Asus is celebrating a birthday. The company's line of Xonar sound cards turns three this year, and to commemorate the occasion, Asus is introducing a high-end Xonar Xense sound card bundled with a Sennheiser gaming headset. Like the Xonar Essense STX, the Xense has a built-in headphone amp and 6.5-mm headphone and microphone jacks.
While the Essence can only pipe multi-channel audio over its digital output, the Xense has a digital out and an output dongle with a standard array of 3.5-mm analog outputs. Asus is bundling the card with a version of Sennheiser's PC350 gaming headset, and the combo is expected to hit shelves over the next few days with a suggested retail price of $300.
If you'd rather not drop three hundred bucks on a PC audio upgrade, don't fret. Asus has generously donated one Xense bundle and a couple of its upcoming Xonar DG sound cards for our latest contest. The Xonar DG isn't due until the end of the month, so you actually have a chance to get your hands on that card before anyone else.
To enter, all you have to do is hit this thread in the forums, describe your PC audio setup, and explain why you chose its various component parts. Eligible posts need to be 300 words or less, and while you should feel free to flex your photography skills, please don't post more than a couple of pictures. Any images need to be 1600 pixels wide or smaller.
TR editors will judge the entries based on the quality of writing and photography. Creativity counts, too, and we reserve the right to award at least one of the Xonar DGs to the person who is clearly most in need of an audio upgrade. The forum thread will stay open until 2:00 PM CDT on Tuesday, September 14, and we'll announce the winners within 48 hours of the contest closing.
Since we have to ship these cards ourselves, the contest is limited to residents of the US and Canada. (The Xonar DG is going to retail for only $30, and it'd cost more than that to ship the card to some parts of the world.) We're only allowing one entry per person, and we'll be checking IP addresses to make sure no one tries to game the system. As with our previous contests, cheaters may have their accounts banned from the forums and the front-page comments.
In addition to providing fodder for this giveaway, Asus is also soliciting suggestions for new sound card features in an online survey. Those who complete the survey can ask Asus for a free OPAMP upgrade kit for their existing sound card... while supplies last, we're told. Asus is handling that particular giveaway, but feel free to use the comments below or this contest discussion thread in the forums to chime in with your thoughts on future sound card features.