There has been a lot of fanfare surrounding this card. Although it seems there are some pictures of a static model from a recent hardware show, the Guru3D Audio Lab wanted to wait until the design was solidified and we could have a listen and look over a working card ourselves.
Today we have a new engineering sample of the Xonar Xense 7.1 soundcard to look over in this small one page preview. So without further delay lets get to it:
The Xonar Xense 7.1 Soundcard
Click on the thumbnails for normal photo's btw -- here we can have a look at this card, so new it still has the scratch wrap on the shielding. We can see from this picture it has its roots in the Essence line of soundcards sporting some design ideas featured on those cards. Lets have a look under the shielding and see what we have:
We can see this card does have many design features from the popular Essence line up. However, there are also a few differences here. The headphones output section is completely separate from the 7.1 output stage. We can also see that while the headphones output allows precision tuning using higher quality opamps, the 7.1 output have hardwired opamps.
The card has the familiar Molex power input and clean up circuitry. We can also see the brass Faraday shield between the sensitive analog circuits and power input sections.
Some of you may have thought this card was sporting HDMI based on the lower DVI type connector. However, this card features a 7.1 break out cable.
The Drivers - the driver for the Xense features quite a few changes from the rest of the Xonar family. Lets have a quick look.
We see a different color scheme but we also have new presets for gaming enthusiasts. Since ASUS is aiming this card at the gamer market they have added presets for two different popular gaming genres. We have setting for FPS (First Person Shooter) and Racing titles. These presets change EQ, reverb and Dolby headphone settings. We also have the similar gain subpanel seen on the Essence line up but we have the addition of a tuned Sennheiser PC 350 Xense Edition setting. According to the information available Sennheiser spent some time tuning this setting to the perfect gain for these modified phones. Lets have a look at the cards specifications:
Signal to Noise Ratio (A-Weighted): 118dB for Front channels
Frequency response <10Hz to 46 KHz (-3dB)
Headphone Impedance Optimized for 32~600 Ohm
Audio Processor ASUS AV100 (Max. 192 KHz/24bit)
24-bit DAC Texas Instruments PCM1796 for Front-Out
Cirrus-Logic CS4362A for other 6 channels
Headphone Amplifier Texas Instruments 6120A2
Bus Compatibility PCI Express X1
Resolution Max 192 Khz/24 bit
S/Pdif Digital Output Max 192Khz /24 bit
Dolby: Dolby® Digital Live, Dolby® Headphone, Dolby® Virtual Speaker, Dolby® Pro-Logic II
These Gaming headphones are bundled with the new Xense and both components have been tuned to produce the best audio from both. Lets have a quick look:
Information suggests that these vary from the normal Sennheiser PC350s as they have been tuned to better match the Xenses sonic output.
Sennheiser PC350 Xense Edition Headset
Cable length: 3m (9.8 feet)
Connector Plugs: 2X 6.3 mm
Speaker type: Dynamic, 38mm, Nd magnet
Frequency Response: 10-26,000Hz
Impedance: 150 ohm
Distortion: Less than 0.1%
Microphone Frequency Response: 50 -16,000Hz
Pickup pattern: Noise Cancelling
Sensitivity: -38dBV at 94dBSPL
Quick impressions and opinions
Well we dont want to spoil our upcoming review but we would like to give you enough information to tide you over. Without getting too deep into listening impressions let just say this card does not disappoint. We performed some listening tests with different genres of music and while ASUS says this card is aimed at gamers, it does not play when it comes to sound quality for any task. The sonic response is very balanced, musical and full of the toe tap factor.
Written Listening to the: Xonar Xense Audio Set -- Stay tuned for our full review
Asus Xonar Xense 7.1 Soundcard review Asus recently announced that they have teamed up with Sennheiser, a proverbial powerhouse in the audiophile headphone market to bring audio lovers the Xonar Xense 7.1 soundcard bundle.
Xonar Xense Soundcard Preview Xonar Xense Soundcard Preview - There has been a lot of fanfare surrounding this card. Although it seems there are some pictures of a static model from a recent hardware show, the Guru3D Audio Lab wanted to wait until the design was solidified and we could have a listen and look over a working card ourselves.