Asus Soundcard Xonar U1 USB black
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Xonar U1 transcodes any stereo source into Dolby Headphone, Virtual Speaker, and 5.1-channel Dolby Digital and Pro-Logic II surround sound. It also supports DirectSound, EAX, OpenAL for best gaming in Windows Vista and XP. Xonar U1's built-in high-fidelity headphone amplifier achieves best listening quality with most stereo headphones (8~150 ohms @ 10mWx2). Xonar U1 tanscodes stereo audio source into Dolby Headphone, Virtual Speaker, and even 5.1-channel Dolby Digital and Pro-Logic II surround sound output.
Top customer reviews
I finally decided to go for the Asus, although I have never used this manufacturer's sound cards. Without a doubt it has turned out to be an excellent choice! All tracks sound great, there is definitely a big difference between on-board sound card and Xonar U1. Moreover, while using Xonar U1 I've heard things I wasn't able to hear using Creative Audigy 2. I am surprised that such a small device can deliver outstanding sound quality.
I have no idea how it would work if one tried to get the 5.1 sound out of it, but I can definitely say that if you are seeking to improve the quality of the tracks you like listening to and if you love putting your headphones on, closing your eyes and just enjoying every little detail of the music - this is something you will not regret spending money on. I can confirm it does live up to the expectations that I had.
- Can do 5.1 surround via an optical cable, if your speakers support this or you have a decoder, my Z-5500s support this so no need for a decoder
- Small solidly built device, looks good and comes in various colors
- Drivers play well with vista x64, no problems yet, the software is easy enough to use.
- Surround sound in games works with EAX 1.0 and 2.0. Also i *think* it can do 3.0-5.0 with a driver update, DS3D GX 2.0 is the thing that enabled software emulation of EAX's 3.0-5.0 with xonar cards and this card says it has that with the latest driver update from the ASUS website, so i assume it can do all EAX's in software now.
- Its a bit on the expensive side. Theres a cheaper creative external (the replacement for the audigy 2 nx) called the x-fi surround 5.1 but like i said ive had enough with creative drivers and im not exactly sure what the x-fi's capabilties are, theres no really in depth reviews on it and creative has a tendancy to market things deceptively (x-fi xtreme audio isnt a real x-fi but actually more like an 8 year old audigy 1). So anyway there are externals with more ports etc for less but i cant vouch for their quality, the xonar is high quality stuff.
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