Asus Intros Audiophile Xonar DS 7.1 Sound Card

While not quite as exciting as Asus' bevy of new notebooks this morning, the newest card in the growing Xonar line will certainly tantalize those scouting an audiophile-level sound device. The Xonar DS 7.1 Channel Audio Card gets back to the basics by ditching the HDMI output on the Xonar HDAV1.3 and offering up the more traditional 3.5mm jack array.

Unlike most cards, this one packs a 107dB signal-to-noise ratio, which supposedly eliminates 91% of background noise. Asus also integrates the GX 2.5 audio engine, which enables the latest EAX technologies, DirectSound effects and full surround sound in Windows Vista without additional software. For online gamers, there's VocalFX -- a voice processing technology that allows users to insert voices into realistic game landscapes (VoiceEX), or inject audio ‘backdrops' into online chats (ChatEX).

There are also a few minor extras that really add up to something special. For instance, the card boasts an Intel HDA compatible jack-sensing front panel header which automatically switches signals from the back panel to the front whenever headphones are plugged into the front panel output. There's also a S/PDIF output, an onboard internal S/PDIF header and DTS Neo: PC, which converts stereo audio into faux 7.1 surround. Audio lovers will appreciate the 192kHz/24bit playback, which trumps most other cards that top out at 96kHz. Mum's the word on a price or availability.

Xonar DS 7.1 Specifications:
  • 107dB SNR with 91% noise reduction for dramatically clearer audio
  • For gamers: The GX 2.5 audio gaming engine and DTS Interactive™ encodes gaming audio to the DTS surround format in real-time
  • For home theaters: DTS Connect™ brings the aural immersion of a Hi-Fi theater to your desktop
  • For music lovers: 192K/24bit support and swappable OPamp sockets offer audiophile-grade audio and flexibility