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Xonar U3 USB DAC

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 

From The Tech Report

 

Quote:
Xonar DG sound card squeezed into USB thumb drive
— 11:04 AM on January 10, 2011

 

We're big fans of Asus' Xonar sound cards. Numerous models have passed through our labs over the last few years, and most have won awards. The $30 Xonar DG was the latest to win Editor's Choice distinction. At CES last week, we saw a USB version of the card that looks perfect for laptops and small-form-factor desktops devoid of free expansion slots.

 

xonar-u3.jpg

 

Dubbed the Xonar U3, this USB dongle features the same audio chip and pre-programmed "pop" that our blind listeners liked so much in the DG. A headphone amplifier optimized for 32-150 Ω has been squeezed into the device, which is no larger than a thumb drive. You also get virtualization software to emulate EAX positional audio effects and to simulate surround-sound speakers with stereo headphones.

The Xonar DG's most attractive attribute is undoubtedly its budget price tag. Asus tells us the U3 will be similarly affordable, making it a potentially cheap and easy way to bypass the traditionally mediocre analog audio output quality of most laptops. We're going to try to get our hands on one of these to see just how good it sounds. Stay tuned.

post #2 of 77

i am sure the SQ sucks, even compared to onboard sound like ALC1200.

post #3 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by windcar View Post

i am sure the SQ sucks, even compared to onboard sound like ALC1200.



Because you've heard it right?

post #4 of 77

no soundcard of that size will ever sound g ood. The reason is that they cannot squeeze all the components necessary for a hi-fi card into that size. The sound will most likely be similar to the Creative X-Fi Go! Pro which I have heard.

post #5 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by windcar View Post

no soundcard of that size will ever sound g ood. The reason is that they cannot squeeze all the components necessary for a hi-fi card into that size. The sound will most likely be similar to the Creative X-Fi Go! Pro which I have heard.



Lol at the "Pro" version, which just increases EAX support from EAX 4 to EAX 5, while dropping support for 24-bit and 48KHz from the regular Go! tongue.gif Despite my X-Fi Go! (non Pro) being the size of a thumb drive, it sure kicks every single onboard there is out there biggrin.gif

 

EDIT: If that Asus is priced right, it will definitely be the cheapest upgrade for computer audio that does some gaming on the side.

post #6 of 77

You are right if you are referring to the onboard sound in laptop. But if you have a decent onboard desktop sound such as the ALC1200, then i doubt the sound quality of the Pro! is superior. I am not taking into consideration of the crystallizer or the CMSS-3d or the newer THX TruStudio surround. If you switch off all the gimmicks of the X-Fi and compare the sound without any coloring, I will think the ALC1200 will produce a superior sound.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Lol at the "Pro" version, which just increases EAX support from EAX 4 to EAX 5, while dropping support for 24-bit and 48KHz from the regular Go! tongue.gif Despite my X-Fi Go! (non Pro) being the size of a thumb drive, it sure kicks every single onboard there is out there biggrin.gif

 

post #7 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by windcar View Post

You are right if you are referring to the onboard sound in laptop. But if you have a decent onboard desktop sound such as the ALC1200, then i doubt the sound quality of the Pro! is superior. I am not taking into consideration of the crystallizer or the CMSS-3d or the newer THX TruStudio surround. If you switch off all the gimmicks of the X-Fi and compare the sound without any coloring, I will think the ALC1200 will produce a superior sound.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Lol at the "Pro" version, which just increases EAX support from EAX 4 to EAX 5, while dropping support for 24-bit and 48KHz from the regular Go! tongue.gif Despite my X-Fi Go! (non Pro) being the size of a thumb drive, it sure kicks every single onboard there is out there biggrin.gif

 


 


I'm just talking about the SQ of the regular X-Fi Go!, as it has better specs than the Go! Pro. And yes, sound was judged with all enhancements turned off.

post #8 of 77

Keeping things into perspective:

1: It is supposed to be small and portable; I am thinking for the laptop crowd

2: I don't think it was designed to replace a full blown soundcard or external DAC

3: It cant possibly be worse than the RealTek solutions most folks have on their laptops (mine is terrible)

4: There are other micro solutions like the Turtle Beach USB card that apparently sound great for what they are

5: A motherboard sound solution is probably no notm uch bigger than the U3

 

That being said, for what it is it will probably work great.

post #9 of 77

Perhaps they can get a DAC and an audio processor but that size...bad lows bad highs?

post #10 of 77

Hook a normal headphone or headset to it, then it becomes an USB headphone/headset, but that's nothing new.

This one even claims to have a headphone amp, I'm waiting for reviewers to give it some tough tests to see if Asus is up to their marketing gimmiks.

post #11 of 77

As a USB soundcard for music, this is meh.   I'm sure any $50 DAC will blow it out of the water.   But for gaming, it's nice, and really the only alternative to Creative products.

 

This looks like it will have Dolby Headphone, EAX support, as well as Dolby Digital Live (via an optical out).   As an owner of a laptop without any of these features, this looks appealing for gaming.  I currently have a THX TruStudio Surround solution in my laptop, and in my experience, Dolby Headphone blows it out of the water.  Dolby Digital Live always allows the option of an external Dolby Headphone processor or a full blow 5.1 processor.


Edited by ShadowKntSDS - 4/22/11 at 10:08am
post #12 of 77

This is a very promising product. You don't want to waste money on decent sound quality with this. Low cost is better. As long as this thing has optical spdif out, you can feed it into a real DAC (ultimate gaming setup possible with dolby headphone and fav cans).

 

USB soundcard with dolby headphone? There's basically no alternative is there?

post #13 of 77

Any news on pricing?

post #14 of 77

 

 

http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_U3

 

You can download the drives for it already. Rated for 100dB SNR. 16bit 48KHz output. Optical SPDIF out of the mic port.

post #15 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Duck View Post

 

 

http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_U3

 

You can download the drives for it already. Rated for 100dB SNR. 16bit 48KHz output. Optical SPDIF out of the mic port.



And pricing?

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