PDA

View Full Version : Asus Xonar DX


Pages : [1] 2

CaptNKILL
06-10-10, 11:28 PM
I just picked one of these up for a very nice price from Dell. I got it for $63 shipped after a coupon and if the mail in rebate works I should get this card for $43 when all is said and done.

For that price I was willing to finally take the chance and swap out my X-Fi Xtrememusic which I've been using for about 4 1/2 years. I was satisfied with my X-Fi but installing or updating drivers tended to be like playing Russian Roulette. On top of that, they don't make all of the driver components available for download with updates so doing a clean install requires fiddling with a few hundred MB of bloatware downloaded from various questionable sources. I'd also had some random bugs such as screwed up digital output at random (I had to pay $5 to get the live encoding too) and strangeness with EQ settings. Aside from this, I had very few complaints about the card. The analog sound quality was good, especially with a touch of Crystalizer effects turned on. When games used EAX HD the effects were pretty impressive. But the card itself covers up at least half of my GTX 470's fan because of the placement of my PCI slots, so I really wanted to move to a PCI-E sound card. ;)

So, I bought the card and it arrived in about 36 hours because it shipped from within my state. I was very impressed. ;) I downloaded the latest driver and was amazed to find that it was only 11Mb in a .rar file and 27Mb expanded. I uninstalled all of Creative's software and put the card in my PC. Luckily, my wiring did allow the the Xonar's floppy power connector to be plugged in without having to reroute any power cables. I booted up the PC, installed the driver, rebooted and everything was already working.

There is a system tray icon that leads to all of the configuration options that I need. With my X-Fi it was only possible to get a system tray icon by manually pulling the "volume panel" installation files from a driver CD or from a torrent and sneaking it into the driver installation folder. I immediately started playing music and... wow... I'm blown away. I really never thought my X-Fi was lacking in music playback quality at all, but this thing sounds MUCH clearer without any EQ adjustments. Things just sound more crisp and tight, and the highs are much clearer. The highs were almost a bit too loud for me in some songs but once I got used to it it seemed perfect.

Right now I'm listening to one of my favorite (and most beautiful mixed) albums which is A Pleasant Shade of Gray by Fates Warning. I've got my old Sennhieser HD212 Pro headphones plugged into my Z-5500 receiver and it sounds fantastic. I rarely wear headphones any more, but really, this is definitely the best these things have ever sounded. I haven't put games through their paces yet, but I'm eager to hear the card's DS3D GX2.0 in action. It supposedly intercepts all DirectSound3D and even EAX HD calls in software and converts them to OpenAL without needing any additional wrappers. Even Creative needed ALchemy to make non OpenAL games work with 3D sound, so I'm hoping Asus' approach works as well as advertised.

I just can't stop listening to music with this thing though. I can't imagine what the high end Xonar models sound like. I'll post more impressions as I play games and do more with the card, but so far this is the best sound card I've used in just about every way.

Easy to set up. Well designed software that is bloat-free. Amazing sound quality. No problems at all so far.

Xonar DX for music = :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

bob saget
06-10-10, 11:55 PM
Nice. Noted. Having never owned a dedicated sound card, I am kind of curious about the difference. I usually check craigslist for second hand ones, as I can't see myself shelling out more than 40 bucks.

Rakeesh
06-11-10, 12:12 AM
It supposedly intercepts all DirectSound3D and even EAX HD calls in software and converts them to OpenAL without needing any additional wrappers. Even Creative needed ALchemy to make non OpenAL games work with 3D sound, so I'm hoping Asus' approach works as well as advertised.

There's actually no OAL involved at all. There's just no need for it. The game just makes the DS3D API calls like it normally would, and then the sound card renders them including support for creatives proprietary EAX calls.

Creative's approach requires OAL because DS3D in vista/7 no longer includes HAL support. Microsoft removed DS3D HAL because:

A) Only one IHV (creative) actually uses it
B) It's the cause of a lot of BSOD's that gamers see (who then blame it on microsoft.)
C) In the age of multi-core CPU's, it's very much obsolete.

Creative on the other hand disagrees with point C (it's the main selling point to gamers for buying their cards instead of sticking with onboard audio) so they work around this by creating a wrapper that intercepts DS3D calls, passes them to another API (OAL) and then that API does HAL.

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 12:29 AM
Really? I thought it went through OpenAL. Either way, it works without having to install files into every game directory like you have to do with ALchemy.

The card does support OpenAL though. So it can do anything in new games, and it supports EAX 2.0 and 5.0.

Apparently it doesn't support EAX 3 or 4 though, so I guess it just falls back to EAX 2 in those games, but I doubt that's a big deal really. EAX 5 has been around for more than 5 years now.

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 01:46 AM
Hmm... well...

I just played some random games.

Quake III sounds great.

Cryostasis sounds very good, though when I turn on "advanced HD" it doesn't seem to have any noticeable effect.

In STALKER: Call of Pripyat however, hardware sound is completely broken. I can hear a couple sounds for a few seconds, and then all I can hear is rain when I have it set to "generic hardware" or "Xonar Sound Device". And in software mode it works but doesn't even have surround sound. If I turn off DX mode in the Xonar control panel it simply makes the game act like its in software mode, regardless of what I choose.

This isn't nearly as transparent as I'd hoped. It doesn't even work. :o

EDIT: Ok, renaming\deleting the wrap_oal.dll file in the Call of Pripyat\bin folder seems to fix the problem. I don't lose sound with hardware enabled, though the game just doesn't sound too great. The player's gun sounds are so quiet you can barely hear them over rain. I think it was pretty much the same with my X-Fi though. As much as I wanted to play this game, it looks bad, it sounds bad and the AI seems worse than it was in the first game, so I think I'll hold off until it gets fixed up properly.

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 02:51 AM
Meh... just played Mirror's Edge and I get strange audio artifacts in both software and hardware modes (they don't sound any different so I don't think hardware is working).

It makes this *blip*blip*blurp*blop* sound as she runs, like some part of her foot step sound is getting garbled. I just played through this entire game last week and I don't remember hearing this before. Its louder than the footsteps.

Renaming the OpenAL32.dll and wrap_oal.dll files in the game's Binaries directory doesn't seem to have any effect, so I don't think its even using OpenAL.

*sigh*

This is why I stuck with a Creative card for so long.

DiscipleDOC
06-11-10, 08:21 AM
(w/opics)

nekrosoft13
06-11-10, 08:34 AM
This isn't nearly as transparent as I'd hoped. It doesn't even work. :o.

Meh... just played Mirror's Edge and I get strange audio artifacts in both software and hardware modes (they don't sound any different so I don't think hardware is working).

It makes this *blip*blip*blurp*blop* sound as she runs, like some part of her foot step sound is getting garbled. I just played through this entire game last week and I don't remember hearing this before. Its louder than the footsteps.

Renaming the OpenAL32.dll and wrap_oal.dll files in the game's Binaries directory doesn't seem to have any effect, so I don't think its even using OpenAL.

*sigh*

This is why I stuck with a Creative card for so long.

yap, I also tried Xonar before, twice actually, my first one was the large PCI card, that card had a fun switch your speaker position mode. Every few sounds speaker channels would get swapped around, talking to asus about it, they deemed it defective.

couple months later I borrowed the large PCI-e card, and while the channels didn't get swap around, also was a pain to get audio working correctly in most games. good thing this card I just borrowed and didn't have to go through the RMA process to return it back to the store.

I really hope one of these days Asus gets the emulation right, but so far they still seem to have issues.

Thanks for confirming that capt.

Yaboze
06-11-10, 09:34 AM
Sound cards have become a pain in the butt over the last few years. Now I know why so many just do onboard.

My X-Fi PCIe is working fine, but there hasn't been a driver update in a year and sometimes, randomly, I get a stutter or skip. Other than that, it's been OK. If I ever go SLI, I'll have to ditch the card.

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 11:02 AM
This really irks me.

They haven't updated their drivers in 6 months, yet I'm having several problems already.

Do they just not even have anyone working on drivers for sound cards any more?

nekrosoft13
06-11-10, 11:09 AM
asus cards use modded c-media chips, it might say asus on the chip, but its based on c-media, maybe they have to wait for c-media to write the drivers?

if i'm not mistaken they are based on C-Media Oxygen HD.

bacon12
06-11-10, 11:27 AM
I really don't have these problems that I hear you guys talking about. I played Mirrors Edge with my D2 in and didn't notice any weird footsteps, or think there was sound missing or misrepresented.

I also just retired that card to the HTPC and bought the Essence ST to replace it with. Can't find a single thing to complain about with it either, and it drives my hd 650's with ease.

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 11:37 AM
Do you have GX mode enabled? Mirror's Edge works alright with it off, but that means software audio only.

Basically, the feature that made me purchase this card has to be turned off most of the time to prevent errors. If it at least had some kind of profile system that would automatically turn it on or off for certain games, I could probably live with it. But at least with my X-Fi I never had to mess with the crappy drivers once I got it installed. It just worked in every game without any issues.

nekrosoft13
06-11-10, 12:24 PM
Do you have GX mode enabled? Mirror's Edge works alright with it off, but that means software audio only.

Basically, the feature that made me purchase this card has to be turned off most of the time to prevent errors. If it at least had some kind of profile system that would automatically turn it on or off for certain games, I could probably live with it. But at least with my X-Fi I never had to mess with the crappy drivers once I got it installed. It just worked in every game without any issues.

so alchemy is not a bad thing ;), since it works like a profile sysetm

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 12:51 PM
so alchemy is not a bad thing ;), since it works like a profile sysetm

Indeed.

If Asus took the time to make each game work properly, then their system would be great.

I just played Crysis and it sounds good. I can't remember if the game used any EAX effects though.

nekrosoft13
06-11-10, 01:03 PM
yeah no EAX in crysis

bacon12
06-11-10, 01:05 PM
Do you have GX mode enabled? Mirror's Edge works alright with it off, but that means software audio only.

Can't remember but if you had issues probably not.


How many current titles use EAX now? Didn't think it was that many really.

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 01:09 PM
There really aren't that many, which makes it all the more disappointing that Asus can't get them working. Why bother making software to interpret EAX5 and DirectSound3D hardware calls if you aren't going to make them all work?

Logical
06-11-10, 01:14 PM
I'm really surprised that Creative haven't graced us with a new top end sound card (the PCI-e revision of the X-fi fatality isnt new hardware). I've been tempted to get a new soundcard, probably creative but keep holding on thinking a new top end product will be released...but it hasn't. :(

nekrosoft13
06-11-10, 01:24 PM
I'm really surprised that Creative haven't graced us with a new top end sound card (the PCI-e revision of the X-fi fatality isnt new hardware). I've been tempted to get a new soundcard, probably creative but keep holding on thinking a new top end product will be released...but it hasn't. :(

soon, very soon

http://www.guru3d.com/imageview.php?image=21894

SoundBlaster Titanium HD

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 01:33 PM
Hmm... looks good.

http://www.thx.com/press-releases/creative-announces-sound-blasterr-x-fi-titanium-hd-and-usb-sound-blaster-x-fi-hd-featuring-thx-trustudio-pc-audio-technology/

Too bad the $99 model is USB. I'd never spend $200 on a sound card.

nekrosoft13
06-11-10, 01:44 PM
yeah, the $200 price is high, but check out the vr-zone preview, it uses really high end components, stuff that you find in expansible equipment, this is audiophile card

taking that under consideration its really not expensive, just go look how much audiophile cards cost.

few audiophile cards
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/167349-REG/Digital_Audio_Labs_CDX01.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/504539-REG/Digigram_VB152000201_VX442_PCI_Universal.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/645911-REG/ASUS_XONARESSENCESTX_Xonar_Essence_STX_PCI.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/698862-REG/E_MU_24_56204_1212M_PCIe_Digital.html

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 01:51 PM
Yeah, so its good for audiophiles but it'd be nice to have an updated card in the $100 range.

The X-Fi Titanium that's available now is pretty much identical to the Xtrememusic that I've had for almost 5 years.

A PCI-Express X-Fi with lighter drivers and output quality similar to this Xonar would be damned near perfect for me.

nekrosoft13
06-11-10, 02:07 PM
maybe its comming later, first they get one card out the door, and later follow with lower model

CaptNKILL
06-11-10, 02:13 PM
maybe its comming later, first they get one card out the door, and later follow with lower model

That's possible.

I'm not really sure what to do with this card right now.

The music playback quality is fantastic, but... really, I'm trying to spend less time sitting at my computer doing nothing while listening to music. I want to either be enjoying games in all their glory or not sitting here.

So far, I've spent way too much time searching (in vein) for fixes for the games that don't work perfectly with the Xonar, and most of them have been out for quite some time.

Its really too bad. I got a smoking deal on this thing but... if it doesn't suit my needs... :(