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How to choose an external sound card

Is an external sound card right for you?

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External sound cards are incredibly useful with their many features and functions. An external sound card turns an average computer into a home theater audio system, translating the signal to the speakers to produce quality sound. One example of a popular type is USB sound cards, which are affordable and provide an easy way to boost a computer’s sound capabilities.

If you are looking to buy an external sound card, then learn how to choose the best option for your personal use by reading the tips below.

Choose a high-quality sound card

A sound card is an important but usually overlooked computer part. A USB model has a trade-off of a single USB port for several audio ports, including a 3.5mm output jack, a 3.5mm input jack, coaxial S/PDIF jack, and optical S/PDIF jack.

Aside from the ports, you also need to consider the quality of the material used. For long-lasting use, you have to choose the best external sound card to reap the maximum sound quality benefits.

Here are few advantages of an external card over an internal one:

  • Easily accessible and installed. It means that you do not have to open or take your computer apart to use and connect an external SD card. An external sound card is a simple plug and play.
  • It is compact, small, and portable.
  • No risk of electric shock. There is always a risk of a static shock involved working with internal SD cards, which can damage a computer’s internal components when opening it up.
  • You can add fantastic surround sound capabilities to your laptop.
  • Protect your storage equipment from dust and bugs. 

Know your needs

You can use external sound cards for almost anything related to sound. An external card is easy to carry and use, perfect for listening to your favorite music. Here are some reasons why people choose to go for external card models:

  • Good connection up to 7.1 surround sound system;
  • Replace a broken internal card;
  • Home theater entertainment sound system connection;
  • Spruce up your old laptop;
  • Reliable recording device with multiple microphone ports.

Choose an external sound card for your multiple devices

A sound card connection translates your favorite music into clear and crystal sound. Your computer uses bits, like blocks stuck in a line on wires flying everywhere in your PC and digital devices. A card changes the bits into waves and sends them through the air so you can hear sound via your headphones and speakers, which make up a basic audio system.

Here are the benefits of using USB external cards over internal ones:

  • Portable: You can take your USB card anywhere without a bulky feel. Easily store it in your pocket, bag, or suitcase.
  • Flexible: External models vary in size, and you can choose the best one for your storage needs. Most external cards have a minimum of one stereo line output and one analog line input connection. The connectors include 3.5 mm mini jacks like the size that most headphones use.

Choose a rich-feature sound card for pure entertainment

With a full metal shell, experience superior sound quality with a compact size external sound card. In that way, you have more options when it comes to sound modes. For the ultimate audio entertainment experience, choose one with noise reduction chips and control knobs for echo volume, microphone volume, treble, bass, music volume, monitor volume adjusting, and a record volume.

Make sure to choose a high-quality sound card from trusted and reputable brands. By doing so, you avoid some common issues, such as not producing sound due to driver or hardware issues, or producing static, popping or crackling, or distorted sounds.

Here are some troubleshooting tips to resolve the most common issues:

  • Make sure that all device connection is installed correctly, including the power connectors, the speakers, and the sound card in its USB port or peripheral component interconnect express or PCIe slot.
  • Check for interference such as phone, Bluetooth, and WiFi signals that could cause the static you hear on your speakers. Turn off any signals and check if the issue persists. Rearrange your sound card setup to avoid being directly affected by the signal’s path.


Most people are content with stock sound cards that come integrated with computer motherboards. Some people are not even aware that it is a separate component.

It is a good thing that external ones are now available, which makes your music experience more enjoyable and accessible through multiple devices. Choosing the best external sound card will take your music experience to a higher level.

What do you think? Do you use an external sound card or have you been considering getting one? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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24 y/o, born and living in Portugal. Majored in Biology, but tech and computers were always a passion. Wrote for sites like Windows.Appstorm and MakeTechEasier.

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