EVGA Announces Nu Audio Add-in Card To Deliver Premium, Lifelike Sound For Your PC

EVGA announced that it will enter the sound card market with its NU Audio card. EVGA partnered with a UK corporation known as Audio Note to engineer and produce the card, and the company claimed that the high quality of this card's components allow it to produce lifelike audio.


The NU Audio sound card has a rigid metal exterior that is fairly plain in appearance. The company's name is inscribed alongside the product's name on the card's side in RGB LED lights that support 10 different display modes.

At the heart of the card's design is an XMOS xCore-200 DSP that helps to efficiently process the audio and remove the strain from the host processor. A high-performance AKM AK4493 32-bit DAC that supports 123dB DNR then takes the signal from the DSP and transforms it into an audio signal that the rest of the hardware can use. This DAC is supports audio at up to 384KHz.


The analog audio signal is then passed through two TI LME49724 fully-differential amplifiers that filter the signal and help reduce distortion. The audio is then passed along to an interchangeable Op-AMP that helps to further boost its signal strength and increase the audio's quality. By default, an ADI AD8056 dual OP-AMP is installed on the card. The end result is relatively high-end audio that is exceptionally clear and free of distortion.

A 6.3mm jack sits on the card's rear I/O port that supports high-end headphones. Audio passed through this port is transmitted in a high-quality DSD format.

To maintain signal quality across the card, EVGA uses several different types of high-end audio capacitors. Audio Note helped to develop the power design for the NU Audio, and this company also has its own brand of specialized capacitors that will be used on the card alongside a mixture of Nichicon Solid State capacitors, WIMA capacitors and Panasonic FC capacitors. Power for the card is supplied via a SATA power connector as opposed to the PCI-E X1 slot that the card sits in as EVGA said this is a cleaner source of power.


During the 1990s a sound card was an essential piece of hardware, and quality solutions with DSPs could have a positive impact on the system's overall performance as they reduced the strain placed on the CPU. This situation has changed, however, as integrated audio solutions have improved significantly over the years and fast multi-core CPUs are now able to handle audio processing with extreme ease.

That's not to say that this card doesn't offer good value and that it won't find a place in the market. There's a reason why companies such as Creative and ASUS continue to sell high-end sound cards, but these products target a rather small niche of people, and it looks as though EVGA is looking to cater to the same group of enthusiasts..

EVGA's sound card business is just taking off, but it appears that mainstream gamers will be able to look forward to the company applying some of what it learns about sound cards to its motherboards. EVGA's new high-end Z390 Dark motherboard will utilize NU Audio for its front panel audio header to drive performance on headphones. The board will also feature some NU Audio software. This motherboard is a relatively high-end solution, but in time we will likely see more of these features trickle down to the company's more mainstream products.

At this time there is no word on how much the NU Audio will cost, but the card is set to launch on January 16.

Tags:  evga, CES, sound-card