When I built my last computer, I decided not to have a standalone sound card. I knew that I could always add one later if I felt it necessary. Lately I’ve been considering adding one so I figured it was time to find a choice should I decide to get one. Yes, there will be Amazon links that earn me a few pennies should you decide to purchase with them. No, they haven’t provided me with a free card.
Let’s make it clear that the sound coming from my motherboard isn’t bad. The key is that having a discrete card means that it can be better than what I have now. With any new component, there are various levels of product offerings and I’ve looked at something just below the top level as it provides great performance without the highest cost.
My search led me to the Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus. Admittedly my previous usage of Creative Labs cards played a part in my choosing of their offering. While I won’t be looking at it often, having the card enclosed looks really good. For those who want flashy, it also has RGB lighting. Personally neither of these are important to me as I’m just interested in great sound.
One of the most important components of a sound card is converting the digital sound inside of a computer into analog. In Windows 10, you’ll get 32-bit 384 kHz playback with very little distortion or jitter. The signal to noise ratio is 122 dB which is very good. Yes, you could get it even higher with a pricier card.
There are outputs on the back of the card with speakers, microphone and headphones. Admittedly those outputs are typically only convenient for speakers. There is also a connector so that the audio jacks on the front of your case can be connected to the card. This is perfect for headphones and/or microphone plugs.
If you are happy with the sound you’re getting right now, no need to upgrade. For those who want improved sound, you should definitely consider the Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus.