Best external sound cards for laptops 2022

The laptop you're using right now has a soundcard built in by default, allowing you to pump audio out of the speakers or through the 3.5mm audio jack (if it still has one). Upgrading the audio experience doesn't mean you need to shop around for an entirely new laptop thanks to external sound cards that connect with USB. You'll get better overall sound quality, plus you'll be able to use more or different sound devices than you would with the built-it laptop hardware. Here's a look at the best external sound cards for laptops available now.

If we had to choose...

Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

When it comes to PC sound cards for the best laptops available today, there is one brand that always comes to mind. Creative's Sound Blaster lineup has been delivering top class audio for decades, and the Sound BlasterX G6 is the current king of the hill. A top-quality DAC paired with 7.1 virtual surround sound all in a little box you can attach to your laptop is hard to ignore.

There are also choices out there for more specific requirements and budgets worth attention. One of Creative's other products, the Sound BlasterX G1 is still capable of delivering virtual surround sound, but in something that fits in a pocket and costs very little.

Keen gamers should look towards the Astro MixAmp Pro TR as well. Besides being a full external sound card with Dolby audio, the built-in controls allow you to adjust the balance and volume of game and chat audio, as well as having tons of connectivity potential and an easy-to-use companion app for customization.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

With contributions from