Best Sound Cards For Gaming: Best Internal & External sound cards 2021

Best Sound Cards For Gaming in 2021

You will probably agree with us when sound cards are a very controversial topic among gamers. Each of us has heard these questions before: Why do I even need sound cards? What are the benefits of a sound card, and what are the main advantages over onboard solutions? And if I need one: Best Sound Cards For Gaming (internal or USB)?

We answer these and other questions in our current article on the Best Sound Cards For Gaming! This is not a technical sound card test, but we have again compared in detail for you in the usual manner and did extensive research:

Scoured forums, read subreddits, researched international trade magazines, analyzed leaderboards, and viewed countless reviews. The result? The latest sound card comparison on the net, which is updated regularly!

With our recommendations, you’re on the right track and save yourself bad purchases. Just take a look at our sound card best list below, or read our detailed purchase advice if you are still unsure. 


The Best Sound Cards For Gaming in 2021

Below you will find all of our sound card recommendations listed, categorized according to internal and external sound cards.

The best internal sound cards in 2021

  1. Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX|The cheapest internal
  2. Creative Sound Blaster Z|Best value for money
  3. Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5|Best for 7.1 virtual sound
  4. Asus Essence STX II 7.1|Good high-end 7.1 sound card

Best external sound cards in 2021

  1. LogiLink USB Sound Box 7.1|Best cheap external sound card
  2. Creative Sound Blaster Omni|Price performance tip
  3. Creative Sound BlasterX G6|Best external sound card

By the way: Without the right PC speakers, a good gaming headset, or high-quality headphones, sound cards won’t do anything.  


The best internal sound cards 2021

Internal sound cards are built into the PC either in a PCI or a PCIe slot. Internal sound cards have the main advantage that you can configure your audio settings individually with the associated software. Also, they usually offer you a higher audio quality than external sound cards. So if you want to get the most out of it, you can’t avoid an internal one.

The main point of criticism with internal sound cards is always the possible electrical interference with other PC components. Good sound cards now well solve this problem through a special shielding technique. In the following, we recommend the best internal sound cards currently on the market.


Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX – The best affordable internal sound card

Best internal and external sound cards

Specifications

  • Channels:  5.1
  • Sampling:  24 bit / 192 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 106 dB
  • Amplifier:  Up to 600 ohms
  • Type: Internal, PCIe

Description

If you don’t want to spend a lot or just a little on a good sound card, then the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX is the right choice for you. Because this price-performance hit offers 5.1 surround sound, which is impressive and allows you to transform your PC into a small cinema entertainment system easily. With SBX Pro Studio, Audigy-FX processes your audio signals behind the scenes to deliver the best sound with advanced audio processing.

There is also a 600-ohm headphone amplifier, which can still offer you an outstanding sound experience even without high-end headphones. There is also a sampling rate of 192 kHz / 24-bit stereo fidelity and a high signal-to-noise ratio of 106 dB. Technically speaking, a lot is going on here.

If you connect a 5.1 analog speaker system, you can achieve the best possible sound here. However, it should be noted that there is no EMI shielding here, so that you may have problems with electronic interference.

For just under 30$ you really can’t complain here! The perfect entry-level sound card for anyone who just wants to test it out.

Related Article: Best Video Card For Oculus Rift

Pros
  • Extremely cheap
  • Excellent value for money
  • Great features for little money
Cons
  • No shielding (possible interference)
  • It does not come close to the sound quality of higher quality models
  • Somewhat outdated model

Creative Sound Blaster Z – The best all-round gaming sound card

Creative Sound Blaster Z

Specifications

  • Channels:  5.1
  • Sampling:  24 bit / 192 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 116 dB
  • Amplifier:  Up to 600 ohms
  • Type:  Internal, PCIe

Description

Once a sound card, always a sound card – that would be your conclusion after testing the Creative Sound Blaster Z. Creative is known for its good sound cards and, with the Sound Blaster Z model, has one of the best mid-range PCIe sound cards on the market. This is a good model, especially for gamers.

Thanks to the powerful sound and speech processor, you will be perfectly heard in voice chat, the practical software gives you a lot of fine-tuning options, and thanks to special shielding technology, you have crystal clear gaming sound.

Also, the Soundblaster Z control center gives you plenty of opportunities to tinker with your audio. You can make all kinds of audio adjustments via the SBX-Pro-Studio. Crystal-Voice manages your microphone settings and effects.

Very relevant for us gamblers: The scout mode, which emphasizes both the middle and high tones, so that you can hear ambient noises (such as steps in CS or CoD) better. Scout mode is like cheating in shooters!

Very cool gimmick: You can use the software to set hilarious voice distortions such as Mickey Mouse or robot voices. That will certainly make for a few laughs in the TS. Extremely practical: with one click, you can switch between speakers and headset as the primary audio source.

Furthermore, the Soundblaster Z offers you a lot of special features:

  • The EAX technology (Environmental Audio Extensions) in the Soundblaster Z gives you better 3D sound. Many current games (e.g., Battlefield, Mass Effect, or Bioshock) use this technology to generate realistic surround sound, which is worth gold for the in-game atmosphere.
  • 3D audio processor: Creative uses a special audio processor for sound processing, which slightly offloads your CPU.
  • Cinema mode: If you often watch films in Dolby Digital format, you will be pleased: Soundblaster Z’s cinematic mode brings you better audio quality for your cinema films.
  • A nice gimmick: the included beamforming microphone is a good interim solution if you don’t have a headset or stand microphone at hand.

The Soundblaster Z is a great entry-level sound card for low-budget gamers who still want to have a great sound while paddling. Great audio quality via headphones or speakers at a good price is available here!

Pros
  • Lots of features
  • Excellent value for money
  • Electromagnetic shielding for distortion-free sound
Cons
  • Headphone output can be a little too loud
  • Software easily ram hungry
  • Common driver problems

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 – Best for 7.1 virtual sound

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5

Specifications

  • Channels:  5.1 / 7.1 virtual
  • Sampling:  32 bit / 384 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 122 dB
  • Amplifier:  Up to 600 ohms
  • Type:  Internal, PCIe

Description

The Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 not only delivers high-resolution audio in first-class quality but is also the best looking one in our sound card leaderboard! Right, this baby is equipped with RGB LEDs that sparkle and glow in your PC case.

With the AE-5, Creative deliberately wants to offer an upgrade to its earlier generations of sound cards. Here you get the Scout 2.0 software, which, as mentioned above for the Soundblaster Z, helps you shoot. Then there is also a clear technical upgrade with the 384 kHz ESS-ES9016K2M-Saber-32-Ultra-DAC. It is a first-class digital-to-analog converter that supports 5.1 analog surround audio and 7.1 headphones surround virtualization.

Creative Labs uses the discrete Xamp headphone amplification for anyone who wants to connect headphones to this good sound card. Campuses two different channels to amplify the right and left channels individually. Also, the impressive 124 DNR value ensures absolutely crystal clear sound.

So if you are looking for an absolute high-end sound card, you will find it here.

Pros
  • Lots of features
  • Extremely high-quality audio
  • High quality and great optics
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Software sometimes with problems.
  • No Dolby DTS support

Asus Essence STX II: Best Sound Card for Music Production & Premium 7.1

Asus Essence STX II

Specifications

  • Channels:  7.1 
  • Sampling:  24 bit / 192 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 124 dB
  • Amplifier:  Up to 600 ohms
  • Type:  Internal, PCIe

Description

The Asus Essence STX II is intended for everyone looking for a high-end 5.1 or 7.1 sound card. The 5.1 version is extremely suitable for music recordings. The 7.1 version is the ultimate premium card for gamers.

With a very good SNR of 124 dB, the good delivers up to 64 times more power than the standard audio hardware on new motherboards. The 7.1-channel sound card has an integrated headphone amplifier designed for maximum sound quality at up to 600 ohms.

Ergo a top choice for high-end headsets or studio headphones. Certain: audiophiles and music purists, and gamers are fully picked up here, as the sound can be adjusted depending on the scenario. Film lovers also get their money’s worth: the surround sound is amplified by the Dolby Home Theater, transforming your PC into a real home cinema center.

Asus is also taking sound customization to a new level by offering interchangeable op-amp sockets. This lets you create different timbres and combinations of tones until you find your version of the perfect sound.

You see: This sound card is something for professionals who want to tease everything out (unfortunately, that is also reflected in the price). Nevertheless, everyone really gets their money’s worth here!

Pros
  • Excellent signal to noise ratio
  • Crystal clear sound, well suited for all purposes
  • good shielding
Cons
  • Extremely expensive
  • Outdated software
  • No settings can be saved

The best external USB sound cards 2021

As the name suggests, external sound cards are located outside the PS and are connected via USB or FireWire. With external sound cards, you have the decisive advantage that you don’t have to install the part first. Another advantage is that you completely avoid background noise and electrical interference since the card is not built into the PC.

What do I need external sound cards for?

The two main reasons for buying an external sound card are usually the poor quality of your onboard sound, or you need another recording source. External sound cards are a good alternative to the internal version and are especially suitable for laptop gamers to improve sound quality significantly.

You want good 5.1 sound on your laptop, too, but don’t feel like spending a lot of money? Then get an external sound card that can simulate 5.1 sound using the software setting (e.g., the two creative cards presented simultaneously). The 5.1 simulation with external sound cards works MUCH better here than with gaming headsets with several small speakers built into the auricle. Then it also works with the enemy location in CoD or Battlefield 😉 …o4g.de Special tip for external sound cards


LogiLink USB Sound Box – Best affordable external sound card

LogiLink USB Sound Box - Best affordable external sound card

Specifications

  • Channels:  7.1 
  • Sampling:  48 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) : n / a
  • Amplifier: not  specified
  • Type:  External, USB

Description

The LogiLink USB Soundbox is a cheap solution for everyone looking for an external sound card. You can connect headphones, headsets, receivers, 7.1 systems, and even more via the optical input. Practical: The box also has a mute button for both the volume and your headset’s microphone, for example.

For all who are looking for an interim solution, this is certainly okay, but don’t expect miracles from this box. We would only recommend this part for laptops.

Pros
  • Attractively priced
  • Solid sound
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • Problems with optical output under Win10
  • Outdated software
  • Can only be used to a limited extent

Creative Sound Blaster Omni – the best external sound card for bargain hunters

Creative Sound Blaster Omni

Specifications

  • Channels:  5.1 
  • Sampling:  24 bit / 96 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 100 dB
  • Amplifier:  Up to 600 ohms
  • Type: External, USB

Description

Here we have another sound card from Creative, but this time an external sound card. With its black exterior and soft red accents, the Omni fits perfectly on most desks.

It is even more important than the functionality is not restricted. Means: Even though we have an external sound card, it still offers a multitude of functions. The following features are beneficial for gaming and make them one of the best external gaming sound cards overall:

  • Dolby 5.1 Surround: Dolby technology enables exact and impressive surround speaker setups and virtual surround functions for headphones.
  • Microphones: A special and unusual feature of this external sound card are the integrated double microphones. They use CrystalVoice technology to reproduce the user’s voice with the utmost clarity and minimal background noise. Handy if you don’t have a headset to hand or your microphone is broken.
  • Volume control: This control is an indispensable part of an external sound card and enables easy volume control. Without this, you have to do it laboriously via computer control.
  • SBX Control Panel: In terms of software, Creative gives us access to a unique control center specially optimized for this sound card. It offers numerous customization options for sound and microphones.

The Omni certainly does not lack features, but the technical data is also correct. From us the best price-performance for external sound cards with many useful functions.

With its special extras, the Creative Blaster Omni is one of the best external sound cards for gamers: With the integrated double microphone, you don’t need a headset, the 600-ohm headphone amplifier supports all high-end headphones, and the Scout gaming mode gives FPS players the decisive advantage, and the Dolby Digital Live support brings you great 5.1 sound into your room. Another recommendation for laptop gamers who don’t have a headset or speakers at hand!

Pros
  • Lots of features
  • good sound
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • No echo cancellation causes problems with the microphone
  • Outdated software and driver problems
  • Problems with Ryzen setups

Sound BlasterX G6 – Best external sound card

Sound BlasterX G6

Specifications

  • Channels:  7.1 
  • Sampling:  32 bit / 384 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 130 dB
  • Amplifier:  Up to 600 ohms
  • Type: External, USB

Description

The SoundblasterX G6 is a chameleon and a bit of a cross between an external sound card, amplifier, and an extraordinary digital-to-analog converter. Regardless of whether you want to use the card on your PC or console, the G6 makes no difference. Creative made the G6 versatile enough to run on Windows, the PS4, and even the Nintendo Switch.

And one thing is clear: Connect any headphones, regardless of whether they are expensive or cheap, the difference can be heard. The G6 is the successor to the G5 and carries the legacy of the E5, a mini-amplifier that works with both PCs and mobile devices. With a 130 dB and 32-bit / 384 kHz DAC and support for Dolby Digital decoding and 5.1 and virtual 7.1 surround sound, there is a lot under this little hood.

At around € 150, the Sound BlasterX G6 is not a cheap proposition, either for a PC or for a console-setup. But if the sound is important to you, you are guaranteed to get an improvement here without having to tinker with anything annoyingly.

Unfortunately, it becomes more difficult to apply the part to other use cases outside of gaming: Yes, technically, you can connect the doe G6 directly to the optical input of the television and supply it with power via a USB adapter connected to a wall socket. However, it would help if you had longer cables for this.

But if you only want to use the part for gaming, you will do really well with it!

Pros
  • Easy setup
  • Great sound
  • Works with PCs and consoles
Cons
  • Cable a bit short
  • Very expensive
  • Not compatible with Xbox One

Sound card purchase advice: How to find the Best Sound Cards For Gaming?

This section explains the advantages of dedicated sound cards compared to onboard sound chips and how you can decide whether you really need a sound card. We’ll also show you how to find the best sound cards for you and what to look out for before buying.

How do sound cards work and why is onboard sound not optimal?

Your motherboard has to do a lot of things at once. The mainboard has to do a lot for the system to run smoothly from the graphics card, sound output, RAM, and CPU to the other PC components.

For this reason, problems can arise with onboard sound, as background noise can be transferred to your audio output. Also, the quality of onboard sound is nothing special.

To reduce the load on the motherboard, a sound card manages all audio signals so that the CPU is relieved. If no dedicated sound card is installed on the PC, the CPU must also process the audio signals so that the onboard chip can do its job.

Because the motherboard is so busy and other components are installed on it, electrical interference can occur. This allows unwanted background noises (noise, beeping, etc.) to creep into your audio output. Every one of you who has ever walked too close to the speakers with your smartphone knows that.

Thanks to their audio processor, sound cards take care of the audio processing: converting digital and analog signals. Also, high-end headphones with onboard sound cannot reach their full potential.


Will sound cards be worthwhile for gamers in 2021?

A question that comes up again and again and is completely justified. We don’t want to chatter here because the colleague from KreativEcke has a great, up-to-date video about this:


Do sound cards really produce a better sound?

That is probably the question that preoccupies most of you. Already mentioned in the video above, but here again clearly:

The answer is yes. But hear for yourself in the following video of “Onboard vs. Soundcard” from PC Games:

There is not much left to say about this. You can hear clear differences between onboard and sound card. The only question is whether you want to spend money on it, which brings us to the next question. 


Do i need a sound card?

We would rather rephrase the question: Do you want better audio performance for your gaming PC?

If you answered “yes” to this question, then we can recommend sound cards to you. You don’t necessarily need one for games, as onboard chips are pretty decent these days. But if you want to get the maximum sound quality out of your mill, treat yourself to a sound card! You won’t regret it and may never want to go back to onboard sound.

So that you can answer the question correctly for yourself, you should also ask yourself the following questions:

  • What audio equipment do you use?

A sound card is a must for gamers who use high-quality headphones with high impedance (many onboard solutions are not compatible with them!) Or expensive studio monitors (speakers). If you only have very cheap equipment, you won’t hear a (noticeable) difference even with a sound card. Sound cards are only worthwhile if you have smart output devices.

  • Do you record something more often or do you even produce music?

Then you will not get around a good sound card. You can totally forget about onboard chips.

  • Do you want to use a 7.1 system?

This only works with a real sound card. Most onboard chips only have the most necessary outputs and do not support 7.1.

  • Should you buy internal or external sound cards?

The most important and most obvious difference between internal and external sound cards is mobility. Do you want a high-quality sound card for multiple devices? Then get an external one with a USB. Do you want the best possible sound in terms of quality and response speed? Then definitely get an internal one. Because of the much faster and more reliable PCIe connection, you get more here than USB sound cards.


The main advantages – are sound cards worth it?

TLDR

Yes, if you value higher quality sound. Sound cards have tons of cool features, especially for gamers.

The fact is: Dedicated sound cards generate up to 35x better sound quality in many tests (116 dB signal-to-noise ratio vs. 85 dB signal-to-noise ratio) compared to the common onboard chips. In addition to the better sound experience, sound cards have many other advantages for gamers.

Your PC case with onboard sound is “inherently” not really made for good, clear sound. Why is that?

Electrical interference (interference) can occur with all built-in components, transmitted directly to your onboard sound. Laptop users have a much bigger problem with this than desktop gamers. More modern onboard chips have far fewer problems with interference these days, but these can still occur. Another problem: onboard chips do not have an integrated amplifier, and very few output devices (your PC speakers or headphones) have sufficient amplifier power.

So what can a sound card do for you? Read all the auditory,  technical and gaming-specific advantages of sound cards below:

Technical advantages of sound cards

  • More power & volume: Keyword amplifier. Modern sound cards have an integrated amplifier, which means that you get a lot more volume for your applications without turning up the volume. A higher basic volume of the system is always practical.
  • Support for headphones with high impedance: If you want to use a high-end headset or pair of headphones, the onboard chip is not enough. Have you ever had a monitor with integrated speakers in combination with an onboard chip? That’s no fun, I’ll tell you: Even with the computer and monitor at maximum volume, films aren’t loud enough; Extremely annoying, but a sound card solves the problem.
  • Software for individual adjustments of the sound: Compared to external DACs and onboard sound, sound cards allow you to adjust your audio signal using software individually: For example, treble, mids, and bass using the equalizer, surround sound settings for stereo headsets, the quality of the audio signal, etc.
  • More inputs/outputs than DACs or onboard:  Simple advantage: You can connect more to internal sound cards and are therefore more flexible. Do you want a 7.1 system? For that, you need a good sound card!
  • Watch your Blu-Rays in maximum quality: For all of you who watch Blu-Rays on your PC: Without a sound card, you only get a sampling rate of 16 bit / 48 Khz and thus reduced audio quality.
  • CPU relief: A dedicated sound card relieves your CPU by the audio chip (the DSP = Digital Signal Processor) doing the calculations itself

Sound cards not only bring you something on the technical side, they also improve the sound quality (not only for games):

Gaming & audio advantages of sound cards

  • Clear & spatial sound:  First things first. With a sound card, you will definitely hear a difference in quality, whether internal or external. You can hear this difference more clearly when watching movies or listening to music, but also when gaming. With sound cards, you will perceive a lot more sounds that you have never heard before. The video above speaks volumes.
  • Special gaming modes & technologies: Technologies such as EAX ensure better 3D sound when gaming (games such as Bioshock, Battlefield, and Mass Effect use EAX). Gaming modes such as the “Scout mode” in Creative sound cards give you decisive advantages for locating your opponents, especially for first-person shooters.
  • Better in-game sound: All in-game effects are crystal clear, and you hear a lot more ambient effects than with onboard sound. This gives you a much hotter in-game atmosphere (I’ll say: Play Skyrim or Wolfenstein with a sound card!)
  • Stronger bass & better Dolby surround sound: Especially with films, you will hear more background noise that you would otherwise not hear. That, of course, adds a lot to the atmosphere. The bass is generally more pronounced with sound cards than with onboard chips.
  • Clear voice reproduction: think of it this way – with onboard chips, you can hear voices clearly, but with an Asus Xonar, they sound fantastic. This is how the difference in sound quality is described in a sound card test …
  • Larger sound stage: more audible tones and the tones can be more precisely distinguished from one another


10 useful sound card tips – before and after you buy

If you follow these tips, you will save yourself a lot of frustration. The first 5 tips show you what to look out for before buying sound cards:

1. Output devices affect the sound quality

Before you even buy a sound card, you should already have high-quality speakers or headphones at home. Even a sound card cannot improve the sound quality of poor output devices! Better to save your money if you don’t have good devices.

2. Pay attention to technical information

Before buying, pay attention to the following technical information (take a look at the technical specifications on the manufacturer’s website):

  • ADC and DAC data capacity: Measured in bits and mostly not specified separately – the higher, the better
  • Sampling rate: Measured in bits (= data capacity of ADC / DAC) and Khz – the higher, the better
  • Signal-to-noise ratio or signal-to-noise ratio: Measured in decibels – the higher, the better
  • Total harmonic distortion (THD = Total Harmonic Distortion): Specification in% – the lower, the better
  • Frequency response: Measured in Hz / kHz – the wider, the better (however, from 20,000 Hz onwards, people no longer hear any sounds, ergo everything above is pointless)
  • Available channels: Pay attention to output channels like 5.1 / 7.1 and connections that you need
  • Certifications: Like Dolby Master or THX

3. Pay attention to supported technologies

For gamers, in particular, we recommend Creative or Asus sound cards that support “positional audio” effects with their EAX and GX technologies. Also, the sound card software from Creative and Asus support cool gaming functions and modes.

Also, keep an eye on the technologies supported by the sound card, such as Dolby Digital Live or Dolby Pro-Logic, if you want to use them. 

4. Pay attention to compatibility

Older internal sound cards use a PCI slot. This is an older interface that may not be present on your new gaming motherboard. So check whether your mainboard has a PCI slot or, even better, get one of the newer sound cards that use the PCI Express slot. 

5. Do you have enough space in the housing for your sound card?

You should also make sure that you have enough space in your housing for your sound card and that it has enough distance to the graphics card. In this way, you avoid noise and interference between the two components.

Special tip: If possible, do not install your sound cards directly next to your graphics card (a distance of 4 cm recommended).

The next 5 tips will show you, what are you after purchase should pay due attention to your sound card. So everything runs smoothly and you use the full potential:

6. Download the latest drivers

Always installs the latest drivers: that cannot be stressed enough. Although most manufacturers include an installation CD, you should always download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website. This ensures that you have the latest version and you avoid driver problems. In addition, the latest drivers not only offer new software features but also contain bug fixes and performance improvements.

7. Always keep drivers up to date

This is in line with the previous tip, but most people forget to update their drivers. Always stay up to date so that you don’t get any problems with Windows 10.

8. Use the appropriate software

Always use the accompanying software: Sound cards have dedicated software with which you can make many settings and often fix sound problems. Also, many features can be activated or deactivated. It would be a waste not to use the software.

9. Only switch on EAX and position effects when you need them

Turns off position effects (EAX & Scout mode on Creative sound cards) when they are not needed. Audio effects like Creative EAX and Asus GX are great for gaming, but they can distort other audio outputs. Therefore: switch off EAX or Asus GX to watch movies and listen to music!

10. Deactivate the onboard chip

Are you installing your new sound card, but no sound comes out? Then deactivate your onboard chip, which should mostly fix the problem.

Otherwise: Check the software to see whether your sound output is set to speakers or headphones. Switches to the corresponding mode and then the sound runs again.


Understanding sound cards: important abbreviations and technical terms

When it comes to sound cards, some terms come up again and again. We name and explain the most important ones to you:

TERM​EXPLANATION / DEFINITION
ADC (analog-to-digital converter)The analog-to-digital converter does exactly that with sound cards: It converts analog sound wave signals (for example from your microphone) into digital signals so that the computer can understand them. The more data capacity (bits) is available, the faster and cleaner this processing is. You will always find the ADC and DAC bits as the first value in the sampling rate (for example in the form 24 bit / 192 kHz).
​DAC (digital-to-analog converter)The DAC basically does the same thing as the ADC, only the other way around. For example, if you play a music file on your computer, this sound file is converted into an analog signal via the DAC. This is how you can even hear the music through your speakers or headphones. The same applies here: the more bits are available, the better the reproduction.
I / O ( input / output)​I / O is just an umbrella term for the connections that are available to you on the back of the sound card.
SNR (signal-to-noise ratio: signal-to-noise ratio)This term describes how effectively a sound card can filter out disruptive background noises (such as noise) in the test. The SNR is specified in decibels (dB): the higher the dB value, the less noise or background noise.
Dynamic Range​ The range between the loudest and softest sounds that sound cards can play. The dynamic range can make a big difference in sound quality, as good sound cards cover a wider range of tones. It is also measured in decibels.
Frequency Range (frequency range / frequency response)This unit, measured in Hertz, indicates the frequency bandwidth of audible tones that sound cards can reproduce. Humans only hear tones in the range of approx. 20 to 20,000 Hertz (20 KHz).
Impedance / OhmImpedance is the electrical resistance to a signal and is measured in ohms. The higher the ohm value of an amplifier, the more powerful speakers or headphones can be connected to your sound card.
Total Harmonic DistortionExpressed in% – the lower, the better – Describes good sound cards’ ability to block out ambient noise from inside the computer that could affect the audio signal. Values ​​close to 0 are common with better sound cards (e.g., 0.0004 percent).
EMI – Electromagnetic InterferenceThe somewhat more expensive sound cards are equipped with what is known as EMI shielding, which avoids interference.
Sampling rateExpressed in bits and khz. Note: The higher the sampling rate, the more accurate the recording quality!