FiiO updates its popular K5 Pro desktop DAC/amp combo unit with the ESS version that puts the ES9038Q2M DAC to good use with lots of clean power, plenty of I/O options for PC users, line/headphone out support with configurable gain, and a large, comfortable volume knob!
Why do you need a good quality USB sound card, and how can such a device improve your everyday life? We're taking a deep dive into the world of PC audio to figure out when it makes sense to upgrade our integrated sound cards and what to upgrade them with.
The Creative Sound Blaster X4 is a direct successor to the excellent Sound Blaster X3. This external USB sound card keeps everything good about its predecessor and adds a couple of interesting additions to the mix, most notably SmartComm Kit—a combination of features aimed at improving our online call quality.
While not a massive upgrade to its predecessor, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is quite possibly the best compact soundbar currently on the market not only because of its performance, but also the way it seamlessly transforms from a soundbar into an awesome smart speaker.
For a mere $60, the Movo UM300, a compact USB condenser microphone, offers USB-C connectivity for computers, Android smartphones, and other USB-C recorders, along with two polar patterns, a direct monitoring port, and multipurpose volume knob. What corners have been cut to keep its price so low?
The Creative Sound Blaster GC7 is a feature-packed external USB sound card. It offers PC, console, and mobile device connectivity, an intuitive set of onboard controls, and is a capable performer in every regard. It can be accessed through a mobile app, making all of its features usable on all supported platforms.
The Movo VSM-7 is an excellent studio XLR microphone equipped with a shock mount, pop filter, and even an XLR cable. You're getting all that along with three different polar patterns and great overall performance for a reasonable price of $125.
The Movo UM700 is a budget USB microphone with three-capsule array, which offers excellent performance. It features four polar patterns, a robust metal stand, pop filter, and onboard dials for microphone gain and headphone monitoring volume.
The Audio-Technica Creator Pack is a home voice recording and streaming kit that consists of a great USB microphone, a good pair of studio monitoring headphones, a boom arm, and a desktop tripod stand. It's meant for streamers, podcasters, and vloggers, or those looking for a higher quality audio recording solution for home or office use.
The Elgato Wave:1 is a compact, great-sounding $120 USB microphone accompanied by a powerful digital mixing solution, which makes it a complete package for streaming. While it lacks a couple of the features of the more expensive Wave:3, its performance is practically identical, an excellent choice for anyone looking to save money wherever possible.
Sharkoon expands their product lineup with three DACs with integrated headphone amplifiers. Two are meant for mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops, and one is a simple USB sound card. They share many characteristics, but the most important is a good price-performance ratio.
The Creative Sound Blaster X3 is an excellent USB sound card. It offers great audio quality for both input and output, and is quite affordable, at $120. It's a pleasure to use for music, movies, and games alike, and you can even connect it to the PS4 or Nintendo Switch.
Elgato released their first audio department products: the Wave:1 and Wave:3, USB microphones for content creators. We tested the more advanced Wave:3, which comes equipped with a high-quality condenser capsule, a digital mixer, and many other useful features.
NVIDIA's RTX Voice technology promises to remove background noise from your audio input and output. We tested it on a wide range of audio hardware, at many price points, to find out what it's capable of, and how it affects frame rates during gaming.
EVGA surprised just about everyone by releasing a high-end PCIe sound card, a product from a category many consider as good as dead. We thoroughly tested the NU Audio with a wide range of headphones and speakers, and saw truly amazing results and were blown away by its amazing performance.
The Arozzi Colonna is a vintage-looking USB microphone with a fair price tag and satisfactory performance. For the moment, it doesn't seem to be available in the US, though, while going for 100 euros in the EU.
The Sennheiser GSX 1000 Audio Amplifier is a beautiful external USB sound card equipped with the best 7.1 virtual surround sound system we've heard so far, and a host of other interesting features primarily aimed towards hardcore gaming.
Travagan's Green is a small headphone and speaker amp. It has an integrated DAC and can be hooked up to your PC via a USB cable. Besides the Green we also received a pair of 2" mini speakers. The set looks stylish, its main objective is to provide you with a good listening experience both with mini speakers and headphones.