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[X-bit] ASUS Xonar D2 PM Sound Card Review

post #1 of 4
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These days, when every mainboard comes with an integrated sound adapter, few manufacturers dare release discrete audio solutions. Many brands have left the market altogether, others have halted the development process and don’t care much about driver updates. That’s why every new device provokes a huge interest in the PC audio community. We are going to talk about a device like that – a sound card from ASUS.
Quote:
Conclusion

The ASUS Xonar D2 is one of the most universal sound cards available on the market. The highest quality of technical implementation helps it deliver best results among mass products in performance tests. It is great at playing music, provides superb 3D sound in games, and has a highly functional driver. The quality of sound effects and the useful additions like the automatic encoding of multi-channel sound into Dolby Digital and DTS formats will please even a demanding user. Of course, the lack of a Linux driver may be considered a drawback, but if the sound card is used in a multimedia computer running Windows Media Center Edition, the Xonar D2 driver will install a special version of the control panel optimized for viewing on a TV-set.

The support for MIDI devices, the superb implementation of ASIO 2.0 and the high digitization quality of the analog inputs make it suitable for professional use in sound editing applications. If you want to try your skills at composing music, the card comes with a set of professional applications with somewhat limited functionality. The only downside is that you cannot record multiple sources simultaneously although the card’s heart, the C-Media Oxygen HD controller, supports that.

The copy of PowerDVD 7 and lots of accessories for connecting the card to an amplifier or receiver is a plus, too. If you prefer headphones, you don’t need an additional amplifier because the card copes with low-resistance load quite well. But if you don’t have a reason to plug your headphones right into the sound card, the additional cascade of mediocre opamps will be disappointing because it worsens the sound quality but doesn’t make the card less sensitive to the audio cables. By the way, the included cables are long and good enough – you don’t have to replace them.

I won’t sum up the pros and cons of the Xonar D2 as it would mean repeating the body of this review. My main gripes are about the Xonar D2 Audio Center, actually. The card is universal, making it hard to name its target audience exactly. Its strong point is in the highest quality of the analog outputs, which makes it preferable for a home multimedia center with a top-class multi-channel speaker system. Home DVD players with comparable hardware would cost much more than this sound card.

As for improvements I hope for, I really want a Deluxe version of the card with an even better Burr Brown PCM1792 DAC and high-quality opamps on the front output.
Rig
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 5820K MSI X99A SLI PLUS EVGA GTX 1070 FTW 4x8GB G.Skill Ripjaws  
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 5820K MSI X99A SLI PLUS EVGA GTX 1070 FTW 4x8GB G.Skill Ripjaws  
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 850 Pro Samsung 850 Evo Noctua NH-D15 Windows 10 
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Dell U2515H Happy Hacking Keyboard 2  EVGA Supernova 750 G2 Corsair 600Q 
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Logitech G403 Steelseries QcK Mass M-Audio AV40 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 930 @ 3.7 HT Gigabyte X58A-UD3R VisionTek 4870x2 3x4GB's G.Skill Ripjaws 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
500GB AAKS, 2x 640GB AAKS, 2x 1TB Samsung SH-S203B Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Samsung 245BW 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Happy Hacking Keyboard 2 Silverstone OP850 Antec 1200 [Three Nanoxia FX12] [Two San Ace 1011] Logitech G500 
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Razer eXactMat 
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post #2 of 4
I'd consider one. But I'm very happy with my SC.

Nice find though.
Bye Bye 775
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Bye Bye 775
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post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by justarealguy View Post
I'd consider one. But I'm very happy with my SC.

Nice find though.
It would be a downgrade, don't bother. The SQ is great for movies and music on the Xonar D2X, but in games the X-Fi series cards leave it in the dust.....especially the X-Fi Prelude.
PWNzershreck
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post #4 of 4
I'm still waiting for a happy marriage of the Xonar DX and D2. Although the DX is a pretty good compromise already by most accounts.
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Overclock.net › Forums › Industry News › Hardware News › [X-bit] ASUS Xonar D2 PM Sound Card Review