The gaming scene is huge and it’s picking up speed in India as well. Immersive is the name of the game and people are looking for the best possible experience in games, movies and music, and graphics and audio form an important part of the experience. For an immersive aural experience, you not only need a good pair or headphones or speakers, but a good source for the audio goes a long way too. Most PCs today use integrated graphics solutions, but for that extra punch one really needs to upgrade to a discrete audio solution. In the case of PCs, a sound card is what you need and ASUS has a new one called the Xonar Phoebus, designed specifically for gamers and movie enthusiasts. The only major brand to sell gaming sound cards is Creative and we only recently reviewed their Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion sound card.
The Asus Xonar Phoebus uses the C-Media CMI8888DHT audio processor. The processor is capable of handling 192kHz sample rate streams for both playback and recording. It also has a built-in audio amplifier like the one used on sound cards such as the Creative Sound Blaster Recon 3D Fatal1ty Champion and also the Asus Xonar STX. This allows you to use high impedance headphones without the need to buy a separate audio amplifier. The sound card has a power output of up to 600 Ohms - more than enough for most high-end headphones.
Line of connectors at the rear of the card
In addition to this, Asus has integrated other audio effects and features such as Xear 3D EX and Dolby Home Theater V4. These are basically effects that can be used for music, movies and games. They try and enhance the sound, but while testing the audio quality in music, we turned these off to get the most natural and normal sound out of the card.
The 6-pin power connector on the Xonar Phoebus
In terms of connectivity, the Xonar Phoebus has 3.5 mm ports at the rear like any other surround sound card. There is a separate port for headphones and a separate set for front, rear and subwoofer-center speakers as well as side speakers. There’s SPDIF support, along with microphone and line-in connects. This makes it feature-rich as far as the connectivity options are concerned.
The plastic dial could've been replaced by a metal one
The bundled remote control connects to the rear of the sound card using three cables. The remote control has a dial that’s used to control the volume. There are two ports - one for headphones and the one for the microphone.
Updated 18 May, 2013, 5:40 pm IST
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