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Old 12-23-08, 04:00 PM   #1
LordJuanlo
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Default Asus Xonar D2

I finally got the card (replacing a X-Fi Fatal1ty) and have done some game tests. I won't talk much about sound quality, let's say that it's simply superb, every sound is very rich and detailed, and I find music playback better than my X-Fi. SNR is higher and it uses better quality DACs. I have connected it via analog cables, so didn't test DDL and DTS connect, but it should work just like my motherboard Realtek chip. I am extremely happy with this card, Creative Labs must work really hard if they want me to get another Sound Blaster.

Let's talk about gaming. This card uses a propietary technology called DirectSound3D GX under Windows Vista, it has been developed by Asus (afaik) and allows 3D audio with EAX in DirectSound3D games under Vista.

It's similar to Creative Alchemy, but it works in a different way: Alchemy copies a couple of files (DSOUND.DLL and one INI file) to the game folder, so calls to DS3D are intercepted by the fake DLL and converted into OpenAL calls that are processed by the X-Fi audio processor. Asus DS3D GX does not copy anything to games folder, it directly intercepts calls to DS3D by enabling GX on its control panel, so no modification to game folder. And it works quite well I must say, but not problem free. Unlike the X-Fi, the Xonar DSP is software based so everything is processed by the CPU. It looks like CPU usage is around 5% of one core with 32 voices, 7% with 64 voices and 10% with 128 voices. So people with duos and quads won't see framerate degradation at all.

This technology makes the game believe the sound card is EAX 5.0 compliant, but it's not a full implementation (yet). But I must admit that Prey, Quake IV and Bioshock are impressive, those games use EAX 5.0 and the Xonar emulates it quite well.

This is a list of games I have tested today (a couple of minutes in every game, so still not sure about audio problems after hours of gameplay). Tested with latest Asus driver (beta) available today under Windows Vista x64.

Games that do not run at all:

- None

Games with no 3D sound:

- STALKER Clear Sky, it only works in DS software mode, when enabling Xonar OpenAL there is no sound (just some background sounds of the game). In DS software mode it's limited to stereo.

Games with sound issues:

- Max Payne 2, it has some nasty pops and cracks while playing under DS3D emulation (looks like EAX saturation to me)
- Unreal Tournament 2004, volume problems, announcer is ok but sfx sound at very low volume, easily adjustable

Games that work perfectly (5.1 and EAX reverb if apply):

- Assassin's Creed (great reverb effects that I don't remember on the X-Fi)
- Bioshock
- BloodRayne 2
- Call of Duty 4
- Call of Duty World at War (on Vista sound must be limited to 16 bit 48 khz or it will crash, the game does not like 24bit 192 Khz)
- Call of Juarez
- Counter Strike Source
- Crysis Warhead
- Dead Space
- Fallout 3
- Far Cry 2
- FEAR (5.1 and EAX 2.0, but not EAX Advanced HD)
- Gears of War (a game that is not very 5.1 friendly, kudos to Asus here)
- GTA IV
- Half Life 2 (read this to get it to work)
- Half Life 2 Episode 1 and 2
- Left 4 Dead
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Lost Planet Extreme Condition
- Mass Effect (great merit, another one not very 5.1 friendly)
- Max Payne
- Portal
- Prey
- Prince of Persia (2008), disable GX on Asus panel or it will crash to desktop with sound loop in less than 5 minutes
- Prince of Persia Sands of Time
- Prince of Persia Warrior Within
- Prince of Persia The Two Thrones
- Quake 4
- Sacred 2 (add -skipopenal to shortcut to get perfect 5.1 sound)
- The Witcher Enhanced Edition (with latest EAX patch for the game)
- Tomb Raider Anniversary
- Tomb Raider Legend (didn't have 5.1 with the X-Fi, however I didn't test Alchemy)
- Tomb Raider Underworld
- Tron 2.0
- Unreal Tournament III

I will keep the list updated as new drivers are released and new games are tested.
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Last edited by LordJuanlo; 12-27-08 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 12-23-08, 04:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

glad you liked it
i just bought the Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe pci-e fore my HTPC build
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Old 12-23-08, 04:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

Thanks for your impressions. You might want to post this on the Asus forums. Maybe a software person will take a look and provide some insight as to the bugs you are experiencing.
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Old 12-23-08, 04:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

I removed my xonar from my gaming rig because of ventrilo and vista issues. It is now in my file/ htpc/ server and is driving my z-5550's as I type. The sound is amazing, and I never found a game that I had any issues with, but I pulled it before cod waw was released.

I could not be happier with the drivers, and other than ventrilo there was no issues. Unfortunately it was a show stopper for me in my gaming rig, and the X-fi that came with the mobo is whats there now, to bad it sounds like ass..

I wish there was something I could replace it with that would not be a pain in my arse and sound great. I refuse to fight with drivers thou, and I will keep it till there is something that will work with everything as it should.
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Old 12-23-08, 04:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

from the loook of it, glad i got x-fi
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Old 12-23-08, 05:35 PM   #6
LordJuanlo
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

Fixed World at War problem, in Vista Audio properties audio was set at 24bit 192khz, it looks like World at War is the only game that won't start with this setup. BTW the game sounds incredible.

Glad I dumped the X-Fi, now Lord of the Rings online does not crash, at last!!!. This situation reminds me of the good old times I had with the Gravis UltraSound and later the Aureal 2, when Creative was not the only one.
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LG GGW-H20L BluRay & HD-DVD / Logitech Z-5500 5.1 DTS / Westone 3 Earphones
Asus Xonar D2 / 360 Elite Wireless Controller / Gigabyte Odin GT 800W
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Old 12-23-08, 06:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJuanlo View Post
Glad I dumped the X-Fi, now Lord of the Rings online does not crash, at last!!!. This situation reminds me of the good old times I had with the Gravis UltraSound and later the Aureal 2, when Creative was not the only one.
The Aureal Vortex 2 was the greatest sound card I ever owned. When they added EAX support through drivers, Half-Life sounded absolutely amazing--better than comparable Creative cards. Too bad the company was absorbed before they could release proper drivers for Windows 2000.

BTW, is your Xonar PCI or PCI-Express?
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Old 12-24-08, 02:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnotaku View Post
BTW, is your Xonar PCI or PCI-Express?
Got the PCI version, it's cheaper, and it's the same exact card. PCI Express version has a bridge chip that adds a bit more of CPU usage and it requires a molex power cable from the floppy, because x1 slot does not give enough power.

This Xonar is an amazing card, and I love the control panel. It launches inmediatly, it's not bloated like all Creative software. I have been testing some of my favorite audio tracks (no MP3, but FLAK lossless tracks) and I can tell the difference, it sounds better than X-Fi Fatal1ty. I find bass superior, I have setup the crossover at 80hz, just like I did with the X-Fi (and that's what THX says for compliant speakers) and it's clearly more deep, now I wonder if bass redirection on the X-Fi was working at all.

EDIT: Fixed Half Life 2 5.1 support, yay!
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Core i7 920 / Noctua NH-U12P SE1366
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1 x Intel X-25M G2 80 Gb / 3 x Seagate 1 Tb (RAID5)
ATI 5870 (Graphics) + GeForce 9600GT (PhysX) on Samsung SM244T 1920x1200
LG GGW-H20L BluRay & HD-DVD / Logitech Z-5500 5.1 DTS / Westone 3 Earphones
Asus Xonar D2 / 360 Elite Wireless Controller / Gigabyte Odin GT 800W
Windows 7 x64
(also a 360 and a PSP )

Last edited by LordJuanlo; 12-24-08 at 03:41 AM. Reason: Half Life 2 fixed
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Old 12-24-08, 08:37 AM   #9
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Smile Re: Asus Xonar D2

Check if the 3D sound works at BR2 - "Club Strages" level:



With 2D sound, there is a "Blade" style background music, but, with the 3D sound enabled in the game, there is no background music in this part of the level.
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Old 12-24-08, 10:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

I sure wish i had gotten a different card to my x-fi fatality. I've heard quite a few good reports on the Asus xonar...next time ill actualy research into sound cards without believing all the hype surrounding creative.
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Old 12-24-08, 11:49 AM   #11
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

I think im about done with soundcards. Im going to try and go without one on my next build and see how good the onboard is on the Foxconn Blood Rage. If it is, then woo! If it isnt...ill probably go for something NOT Creative. Maybe the Xonar, or maybe something a bit higher end and more professional.
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Old 12-24-08, 11:53 AM   #12
LordJuanlo
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Default Re: Asus Xonar D2

Quote:
Originally Posted by walterman View Post
Check if the 3D sound works at BR2 - "Club Strages" level:



With 2D sound, there is a "Blade" style background music, but, with the 3D sound enabled in the game, there is no background music in this part of the level.
It works, I can hear the music and it's 3D positioned. Added BloodRayne 2 to working games list. Did I say I LOVE this card?

Quote:
Originally Posted by breathemetal
I think im about done with soundcards. Im going to try and go without one on my next build and see how good the onboard is on the Foxconn Blood Rage. If it is, then woo! If it isnt...ill probably go for something NOT Creative. Maybe the Xonar, or maybe something a bit higher end and more professional.
I was thinking about removing the X-Fi and not buy a new sound card, with the new sound model in Vista everything is done in software. My motherboard gives a very good sound quality, encoded in DTS in real time. Some new games like the new Prince of Persia, Crysis or Tomb Raider Underworld work perfectly with it, full 5.1 support. And in the future no game will need OpenAL or DS3D to get 5.1, everything will be done in software, so the era of audio accelerator cards is over.

However if you absolutely need 5.1 in every game (including released months or years ago) you will need a Sound Blaster or a Xonar, because motherboard audio does not support 5.1 in old games under Vista. Realtek has created 3DSoundBack but they haven't updated it since july, it's version 0.1 and not sure if they are still developing it. It works quite well in some games, but no so good in others, it's far from Alchemy or GX (Xonar implementation).

However in your sig I see you have a 2.1 speaker setup so if your motherboard has decent audio you don't need a sound card
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Core i7 920 / Noctua NH-U12P SE1366
Gigabyte EX58-Extreme / 6 Gb OCZ PC3-12800 Platinum
1 x Intel X-25M G2 80 Gb / 3 x Seagate 1 Tb (RAID5)
ATI 5870 (Graphics) + GeForce 9600GT (PhysX) on Samsung SM244T 1920x1200
LG GGW-H20L BluRay & HD-DVD / Logitech Z-5500 5.1 DTS / Westone 3 Earphones
Asus Xonar D2 / 360 Elite Wireless Controller / Gigabyte Odin GT 800W
Windows 7 x64
(also a 360 and a PSP )
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