user experience and high quality recordings to the users. Such sound cars would be recommended for those that when to equip their personal computers and their home studios. For the people that want to use them remotely, it is advised that they search for an external audio interface, which is going to be more convenient.
In our list below, we have compiled five of the most effective internal computer sound cards available in the market today. You can install them in your computer easily, as long as you follow the instructions written in the manuals that are included in the packages when you purchase them.
What to take into consideration
The quality, no matter the product, is always one the main things you need to consider before the purchase. The same applies for internal sound cards. Keep in mind, that sound cards tend to be very sensitive devices, so you need to make sure that you purchase a high quality product that is going to last over time.
In order to achieve this, it would be advised that you read carefully the reviews about sound cards, and choose among trusted manufacturers with years of experience in sound card design and engineering. This way, you have much higher possibility purchasing a quality product, which will help you improve your sound.
The functionality is another crucial aspect when it comes to acquiring an internal sound card. You should make sure that your sound card is the proper one for the job you need it. It is highly suggested that you purchase an all-purpose sound card, which can record equally well both instruments and vocals. This way, you can make complete recording without purchasing any additional audio interfaces or items.
You should keep an eye for the features that come with sound cards. For instance, you need to make sure that there are all the necessary cables included in the package, along with the manuals and a secure case to protect the sound card.
The quality of the internal sound card depends mostly on the price of the device. The more expensive the card, the better results you are going to acquire. Make sure that you find an internal sound card within your budget’s limits. There are lots of amazing sound cards available in the market, which produce high sound quality and come in very afford able prices.
Best internal computer sound cards
1 – ASUS Sound Card Essence STX II
The ASUS Essence STX II is a standalone internal sound card with great sound quality. The installation is very simple. You have to insert the sound card into a PCI slot, and provide the essential power with a Molex 4 pin connector. That is it.
You should turn your personal computer on, go to your BIOS and disable the on-board sound so that your new installed sound card can function without any issues from the motherboard. Furthermore, it is advised that you download the latest Windows codecs, to ensure maximum functionality.
One of the main advantages of this awesome sound card, is its ability to transform the overall sound of your system into a clean and very warm sound experience. You can connect your headphones, and you can listen to great sound detail recordings and playbacks, due to the dedicated headphones amplifier that supports up to 600-OHM impendences.
The sound that the soundcard delivers is transparent, very clean and crispy. You can detect a very characteristic subtle brightness added to the overall sound, which makes every detail obvious. The shielding of the sound card is very good. You should also consider running a suppresser in order to reduce noise between the ASUS Essence STX II and the mixing board.
Finding the drivers is very easy. You can visit the official Website of ASUS and download them for free. The installation process is pretty basic, and the sound card itself guides you through the whole process. The size of the sound card is as it should be, very convenient for PCs with smaller spaces.
All in all, this internal sound card is a great option both for music listeners and for producers. It improves the sound quality of the computer significantly, and can be used to record multiple sources of audio without any noise or hiss issues. The ASUS Essence STX II offers excellent value for the money invested in it.
2 – Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE
The Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE is an internal sound card with a very easy installation process. Windows users will find it very convenient to use the particular card, as it is automatically recognized by their operating system, which also installs the drivers of the card, requiring no effort at all from your part.
The sound quality of this particular internal sound card is more than decent, as it deliver greater results than most of the rest sound cards within the same price range. It is a very affordable and extremely efficient sound card, which will never disappoint its users.
The Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE supports raw DTS/DD output to a decoder through SPDIF. This way the functionality of the sound cards improves more, although you may need to purchase a mono to RCA adapter and a coaxial cable, but it is worth the trouble.
If you use standard computer speakers or your stereo’s speakers, the difference in the sound quality is still going to be obvious. In the case that you want to experience much higher sound quality, you will need to acquire a decent pair of studio monitors, which are perfect when it comes to delivering detailed, clear sound.
The Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE enhances the lower ends, so the bass and lower mid frequencies are going to sound warmer and smoother than before. Higher frequencies tend to get cleaner and crispier, and you are able to listen to more details included in the sound, especially when compared to the standard sound of the motherboard.
Overall, it is an awesome internal computer sound card, which will transform the sound of your PC. It is very easy to install and it comes in a very affordable price. The specs and the amazing sound results of this great sound card, make it stand out from the rest of the similar cards.
3 – HT OMEGA FENIX
The Omega Fenix PCI is an internal sound card with a very decent sound quality. You can achieve better sound results if you upgrade the sound card. You can achieve that by replacing the OP-amps. Try to lift them out carefully, and push gently the new ones in.
The change in the OP-amps will help this sound card deliver a good quality sound, which will be clean and clear. The bass levels will improve and you are going to experience a static free detailed sound signal, with minimum distortion issues.
The stereo separation of the Omega Fenix PCI is amazing. You can listen to the brightness of the sound stand out, even with medium quality computer speakers. Obviously, the better your speakers the better the sound result, so make sure that you acquire a pair of affordable studio monitors.
The sound card will be automatically recognized by your operating system, once you insert in the appropriate slot. It comes in a very clean and simply designed package, which helps keep the sound card secured once placed inside.
The mid high and higher frequency level get enhanced, and you can very easily distinguish the difference from the previous on board sound. The muddiness, noises and hisses of the sound get reduced significantly, and the lower frequencies become smoother.
Overall, the Omega Fenix PCI has all the necessary outputs and inputs someone might need to use, especially if you are a music producer. The sound quality is decent and the unwanted sounds are almost eliminated. It comes in a great price, available for most beginners that want to improve the sound quality of their personal computer.
4 – ASUS STRIX RAID DLX
The overall sound quality of the ASUS Strix Raid DLX is amazing. It is an internal sound card that can deliver crispy and clear sound results, focusing in the mid and mid high frequencies, which are great. The structure of the sound card is very solid, and gives the impression of a very tough card.
The knob that controls the volume, is software based, and through that you can control the Windows volume, which helps a lot as it helps you avoid opening the Windows settings multiple times in order to adjust the volume balance.
Another awesome functionality advantage of the ASUS Strix Raid DLX, is the fact that you can flip the speaker and headphone outputs by simply clicking the volume knob. In addition to this, the software has the ability to memorize the latest volume settings, both for the speakers and the headphones. This keeps the volume balance stable, and reduces sudden volume change issues.
The package of the software is very simplistic, and it lets you dictate bit-rate and dynamic rang very easily and fast, without much effort. The power supplied by the PCIE power connector is awesome and very strong.
You can add a certain depth to the overall sound with the virtual surround in the software. This way, you can widen the presence of your sound, and obtain a more natural listening experience, especially with a decent surround stereo system.
The general sound of the ASUS Strix Raid DLX is considered to be neutral, without getting flat. There is some special presence in the mid and mid high frequencies, which make the sound clearer and more detailed, which is very helpful for producers and DJs.
All in all, this particular internal sound card delivers excellent sound quality, considering its affordable price, which can make it accessible by everyone. If you are on a budget, and you are looking to upgrade the sound of your computer, then this sound card is one of the best options available in the market.
5 – Creative Sound Blaster ZxR
The Creative Sound Blaster ZxR is one of the most amazing internal computer sound cards. It has a very solid construction with great components, and was designed and manufactured to last over time. It has 24 bit and 192kHz sound quality, which makes it stand out from the rest.
It has a very clear sound result, which will satisfy music listeners, producers and games. The ACM Module is a nice addition. It has a convenient volume control that helps a lot with headphones, and has both 3.5mm jacks and 1’4” jacks. There is also a decent microphone included in the ACM module.
In order to improve you overall sound quality, you can connect the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR with a digital amplifier. The sound will get loud enough, and the quality will be become cleaner and crispier, reducing the muddiness and flatness. Be careful not to add to much volume, as you may receive a noticeable hiss.
The packaging of the sound card is great, and it comes with very simple and fast to install drivers, along with a very convenient software suite. The overall sound quality of the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR is awesome, and it is a very significant improvement compared to the flat sound of the onboard sound card. This internal sound card provides nice value for money, and will satisfy even the most demanding users.