The ASUS Xonar Xense is a beast, it is probably the last soundcard you will ever need to buy. It has every single necessary audio input and output for any enthusiast, and can even meet the demands of professionals. The bundled headphones, Sennheiser PC350 Xense edition, are great for games and movies, but not so much for music. The microphone attached to the PC350 is ultra clear and easily rivals more expensive standalone mics.
Conclusion: In terms of performance, the Xonar Xense nails it. Flat frequency response, indiscernible noise levels, and superior dynamic range place this card leagues ahead of typical onboard solutions. Replaceable op-amps, high quality capacitors, EAX emulation, and a great headphone amp seal the deal. Put simply, the Xonar Xense is difficult to ignore if you're looking at purchasing a dedicated audio solution.
Pros: Near flat frequency response, Inbuilt headphone amp, Insignificantly low noise levels, User replaceable op-amps, Drivers work flawlessly on Windows Vista and 7, Dolby technologies including Headphone and Pro Logic, Top of the range componentry
Cons: Included headphones are mediocre at best, No hotkeys to quickly alter settings in Xonar Audio Center, EAX emulation not quite as good as a native hardware solution
Excerpt: The Asus Xonar Xense sound card/Sennheiser PC350 headset bundle definitely lives up to its claim of being a premium gaming set. If you want to hear games, movies and music the way they were meant to be heard, this combination of products will make it happen.
Conclusion: I'm not really sure where to start for this conclusion, as I'm still sort of in shock in just how well the Xense and PC 350 performed. I had an idea that the sound card would do well, given the similarity in design to the Essence STX, but I really wasn't expecting the headset to sound this good. I've heard the regular PC 350 headset at the Sennheiser booth at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and I wasn't overly impressed.
Pros: High-end headphone sound quality, Replaceable op-amps for the headphone amplifier, Strong sound isolation and noise-cancellation keep you and the real world separate, Dolby Headphone provides excellent surround virtualisation, Comfortable ergonomic design, Connectivity to analogue and digital surround sound speakers, Dolby Digital Live encoding on-the-fly for surround sound gaming using S/PDIF digital audio, Rotating ear cups allow easy storage/transportation
Cons: Cannot lower the volume <25% using the inline volume control
Conclusion: The first thing to stand out is the poor pairing of the ASUS sound card and the BeyerDynamic DT 231 headphones. It seems the card really does want to drive higher impedance headphones and telling it not to bother seems to make it give up. Sure, the sound is often warmer than the Audigy, but the loss in detail, texture and separation far outweighs any benefits.
Excerpt: ASUS are certainly no strangers to the TweakTown test labs with many hugely triumphant products over the years. One of the best of the best in terms of those products comes in the shape of the Xonar line of soundcards, which I have of course tested my fair share of with much resulting admiration for the manor in which these quite glamorous soundcards were presented to me.
ASUS Xonar Xense 7.1 Premium Gaming Audio Set Review
29 November 2010
Conclusion: The sound card market is amazingly competitive and yet the Xonar Xense is more than capable of standing out from the rest of the pack. Like many other upper echelon offerings, it has removable op-amps, great SNR and a bevy of gaming features that will not only make audiophiles and gamers alike extremely happy with their purchase.
Excerpt: 4 Flares 4 Flares × Behind the scenes at Kitguru we are dedicated audiophiles, so whenever we get the chance to look at some of the latest and greatest PC audio hardware, we jump at the chance. Asus have a reputation as one of the finest quality enthusiast companies on the market with a wide portfolio of products.
Excerpt: Soundcards have come a long way from the early days. Once the ability to create MIDI music was absolutely mind-blowing. Then Creative and Turtle Beach released soundcards that really did enable sound, as we'd expect it.