It’s been quite a while since I touched a sound card. I remember back when the Abit (yes, the long dead brand) introduced their NF7-S that comes with SoundStorm, I think it was around that time where sound card’s begin to fade into the horizon as audio chipset on motherboards pick up in quality.
USB sound cards have been around for a while and the U7 is the latest of Asus’ range of USB sound cards.
The Xonar is compact but feature rich as you can see from the pictures.
Paddings at the bottom for sturdy placement, the USB Audio switch is also located at the bottom of the unit.
Here’s a view of the product specification
That’s certainly a lot more than what the average onboard audio system provide.
More details at the official product page.
Setting up the device was just a matter of connecting a few cables, getting up and running was a piece of cake.
I don’t have a 7.1 speaker system to test but what I did was to experience the Xonar in games, I tried Battlefield 4 and StarCraft II and I was using the Cooler Master Pulse-R headset. I also had the DolbyÂ® Home Theater v4 installed but I did not make adjustments to the presets.
3 key points I’d like to share from my experience.
1. Asus wasn’t kidding when they say “Integrated headphone amplifier pumps up every sound detail” on the product page. I hear more details than I did with my onboard sound system. For those interested, I was using an Asus A88X Pro motherboard.
2. Sound virtualization was good, the audio environment in Battlefield 4 seems more immersive, giving it a much more realistic experience.
3. It’s loud, a lot louder than what I could get out of my usual audio setup.
The Xonar U7 retails at RM 359 of which I find it very difficult to locate other similar priced products. As a whole, the U7 is great to use for both desktop and mobile computers, it’s feature rich and has good build quality.
It occupies some desktop real-estate but I think that’s fine for a portable unit. For those who aren’t going to use it anywhere else, PCI-E sound card would be the one for you.