After my initial success in getting digital modes to work using the motherboard built in sound capability. I wanted to explore options which would allow use of the motherboard for more traditional multimedia duties. While offloading the Ham digital mode duties to an external USB Sound card.
I looked at what was available online and purchased two devices to play around with. The first is the NRG Tech External USB Stereo Audio Adapter which I picked up from Amazon.com for $10.99.
My Windows 7 desktop found and installed the drivers without my intervention on my part. As you can see in the below photo, this device has a green led which indicates both power and activity by blinking when audio transits the device.
Pretty simple a headphone and microphone jack on the end of the device.
No issues were encountered setting up various digital mode apps to use these ports. After several weeks of use the only oddity I have encountered is after restoring from sleep. I have to restart the consuming app in order to receive audio.
So whether you want a dedicated sound card for digital modes, or your system does not have one built in, for $11 this little device gets the job done.
The second unit I found on Ebay being offered from many sellers and varying price points. I purchased mine for 10.99 plus 0.99 shipping direct from China, took three weeks to make it here.
The same principle as the first card with a much different form factor and additional ports.
My windows 7 desktop located and downloaded the appropriate drivers without my help. No challenges in setting up various apps to use this card for sound inputs and outputs.
For under $13 two options which provide all that you need interface wise to work digital modes. Using both over the course of a couple of weeks, I was not able to discern any difference in audio quality between the two.