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Xonar U7 - 7.1 USB-Soundkarte

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #5 in Sound Cards

Posted

Pros: Audio quality, build quality, software, versatility, price

Cons: not as powerfull as the xonar essense soundcards, more mainstream target

Build:

the worksmanship is great, feels much less plasticky than i would have thought. 

I pluging it straight into the usb on my win 8 64bit desktop, the card lit up and started working within seconds, hovewer when i tried to manually install all the software/drivers, it said it did not recognize my asus xonar u7?!? after 15mins, i have discovered that the USB switch was set to 1.1. Set it to 2.0 and everything was fine! Installed, restarted and started listening...

 

Testing:

Bear in mind that i never had a dedicaded headphone amp, i plugged in my v-moda m80, and started listening to some Infected Mushroom- Im The Supervisor, Kanye West -Yeezus, and some oldies; all in Flac. The first thing that i noticed was that that i could set the volume to max without getting unconfortable, Isnt the "Headphone Amp" supposed to make em louder? So i checked the setting and under headphone settings (u have to right click on the headphones, took me quite a while :D) the are 3 Gain settings

Low Gain (-12db for <32 ohms)

Medium Gain (-6db for 32-64ohms)

High Gain (0db for >64ohms)

 

Hovewer this was already set at max gain, i set it to medium for the v-modas, and for me 90% volume was ok (75% on low gain on my shure e500). This leads me to conclude that the headphone amp is not all that powerfull, since both these should be easily drivable... howerver it is much better with either mp3's or volume equilizer on in the dolby center, 50% volume now on low gain

from asus.com, "Headphone : 1.3 Vrms (3.677 Vp-p)"  Does this number sound about right? (I have no idea)

A pleasant suprise was that there is ABSOLUTELLY no noise at any volume/gain on my shure e500.

 

Sound:

Bear in mind that i am not an audiophile, i just enjoy listening to music, i have found that i can hear more of the low-low frequencies, and very high as well than from my onboard sound, I have no problem with the sound this card makes, but i would rather leave this on someone with more experience, and better equipment... I quite like the software, and the surround features, and inteligent equilizer(on-the-fly equalizing, leveling volume) work quite nice, without overly changing the music. For example there is a Eq present to open up soundstage/frequency response.

Posted

Pros: Very affordable Jack of all trades for PC and Laptop with no compromises regarding sound quality ; needs no additional power only USB

Cons: see non

A few years ago I was a big fan of the Shuttle Barebone SFF PCs for LAN party gaming. I also was a big fan of surround audio for gaming. I had a soundblaster that days. But the graphics cards grew bigger and bigger and suddenly there was no space left for an internal soundcard and the onboard sound that Shuttle provided was kinda meh.... it was then when Asus decided to enter the game of PC sound with its Xonar line. Luckily for me they came with an external solution in form of the Xonar USB or later called U1. This small device was my little sound magician for some years. But someday the grafic cards like the Radeon HD 5700 just needed too much power from the little Shuttle barebone and also the heat inside the box increased so much that I needed a big PC box again. Inside this one the Xonar STX found its place. It was a better solution for music and a slightly better solution for gaming and movies over the Xonar USB. But the Big PC was sold with the STX and I went for a gaming laptop with my Xonar USB again. As I said good for gaming and video, but definitely not audiophile regarding music reproduction. But it is a very small device. I loved Dolby headphone on both the STX and the U1/USB but never for music.
Now ASUS comes with a feture and hardware packed device that has all I need (external and audiophile) but with Dolby Home Theater v4 instead my beloved Dolby headphone. The DHT v4 has been said to be not on par with DH for positional cues in FPS gaming. Oh oh, that is not good for me ... Wrote a mail to Dolby customer service and got a good response:

Here is my request:

As a long time user of Dolby Headphone technology from Asus Xonar soundcards, I am concerned that the new Dolby® Home Theater v4 headphone implementation found on the Xonar U7 might be inferior to the classical Dolby Headphone. Please clarify that for me.
Thanks
Peter

Here is the answer I got fro Dolby:

Hi Peter-

I apologize for the delay in responding to your email, the team was attending E3 last week. The algorithms between Dolby Headphone and Dolby Home Theater v4 for headphone virtualization are the same, so there shouldn’t be any difference. You may be hearing a difference because DHT v4 features things like volume leveling, dialogue enhancement, etc.

I hope this helps.

Best-
The Dolby Game Team

I had the Asus Xonar U7 on hand some days before I got this response, so I knew already that this was true. The device is a pretty good DAC, a decent headphone amp and a powerfull virtual surround device for headphones. Beside that it can run your 7.1 home theater system with ease and also simulate 7.1 on two speakers. But I am only using the headphone part of this.


•]Disclaimer: All of the statements I make are only for headphone use.Headphones used: Ultrasone Signature PRO / DJ AKG K 702. OS : Windows 7 64 bit
•I had the Xonar STX before still have the Xonar U1/ USB.
•for me the external USB card is better because I have two PCs to use the card for gaming. A classic PC and a good gaming laptop.
•It is the best sounding sound card I had so far. For me even better than the STX.
•it has no audible hiss and seems to be absolute neutral to me.
•it has a very dark background
•Very good controlled bass.
•Very good and big sound stage.
•I use them without the Dolby Theater V4 for my ITunes collection. AAC 320 VBR most. Dolby sounds also well, but it alters the sound signature as expected and I do not prefer that for stereo recordings.
•For gaming the Dolby standard gaming setting produces a very good surround sound for me, good directional cues in Crysis 3 /COD Black Ops so far.
•Movies: LOTR DVD version. same as for gaming, very well implemented Dolby Theater V4.

Had some hassle on driver installation. The driver on the CD that came with the U7 did not install the Dolby feature at all. Downloaded the only available beta driver from ASUS and all was fine Dolby was available.



In other words:

Highly Recommended.
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Xonar U7 - 7.1 USB-Soundkarte
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Description:

Xonar U7 serves the needs of PC gamers who want to enjoy strong and clear sound via headphones, and is also ideal for listening to music as it produces much more impactful and detailed audio than onboard hardware. Connecting via USB, it requires no standalone power supply and works instantly setup-free with no need to open the PC case. Features: - True 7.1-channel, 192kHz/24-bit high definition sound from a compact USB-powered device - Dedicated mic volume control for instant adjustments right in the heat of gaming action - Integrated headphone amplifier pumps up every sound detail - 114dB signal-to-analog ratio (SNR) ensures pure sound - Dolby® Home Theater v4 delivers lively surround Specifications: - Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted): 114dB - Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted): 110dB - Output Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (A-Weighted): Up to 0.0006% (104dB) - Input Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (A-Weighted): Up to 0.001% (-100dB) - Frequency Response (-3dB, 24-bit/96kHz input ): <10Hz to 46kHz - Output/Input Full-Scale Voltage: Rear output (Surround) 1Vrms (2.828 Vp-p); Headphone out: 1.3Vrms (3.677 Vp-p); Line in 1Vrms (3.677Vp-p) - Bus Compatibility: USB audio class 2.0 for all function / Driver-less USB audio class 1.0 for playback - D-A Converter of Digital Sources: Cirrus Logic CS4398* 1 (120dB SNR, Max. 192kHz/24bit);Cirrus Logic CS4362*1 (114dB SNR, Max. 192kHz/24bit) - A-D Converter for Analog Inputs: Cirrus Logic CS5361* 1 (114dB SNR, Max. 192kHz/24bit) - Analog Playback Sample Rate and Resolution: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/172.4K/192KHz @ 16/24bit - Analog Recording Sample Rate and Resolution: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96KHz/172.4K/192K @ 16/24bit - S/PDIF Digital Output: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/172.4K/192KHz @ 16/24bit - ASIO 2.0 Driver Support: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/172.4K/192KHz @ 16/24bit Connectivity: Front panel: - Headphones out x 1 - Mic in/Line in x 1 Back panel - Stereo RCA *2 (Front left/ Front right) - 3.5mm(1/8") jack *3 for surround (Side/Center-Subwoofer/Rear) - S/PDIF Coaxial *1

Details:
DetailValue
BrandASUS
ModelXonar U7
TitleXonar U7 7.1 USB Sound Card and Headphone Amplifier
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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