TODO alt text

Asus Xonar Xense review

A high-end sound card and headphones package that's worth an invest

Our Verdict

Essentially a £160 sound card for £100. If you haven't got a high end set of headphones, it's a good way to buy into hi-fi audio.

For

  • Fair value for money
  • Great gaming effects
  • Powerful headphone amp

Against

  • Not as flexible as buying separates

With its highbrow hi-fi spec, Xonar Xense from Asus is part of a relatively new trend of sound cards that are looking to win back audio buffs who have been avoiding the pitfalls of PC sound processing by offloading everything to an external amp, or sticking to vinyl.

Armed with processors and other components more commonly found in stacking amps and CD players, it began with cards like Auzentech's Prelude and Asus's own Xonar DX2, and includes Creative's new X-Fi Titanium HD.

By their very nature, these sound cards are niche, and in danger of falling over into the dreaded audiophile category, where power conditioners and dowsing rods supposedly make a difference to the perceived sound.

Gamers, and anyone who never owned a pair of speakers larger than their car will, wisely, look to spend their money elsewhere.

Audiophilia isn't just about profligacy, though. The Xonar Xense does throw in a Sennheiser PC-350 headset and all the features you'd expect in a quality headphone amp, which makes the overall price just about bearable.

The Xense card itself has a basic spec similar to Asus' own high-end Xonar Essence STX (£150) or Creative's X-Fi Titanium HD (£160), and includes a pair of £100 headphones. That's an overall saving of roughly £70, and delivers something close to a studio experience.

What's not to like about that?

Tech Specs

Product TypeSound Board
Product FamilyXonar
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorExternal
DAC Data Width24 bit
Sampling Rate44.10 kHz, 192 kHz, 24 bit 44.10 kHz, 24 bit 192 kHz
Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)118 dB
Host InterfacePCI Express
Height4522.7 mm
Width2823.2 mm
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelXense
Product NameXonar Xense 90-YAA0J0-0UAN00Z Sound Board
Dimensions4522.7 mm Height x 2823.2 mm Width
Product LineXonar
Audio ProcessorASUS AV100
Manufacturer Part Number90-YAA0J0-0UAN00Z
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com