ASUS RoG Xonar Phoebus 7.1 PCI-E Soundcard Review
Ever since the release of the Xonar DX in 2008, ASUS has continually brought their A game to the demanding – and extremely finicky - high end PC audio market. Their Xonar line proved that you don’t need a soundcard with “Creative Labs” or “Auzentech” in its name to be taken seriously by your fellow PC audio and gaming enthusiasts. The latest edition to the Xonar line is the Republic of Gamers Xonar Phoebus and today we will see if it lives up to both of its namesakes.
By calling this new soundcard after the Greek god of music, ASUS is sending a clear message to consumers and the competition alike: this is one serious audio device that’s meant for serious business. However, calling this card after the god of music is a bit of a red hearing since it isn’t a direct replacement for the mighty Essence STX. That card is still tops for audio enthusiasts while the Phoebus and its associated features are firmly targeted towards the high end gaming market.
The Phoebus is the first ever standalone Republic of Gamers soundcard and in this industry, the RoG name means a lot. From the Matrix-series graphics cards to the Maximus, Rampage and Crosshair motherboards, ASUS has consistently placed some of their best products within this range. We’ve consistently given these products high praise so our expectations for the Phoebus are naturally quite high. But even with ASUS’ longstanding experience in this market, it is quite hard to strike a delicate balance between the in-game features which gamers demand while still retaining the necessary quality to output clear, unhindered music and in-movie sound.
While it remains to be seen if Asus have been able to balance both sonic and gaming ability priorities properly –and create a veritable ‘god’ of soundcards - this is first and foremost a gaming orientated soundcard and will succeed or fail based upon its gaming abilities. Although, the Phoebus will have a justify a steep $185 price with crystal clear sound and enhanced gaming abilities if it hopes to succeed in this highly competitive market.
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