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Sounds of Asus heard in Hannover

Sounds of Asus heard in Hannover

At last, someone is stepping up to the task of providing a decent PCIe x1 audio card. Surprisingly, it's Asus...

How about a PCI-Express x1 sound card? We've certainly been waiting for one ever since the first PCI-Express mobos came out back in 2004.

Asus is expected to break the non-trend by releasing an ultra high fidelity sound card with a 118dB SNR playback and 115dB SNR recording capabilities in the near future.

The company is deliberately not supporting any form of EAX, in preference for Dolby and DTS technologies. We're told that the reason behind this decision is because all of the next-gen consoles support Dolby and DTS instead of EAX. Thus, many games will be ported from consoles to PCs and only support the popular home theatre technologies, because developers don't want to spend extra time implementing EAX into their engines.

With this in mind, and the fact that Asus is persuading large publishers and developers to use Dolby and DTS technologies in their games, it could mean a shaky future for Creative soundcards.

The card incorporates many of the features we have seen before on soundcards from other companies, especially those based around the CMedia Oxygen HD audio processo. The features include Dolby Headphone, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Virtual Speaker, Dolby Digtal Live, DTS NEO:PC, DTS:Connect and DTS:Interactive.

However, rather than going down the third party audio chip route, Asus decided to develop its own entirely customised audio processing chip in its own labs and have spec’d out the soundcard with ultra high end OpAMPs, DACs and ADCs. The company even included an EMI shield covering because the internals of a PC case are renowned for being an hive for RFI.

Even though I have personally never had a good experience of DTS NEO:PC, DTS is offering licenses for its IP at extremely aggressive price points to gain traction against the dominant technologies from Creative and Dolby. Also, considering Creative's dominance in the discrete audio market, all kinds of extra competition can only be a good thing for consumer choice.

The Asus rep we spoke to expects the card to retail at a similar price to Creative's X-Fi Extreme Gamer cards.

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24 Comments

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DougEdey 16th March 2007, 07:06 Quote
Seeing as how a lot of games will just be ported now, I'm not going to bother upgrading my PC anymore. Straight to consoles now.
r0z|3o0n 16th March 2007, 07:14 Quote
Totally buying one of them when it comes out, especially if it has even semi good software. Only a couple of days ago I threw my Audigy 2 ZS across the room. It sounds wonderful, but when the software BSODs your PC every couple of hours and the tech support suggests you should format your pc.... well, you lose customers.

Plus, WOW, FINALLY PCI-E SOUND :O
r4tch3t 16th March 2007, 09:10 Quote
I like the RFI shielding on this. PCI-E is good, but I want an optical connection to my stereo.
Mother-Goose 16th March 2007, 09:13 Quote
I was going to get the X-Fi gamer with my new comp but I'll hold off, use the on-board via optical on the striker and get this baby when it is out.
Krikkit 16th March 2007, 10:11 Quote
This looks like a nice sound card, and if it sounds as good as they say it does, it'll be worth a purchase.
Alright, it might not sound awesome in current games, as it doesn't do EAX, it's better than nothing.
Paradigm Shifter 16th March 2007, 10:26 Quote
Hopefully this will take some market share from Creative. They have been far too complacent in recent years. New soundcards are very nice, sure; but fix the drivers for the last generation first, please. ;)

Although the era of more shoddy console ports will be upon us... (oh, wait, we've already had a lot of shoddy console ports... :))
_DTM2000_ 16th March 2007, 10:48 Quote
Nice one Asus. ;) I'm glad to see they're not using Creative's crappy EAX. I've never been a fan of EAX, it just sounds odd to me. Proper Dolby digital and DTS is the way forward in my oppinion. I'm guessing this will have some kind of digital output, I should hope so anyway.
Woodstock 16th March 2007, 11:05 Quote
all i can say is about time, that pci-e gets used more
otispunkmeyer 16th March 2007, 11:18 Quote
now if they made a x16 one, i'd be ringing up the tills purchasing bits for that shuttle XPC with the crossfire support

its only got 2 x16 slots, i'd like one for a med GPU and t'other for sound. or can x1 work in a x16?
r4tch3t 16th March 2007, 11:26 Quote
A 1x card will work in a 1x, 4x, 8x and 16x, thats the beauty of PCI-E :D
3.5SE 16th March 2007, 11:31 Quote
I'm in for one. I want to add a sound card to my HTPC due to some not so crystal clear audio from my onboard sound. All I have left is two PCI-E 1X slots so this would be perfect. It's about time someone released a PCI-E sound card. Coax or optical connections are fine with me. The sheilding is also a major plus.
Snaek 16th March 2007, 15:07 Quote
This should force Creative to come up with a PCI-E solution and then things will get interesting...
Tyinsar 16th March 2007, 15:32 Quote
I'm not a big fan of the idea of Asus creating their own chip because I'm afraid it will go the way of Nvidia's SoundStorm. - But I would really like to see a popular alternative to Creative because they seriously need a kick in the pants. I had some hope for Razer's sound card but they're just not big enough pose a serious challenge.
DXR_13KE 16th March 2007, 15:39 Quote
i hope 2 things about this, they open up their drivers (so people can write drivers for linux and other OS) and that this analy rapes creative.
Bindibadgi 16th March 2007, 18:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
I had some hope for Razer's sound card but they're just not big enough pose a serious challenge.

I swear their booth is like the Tardis. I found it on day one and now I can't find it again, it's just disappeared. :(:( I really need to get to see them tomorrow before I leave and get some more mice, soundcard and headphones for you lot.
Bladestorm 16th March 2007, 20:04 Quote
After Creative's "support" over the last few years Its possible this audigy 2 might be the last one of there cards I buy, but I've never had a clear replacement in mind, we'll have to see, but this might just do it :)
Corvyne 16th March 2007, 20:20 Quote
Apparently this is a collaboration with Analogue Devices inc, the guys who do their on board audio.
Interestingly enough creative did have a pci-e card on show at CES, only they weren't making a lot of noise about it as I only saw a couple of reports about it. So I suspect creative's response to this will come sooner rather than later.
Still it's nice to see a pci-e sound card finally being released, hopefully Asus will stop using propriety connectors for their audio riser cards and use pci-e for them as well.
Tyinsar 16th March 2007, 20:58 Quote
@ Bindi: ;) I'd love to see reviews on these as done by you guys
|V| 4 L k i 3 R 16th March 2007, 22:16 Quote
Can we get some Hi-res of these? Was hoping to see what opamps and caps they are using to get an idea of the build/component quality.
rpsgc 17th March 2007, 10:08 Quote
Finally! Some serious (hopefully) competition to Creative! :D
Glider 17th March 2007, 10:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article

The card incorporates many of the features we have seen before on soundcards from other companies, especially those based around the CMedia Oxygen HD audio processo. The features include Dolby Headphone, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Virtual Speaker, Dolby Digtal Live, DTS NEO:PC, DTS:Connect and DTS:Interactive.
Small typo there ;)

And it was about time that those useless PCIe X1 slots got filled with some junk ;)
Hazardous 17th March 2007, 11:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bladestorm


After Creative's "support" over the last few years Its possible this audigy 2 might be the last one of there cards I buy, but I've never had a clear replacement in mind, we'll have to see, but this might just do it :)

Whilst I'm currently using a Creative X-Fi card meself (Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro), they certainly aren't the be all and end all, in the world of PC soundcards, by any means.
There are some damned decent alternatives available

Terratec spring immediately to mind for a good range of affordable mid - high end PC cards.
I recently bought my younger son a Terratec Aureon 7.1 for just £30.xx + P&P, and it sounds surprisingly good - considering the low price B)

Pinnacle also offer quite a few good cards as well - particularly their 'M-Audio' range.
I still have their 'Revolution 7.1' going strong in one of my rigs, and it's sounding just as good as the day I bought it

And I have a (BlueGears) HDA 'Digital X Mystique 7.1 Gold' pumping out the vibes in another rig


If you're happy with what you've got just now, whilst you wait for that Asus PCI-E card, fair enough... but there are good alternatives for anyone looking to buy something other than a Creative card for their PC now ;)
Starbuck3733T 19th March 2007, 20:59 Quote
Is it just me, or is this photo regular PCI? (not express)

http://www.bit-tech.net/content_images/cebit_2007_images/cb-asus-snd-365-2.jpg
rpsgc 19th March 2007, 21:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starbuck3733T
Is it just me, or is this photo regular PCI? (not express)

http://www.bit-tech.net/content_images/cebit_2007_images/cb-asus-snd-365-2.jpg

The Xonar D2X is PCI-E x1, the Xonar D2 is PCI.
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