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Thread: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

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    Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    ASUS Xonar Xense One sound card and Sennheiser PC350 Xense Edition headphones put to the test.
    Read more.

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Asus Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    ASUS Asus eh?

    (article/thread title - that wasn't me! )

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    You're seeing things.

  4. Received thanks from:

    kalniel (11-08-2010)

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Good review, impressed that the Audigy 2 still stands up to the latest developments. I have been waiting for some info about the xense for a while, any news as to when or if the soundcard will retail without the sennheiser's? I have a creative x-fi fatality bought when i was on win xp which just doesnt play well with my current windows 7 system and i am thinking about a change. I use Astro A40's headset, would this be a good combo with the xense?

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Thanks.

    The Audigy 2ZS played perfectly well with windows 7 for me - you lose some of the bonus features that let you play around with the sound effects etc, but just for playing relatively straight it worked very well. Maybe it's a case of doing less is better - I haven't tried an X-fi with windows 7, but check for the latest drivers (there was some fuss about Creative deliberately nobbling X-fi (1) cards in favour of x-fi 2 in terms of compatibility via drivers, but I don't know if that is actually the case or if it still applies).

    For retailing without the Sennheisers you can get the Xonar Essense STX card which operates along similar lines (shielded, headphone amps etc.) although I think it uses slightly different op amps. Alternatively the dual package is actually fairly good value, so you could sell off the PC 350s!

    As for the Astro A40s, am I right in reading they're only 50 Ohms? They might be okay, but I think one of the main impressions I got from my testing was that this card really suits higher impedance headphones rather than lower. The lowest gain setting is <64 Ohms, so it'd be using the same setting as I tested the DT 231s with.

    But that's only talking about the headphone outputs. You might be much better off ignoring the cards amp and instead using the S/PDIF out and use that as input into the mixAmp for the A40s. Then you've got the multi-channel input and your amp will be better matched to the headphones. How much quality that'll give you over another setup I'm not sure - a lot of the design/cost for this card has gone into the headphone amp area so you'll be paying for some things that you won't be taking advantage of, but it'd probably still give a good result.

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    My good old X-fi Fatal1ty PCI cars works perfect on windows 7 for me.

    It does seem there is little nead to upgrade sound card that often as the improvements aren't that stagering really.

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Quote Originally Posted by Percy1983 View Post
    It does seem there is little nead to upgrade sound card that often as the improvements aren't that stagering really.
    For gaming I'd agree.

    But I think I'm using my computer more and more as a more general entertainment system, and in that respect bringing up the audio quality of music and films is definitely a welcome development.

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Firstly, thanks kindly for the excellent review.

    I am currently looking to purchase both a new soundcard and a headset, so the Xense package sounds quite attractive. However, it does leave me wondering whether this "tuned" combo, would be a better sounding investment then say.. The Asus Essence GTX and Sennheiser PC360 combo.

    So perhaps I should formulate my question as follows:

    If budget is not a limiting factor, and the aim is to buy the best soundcard + headset (I prefer the fit of the Sennheiser models) combo available for allround use (games + music mostly), then what would your top-pick be? I would prefer to stay clear of clip-on or stand-alone mics.

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Thanks ExF.

    Firstly a disclaimer - I haven't tested that many cards and headphones so I can't give a very qualified answer. But in my opinion if budget wasn't an issue I'd probably use two cards and two headsets!

    It just seems like gaming and music are at such different ends of the spectrum with respect to the demands made on both cards and headphones. For gaming it's hard to beat the consistency of the soundblaster products in my opinion, so go for the best X-Fi based card you can - that used to be the Auzentech X-Fi prelude because that card also put some effort into getting music etc a bit better than the purely Creative built cards. But I'm not sure what happened to it - the latest product I can find is the X-Fi forte 7.1 which is kind of designed for htpcs, but I think might end up being the best out there regardless of its size, and it's natively PCI-E rather than using a bridging chip like the Xonar (not that I wouldn't have preferred PCI to PCI-E anyway...).

    While for music the cards that concentrate on providing good op amps (many of which are user replaceable) and eliminating distortion are more useful. A headphone amp is absolutely a great feature to have if you don't have one separately, so we're heading back towards the Xonar's for ultimate quality, though the X-Fi forte might be close enough depending on the headset...

    Likewise on the headphone front if you have a requirement for a boom mic built into the headphones then your quality drops compared to the range of products available for purely hi-fi listening. I've not tried multi-speaker 'surround sound' headphones, I suppose they might add something for games as the attempts at modelling 3D positional information on stereo headsets is disappointing in my experience. Yet the quality of these kind of headsets is even worse for music listening!

    So it's quite a tough call. My *instinct* would be to try the Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 with the Sennheiser PC 360s, but I'd want to do a back-to-back test against the Xsense set to be certain. I'm pretty sure the former would win out gaming, but the latter might be better for music, depending on what kind of music and tone you prefer.

    Hope that helps!

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Excellant review, everything well covered from a more personal view than an electrical one. My X-fi fatal1ty work perfecty for me in win 7 64 but its used mainly for games and only short films and a little music listening. Have you tried the youp-pax drivers for the xfi?? I find them better than creatives own attempts.

    Would have liked to see the review against the xfi pro instead as IMHO they xfi is much better with headphones than my old audigy.

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Thanks dfour,

    Quote Originally Posted by dfour View Post
    Would have liked to see the review against the xfi pro instead as IMHO they xfi is much better with headphones than my old audigy.
    Yes you're right that would have been a better test - I was limited to what I had to hand and my stuff's a little old (I even had to borrow another computer because my own system doesn't even have a PCI-E slot for expansion cards )

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Thanks dfour,


    Yes you're right that would have been a better test - I was limited to what I had to hand and my stuff's a little old (I even had to borrow another computer because my own system doesn't even have a PCI-E slot for expansion cards )
    I could potentially lend you a xfi pro (the one with the higher signel to noise ratio on pci slot) if you still have the asus to hand.

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Sorry for the delay! That's very kind of you to offer, but I'd probably need to wait until I build a new system (might not be that long) before I could do another back to back - as mentioned, I had to borrow a computer as it was and the donor wouldn't like to be dragged away from her Sims again quite so soon...

    How would you say the sound changed from your old Audigy to the X-Fi? I know that I used to think the Audigy was pretty bad but it turned out I had bad drivers installed and after playing about with lots of variants (including daniel_k sets etc.) the recent Creative ones were working great. I'd expect the X-fi to be better in games and for 3d positioning, that's its forte. But I'm not sure it'd be any better for music (unless you like the mp3 processing it does - for pop that's fine, but I detest most 'enhancements' for classical).

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    Re: Reviews - Reader Review: ASUS Xonar Xense gaming audio set

    Top review, 'nuff sed
    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
    When I say go, both walk in the opposite direction for 10 paces, draw handbags, then bitch-slap each other!

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