Asus unveils HDMI-equipped Xonar HDAV1.3 sound cards


In a radical departure from its wave of Eee PC-related releases, Asus has just announced a new addition to its line of Xonar sound cards. Dubbed the Xonar HDAV1.3, this latest entry into the sound card market appropriately boasts HDMI 1.3a compatibility and a little something extra for the video crowd in the form of a “Splendid HD” video processor. Asus claims the chip enhances colors and edges for high-definition video, reduces flicker, and even “recovers clarity” with low-resolution content.

Despite its fancy video processing capabilities, audio remains the Xonar’s focus. The HDAV1.3 supports both PAPS and AACS content protection schemes, allowing it to output uncompressed Blu-ray audio in all its glory. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are supported, as well, and the card is capable of feeding 7.1-channel, 24-bit/192kHz LPCM audio through its HDMI port.

Asus isn’t busting out a new audio chip for this latest Xonar. Instead, the card uses the same AV200 audio processor that we saw in the Xonar D2X, allowing it to take advantage of Asus’ DS3D GX 2.0 EAX emulation scheme. The HDAV1.3 uses the same Burr Brown DACs, Cirrus Logic ADC, and National Semiconductor OPAMPs, too. This time around, however, the OPAMPs sit in sockets that allow particularly picky users to swap in their own chips.

Deluxe versions of the HDAV1.3 will come with a daughter card connected by a ribbon cable. Both cards will slide into PCI Express x1 slots, although it appears that the daughter card doesn’t actually require electrical connectivity. On the main card, you get HDMI input and output ports, a shared line/microphone input, RCA front-channel output, and S/PDIF input and output ports. The daughter card expands the Xonar’s analog output capacity, serving up RCA jacks to fill out the HDAV1.3’s eight output channels.


Asus hasn’t yet settled on pricing for the HDAV1.3, but we’re told to expect the card to become available in mid-July. Check out the image gallery below for more nudies of the HDAV1.3.

Comments closed
    • jinjuku
    • 11 years ago

    I hate to revive an old thread. Just as an FYI, you don’t need a receiver if you use this card. You can get a 5 or 7 channel amp and feed it directly from the analog out. The card will have already done the decode.

    • 7POINT1toRECVR4GMES
    • 11 years ago

    I would like to know if this card will pass full, crisp, clean 7.1 audio from my PC to my receiver. I have a 7.1 surround sound system for my home theater, which my PC is connected to. I use my Pioneer Elite 50″ Plasma as my “monitor” and right now I have a Creative X-Fi Fatality Titanium edition that has optical out on the card itself. I run that optical out to my Pioneer Elite receiver to get surround sound for Games, however I am unable to get it to play in 7.1. Creatives software recognizes 7.1, and allows me to set up my speaker config that way, however I get no sound out of both my rear channels. I am assuming that the optical connection can only pass 5.1 and no more… can anyone verify this?

    If this card, can plug in my pc in place of my Creative X-Fi titanium, and output 7.1 surround sound via HDMI 1.3 to my receiver for all my games I would buy it in a heartbeat. In fact, I would most likely purchase an internal Blue Ray player for my PC as well so I can watch Blue Rays off my PC, rather than my PS3 which is stuck at 5.1 via an optical cable.

    Can anyone confirm that this card will output 7.1, and work like a normal sound card? I already have 2 x XFX GTX280’s running in SLI, so I dont really want this thing messing with my video, unless its harmless and doesnt get in the way of my two top end video cards. What exactly does it do for PC’s like mine that already have top notch video output?

    Any help with this would be wonderful. Just yesterday I upgraded my receiver from an 8 year old Harman Kardon AVR520 5.1 receiver to the Pioneer Elite 7.1 THX receiver, and I found out that although my Creative X-Fi titanium will output to my receiver via an optical cable that plugs directly into the back of the card, it wont seem to see the two rear channels for full 7.1.

    I WANT 7.1 SURROUND SOUND FOR ALL MY GAMES, AND I ALREADY HAVE 2 x GTX280 VIDEO CARDS RUNNING IN SLI – WILL THIS CARD WORK WITH MY SYSTEM AND GIVE ME FULL 7.1 SURROUND FOR ALL MY GAMES? Help Please!!!

    • MattMojo
    • 11 years ago

    I have a Xonar in my HTPC and love it! The sound is absolutely great going to my receiver and the ability to “on-the-fly” encode in Dolby Digital for those programs that do not do DD is fantastic!!

    Mojo

    • Kaleid
    • 11 years ago

    Before they release all these soundcards they should work on better drivers for the current ones. EAX support is poor at this moment and some engines even crash if you enable it.

      • BRiT
      • 11 years ago

      Wow, it works exactly like a Creative Labs card then… 😉

    • fantastic
    • 11 years ago

    Dear manufacturers,

    Please release power consumption numbers with all new equipment.

    Thanks,
    John Q. Public

    My HTPC is working fine with onboard sound and the X-Fi is functional for the “gaming computer”.

    It is nice to see them using HDMI and PCIe though.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 11 years ago

    Does card output ONLY digital audio from the HDMI port, or can it do that and video+audio like normal HDMI? How would it interact with the video card to that?

    Also, is there some sort revival for high quality stereo sound cards? It seems I’m seeing them mentioned more often than normal.

      • Anonymous Hamster
      • 11 years ago

      It says that one HDMI port is an input and the other is an output, so presumably the HDMI output from your video card is looped through this card on its way to the receiver or TV.

        • Kurotetsu
        • 11 years ago

        That would mean that the HDMI ports on this would have to be HDCP compatible right? For Blu-ray and the like?

        • wulfher
        • 11 years ago

        +9# presumably, but i like a comfirm on that before i would use one of these

      • MattMojo
      • 11 years ago

      /[<"Asus claims the chip enhances colors and edges for high-definition video, reduces flicker, and even "recovers clarity" with low-resolution content"<]/ Read the post and you can see that it has a video processor. Mojo

    • albundy
    • 11 years ago

    how would this work on a receiver? Can receivers in general use 2 hdmi ports at the same time? someone needs to get creative some support sticks, as i hear knees shaking. would be nice if speaker manufacturers start using hdmi, heck even wireless hdmi would be sweet.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      Presumable you would run audio separately from video.

        • titan
        • 11 years ago

        I think it’d be more like the computer is the receiver. All you need are some powered speakers to connect directly to the card.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 11 years ago

      HDMI for speakers? What? Do you really want to pay for a decoder in each “digital” speaker, along with the DAC and amps?

        • squeezee
        • 11 years ago

        I think he means your typical “computer speaker” manufacturers, at least i hope so.

          • Anomymous Gerbil
          • 11 years ago

          Still… “computer speakers” are so shite, who cares what cabling (and therefore quality of signal) you use to connect them…

            • albundy
            • 11 years ago

            shite? you mean like the Klipsch Pro Media 5.1 and Logitech z5500?

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 11 years ago

            Yes.. it’s all relative.

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            Relative to having way too much money invested in one hobby, maybe.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m a DIY audio enthusiast and have built equipment from scratch that would send that Klipsche system crying home to mama. But IMO the two systems he listed are very good, all things considered, and should not be tarred with one broad brush. For some people, those represent about the most money one would want to invest in audio, and they’re entitled to get the best possible quality those systems are capable of dealing.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 11 years ago

            Too much money invested? It’s all relative. If you can afford awesome gear for Hobby X without breaking the bank, go for it.

            Just because someone can only afford “lesser” gear, doesn’t meant that there isn’t much better gear out there. But agreed, I’m sure those two listed speakers are a lot better than some of the crap that passes for speakers.

      • deruberhanyok
      • 11 years ago

      Since there’s an input and an output, presumably your video output goes to the sound card input, then the streams are combined and sent from the sound card output to the receiver.

    • Voldenuit
    • 11 years ago

    Ribbon cable is more flexible (haha) than a gold finger bridge.

    It would be nice if they ditched the dummy pcie connector on the daughter card, though. That way, users could install it in a free legacy PCI slot if they wanted to.

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t like the idea of my sound card fracking with my video output. Shades of Voodoo2 ghosty and blurred video passthough come to mind.

    Not sure how well all this funky hardware would support the non-Windows crowd, either.

      • squeezee
      • 11 years ago

      Well you won’t get any ghosting or blurred video considering the scheme is all digital. I would be concerned about any added video delay however, but more info is needed.

      Ultimately though you don’t have to send your video through the card, you could have just the reciever hooked up to the Xonar.

        • Ashbringer
        • 11 years ago

        I’d be more worried about future driver updates that make this compatible with future video cards. Nothing like owning a perfectly working piece of hardware and then 2-3 years down you’ll need a driver update.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    Now I have to choose between tweaking my car, or buying a Harmon Karden. Great looking card(s). Hope whatever that video processing is doesn’t conflict with my Catalyst software… *adds to wish list*

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Egads. A /[

      • bthylafh
      • 11 years ago

      You have a better idea?

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Two, in fact:

        -[<1) Give the smaller daughter card PCIe x1 connectivity, and have the Xonar juggle output through the PCI bus (this may require a DAC chip on the daughter card if it doesn't already have one)

        2) Have the daughter card be an external enclosure device,<]- nevermind, neither of those are practical. Ah ha! 3) This Xonar should have a "gold-finger" (/[

          • albundy
          • 11 years ago

          yeah, but that would *[

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            Because it apparently doesn’t do that already.

            • albundy
            • 11 years ago

            of course not. the daughterboard is not powered through pci-e. if your case is big enough,mind you.

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          It’s hard to make out some of the details on the back end of that daughtercard, but but I think I see a TI logo, so those would be the DACs (two channels per DAC) and everything from there to the slot bracket is analog. There are six single-opamp buffers after the DACs and then three dual opamps driving the final output.

          That’s a 25-pin connector and I see lots of traces coming out of it, so they’re probaby using all of them and farming two digital wires per audio line (12), +5V or +3.3V for the DACs (1), and +/-12V for the opamps (2 or more likely 4). They also appear to be using muting relays on the outputs, so there will be at least one and possibly three control lines to drive those. That would leave between five and eight lines for ground returns, which is about right.

          The only way to do that without using a ribbon cable is to mount the works on one card (not feasible) or use a bundled cable, which would raise manufacturing costs with no beneft since they’ve gone with an internal, nearby daughtercard rather than a Creative-style panel or an external break-out box.

            • ssidbroadcast
            • 11 years ago

            Dang, I guess I can’t argue with that. So it sounds like the reason to go with ribbon are for power constraints. I thought about Creative’s front-mounted solution, but doing so wouldn’t remove the ribbon.

            The only thing I have against ribbons is that they’re annoying to hook up and they reduce airflow. I’m having flashbacks to nightmarish days when slowly opening up the case to a PC was like cutting open a person and watching their intestines spill out… er, not that I’ve ever done /[that] before…

            I gotta go.

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            Now THERE is a vivid analogy. And yeah, I remember more than a few AT cases like that.

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