Asus makes bold claims about their new Xonar sound card being the “best” PC audio card on the market currently. We took the product to task in an effort to prove out these claims. At the very least, perhaps a company with the Hardware and Software Engineering resources that Asus has, can deliver reasonable audio fidelity and hopefully a better set of drivers than the likes of Creative’s X-Fi debacle.Read on:ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Sound Card
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This seems like an excellent card for someone doing analog recording, or who does not have a digital receiver (etc). The specs for recording are well beyond the best I have ever seen. And it has a lot of good formats for converting digital to discrete analog channels for ampification and speakers.
My home theatre system is built around an upgraded Accurus audio processor (the digital equivalent of a pre-amp, very high quality d/a) and separate amps. Aside from some new formats not covered by my processor, it seems to me that going from digital straight through does not require a high-quality sound card. If anyone thinks otherwise, I'd like to hear.
I would love to replace my audio processor with a card like this, but it would require: 1. the ability to connect outputs directly to power amps - and I'm not sure that the line-level outputs from this card are enough. 2. The ability to switch between a number of digital and analog inputs. This card does not seem to have more than one of each.
Of course, if I had not already invested in the Accurus, I would be studying the question carefully about whether the analog outputs could drive power amps directly. And the need for separate inputs diminishes as legacy inputs (e.g. an external DVD which is multi-region, a VCR, a tuner) are replaced by the HTPC.
I'd like to hear comments from those considering this for their HTPC, which includes quality separate power amps and speakers.
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