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Group test: what's the best sound card?

The best sound card you can install in your PC

PC Advisor reviews the best sound cards you can install in your PC today.

4. Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro

The X-Fi Elite Pro is an extremely impressive sound card. The audio performance rivals that of many professional cards, and the break-out box offers more connections than a BT exchange. However, it's also seriously pricey, and unless you're a dedicated audiophile we don't think it's quite worth so much more than the Audigy 4.0 Pro.

3. Bluegears b-Enspirer

The price tag simply doesn't prepare you for the audio quality the b-Enspirer can produce. It's incredibly feature-rich, has excellent software and, in our opinion, is the best card around at this price. Creative may have the name, but if you rank results ahead of reputation, this really ought to be considered by anyone hunting for a new sound card.

2. Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook

The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook does do a lot of what it says on the box. Admittedly, the technology isn't as sparkling as that found on the desktop versions of the X-Fi cards, while the need to buy an extra Speaker Docking Module for full surround-sound is an annoyance. Nonetheless, if your laptop's onboard audio isn't doing it for you, the Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook is worth a shot.

1. M2Tech HiFace

The M2Tech HiFace adaptor is a very useful go-between device, suited for all computer audio for Windows, and just music playback on the Mac. It connects computers with a USB 2.0 port to any hi-fi system that already includes a digital-to-analogue convertor - and with potentially stunning audio results.

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