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Consumption of media on PCs, laptops, and smartphones continues to rise, all thanks to the streaming services. The fact that you can start watching your favorite show or a movie just about anywhere is the icing on the cake. However, if your Windows 10 PC emits weak audio, it could ruin the experience.
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- Honk – to make a loud noise using a horn, especially the horn of a car; hoot – to make a short loud sound as a warning; mewl – crying with a soft, high sound; moan – a long, low sound; neigh – to make a high loud sound like a horse’s neigh; peal – if a bell peals, or if someone peals it, it makes a loud sound.
After reading new sections of the story to the students, show the sound picture cards for those sections. Have students say the sound for each picture. Place the cards in a pocket chart or on a table along with the alphabet cards that represent the same sounds. Have students match the pictures with the associated letters or letter patterns. The best surround sound experiences The Xonar U3 is a pocket-sized, portable USB audio card with complete support for a wide variety of Dolby Technologies for your Hi-Fi enjoyments. GX2.5 For realistic 3D audio effects Enjoy up to 128 different sound effects played simultaneously for a realistic 3D experience! Hi-Fi class audio Clean, clear. After reading new sections of the story to the students, show the sound picture cards for those sections. Have students say the sound for each picture. Place the cards in a pocket chart or on a table along with the alphabet cards that represent the same sounds. Have students match the pictures with the associated letters or letter patterns.
You don't need to worry for we have a convenient set of tips to amplify louder and better sound on your Windows 10 PC. While all of them may not work on your PC since every computer has slightly different hardware as well as sound settings. Depending on the sound card or the audio chip on your PC, it's best to try out all the options before you invest in an external speaker set.
Let's take a look.
1. Enhancing System Audio
Windows has a handful of sound enhancement features, but sadly they are often overlooked. One of them is Loudness Equalization, which when enabled boosts the maximum volume by about 150%. This feature works across most integrated sound cards, and you can find it under the Sound Settings.
To access the sound settings, right-click on the Volume icon on the taskbar, and select Sounds. Double-click on Speakers option under Playback which will bring up the Speakers Properties.
Now, navigate to the Enhancements tab and check the option for Loudness Equalization.
2. Get an Audio Booster
If your system doesn't have the support for Loudness Equalization, the best option is to invest in a third-party audio booster like the Boom 3D. This volume booster and equalizer app not only increases the overall system volume but also bundles a handful of sound related features.
Boom 3D's one of the key features is the 3D Surround which brings a positional surround sound experience to headphones. Its advantage is that it's not hardware dependent and works across multiple headphones.
Other than that, it comes with four sound effects — Ambience, Fidelity, Night Mode, and Spatial. Plus, if you want to fine-tune your audio experience, you can tweak the EQ settings and the presets.
3. Get Dolby Atmos for Spatial Sound
Another cool way to boost audio is to enable the 'Dolby Atmos for headphones' feature. The Windows 10 Creators Update brought this feature to many PCs, and it lets you get a spatial sound experience on your headphones.
Unlike the traditional Dolby Atmos, this feature doesn't need any special hardware or receiver. Instead, it's a digital signal processor that works by mixing the sound of your PC for an enhanced audio experience. Dolby Atmos for headphones is available for many games including Assassin's Creed, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Gears of War 4.
To enable this feature, go to Sounds and double-click on an audio device. Once in, select the tab for Spatial Sound and select Dolby Atmos for Headphones from the drop-down list.
If you are accessing it for the first time, it'll open Microsoft Store link to activate a free trial. Do note that it's a paid feature.
4. Tinker with Equalizer Settings
The audiophile in you might know that perfect sound is actually a myth. Music is all about personal preference. So if you find the bass a tad overpowering, you can always adjust the intensity in the system equalizer.
Thankfully, Windows 10 PCs come with a native sound equalizer which lets you tweak the bands and create your custom profile. Though it's a tad basic, you can always tweak to get a better sound output than the default factory settings.
To access the equalizer, go to the Sound Settings and select Device Properties. Next, click on Enhancements and uncheck the Equalizer checkbox from the list.
Now, choose a profile according to your liking and hit the three-dot button next to it. Adjust the bands as per your taste. And yeah, it's a slow and time-consuming process, but it's worth the time. Do keep in mind that the bass frequencies are always on the left while treble is on the right. The midrange frequencies are well, in the middle.
5. Update Sound Card Drivers
If you have any issues with sound, you can also update the sound card drivers. Generally, all the major companies notify users whenever there's an update available. If that's the case, you can go to the specific website directly to download the said driver.
Alternatively, you can go to Device Manager (Windows key + X) and double-click on 'Audio inputs and outputs' to expand it. Right-click on it and select Update driver.
6. Set Multiple Sound Output for Different Media
Gone are the days when there used to be a single audio output device or an individual music player. Now, not only do we have multiple speakers and headphone hooked to our Windows 10 PCs, but there are also a variety of tools related to audio. Naturally, all these apps and devices need to have their sound output. After all, you wouldn't want the same volume levels across VLC, Chrome, and your headphones.
To set individual volumes, right-click on the volume icon and select Open Volume Mixer. All the open apps will be displayed on the right side, while the devices are on the left.
All you have to do is adjust the volume as per your liking, and you're good to go.
Alternatively, you can go to Sound Settings > Other Sound options > App volume and device preferences and set the different input and output volumes for apps and devices.
These are some of the tweaks using which you can squeeze out better and louder sound on your Windows 10 PC. Depending on the hardware and make of the device, some of these settings may not be present. If that is the case, investing in an audio booster like Boom 3D sounds practical and feasible, since it enhances the system-wide sound without delving deep into the sound settings.
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What we hear, plays a critical part in every aspect of our life. Those that can’t hear, just as critical. Sound tells us what the world around us is doing. When we hear traffic pass by, planes above, waves, birds in trees. Whatever we hear, it confirms and validates the world around us. In terms of entertainment, sound is important there too. There is depth, highs and lows, screeches and vibrations. In terms of music, movies, and video games, the depth and quality of sound plays an important part in the experience and thus the industry pays close attention to it. However, sometimes our devices have low quality integrated sound cards. In these cases it’s time to reach for an external sound card: that is where the best USB sound card becomes something to think about.
This article will discuss what USB sound cards are, what the benefits are of owning the best USB soundcard. Furthermore, we will explain what factors you need to consider before purchasing USB sound cards, and what are the best USB sound cards you can obtain in today’s market.
On USB Sound Cards
USB sound cards primarily act as a digital translator. Since most of today’s music is digital, it is written in bits, in strings of ones and zeros.The excellent sound card will translate this digital code and output the sound. USB sound card acts as if it is DAC, a digital audio converter.
However, it doesn’t output the sound. The purpose of the card is to translate and convert the digital audio into analog form and send the process to your speakers or headphones. In general, people buy USB sound cards because their devices have poor quality integrated sound cards.
Benefits Of USB Sound Cards
USB sound cards can replace that built in sound card in your laptop or desktop pc, or any other sound-playing device. Not all laptop or pc manufacturers pay attention to their sound cards; they do, but it is not of their primary concern.
On the other hand, USB sound card manufacturers have to worry about one thing; that their device helps produce high-quality sound.
USB sound cards aren’t integrated, they aren’t built-in into your devices. They are portable, allowing you to bring them with you on the go and use with multiple devices.
High-quality USB sound cards will also have several jacks, allowing you to plug in several devices simultaneously.
Factors To Consider
There are various things you must to consider before you decide on which is the best USB sound card for you. Here are the most critical factors:
Compatibility: make sure that the USB sound card is compatible with your device, that it supports your channel output
Function: some USB sound cards work best for video games, some work better for playing music. Make sure that you understand the technology that comes with the device: does it feature 3D sound, what kind of audio processing unit it uses and so forth.
Material and Design: material affects the case quality, and it determines the sound quality too. Also, check the dimensions, color if you care about such things, assuring it looks nice with other devices.
Naturally, these aren’t the only factors to consider but are the basic ones. Now we will move one to our list of ten best USB sound cards, where we will discuss in detail all the pros and cons of each particular sound card.
Ten Best USB Sound Card Reviews
7.1 Sound Card for PC,Laptops – External USB Audio Adapter for Gamers, Music & Movie Lovers
Driver Genius have brought a real contender to the world of the external USB sound card, in the form of a 7.1 Channel Sound Card. With transfer rates of up to 480 mbps across USB 2.0, this USB audio adapter is a great choice for all audio demands. It’s a good, affordable choice to add oomph to your gaming, music or movies. The audio output on this device can accommodate up to 7.1 channels, or as few as a 2 channel (pass through) stereo audio adaptor. As there are so many audio outputs, it can support a wide range of speaker set ups as well as multi directional audio for headphones.
Inputs include an Optical S/SPDIF digital audio input, and this USB external sound card adaptor will connect either directly to PC, 3.5mm jack speaker systems or headphones. The simple to use audio buttons are nicely positioned on the device and there are no complicated sequences or combinations to press. It’s a simple plug and play sound adapter, and a good one at that!
- excellent hardware
- high-quality converter
- headphone amplifier
- excellent for music and movies
- low CPU usage
- Features 3D sound
- Microphone input (line in) and headphone jack
- Some have experienced issues setting up 5.1 surround on a laptop.
Creative Sound BlasterX G5
Creative Sound BlasterX G5 is a gaming USB sound card, featuring 3D gaming audio technology, allowing gamers to enhance their audio experience.
The product has native 7.1 virtual surround sound played on 24-bit technology and an absolute 120db limit. The product is best suited for ps4 and pc gaming rigs.Creative Sound BlasterX G5 uses Acoustic Engine Pro virtualizer, sending signals in all directions, working perfectly with headphones (it has incredible headphone amplifier).
It has an SB-Axx1 chipset to accelerate the hardware decoding and converting, bringing out the best out of any device. Though suitable for several functions, this is a gaming USB sound card, one of the best of its kind.
Creative Sound BlasterX G5 is beautifully designed, featuring easy to navigate illuminated wheel for convenient volume control. It uses quality parts and smart technology and is undoubtedly a valuable option for any audiophile or gamer that appreciates quality sound.
- excellent 3D audio gaming technology
- sleek and futuristic design
- multi-core audio processor
- illuminated volume wheel for convenient control
- 7.1 surround sound
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- perhaps not the best option for non-gamers
- Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround
- Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround features 5.1 surround channels, working in combination with microphone
Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1
Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 utilizes several awesome technologies, including SBX Pro Studio and Blaster’s Crystal Clear technology. This produces fantastic sound on both pcs and Macs.
The device is simple to use, utilizing Sound Blaster Omni software for easy control and navigation. It is suitable for gaming too, featuring scout mode, allowing you to hear your enemies better than they hear you, giving you a competitive edge (it is not cheating, its just technology).
The device is created for digital entertainment, best suited for the enhanced gaming experience, as well as music and movie playing. Upon purchase, you will receive the Sound Blaster card, USB 2.0 cable, stereo jack adapter and installation cd containing instructions and drivers.
- 5.1 Dolby Digital Live surround technology
- scout mode (perfect for gaming experience)
- Crystal Clear technology enhancing mic output sound quality
- very compact and lightweight
- some customers complained about the headphone port and amplifier
ASUS Sound Card Xonar U5
Xonar U5 features 5.1 channel HD sound, able to transfer 104 dB signal into analog audio using SNR technology. Sound technology is controlled by Sonic Studio software, easy to use and navigate, giving you full control over the desired sound specifications.
Xonar U5 features built-in headphone amplifier, assuring that you hear every bit of that digital sound, which can come in handy for all musicophiles and gamers. The stereo audio adapter also pays close attention to unnecessary noise, reducing it to a minimum, assuring that you hear only relevant data. You power it via USB cable.
Though ASUS didn’t have any particular purpose for this device (other than quality sound output), it seems as if this USB sound card is intended for gamers, since they emphasize headphone sound quality.
- high quality 5.1 surround sound (24 bit)
- SNR technology
- Sonic Studio software
- good for gaming
- some customers claim the product is “too quiet.”
- also, some argue the product stopped working after a year and a half (not durable)
Creative Sound BlasterX G1
Creative Sound BlasterX G1 supports 7.1 sound channel and can translate digits and convert them into quality sound at high speed without sacrificing the quality.
Headphone amplifiers will satisfy hardcore gamers, especially the ones playing FPS games. The Creative Sound BlasterX G1 is also suitable for amplifying studio headphones.
BlasterX Acoustic Engine brings the best out of this device, allowing numerous modes and enhancements. It is very compact, simple, but efficient, and it delivers in sound quality too.
This audio sound card also features X-Plus mode and configurator. The work best with an H5 headset, giving you a competitive edge over your opponents. The mode selects and recognizes sounds that matter, filtering out unnecessary noises and sounds. Note that you will have to purchase H5 headset separately. This additional technology will help gamers, but not non-gamers.
- 7.1 sound channels
- BlasterX Acoustic Engine offers various customization options
- X-Plus mode for gamers
- Scout mode (also for gamers)
- very compact and easy to use
- Headphone jack
- predominantly gaming USB hub sound card
- some customers complained about hissing and static noise
BC Master Karaoke System
Unlike most products on our list, BC Master Karaoke System is particular and explicit when it comes to usability. This karaoke sound system features eight different modes and is portable, allowing you to sing, record and stream anywhere you want.
It features two in one 3.5 mm mic jacks and can be connected to the speaker without any third party object. You can charge it with simple USB cable, anywhere you want.
The device is simple, easy to use, having only several buttons with which you control the entire device. It has a built in BC Master sound card, best suited for singing.
BC Master Karaoke System is smart, having the option to change male to the female voice and vice versa, allowing the users more freedom and fun. And that is the point of this device; that you have fun with it and share it with your friends and family.
- Eight different modes
- compact, portable and easy to use
- female to male/ male to female voice transition modes
- high-quality sound output
- only ok according to some users
- made just for karaoke purposes
Baile Portable Sound Card
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Baile Portable Sound Card works with Windows and Mac OS platforms, featuring 7.1 channel with 3D adapter, ultimately producing high-quality sound.
It is inexpensive and cost-effective, offering a lot for a small price. The device supports 2.0 USB ports and will work with almost any laptop and desktop PC.
It supports 48/44.1KHz audio sampling, suitable for playing and recording. The product is made of aluminum, is relatively lightweight, has two mic jacks, and four control buttons that make it very simple to use.
Upon purchase, you will receive the Baile Portable Sound Card, USB cable, and instructional CD. It is also worth mentioning that its signal to noise ratio (SNR) is 90 dB, which isn’t top quality, but still high quality.
- 7.1 channel
- features 3D sound
- aluminum made
- high, but not top sound quality
- SNR is only 90dB, which is okay, but not the best
Tech Rise Sound Card Adapter
Tech Rise Card Adapter works with international USB standards (2.0) and is truly beautiful. The Tech Rise sound card is simple to use, its unique and compact design making everything look simple and organized.
It works with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, headphones, gaming headsets and so forth; it is highly compatible because it doesn’t require driver installation.
LED indicators make it simpler to use, and the volume wheel is smooth and functional, allowing you to control the volume. The product is built for musicophiles, featuring 16 different rhythmic patterns and 23 environment modes (yes, 23!)
The product is also fit for casual gamers since it does have a gaming mode, working best with gaming headset because the Tech Rise stereo sound adapter brings best out of any devices. So if you already have quality headphones or headsets, prepare to be blown away by this small but unique device.
- simple and sleek design
- 16 different rhythmic patterns
- 23 different environment modes, including gaming mode
- compatible with almost all devices (no driver installation, just plug in)
- somewhat short cable
StarTech External Sound Card
StarTech External Sound Card has many advantages: it is the smallest adapter on this list, it requires no driver installation (at least not for the older windows version, and has only two buttons (volume up and down).
However, StarTech External Sound Card doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but it will come in handy if your laptop or pc don’t have a mic jack (most modern laptops don’t).
Furthermore, the device does its job, and it does produce good sound for such a small device. After all, it features 7.1 channel sound and comes with a CD containing XEAR 3D software to boost the 7.1 channel sound.
- excellent sound quality in such a small device
- comes with XEAR 3D software
- easy to use, having
- 7.1 surround sound
- not so durable
- some customers complained about surround system, claiming it does not work on Mac devices
VAlinks External Sound Card
VAlinks External Sound Card features 5.1 channel audio, giving you the ability to record and play high-quality digital-to-audio content.
It supports up to 44 kHz sampling rate in both recording and playing options. It is relatively inexpensive, made for both analog and digital recording and representing. The product also features Full-duplex playback.
It is compact and lightweight, has line and mic input, as well as SPDIF input. Upon purchase, you will receive a sound card, USB cable, and the cd containing the driver.
Consumers reviews are mixed, some claiming it works correctly others claiming it didn’t work at all so that we can assign it to manufacture problems. But, when it does work, it works as described: smoothly, producing and recording high-quality sound.
- compact and easy to use
- works great with most platforms and devices
- produces high-quality sound for the price
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- not so durable
- some customers complained about functionality
- color is bright and unconventional
Again, it is hard to pick the best USB sound card and proclaim it the winner of this list. Some of these devices are good for gaming (most focus on delivering enhanced gaming experience), others are made for karaoke, and some are multi-purpose.
Moreover, they differ in sizes, some inputs and outputs, design and many other things. Naturally, there is also the price involved in all this.
The top one on the list (Sewell Direct Soundbox, Creative Sound BlasterX G5, and Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround) are probably your safest bet, but they are also the most expensive ones.
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You can also go for cheaper version because any of these devices will give you better sound than your integrated sound cards; you can bet on that. In any case, make sure it is compatible with your devices and that it suits your needs.