ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Sound Card

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ASUS Audio Center


The Asus Xonar D2's performance is facilitated by a comprehensive driver package dubbed Asus Audio Center.  This utility unlocks the sound card's wide array of features and settings.  The default Main View provides a graphic spectrum of the current audio playback along with DSP Mode, EQ Mode and Output Device status.  The right panel consists of a volume dial, SVN (Smart Volume Normalization) for maintaining a constant volume level from all sources and Mute controls.  The layout is relatively intuitive and comes with a small learning curve thanks to a comprehensive electronic User's Manual.  Impressive layout aside, we did find the animation of the spectrum meter very laggy, which took away from its overall impact somewhat.

Main View (a)
Main View (b)

The Main menu also has a DSP Mode which consists of four control options at the lower right of the menu.  These Digital Sound Processing modes are pre-configured settings to be used in various playback scenarios.  With either Music, Movie or Game Mode enabled, custom equalizer settings are overridden and automatic adjustments are made to the Virtual Speaker positioning for proper audio positioning and playback.

To access further options, the main menu can be expanded to reveal additional controls.  The most configurable screen of the collection is the main view which offers options for channel setting, sampling rates and the like.  The Audio Channel menu is only available within Microsoft Vista and provides 2, 4, 6, and 8 channel settings that are synchronized with Vista's integrated speak configuration settings, while sampling rates range from 44.1, 44, 96 and 192KHz.  The Analog Out menu sets the speaker configuration for headphone, 2, 4, 5.1 and 7.1 speaker configurations.

 Mixer  Effects

The Mixer screen offers level controls for all available inputs and outputs.  The Effects screen is where the majority of the driver's extra effects reside.  There is a 10-band equalizer with 11 presets and user-defined options.  The drivers also offer environment settings which apply special effects such as Concert Hall, Arena, Underwater and a dozen other choices.  The field size can also be managed from Small, Medium and Large to adjust the over all intensity of each effect.

 Karaoke  FlexBass

The next screen focuses on karaoke functionality, which does a surprisingly good job at removing vocals while maintaining the music's integrity.  The song's pitch can be tweaked and the vocals can we reduced or nearly removed, only audible when the volume is at excessive levels.  The FlexBass option gives greater control over bass signal, offering crossover adjustments from 50HZ to 250HZ, while the speaker size can be adjusted between small and large.

Tags:  Asus, Sound card, PC, Xonar, Car, sound, 7.1, pci, card, Ultra, xo, ULT, id, AR

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