Asus Xonar D2X Sound Card review

Soundcards and Speakers 105 Page 8 of 9 Published by


Page 8 -- Music and DVD Continued

DVD and Video

I mark this occasion with the introduction of Windows Vista Ultimate with Media Center, instead of our usual VLC player.  While I actually prefer the output from VLC it still has stability problems. Star Wars Episode III, Chapter I, Battle for Coruscant, was used to guage the movie playback ability of the Xonar D2X.

Oh, spare me... from watching this movie again

Generally, very, very good. Of the various modes the D2X can enable, the movie and game mode worked very well. These modes enable Dolby Digital decoding as well as Dolby Virtual Speaker, a technology similar to Creatives CMSS3D, that enables surround sound using headphones or stereo speakers. While the technology does work very well, it still changes the timber of the sound, giving a slighty bathroomy sound.

I will say, the D2X is very, very clear in any mode you throw at it.  The best is in plain analog output.  Some readers may recall the Auzentech X-Meridian, which I thought had exceptionally detailed sound with movies when letting the card do the AC3 decoding instead of my Logitech Z-680's. The D2X is even better. It offers the same exceptionally detailed sound (if not slightly better), and in some parts of a movie you may not believe what youre hearing.

In the case of Star Wars, the D2X may just cause you to shake your head in disbelief even more than normal.

In some movies, like The Matrix, where the audio portion was done exceptionally well and helps you get into the movie's world, in other movies, such as Star Wars, I marked a few occassions where the D2X made easy prey where sloppy sound editing was audible, level changes, overdubs, splicing, that sort of thing.  I actually enjoyed catching these things because it exposed a little bit of the movie making process, instead of detracting from it. 

When I was a young lad and playing with fractals, there was a way to generate 3-dimensional Mandelbrot sets using the continuous potential method. Basically, a pixel would be generated with a slope value associated with the color (or iteration, specifically).  All the points in the set would be the highest value and for points outside the set youd get a pretty 3D fractal. The Xonar D2X can sound a lot like a 3D fractal, sounds are so 3-dimensional that instruments swell up from a dark, black background with color and detail. Its a weird description, but thats what comes to my mind.

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