Personal computing discussed

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Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:40 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:22 pm

Asus is celebrating a birthday you say? Today is the day that the on-board sound died on my ASUS P5E. Not the best day. I do some sound production from time to time with a small home studio and the P5E is the centerpiece. It's augmented by a Yamaha 01V chosen for it's early digital prowess, and an ancient and temperamental Echo Gina 24/96 that was intended to connect via the 8 channel and now incredibly outdated AES/EBU protocol. The Xonar would make a nice fresh start. Some of the other stuff includes a Radeon 4870, WD 1TB green HD, a Velociraptor system drive and 4 gigabytes of system memory all in a custom case. How was this hardware singled out? From your numerous, unbiased, well written and thorough reviews here at 'The Tech Report' of course.

Thanks for all the wonderful work.
Gerbil In Training
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Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 3:46 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:31 pm

Sound Card: Using my ATI HD5770 HDMI
Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705
Mains/Center: Monitor Audio Silver RS6
Rears: Swan D2.1-SE
Headphones: Sennheiser HD555

All hooked up to a 42” Samsung TV.

After countless hours researching speakers, I finally decided that I was going to get these $1000/pair Monitor Audio Speakers. I was psyched. So I trotted down to Best Buy. Unfortunately I was only met with a blank stare and a “You said that the company was called Monitor Audio???” Not a good start. How hard could it be to find these British made speakers in the good Old U.S. of A.?

So after calling every speaker store in the greater Sacramento area, I found Magnolia Audio who not only had them in stock, but had display models I could demo. After listening to everything from Beethoven to Metallica, I was sold. Unfortunately, I had gotten WAY ahead of myself and had nothing to hook them up to. So after more countless hours of research, and waiting for 1 week, my Onkyo TX-SR705 came in the mail from B&H photo and I got to listen to my babies in my house. Awesome.

Back when I had a job, my goal was a home theater sound system for under 5 grand that could play classical music to rock. And it had to be pretty.

Since I built my rig this winter, I thought that the included SupremeFX X-Fi that came with my Asus Crosshair Formula III would be perfect for my audio needs. It didn’t deliver.

But I sure could use a new sound card so I can listen to my MP3’s the way they were meant to be heard. The receiver can send it, and the speakers can play it, I just need a better feed from the computer.
AMD 965 Black Edition
Asus Crosshair III
Sapphire HD5770
8 Gig Crucial DDR3
Corsair 750 PSU
Antec 900
Lord High Gerbil
Posts: 8253
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: Gone

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:19 am

I'm using the onboard audio from my motherboard. Why? Effectively zero cost, and it's capable of all the things I want from it. SNR is decent, it supports 5.1, and has digital outputs.
I'm still using my Logitech Z-680s. I bought these back when CompUSA was not yet a wholly owned subsidiary of whoever. Heck, when I bought this, CompUSA was the biggest game in town for PC hardware. Why? They sound really great (once you dramatically reduce the bass level). They have a decent selection of inputs, and they're loud. That's what speakers do.
I occasionally use headphones. I have my own place these days, so I no longer need to use headphones constantly like I once did, but it's good to keep a decent pair on hand. Sennheiser HD202s FTW. Almost as old as my Z-680s.

Xonar Xense? Oooh. I like the integrated headphone amp. At those price ranges it better be quite decent. Nice choice of headphones. Might want to make a can-less bundle for those who already own similar headphones. Breakout dongle thingy: This is both awesome and lame. Awesome that the right (excessive) number of input/outputs are present, lame because you can lose a dongle and make the card radically less functional. Real time DDL encoding! Nice! Tell me it's hardware and not software based!? (I know, setting myself up for disappointment)

I do have a rather decent HDMI-switching receiver doing 5.1 on my HTPC, but there's very little exciting about it. The onboard stuff there just conveys the prerecorded multichannel audio to the receiver. How dull.
Please don't edit my signature for me. Thanks.
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:45 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:59 am

My Desktop
Sound Card: Chaintech AV-710 (Wolfson DAC) – A good quality stereo output is all I need.
Speakers: Altec Lansing MX5021 – One of the best “multimedia” speakers. Reproduces all sounds faithfully with little distortion. I replaced the thin 3.5mm cable with a thick coaxial-based cable from Monoprice, and used 16-gauge speaker wire for the satellites. That's something you can't do with most other computer speakers.
Headphones: Sony MDR-EX85 – Lightweight, comfortable, reference-quality sound. Superb sound fidelity, enveloping sound stage.

I rip all my music to FLAC now and this setup sounds great.

My Home Theatre (Networked to my desktop via PS3 Media Server)

Receiver: Yamaha RX-V1400 – Always been a fan of Yamaha. However this was before the HDMI era :(
Front Towers: Energy Veritas V1.8 – Proudly Canadian. Amazing full-range sound.
Front Effect/Presence: Polk Audio R15 – They were a really good deal and sound good enough for surrounds.
Center: Original Energy Connoisseur Series (forgot the model)
Rear: More Polk R15’s
Subwoofer: Mirage BPS-150 - came from the same factory as the Energy's.

I’ve gone through so many DVD players and CD changers it’s not funny. Currently I have a Pioneer DV-400V overshadowed by my PS3 Slim.
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:07 am

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:30 pm

Started out with cheap Altec Lansing 2.1's. They had a mid-range speaker that fired downwards straight at your desk. I thought it was a neat design, but turns out they didn't sound as good as promised.

Used the Soundblast Live! for a few years, until I got sick of all the revisions they kept making (platinum! huge drivers!) and crackling in games. They eventually moved to the audigy but by that point they had already lost me.

Heard someone's Klipsch 2.1's and they sounded great, but distribution was hard and they were pretty expensive. My search for better speakers continued.

Ended up getting some Logitech Z-560s and a sound card whose name I can't remember; it had a dongle for attaching the stereo/surround channels, but only did 4 channels of sound. The logitechs were ok but eventually I found myself wanting to move towards a 5.1 solution for movies and games since games with 5.1 and movies were becoming more common on PCs.

Eventually got an nForce 2 motherboard with Soundstorm (Biostar IDEQ 200N? I think.) and used the optical out to connect to my new Logitech Z-5500s. Sound was pretty good. I know people will say they don't sound as good as Cambridge SoundWorks or whatever, but the cambidge speakers had a weird connector (IIRC) and were more expensive, plus, harder to find in Canada.

After the nForce 2, I was saddened by the lack of good on-board sound that would do Dolby Live! encoding. It's a bit more common now, but there was a gap for a few years there where the motherboard industry didn't seem to care about on-board sound (and with the ubiquity of RealTek, some would say they still don't).

I think the big impetus behind improving on-board sound on motherboards was the push for HTPCs and all-in-one solutions like the newer Zotac and Acer Revo computers. People using their computers for HTPCs now wanted better sound than most on-board solutions could provide, so it's not uncommon now to have Digital Coax, Optical as well as 7.1 output on motherboards (combined with stereo in and out). Azalia at least sort of pushed things forward, and provided a new minimum level of sound performance that for all intents and purposes was good enough for most people.

I've never tried one of the newer sound cards. I was waiting for a PCI-E x1 card to come out (PCI was prevelant for several years) but at this point, my Coax digital to z-5500's seems like it's "good enough". Am I wrong? I'm not a music snob; I can hear differences between MP3 encodings and sound quality but at best it's slight and not worth worrying about too much. This generation has become used to mp3 and 112kbps joint stereo VBR movie rips, after all. Xonar's been around for a while, and hopefully I get a chance to try them out, but if I don't I think I'd still be happy with my setup.
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
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Location: New York

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:11 pm

My PC's system audio? One word *putrid*. It is an on-board via chipset audio device, which has yet to be proven stable on my machine.
The first release of drivers I used on my box: Crashed every two hours or so. The second release: about every three days. The latest? Once every two weeks. At least the trend is in a desirable direction. In the process of trying to find this stability problem I have replaced: The motherboard (same one), a power supply, and a video card from nVidia to ATI. ... 6813131402

My speakers are a $35 Altec Lansing 2.1 satellite system I purchased at a hamfest roughly 14 years ago. It is like insult on injury. However, they just wont die.

So you may wonder why I have not purchased anything better? Well up to recently when I am gaming I could only use headphones. A little guy down the hall needed his sleep. Previous to that I was broke, and before that my primary audio system did not include a PC, as it was a home-theater with enough power to make the local utilities rub their hands in glee when I turned it on.

Until recently, I just didn't care if my PC had anything but a buzzer and headphone outputs. However now that my little guy is getting older and having fun playing on the PC with me... it may be time to introduce him to good bass, clean audio, and a good game.

Well, here's hoping for the best.
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:23 pm

Prepare to be blown away ladies and gentlemen, because do I have a treat for you. This is my audio setup:

(It's a somethingorother at least)

That's right. It's the venerable king of sound cards: The Realtek ALC890. Can't see it, can you? Neither can I. Unless that ITE chip is it, I think it's hidden behind the graphics card. And really, what more could you want? It's small, it's hidden, and it's out of the way. All 7.1 channels provide stunning clarity. At least it's coupled with an appropriate heaset.

(My baby)

It's a Koss UR/10. At least that's what it says, and what else do you need to know about such a marvel of engineering other than it's uncomfortable and it's bass is completely underwhelming. "What about your standing desk speakers?" you say? No need to worry. What need of standing speakers do I have with the incredible surround sound experience I already have? "What about the mic?" you also may ask. Why, I ask, do I need a microphone on my headset when I can type all of my responses in game? It's important to know that when you're base is being destroyed in Starcraft II that your allies don't know because you're still typing your message.

(My base!)

So there you have it. The vertible pinnacle of audio and gaming enjoyment. What more could an audio enthusiast ask for? The greatest thing about this audio setup and the governing decision on why I got these parts: I got it on a budget. All of the components could be had for a mere $200, and that even includes the entire motherboard! Don't be too jealous of my setup. Not everyone can have such a great system and still be as economical as I am.
Gerbil Team Leader
Posts: 238
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Location: West Michigan

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:23 pm

I currently have the cheapest headset walmart had (microsoft el cheapo's) on the shelf my usb Microsoft headset died and I didn't really have the money to buy a decent headset so I have been rocking some extremely uncomfortable circumural headphones running straight from the integrated sound card. I am an audiophile and yet I cant decide which is more painful the tinny music that comes out of these horrible things they dare to call a speaker or the cheap plastic cutting into my ears. I do have the logitech x-540 set but I cant play my sound through my speakers most of the day as my sister in law works third shift dont wanna wake her :).
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:22 am

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:32 am

Current audio: onboard Realtek chipset (MSI X58 mb).
Preferred audio: M-Audio 2496 pci card. (not in use at this time due to some Linux problems)

Output: Carver 125 w/ch receiver, custom full range open baffle speakers and Sennheiser 580 headphones.

Preferred audio: 2 channel, very low noise and distortion. Linux compatibility a requirement.
Strongly prefer "straight wire with gain" for audio cards.
Prefer RCA connectors, the usual 3.5mm connectors always mess up sooner or later.
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:05 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:53 pm

Well, I would like to attain an Essence for the the following reasons. I consider myself to be a midrange audiophile, meaning that I am not going to spend 20 or even 30 K on stereo equipment, but I do appreciate high fidelity and I go after the best price/performance products. My home theater consists of an Anthem Statement D1 and self powered M&K 2510P monitors all around and an HGS 15 Velodyne sub. I am presently undergoing putting together an HTPC using Core i3 530, 4gb ddr3, ati 5770, and would like to put an Asus Essence in this rig and output the signal to the Anthem's XLR's AES/EBU input. All of the outputs will be in 5.1 DTS or Dolby Digital or stereo via all balanced XLR cables. In my bedroom, I currently have a stereo setup using Paradigm's Signature V2.0 connected to a Rotel integrated amp using a mini 3.5mm to dual RCA adapter cable. The source is the computer's integrated Realtek audio chipset, and I listen and view a variety of cds, dvds, mp3, and FLAC. Honestly, the audio output from the Realtek is mediocre at best and I actually use the DFX plugin for Media Player to brighten things up. I was thinking about buying an SB X-Fi card when I came across this website and the contest, and I know now for sure that the electronics and the attention to detail that Asus had put into the entire line up of Xonar sound cards is superior to anything amongst the X-Fi lineup. If I win one of these, I shall post my impressions, experience and a review back here on TR. Thanks in advance for TR's consideration.
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:58 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:14 pm

My audio setup is as follows:

Klipsch Promedia 2.1 speaker system

Audio Technica A900 headphones

Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P motherboard

Rather bare-bones as you can see. When I was choosing speakers it was a toss up between the Klipsch and Logitech Z-2300 2.1 systems. I only wanted a 2.1 system so that I have the option for ambient sound when a friend is over etc. I selected the Klipsch over the Logitech because of the claims of higher durability vs. the Logitechs. It was a close choice, believe me.

The headphone purchase was a gift to myself, and I chose the A900s for comfort, closed design, and the rich bass that the model is known for.

My motherboard I simply chose for it's large amount of ports, and general versatility and positive reviews.

As you can see I have extremely good cans and a good set of speakers. The truth is, I have never owned a standalone sound card in my life, and I think an opportunity to be exposed to a high end ASUS card (which is the cream of the crop according to my friends) would be a wonderful listening experience that will keep me hooked on audio. I won't waste your time with pictures, you've all seen a pair of headphones and desk speakers before.

I hope I win, and good luck to my fellow audiophiles.
Gerbil In Training
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Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:14 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:12 am

Sound Card: Realtek onbard sound card
Speaker: Altec Lansing AVS500 (4.1 Speakers though only 2 of the satellite speakers still work)

Yup… Okay well what happened here was that when I built my budget gaming PC last year; I unfortunately had to make some cuts (AKA spend nothing on it) and most of it came at the expense of my PC’s audio performance. The integrated sound card was well free as it came with the motherboard; so that’s always nice. The speakers came from my previous PC and before that they belonged to my brother’s previous PC; so again free is nice but not even remotely ideal.
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:07 am

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:38 am

My current audio setup consists of a great set of speakers - Monsoon MH-505. These 5.1 flat panel satellite speakers from the distant past utilize planar focus magnetic speaker technology which creates superb overall sound quality with clear highs and a very solid bass response. My sound card was a Creative PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional. However now that is no longer working and I am relegated to using the on-board sound provided by my motherboard. For a while I had two sound cards in my system. One was an M-Audio Revolution 7.1 that I used for music. I would sit back and let my music take away the daily tensions. Then I had the Sound Blaster for games. Eventually I had to make a choice between good music or high gaming frame rates with good sonic positioning. I chose the latter and gave my M-Audio card to the local YMCA. I see you are giving away an Asus card that yields both good music and high gaming frame rates. I would love to hear music once again at the quality my speakers are capable of producing. The card is too expensive for me to be able to buy. Please consider me for your giveaway contest.
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:46 am

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:03 am


First of all this is my first post on these forums so please bare with me. :D My audio setup consists of one Asus Xonar ST sound card, a pair of M-Audio AV40 speaker and a Sennheiser HD555 headset. Why did I choose the Asus Xonar? Well I had a DX before the ST and I was really pleased with it and I thought why not upgrade to higher grade card? So I bought the ST and hooked it up and was amazed immediately!! :oops: I choose the Asus Xonar ST over other cards in this price region mainly because of it's high quality components and swappable opamp sockets. I've been experimenting with opamps ever since I bought the card. Currently I'm running two OPA2137P in the I/Vs and one LME49720NA in the buffer. Loving the sound that this combination produces. :wink: Bellow you have some pics of my audio adventures:

Posts: 12
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 7:10 am

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:45 am

My current setup came together from leftovers of other systems.

For mains, I have a pair of mid-grade Definitive Technologies bi-polar surround speakers singin' the tunes so my ears aren't singin' the blues. This is because I dig the doped aluminum tweeters as they don't harsh my buzz.

To make sure the bass would shake my place, I have 2 - 10" subs with 110 watts of paper pushing and port loading power, per speaker mind you! These KLH boxes were bought at 2 different times purely for the buzz of a killer deal. I later gagged their ports because I run a tight ship and I didn't want them booming about the deal to everyone.

Be it lightly compressed MP3's, or any files of the lossless variety, all outbound signals must pass through the Q6600 era MSI motherboard's analog outputs before heading to a small 'audiophile' 10Wx2 amplifier. The amp didn't cramp my wallet, and Windows Seven is not in heaven with my trusty old Santa Cruz, and that still gives me the blues.

While I don't believe I qualify for the most needy category, I'd love to win second place, as the Xonar DG would be the perfect fit for me with it's flexi-bass system to make my system sing in perfect harmony. Besides, I don't really listen to headphones, so someone who needs better cans should get first prize!
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:36 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:33 am

My current setup:

Sennheiser HD650 Headphones

PPA Amplifier I built with some modified diamond buffers:

And a simple Texas Instruments PCM2707 DAC board I designed and built for some quick-and-dirty USB audio action:

The USB DAC was meant to be first step toward a full-blown DIY DAC, but as usual the real world got in the way and consumed too much of my free time. I've had my eyes on a Xonar board for quite a while now, but can't bring myself to pay for one as that would be admitting defeat in my DIY DAC project. Now if I happened to win the card on the other hand...
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:42 pm

My quest to correct this audio injustice is as follows:

First and foremost I am listening to my vast collections of MP3's and FLAC audio files (500k+) through the onboard sound chip that came with my EVGA classified mobo. This is such a tragedy as I am sure the judges will feel my pain.

My speakers are a pair JBL JRX125's which include a 15" woofer, a 15" mid-woofer and an efficient Horn. Amplification is provided by an older Sony ES GX800ES AMP
I listen to all types of music and use Virtual DJ and MixMeister Fusion to mix music for the car/iPod touch and parties that I do sometimes.
Having just purchased the JBL's I am realizing two huge limitations.

1st - My onboard Sound stinks!!!!

2nd - I need more power

Thus far all my attempts at various Obama economic Relief funds have been denied. ("Won't someone think of the children!!!")

I have seeded a fund for a new Crown XTi 4000 power AMP

I now need your help and support to right this audible injustice of on-board sound. :-(


My Rig
-EVGA Classified E759 49 Bios
-i7 920 @ 4.01GHz Lapped 1.43 vcore
-Corsair Dominators 8-8-8-24 1T @ 1.66volts 1605MHz
-Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme Black lapped w/ MX-2
-Thermaltake Armor+ VH6000BWS
-Ultra x3 1600 Watt PS
-OCZ Vertex 2's 2x60gb RAID0, 2x1TB, 8x1.5TB, 8x2TB
-ATI 5870 1gb + 4870x2 2gb
-Triple 28" LCD's
-Dual NEC/Sony AD-7190S PATA DVD Burners
-Sony BWU-300S Blueray 8x burner
-Sunbeamtech 20-in-1 card reader controller
-Logitech Wave Keyboard and G5 Mouse
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

PS: If anyone knows of a contest where I could win a digital camera, MSG me ;-)
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:31 pm

Re: Win one of three Asus Xonar sound cards

Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:59 pm

After putting off a new computer build for four years, I finally decided to take the plunge a few months ago. While cost was a concern, I stretched the wallet a bit where I felt performance mattered. After lengthy research, price-watching, and a few contest wins, I arrived at the following build:

i7 930 processor
ASUS Rampage III Extreme motherboard
ASUS Matrix 5870 video card
Creative Fatal1ty X-Fi Titanium


I am pleased with all of my decisions except for the Creative Fatal1ty soundcard which has been the bane of my existence. I knew the ASUS Xonar was the card I should have gotten, but in the end, the $50 rebate of the Soundblaster card won out... afterall, I said to myself, how much worse could the Soundblaster be? Unfortunately, I now know that answer: Much worse.

The initial install in Windows 7 caused a blue screen. After troubling and toiling for weeks through different revisions of the drivers for Windows 7, I finally arrived at one that would not blue screen, but I have been unable to rid myself of an incessant noise/interference which my ears have become so hyper sensitive too that I leave my speakers off unless I'm actively using them.

To add insult to injury, my rebate was denied on false grounds, and I am fighting to prove that my rebate submission was in order :P

Please help me replace the Soundblaster and make everything ASUS as it should be!

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