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Old July 25, 2012, 08:39 PM
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Default ASUS RoG Xonar Phoebus 7.1 Review Comment Thread

The ASUS RoG Xonar Phoebus has everything a gamer could possibly want in a sound card: high end specs, some impressive features, a handy break-out box and an impressive pedigree. However, in an audio market that's littered with lower-priced competitors can this supposedly "gaming-grade" product stand out?

Read more here: ASUS RoG Xonar Phoebus 7.1 PCI-E Soundcard Review
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Old July 26, 2012, 12:30 AM
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Good review AKG
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:49 PM
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So would AKG sugest then that buying the Xonar card with the senheiser pc350 bundle is a better purchase at the moment then 1 of these ?
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:53 PM
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It depends on if you have a decent headset or not. If you dont already own a good headset and want an excellent combo, the Xense is the better deal. If you want a card that is a bit more advanced on the software emulation side...get the Phoebus. Its a slightly better card. The only exception is if removable op-amps matter to you. To me this is a deal breaker, but for most it is not. YMMV...but you cant go wrong with either card.

edit:
Thanks jackie :)
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Last edited by AkG; July 26, 2012 at 02:59 PM.
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Old July 26, 2012, 04:46 PM
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Well-written review, thanks for posting it.

At the risk of going off-topic, do you have a particular opamp you like to use in the Xense, and then does the RMAA testing of the replacements come to the same conclusions as your ears do, or is it a case where the originals test better but you prefer the sound of the replacements? 'cause I haven't heard either of these cards myself, but I gotta say, from a historical perspective (ya I'm old) scoring a 116dB SNR sounds freakin' awesome and listening to a 24 bit flac on such a card should blow away the best money-no-object stuff from not that long ago.
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Replacing op-amps and the end result is highly subjective and you have to know exactly what kind of sound profile you want. Some create a more warm, others colder, others still a more neutral (with many variations on these themes) profile that highlights (or hides) certain things. You can literally spend years find the 'perfect' set for YOUR ears....that may out and out sound like garbage for 'my' ears....and when you replace your cans...you might have to start all over again. It can get THAT exacting. I recommend a trip over to Head-Fi.org - Headphone forums and reviews for audiophiles. THEY can describe the pros and cons way better than I can and give you oodles of options. Honestly, start with the stock option (they are decent) and spend your cash on GOOD cans. A good set of headphones are a lifetime investment. Just be warned if you do decide to go down that road...it can become very additive.
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Old July 26, 2012, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AkG View Post
It depends on if you have a decent headset or not. If you dont already own a good headset and want an excellent combo, the Xense is the better deal. If you want a card that is a bit more advanced on the software emulation side...get the Phoebus. Its a slightly better card. The only exception is if removable op-amps matter to you. To me this is a deal breaker, but for most it is not. YMMV...but you cant go wrong with either card.

edit:
Thanks jackie :)
Well AKG, i ask as say I have a X-Fi Xtrememusic (gold jack plate model) & a just over 1 yr & abit old PC350's .... So like in that sence if i could get decent resell on the 2, would it be worth it to me to sell em & buy the xense combo deal, or more so just focus on a phoebus or other soundcard as a upgrading route to be abit more "up to date/futureproof'ed"? Keep in mind I multitask on audio as well (gaming, ventrilo & occasionaly windows media player in the background) ... so like say 70% of the time "gaming" & 15% of the time each of music/movie watching + recording guitar stuff for utube video's. :)
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Old July 26, 2012, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AkG View Post
Replacing op-amps and the end result is highly subjective and you have to know exactly what kind of sound profile you want.
Ok, but for the reviews of the cards you ran loopback tests using RMAA and shared the results with us. After swapping in different opamps, do you run the RMAA tests again to compare the results, or do you only use your ears to judge?
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Old July 27, 2012, 12:29 AM
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In the review, you said, "Xonar lineup’s main selling feature has always been their ability to emulate most EAX features rather than extreme sound fidelity. With every generation, ASUS’ EAX emulation has become better and better and the Phoebus is no exception."

Neither of the games you tested use EAX or OpenAL in their sound engine. The GX option that ASUS sound cards use emulate EAX 2.0. The only games that I can remember being coded for EAX in the last four years were Bioshock, Kane & Lynch, and Call of Juarez. Those were true EAX/OpenAL hardware titles and a Creative card would perform hardware acceleration.

This card does not perform any hardware acceleration or playback of EAX effects in either of the two titles, so "Asus' EAX software emulation" was never at work. BF3 and Modern Warfare 3 have their own built-in sound engines. For BF3, did you change from headphone for headphone testing and check imaging and then home cinema for 5,1/surround testing?
Modern Warfare 3 has no options to change for sound besides music/sound/dialogue levels, so you heard whatever you heard.

Just wow dude, wow.

Cheers mate.

Last edited by jmacguire; July 27, 2012 at 12:38 AM.
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Old July 27, 2012, 06:12 AM
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First thanks for reading the review and actually taking the time to register. We always appreciate when confused people do this. We mainly do reviews and the comment thread to help others... no matter how they go about asking for help.

It seems the full list of games I used is missing from the page. Mistakes happen, and thank you for bringing it to our attention. Previous soundcard reviews had most of them (it changes over time), but I can see how it looks 'odd' without it. I talk about BF3 as there was a MAJOR issue with this game and the Phoebus. As in crashing to the desktop major. Asus was able to get their driver issues sorted out before I finished testing. Otherwise, the gaming results would have been less kind. It is funny that you mention BioShock. It is one of the dozen or so games I use in testing. It is one my favorite titles and one I always use in testing...just about anything game related.

I test using as wide a variety of games as possible. This includes EAX. Whether or not you like CL and their products or not, EAX emulation is an important feature of any gaming orientated soundcard. It is a benchmark upon which all cards - rightly or wrongly - are judged. If it was missing EAX emulation this would be a serious issue.

You may feel otherwise and that certainly is your right, but it doesnt mean we should ignore it just because it doesnt fit into what you consider right and proper testing. The newest version of ASUS' software emulation is GX 3.0. It is slightly better than previous 2.5 version. Asus has refined their software and its abilities with every new gen of card....just like they have refined all the other aspects of their software.

If a soundcard has an option or feature, we test it. Be it software or hardware we test it. Not everything is explicitly mentioned in the review as space is limited. I used the headphone amp for stereo and 5.1 outputs via my Psyko Audio analog headset. I also config for virtual surround sound using my senny cans.

Hope that helps clear some things up for you. If doesnt, please just drop another comment and I will see what I can do to help you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmacguire View Post
In the review, you said, "Xonar lineup’s main selling feature has always been their ability to emulate most EAX features rather than extreme sound fidelity. With every generation, ASUS’ EAX emulation has become better and better and the Phoebus is no exception."

Neither of the games you tested use EAX or OpenAL in their sound engine. The GX option that ASUS sound cards use emulate EAX 2.0. The only games that I can remember being coded for EAX in the last four years were Bioshock, Kane & Lynch, and Call of Juarez. Those were true EAX/OpenAL hardware titles and a Creative card would perform hardware acceleration.

This card does not perform any hardware acceleration or playback of EAX effects in either of the two titles, so "Asus' EAX software emulation" was never at work. BF3 and Modern Warfare 3 have their own built-in sound engines. For BF3, did you change from headphone for headphone testing and check imaging and then home cinema for 5,1/surround testing?
Modern Warfare 3 has no options to change for sound besides music/sound/dialogue levels, so you heard whatever you heard.

Just wow dude, wow.

Cheers mate.
You should get better, clearer audio with the newer cards. Will it make a huge difference? Honestly, I dont know. You mainly use the soundcard for gaming and most games are not overly taxing on a cards abilities. Honestly depends on what games you play. But unless you really find your existing solution 'lacking' I wouldnt. Its not like you are using oboard sound....nor is audio that big a deal for your needs. YMMV but you could upgrade but I honestly dont know if you would go "wow, I have been missing out on so much". If you know what I mean. ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrybear View Post
Well AKG, i ask as say I have a X-Fi Xtrememusic (gold jack plate model) & a just over 1 yr & abit old PC350's .... So like in that sence if i could get decent resell on the 2, would it be worth it to me to sell em & buy the xense combo deal, or more so just focus on a phoebus or other soundcard as a upgrading route to be abit more "up to date/futureproof'ed"? Keep in mind I multitask on audio as well (gaming, ventrilo & occasionaly windows media player in the background) ... so like say 70% of the time "gaming" & 15% of the time each of music/movie watching + recording guitar stuff for utube video's. :)
I dont bother with RMAA testing after chaging op-amps. Its done for purely subjective reasons....so I use my own ears and see which sounds "better"....to me. If you know what I mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardric View Post
Ok, but for the reviews of the cards you ran loopback tests using RMAA and shared the results with us. After swapping in different opamps, do you run the RMAA tests again to compare the results, or do you only use your ears to judge?
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Last edited by AkG; July 27, 2012 at 06:32 AM.
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