In this article, we list out the best 5.1 External Sound Cards sorted by its price. As you go down the list, the products become expensive and come loaded with features.
If your laptop or desktop does not give you satisfactory sound output that fails to meet your needs. It is the best time to look for a sound card that not only punches your audio production but also adds new features such as Dolby Surround sound etc. There are mainly two types of sound cards available in the market, one type is the Internal sound card and the second option is to buy an external sound card.
So in this post, we have compiled a list of best external 5.1 sound cards. Which type of sound card should you buy is up to you? Both types (Internal vs. External) have some advantages and disadvantages. The best kind is one that fulfills your needs at low cost.
As this post is about the top 5.1 external sound cards, we will focus only on external sound cards. Getting an external sound card is the easiest way to enhance your laptop or desktop sound output. It is affordable and can be connected to the computer via a USB port. In some cases, you might also need to download software drivers to fully support the sound enhancements.
You won’t have to take the risk of opening up your laptop or desktop. Plus, its compact and lightweight design make it convenient to carry this device with you. You can upgrade the sound of any laptop or desktop whenever and wherever you want just by connecting this tiny device via the USB port to your machine.
Best 5.1 External Sound Cards for Laptop and PC
The market is flooded with external sound cards, choosing the right one is a tough job. You can buy a decent external 5.1 sound card as low as $15 that will do the primary job. But if you are an audiophile and you could spend around $100, there are a plethora of high-quality external sound cards available for you. Here, we have picked up ten best external 5.1 sound cards, some of them could also deliver authentic 7.1 surround sound. The list is in increasing order of price, features, and quality, as nothing comes free of cost.
1. KOTION EACH External USB Sound Card
Tired of low-quality sound your device produces? Try Kotion External USB sound card. It is available on Amazon as low as $15 and can be used with PC, Xbox One, PS4, Laptops, and tablets. It produces virtual 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound. It is a plug and play device; no drivers needed at all. Noise reduction braided wire and noise canceling magnetic ring eradicate the problem of surround buzzing sound up to a reasonable extent.
If you are expecting high-quality sound output from this device at such a low price, so have wrong expectations. This is just an average device that can be used for doing conference calls and provides a virtual experience of surround sound. It has a 3.5 mm audio headphone jack and a 3.5 mm mic jack along with 2 USB hubs.
2. StarTech.com ICUSBAUDIO2D External Sound Card
Want to experience the 5.1 surround sound at an affordable price, StarTech.com external sound card is for you. It will no cost you more than $25. It is a small external sound card with SPDIF digital audio out port. Using an external sound card is the convenient way to bypass your internal sound card sound. It has a volume knob that will let you adjust the external volume and EQ controls.
It has dual 3.5 mm jacks for headphone and mic. Moreover, the 3.5 mm jack is a 4-position TRRS connection that also allows you to use a headset/microphone combination. You can even connect your computer to a home theater audio receiver through S/PDIF, without opening the case. Remember, the 5.1 surround sound is supported for Windows only. It has three LEDs on the top that indicates the audio sample rate.
3. Vantec USB External 7.1 Channel Audio Adapter
Vantec USB external 7.1 channel audio adapter is a fantastic device that can be used to bypass your laptop or desktop inbuilt sound card. Connect it to the USB port and enjoy the bliss of 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. By default, you will get the 7.1 sound output. It supports 48/44.1 kHz sampling rate for both playback and recordings. That’s not it; it has SPDIF optical digital input and output to expand your connectivity options further.
It has separate left and right microphone inputs for accurate stereo recordings. It has two 3.5mm jacks on the lateral side of the microphone. On the front, there are six 3.5 jacks used for headphone, Line-In, front, surround, center/bass and bass respectively. At first looking at so many jacks might be confusing, it is straightforward to get the desired output just by following the manual instructions. What’s included? Vantec external sound card, USB cable, driver CD and manual. Remember, this device only supports Windows, Mac not supported.
4. Creative Sound BlasterX G1 External Sound Card
Creative Sound Blaster series is famous among the audio enthusiasts. Sound BlasterX G1 is an external sound card with an inbuilt headphone amplifier to deliver the high-quality 5.1/7.1 surround sound. Its inbuilt amplifier for headphone can power up to 300 ohms impedance headphones. It means that you can use higher-rated headphones and experience the clear and thunderous audio from your games.
Plus, the BlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro software for Windows gives plenty of settings and customizations to get the output you are willing to hear. As far as the connectivity is concerned, it has 4-pole combined headphone-out with a mic jack. It is compatible with PS4, PC, and Mac. It is backed by a 1-year warranty from Creative.
5. ASUS Xonar U3 Sound Card
Asus Xonar U3 sound card is a portable headphone amplifier that can be connected to the USB port of your computer. It looks like a bigger pen drive. On the opposite side of the USB stick, there is one 3.5 mm headphone line-out and a 3.5 mm microphone line-in-jack. Asus Xonar U3 can play up to 128 different sound effects simultaneously giving you a realistic 3D sound experience.
A blue LED light indicated the working condition of the external sound card. A USB extension cable is also provided in case your USB ports are too crowded. Also, the included S/PDIF TOSLINK optical adapter allows you experience a digital audio output. Coming to the audio performance, It has an output signal-to-noise-ratio of 100 dB.
6. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro
Looking for a stylish 5.1 external sound card, Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi surround 5.1 Pro external sound card is the one for you. It uses the SBX Pro studio technology for high-quality audio output. Everything is pretty straightforward from installation to the usage. A convenient volume control knob for volume control. The Dolby Digital technology allows 5.1 surround sound through a single digital cable.
The comprehensive connectivity consisting of high-quality gold-plated RCA stereo and optical digital out for the best audio performance. It is USB powered, just plug and configure the device, and you are ready to rock. It has SNR ratio of 100 dB and supports up to 24-bit/96 kHz sound output. A remote is bundled with the package, that can be used to control the audio settings. As usual, it is covered by 1-year limited hardware warranty.
7. Creative Sound Blaster Omni External Sound Card
Creative Sound Blaster Omni surround 5.1 USB sound card is designed keeping the gamers in mind that. It has an integrated headphone amplifier and beamforming microphone that the advanced gamers look while choosing a sound card. You can hear the powerful sound of Sound Blaster on PC or Mac. It works on the SBX Pro Studio and Crystal voice clear technologies to produce the high-fidelity sound.
This external sound has the built-in dual microphone with crystal clear voice recording via the beamforming technology. The integrated headphone amplifier can power up to 600 ohms headphone impedance. So you are restricted to basic headphones. With the Sound Blaster Omni Voice control software, you can fine-tune your audio settings with easily and quickly. Scout mode allows gamers to listen to the footsteps of the enemy from further away.
On one side, it has three 3.5 mm audio jacks for Line-In from the tablets and mobiles, headphone and microphone respectively. On the opposite side, it has USB input port, SPDIF output, and four 3.5 mm jacks for the 5.1 sound system. On the top, it has a knob to control the volume and dual inbuilt microphones. By just spending less than $100, you could upgrade the sound of your laptop, desktop, or smartphone.
8. Sewell SoundBox Pro External Sound Card
Sewell’s SoundBox Pro is a powerful multi-channel USB audio device with real built-in 7.1/5.1 channel output and support for 24-bit/192kHz high-quality audio. It supports the highest Blu-ray audio playback specifications to enjoy the full experience of the movies, music, and games. The ASIO audio drivers ensure the low-latency high-fidelity sound.
It has two optical connectors for SPDIF input and output. A 3.5mm stereo connector for headphone output, one 3.5mm line-in, 3.5 mm mic-in and optical-in. For the surround sound speaker systems, it has front RCA connectors, 3 x 3.5mm stereo outputs: rear R/L, side R/L and center/subwoofer. Despite so many features, it just weighs 108 grams. A knob on the top of this external sound card serves two purposes, volume control by rotating the knob and mute by pushing the button.
9. Creative Sound BlasterX G5
The last sound card in our list of best external 5.1 sound cards is Creative’s Sound BlasterX G5. This pocket-sized sound card delivers massively superior gaming audio performance. It has a virtual 7.1 24-bit/192kHz, 120dB USB Digital Audio Converter (DAC) and an integrated headphone amplifier for the ultimate surround sound even in the headphones. It can be connected to the PC or gaming consoles.
G5 will turn a basic motherboard stereo sound into the 3D virtual surround sound on your headset. With an audiophile-grade amplifier having an output impedance of 2.2 ohms, the G5 is capable of driving the headphone up to 600 ohms impedance. The Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC used in this external sound card has an SNR ratio of 120 dB and produces 24-bit/192 kHz sound.
A built-in SB-Axx1 audio processor along with the dedicated SBX profile selection buttons and scout mode instantly accelerate the hardware for the sound you are willing to hear. You can even store the audio profiles for later, maximum up to three audio profiles. For more advanced control over the sound, you can use the BlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro software.
The G5 sound card further expands the inputs and outputs with the inclusion connectivity options such as line-in and optical connections. It has a USB port on the rear side that provides a max of 100 mA output so that you can plug your gaming mouse or keyboard. It has a dedicated 3.5 mm mic jack and a 4-pole 3.5 mm jack for the headsets that has an in-line mic. A volume control knob is on the front side with LED lights indicate the volume level. Overall, this external sound card is the best of all the sound cards here. But quality comes at a cost; it is most pricey of all the external 5.1 sound cards.
Let us know what you think is the Best 5.1 External Sound Cards on the market. Drop us a comment below in the comment section and send us your suggestions.