Asus Xonar U7 USB DAC & AMP Review
I got this Asus Xonar U7 soundcard, (DAC&) in 2014 when I was exploring the idea of Hifi music & Lossless audio qualities. And this product has a very good audio output quality for its price point. This DAC/AMP is best used for pairing with Computer Speakers especially the 5.1&7.1 setups and thereby replacing the on board sound cards.
The Technical Specifications are as follows:
DAC: Cirrus Logic CS4398
Connectivity: Analog Output
4 x 3.5 mm jack (1/8") (Headphone out /Side out/Center-Subwoofer out/Rear out)
2 x RCA (Un-Balanced)
1 x 3.5 mm jack (1/8") (Line-in/ Mic-in combo)
1 x S/PDIF out (1 x Coaxial)
Special Features: Dolby® Technologies : Dolby® Home Theater v4
Sample Rate and Resolution: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 46 KHz
Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 114db
Here are my thoughts and impressions of the Asus Xonar U7.
Sound Quality: This sound card is actually very good upgrade to sound cards installed on PC motherboards. The sound is balanced. The fidelity is high. The lower end of sound spectrum (bass) is tight. According to me, the best part of this sound card is its ability to convert stereo to 5.1/7.1 surround sound. I have this sound card paired with my creative inspire 5.1 setup. There is no leaking of sound in channels, and hence the sound separation is very good. Further tweaking of sound is possible through numerous iterations and settings and can be done in the interface to suit your personal taste. Switching from on board sound card to Xonar U7 one feels a stupendous increase in quality and quantity of sound. For me, I just enable the Dolby home theater settings in Music mode and the sound expands exponentially. Beautiful it sounds. As for the headphone amplifier part of this sound card it has 3 gain settings for low gain (<32 Ohms), medium gain (32-64 Ohms) and high gain (>64 Ohms). Pairing this with my Sennheiser HD650s the 300 ohm headphones, the Xonar U7 drives them fairly good. The most important part is that the headphones amplifier is quiet and does-not produce noise even when sound is increased to high levels and this is the most desired quality of any amplifier. The sound-stage is very open, bass is tight, highs are crisp, everything is to the point. The Xonar U7 sounds musical when paired with HD 650s. It give a non fatiguing sound. One can listen to the 650's for hours.
Build Quality: The build quality is good. It is made of plastic but does not have a cheap feeling to it. It is relatively compact (130mm X 80mm X 25mm, L x W x H) in size. This card is aimed for portable use taking power from the Computers USB Port. All in all it is a very well built package.
Final Verdict: All in all this is a very good product and provides audiophile level quality. This sound card shines when paired with 5.1 & 7.1 setups. The Asus software complements the hardware perfectly and give us a product which is worth having. If you are an audio enthusiast, and are looking for a superior alternative to the quality of your onboard soundcard, then you should go ahead and get this sound card.