yesterday i've got the asus xonar essence as i have sennheiser pc-350 headphones and i needed amp for them (150 ohms) - that xonar boasted a headphone amp.
ok, the sound does come out louder, it doesnt mean it's of better quality.
im referring strictly to games. in gta 4 the sound on xonar sounds bad (like coming from a barrel) - as compared to x-fi titanium i had also.
xonar essence boasts also dolby headphone - disappointment too, very little effect put into, but no sounds filling my head as i would expected.
in dirt 2 the sound experience was so-so, lets say its good.
i will have to stress out that only today im gonna test the xonar on music with decent signal (yesterday only listened to low quality signal music and i didnt like it either)
i do hope i wont have to send xonar essence back, but if further testing will confirm my disappointment, i'll just return it and stick to my x-fi titanium.
OR, return it and ask them to send me instead an x-fi titanium fatality pro ( though i hope i wont have windows 7 driver problems with that one, as i've heard it may happen)
yes, i admit i am primarily a gamer, but i do listen to music (symphonic and rock) ocasionally.