on 31 July 2011
I'm currently only using this soundcard to play the audio through the optical output to my home theatre system when watching movies, and so far its proved 100% perfect, not had sound drop-outs/distortion or anything so rating this 5* as cannot find any floors. HOWEVER, did have a bit of a nightmare getting this to install correctly in Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, once I installed the card and booted up the PC, Windows updates auto-downloaded the driver (great) but didnt instal the Xonar audio software (not so great!) so the card wouldnt work at all. So inserted the CD that comes wth the card and tried to install the software from there and received error "please insert sound card" (?? - it is!). I read a few forums on www with other people with this same issue - however i found in the end all i needed to do was manually download the latest drivers from the Asus Xonar website and manually install them, once this was done it was all fine - just a heads up in case you find this same issue!
on 12 July 2011
I was skeptical to say the least, I'm quite the audio-enthusiast and was looking for a card that wouldn't break the banks after recently building a new home media/gaming computer.
I was shocked frankly. Granted I do have a nice healthy set of headphones and speakers to go with it, and am unsure on the effects of lower-priced alternatives. But, with on-board sound, high volumes had terrible hissing, the bass was flat, the sound became distorted at certain volumes.
>Plug in card >Boot up >install drivers. Turn speakers on at the old sound level, BLEW MY MIND. It was extremely loud, I now have my speaker notch so incredibly low it's insane :|. The bass actually packs a punch, it's not some pathetic fizzly thud, it has oomph. My movies are more enjoyable, my gaming is that bit more enjoyable also.
Headphones, you can certainly notice a difference. Again, silence, no electric hissing or anything. The 3 settings provided, e.g. VoIP, enthusiast, are really great in my opinion. I can turn my bass up without distortion or destroying the rest of my songs detail. The sound is much clearer, and crisper, and the highs are much better than my on-board realtek.
So, in short. This was a great buy for me and I have no regrets, for the price, it does pack a punch and certainly offers benefits over your typical on-board solutions.
on 21 January 2015
I got this card as a replacement for my old Sound Blaster x-fi Gamer.
First impressions, windows didnt find the driver and it had to be installed from disc. Thats to be expected with some hardware
The driver version is 1.0 after 2 years when I searched online. is this after support rubbish?
Worked great and sounded good with most games. Main issues are with Elite and any other future games due to the lack of driver support.
I'm playing Elite Dangerous with Voice Attack and Team Speak running. I'm getting crackling every now and then from some of the sounds within Elite. Mainly from the menu sounds within the game. Also when other people talk on Team Speak, voice attack is picking up on their voice (im using headphones). I have disabled many options and played with the volume levels but cant seem to stop this happening. These are issues I didnt have with the Sound Blaster.
In Summary, great for the average gamer but I dont think it can cope with more channel use
on 26 April 2016
Ok ..I've had this card for a while now and the problems still won't go away . My system is Win 7 - 64 bit . My onboard sound was ok but the headphone was awful .I so wanted a headphone amp built into a soundcard . The Xonar seemed like a lifeline ..When I first connected to PCI slot and loaded drivers from CD I also had all the problems listed in these reviews regarding drivers too . Anyway, I'm a persistent bugger and got them in eventually . First off, the sound on the headphone out socket was a revelation . Fantastic . I was delighted . It was bright , sharp , detailed , stereo imaging was brilliant and most importantly , it was loud . At last , real volume from a PC headphone socket .
That's where the good news ended . First off, the ' noise' from my speakers ( Creative T40s ) was horrendous . All sorts of noise like old fashioned radio interference ..coming and going , absolute nightmare and loud enough to totally destroy any joy in listening to them , especially in the quiet passages . I tried everything to find out the cause, to no avail . Could it be perhaps that the PCI slot is right below my ( i inch thick ) video card ( they about 1mm apart ) ? I have no idea . What about the windows sound mixer , do I have a wrong box ticked in there or perhaps the right box unticked ? I tried every permutaion I can think of , but no joy ( what should they be set at , I ask myself ? ) Is it a sheilding problem ? Do I have the wrong drivers ? Are the ASUS drivers bad ?
The irony is that when my speakers are plugged into the old on-board sound card , there is no noise at all , but just a slightly duller sound ( as I would expect ) . I then hoped I could simply leave my speakers connected to the old on-board card and plug headphones into the front headphone socket being fed by the Xonar ..but no ( I tested with baited breath ) ..but windows wouldn't let me . I have to disconnect the audio out speaker jack ( the green one ) before I can be allowed to hear that headphone output from the Xonar , and then plug it back into the on-board card afterwards if I want to hear noise free music through the Creatives once more ..( Can I disable the amp part of a Xonar soundcard and leave the headphone output working ? ) Should I disable anything ( in the bios perhaps ) to make this work ..can anyone help ....?
At the point of writing , I have removed the Xonar ..( good noise free speakers from the on-board is more important to me than great headphone sound from the seconary Xonar .. It's unbelievable that I can't have both ). If two sound sources could work in one PC at any one time ( onboard sound and separate sound card sound ) I'd be a happy bunny . It's back to the box in the cupboard for the wretched DG Xonar for me ..and perhaps a look at USB headphone amps for ..Can anyone recommend one for me ? ( sobs )
on 28 November 2015
When installed correctly and once the DG Audio Centre is configured correctly for 2 channel audio, I can say without reservation that you would be hard pushed to tell any difference between this card and the Asus Xonar Essence One muses Edition (costing over 20x more) when using headphones for stereo output. It has a proper on board "hardware" headphone amp and will drive pretty much anything.
I have compared both these "DACS/AMPS" driving Grado SR60i & AKG K701 headphones and at a matched volume level. I cannot honestly say that I could not identify any significant difference between the two. However, the essence one comes into it's own when used as a full blown pre amp driving running into a full blown Hi-Fi system with power amp and speakers, but as a headphone amp I'd go for the DG every time purely based on price / performance ratio. If only want to run headphones, look no further and don't waste your money on overhyped products costing £100's if not £1000's more.
I must stress that the drivers and Audio Centre software need to be properly installed and configured to get this card to sing, but once it does, you will be pleased you didn't spend any more!
Here is a great article about how our brains tell us something is better because we want it to be, its called "cognitive bias", we are all biased by the price tag but in reality, it's about what it actually sounds like to you that counts and not the price tag. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733-10.html
on 28 October 2015
No amount of effort made this HORRIBLE card want to install. I have over 20yrs experience with computers and this just REFUSED to install no matter what I tried. I spent 6 solid hours and got NOTHING. I'm currently in the process of returning it. I'll see if a USB sound card is a better option.
Running W7 x64 SP1 with all the latest BIOS, latest drivers, latest updates for all my kit, also tried safe-mode and many, many other things too. I even tried the 3rd party UNIxonar drivers,. nothing worked. I did all I knew how and it steadfastly maintained a stubbornness I've not experienced in hardware installation, (software primarily, but you get what I'm saying).
I've had it with Asus,.. really fed up with them. The annoying thing is that I'm not even happy with Creative either,. they're just as inept and lazy as Asus; both their drivers and software, (Asus and Creative alike), are bloody AWFUL - what's even MORE frustating is that these two firms are supposed to be the best! Disgraceful!
So once again I'm back to using the on-board audio,.. which is terrible, but at least it works!
on 28 January 2013
Considering the price this card is great value and it works well under Windows 7, although I'm not a fan of the naff Winamp style user interface (it pretends it's a stereo, which was an exciting UI concept in 1997). It could also do with support for hotkeys, so you could switch the output from front panel to rear outputs (headphone to speaker) without opening the UI.
The headphone amp works well in Windows and I use it to drive some 80 ohm headphones and they sound great.
The main issue I have with it is the lack of driver support for Linux, something which is not going to get addressed according to what I've read in the Pulseaudio formums and elsewhere. The rear connector works (I'm listening to it now) but the front panel output and the headphone amp do not. So if you're planning on using Linux then go for something else.
on 12 December 2011
I bought this from another source, but since this is a product review wanted to post it on Amazon.
The sound quality that this card produces is excellent with headphones, in my humble opinion. When listening to classical music, selecting 'hi-fi' on the console turns off all effects for a flat, accurate reproduction. In games, there are various tweaks that enhance the experience, like headphone dolby and virtual surround. The headphone amp certainly gives it a kick. Playing Crysis (yes it can!), when blowing up a petrol station the sound was enough to make me duck.
I can't comment on performance with speakers, as the ones I've got are lousy.
Installation was easy, just insert in the PCI slot and plug the front panel header into the card. Disable on board audio. I installed the driver off the Asus website, on the basis that it would be more up to date than that supplied on the disc. O/S is Windows 7 64 bit, installed without a hitch.
I used to think on board audio was adequate - until I tried this.
on 20 September 2011
I bought this to replace my old Soundblaster Audigy 4, which had problems with mic stuttering in Windows 7. I have to say given its price this card has exceeded all my expectations. Sound quality is great, as good or better than the soundblaster it replaced, and significantly better than my motherboards onboard audio. A particularly great feature is the built in headphone amp. On a lot of soundcards volume levels through headphones are far too low as the card is expecting amplified speakers, not a problem here as you can use the control panel that installs with the cards drivers to have the card amplify the sound. There are 3 levels, each for different usage scanarios and/or types of headphones. The only downside and the reason it has 4 stars instead of 5 is that there is no hardware midi support, only software playback. Given that even the cheapest cards have had hardware playback for years now it seems an odd decision not to include it. However it is only a minor issue at most and for the majority of people a non issue. A highly recommended soundcard, especially if you use headphones often
on 20 January 2014
I had this card for ca 18 months, when it failed. Asus offers a three year warranty on sound cards, but when buying through Amazon, making use of this warranty is practically impossible:
1. Amazon claims it offers only a 1 year warranty and is not interested in the fact that this particular product comes with a 3 year warranty
2. Asus insists on the customer going through the reseller (Amazon) and is not interested in the fact that Amazon ignores the warranty terms.
With the two parties playing ping-poing with the customer (me), my sound card is dead and I need to use the on-board sound...