Disclaimer: We offer modification options as ideas; however we do not suggest performing any modifications on your new card. If done improperly you can turn your new Phoebus into a paperweight and any modifications would surely void your warranty. If you are unsure how to do the modifications leave them for people that do.
Opamps I usually suggest changing out the opamps on most soundcards as companies choose units that offer good price to performance to help keep final costs down. However, you can improve the sound quality using higher end chips.
If you are handy with a soldering iron, you can pull the cards opamps and install some higher end units. A few quick ideas to consider would be, LME49720MA/LM4562MA, AD8620, AD797, AD8599 and similar.
Capacitors Caps are your cards filters and changing the right one can offer some upgrades over the stock units which again are generally a trade off between price and performance.
Final words and conclusion
Over all we were quite impressed with the Phoebus 7.1 as it has a few notable advancements over previous offerings using the 8788 chipset. The ability to set and keep features separate in the I/O panels is definitely a big step in the right direction.
For I/O setup, the user can set the headphone output to 24/192, S/Pdif output for Dolby Digital Live. The line output set to 44.1 from an external device and their Microphone input to 24/96 KHz. This is just an example but you can see the possibilities and flexibility of such as system.
Of course all is not perfect there are a few places we would have liked to see changes. The soldered opamps are not a welcome sight as it seems everybody these days has a small collection of opamps. The lower spec multi channel DAC for the center/sub side and rear channels could have used a higher spec part. To be fair, this is not an offering aimed at the higher end music crowds but it does offer some very reasonable sound considering the very large feature set and price point.
We played some great new games and the Phoebus made quick work of everything we threw at it. Our test tracks sounded great but in all honesty we had mixed feeling about the Dolby Home Theater 4 on some tracks it could improve the overall image and on other tracks it had a tendency to wash out the soundstage.
The breakout module offers some cool features for team gamers, allowing cleaner, clearer communication with or without a headset microphone.
We really like the layout and signal flow of the new chip and are interested in seeing what can be done with this chipset if coupled with higher end DACs, ADC, Opamps and Caps. The card offers clear articulate audio for your games, music and movies no matter if you are using a full surround rig or a set of headphones, the Phoebus has you covered in fine style.
In comparison, the Phoebus doesnt quite offer the high end refinement found in the Essence series as it is more in league of the D2 or Xense interfaces.
If you are looking for a great new audio card for your latest game system build or a major upgrade from any onboard audio we recommend you take a look at the Xonar Phoebus 7.1
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