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Xonar EMI shield concept

Xonar D2K at CeBIT, image courtesy of VR-Zone
ASUS readies its upcoming Xonar D2 and Xonar D2K PCI and PCIe x1 sound cards

ASUS last week at CeBIT demonstrated its upcoming Xonar-series sound cards. The upcoming Xonar-series spawns two variants, the D2 and D2K in PCI and PCIe x1 interfaces. Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect multi-channel audio encoding technologies are available for digital multi-channel audio. The Xonar-series also features 7.1-channel analog outputs for those that prefer analog to digital.

Early reports claim the ASUS Xonar-series feature an Analog Devices audio DSP, however, ADI denies any involvement in the sound card.

“I checked with our sales team and there is not an ADI part in this unit,” said Sandra Perry, product line manager, SoundMAX, DSP Division.

ASUS also touts Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Virtual Speaker and Dolby Virtual Headphone technologies for multi-channel upconverting and surround sound with stereo speakers and headphones. ASUS rates the Xonar-series with an 118dB playback and 115dB recording signal-to-noise ratios. The upcoming Xonar-series sound cards support 24-bit/192 KHz playback and recording resolutions and ASIO 2.0 as well.

ASUS internal testing reveals the Xonar-series is capable of low total harmonic distortion rates. The Xonar-series has 0.000006% THD on all eight analog outputs and the single line input, between the frequencies of 20Hz to 20 kHz. ASUS also equips the Xonar-series with an EMI shield and touts it provides “stable audio quality.”

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RE: Wow
By exdeath on 3/23/2007 4:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I use high quality heavy duty cables for my speakers and analog video where it counts. I think I paid at most $200 just for a pair of heavy duty molded cables with gold plated banana plugs for my front main speakers, and in retrospect that was probably slightly too much... but at least they look nice since they are visible.

I also went extra careful running a 30 foot insulated and shielded component video cable by spending $100 to ensure that it was 3 independant 75 ohm broadcast grade coax cables, of the kind suitable to carry high bandwidth 1080p over a 30 foot run in a perm. in wall installation for a projector. The wall jack that is really no more than a bunch of RCA couplers is my weak link, but it's unavoidable.

The s-video cable... well that was the lowest signal I was willing to wire up for a HDV system (forget composite) and just got some cheap cable. s-video sucks anyway and you can't change that by throwing money at it. Besides my sources are just pre-component video game consoles. For example the SNES which put out 256x224 through a cheapo RGB->NTSC RF noise generator doesn't look so hot blown up on a HD projector no matter how much you mess with it... I have slight ghosting, but I don't know if thats avoidable with a better cable as S-video isn't typically desireable for long runs in the first place.

The HDMI cable was like $40 for a 10 meter run, the cheapest I could find. My only concern was that the signal merely GET to the display over the long run. As long as that happened, the image would be perfect. Digital is kinda a 'it works or it doesn't' thing.

Unless you are running unusual distances, a fiber optic cable is a fiber optic cable. A $5 one and a $100 THX Monster one will have absolutely NO difference in that 4 foot cable from your PS3 to your stereo!

RE: Wow
By exdeath on 3/23/2007 4:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
The people I laugh at are the ones that get 99.999999% nitrogen filled cryogenically treated cables that are suspended off the ground with no bends, etc.

Even in my case I doubt the solder connections and wiring from the jacks to the internal crossovers in my Def Techs are as good or better than my $200 cables...

RE: Wow
By rcc on 3/23/2007 5:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
Digital is kinda a 'it works or it doesn't' thing.

That's an extremely simplistic view of digital. From a practical standpoint it is generally true, however, as your thresholds get noisier, the receiving circuit has to guess as to whether it's a 0 or a 1. Granted, even if it makes an error, you'll probably never hear it as it's one bit out of many. OTOH, the same type signal in your computer will drive it to it's knees because every bit is critical.

Digital audio, be it HT, cell phone, whatever, will typically work until it doesn't. The threshold is almost, but not quite like throwing a switch. Analog actually holds up better after a certain point because the signal is still there, however noisy; where a digital system becomes random junk.

Only partially applicable, I know. But it's an important distinction in general.

RE: Wow
By Zoomer on 3/24/2007 9:52:32 AM , Rating: 2
You mean RG6 cable for the video. :)

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