The Asus Xonar U7 – See What You Hear

This slogan is very accurate for the Xonar U7 and works wonders for most any type of audio output any self respecting gamer might be using. It has considerable size but not one that puts off especially after using it for a multitude of enhancements.

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It doesn’t work outright when plugged in, no piece of sophisticated peripheral does that, after the drivers are installed however you get to experience an entirely new method of enjoying sound from your computer furthering the capabilities of whichever output device the user might have whether it be a humble headphone set or an extensive eight piece surround sound system.

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It is very important to note that this is an accessory that doesnt require opening up the CPU to enhance the audio; it is a stand alone accessory that gets power from the USB current and outputs using analog jacks. You can see how it all connects below:

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What’s so special about the Xonar you ask? Apart from being awesome with an equalizer that rivals Winamp, numerous software switches for specific range enhancements, Dolby digital support, and most especially – sonic radar!

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While I haven’t explored it to its core I was able to gloss over a substantial amount of toggles and hotkeys which allow for visibility triggers for the gaming overlay. In my short stint using it I find that its effectiveness is isolated for FPS or adventure types in first person view.

In the screenshot below, the sonic radar is the one on the upper right, you can choose where it is located on the screen, as well as how it displays the data (colors, bar type, etc.):

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How the sonic radar works is like a radially laid out volume level display with the surround sound reception being tracked so if footsteps are coming from the left you will see it spiking towards the same. I’m not engaged in any such game at the moment but I did try it on D3. There (in Diablo III) it tracks sound coming from the direction where the character is looking at as "front" so the radar wasn’t working very well as it shifts as much as the character moves about the area. On occasion though the radar goes up on other software (SketchUp for instance)… im guessing the radar is triggered by some form of cue from whatever rendering plugins are being used and if its game-like then the Xonar fires it up… if the accessory is connected and sonic radar is turned on.

I can see the effectiveness of the Xonar as it can greatly enhance the compatibility of any system to all types of sound output device up to 7.1 surround. It offers flexibility through its own equalizer as well as one Dolby industry standard. It provides a gamers edge through the display of visual cues for appropriate response. A truly specialized piece of hardware peripheral that is sure to cater to plenty of enthusiasts and audiophiles.

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There isn’t word yet whether this will make it to the Philippine market but one thing’s certain – should an enthusiast be creating a multimedia entertainment system with a computer at its core then the Xonar would be more than an imperative component… it is a necessity.

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