ASUS Xonar Essence STX soundcard review -
The Xonar driver suite is similar across all cards in the Xonar family. All main settings are located in the same place making migration from one card to the next very simple. The only real variation is for settings and features available on that specific card. Such as the setting panel for the amplifier gain setting on this card. The driver software installed without a hitch and after a quick restart we were off and running exploring all the settings for the various Dolby technologies and other features available on the card. Let¡¯s take a closer look at the drivers and see what the designers at ASUS crammed into this new card.
The main driver pane for the Xonar Essence Driver software has drop box settings for both Sample Rate (44.1, 48, 96 and192) and for Analog Out (Headphone, 2 Speakers, FP Headphone and FP speakers.
When the FP (Front Panel) settings for headphones and speakers are enabled the rear outputs for headphones and speakers are disabled. Besides the analog out there are two buttons, 1 speaker sound test and the other brings up the Headphone Gain Sub Panel.
There are also configuration setting for each of the Dolby technologies available by clicking the check box and using the sub panels for configurations.
This driver sub panel is for setting the gain output for the built in headphone amplifier.
We have settings for Normal Gain (0dB) for headphones with less than 64 §Ù impedance, High Gain (+12dB for 64-300§Ù) and finally the Extra High Gain (+18dB for 300 -600§Ù).
You set this panel to match the impedance of your headphones and the amplifier chip will supply the needed gain to power your cans.
ASUS Xonar U7 review test and benchmarks. The U7 offers 24-bit/192KHz recording and playback with 114dB SNR, S/PDIF output, 7.1 channel analog output, dedicated stereo headphone output, a volume knob, and it's all powered of a USB 2.0 port. The headphone output comes with its own DAC and adjustable gain settings, making the U7 capable of driving just about any pair of headphones to ear-splitting levels.
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