ASUSTeK Computer Incorporated (ASUS
) was founded in Taiwan in 1989. Over the last few decades they have built a solid reputation in the technology sector and their products are well known throughout the electronics industry. ASUS has manufacturing facilities in several different cities around the world. In addition to their motherboards, ASUS also produces graphics cards, laptops, sound cards, and several other electronic devices and peripherals. As I write this review, ASUS' Xonar HDAV1.3 line of audio cards are the only cards available today offering a Blu-ray high definition audio bit streaming solution for the home theater pc (HTPC). This review will be focusing on the latest addition to the HDAV1.3 line, the Xonar HDAV1.3 Slim shown in the promotional image below.
Before taking a closer look at this interesting audio card, let's take a look at some published information on it, as taken from the official product page
on the ASUS website.
» World's First HDMI1.3 Audio Card with True Blu-ray Audio Designed to Fit All Home Theater PCs
» World exclusive true blu-ray audio playback
» Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD-Master bit streaming
» Full-HD Audio/Video digital output
» Supports cinematic 24p frame rate
» Low-Profile design to fit HTPC chassis of all kind
» Audio Processor: ASUS AV200 (Max, 192KHz/24bit)
» Bus Compatibility: PCI 2.1 specification compatible
» HDMI: HDMI 1.3a, HDCPA 1.2, DVI 1.0
» Video Resolution:
» DTV Resolution up to 1080p (including 1080/24 True Cinema Output)
» PC Resolution up to UXGA
» Color Depth and Range: Deep Color up to 48-bit per pixel (RGB or YCbCr), xvYCC color space standard
» HDMI 1.3 Playback Format:
» 7.1 channel LPCM 192KHz/24bit
» DTS-HD Master Audio High resolution audio
» Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus pass-through
» S/PDIF Digital Input and Output:
» Coaxial and High-bandwidth Optical Combo Connector
» Up to 192KHz/24bit
» Output to Dolby Digital, DTS, WMA Pro
» Front Panel Analog I/O: Up to 192Khz/24bit out / 96KHz/24bit in
» ASIO 2.0 Driver Support: Up to 192Khz/24bit
» Sample Rate Conversion Quality: Almost lossless, high-fidelity floating-point filters, with:
» -140dB THD+N (typical value for 44.1K->48KHz, 24bit)
» 145dB Dynamic Range (typical value for 44.1K->48KHz, 24bit)
» Operation System: Windows Vista/XP(32/64bit)/MCE2005
» Dolby® Technologies:
» Dolby® Digital Live: Dolby Digital Live encodes any audio signal on PC in real-time to Dolby Digital (AC3) 5.1 surround sounds to your home theater environment through one single S/PDIF connection
» Dolby® Headphone: Dolby Headphone technology allows users to listen to music, watch movies, or play games with the dramatic 5.1-channel surround or realistic 3D spacious effects through any set of stereo headphones
» Dolby® Virtual Speaker: Dolby Virtual Speaker technology simulates a highly realistic 5.1-speaker surround sound listening environment from as few as two speakers.
» Dolby® Pro-Logic IIx: Dolby Pro-Logic II is the well-known technology to process any native stereo or 5.1-channel audio into a 6.1- or 7.1- channel output, creating a seamless, natural surround sound field.
» DTS® Technologies:
» DTS® Connect contains DTS Interactive Encoder and DTS Neo: PC technologies. DTS Interactive encodes any sound on PC to "DTS 5.1 Surround" high bit rate digital stream to your home theater through S/PDIF connection. DTS Neo: PC can convert stereo audio into 5.1 or 7.1-channel high-fidelity surround sounds.
» Smart Volume Normalizer™: Normalizes the volume of all audio sources into a constant level and also enhances your 3D sound listening range and advantages in gaming.
» Xear 3D™ Virtual Speaker Shifter: Virtual 7.1 speaker positioning and shifting to adjust the optimum sound field for your speaker placement
» Magic Voice™: Modifies and disguises the sound tone of your voice for VOIP and online chat applications
» Karaoke Functions: Music Key-Shifting and Microphone Echo effects
» Flex Bass™: Professional Bass Management/Enhancement system for small or large speakers
» Other Effects: 10-band Equalizer/27 Environment Effects
» 3D Sound Engines/APIs:
» Vista: DirectSound3D® GX 2.5, DirectSound® HW, DirectSound SW, A3D®1.0, OpenAL generic modes, 128 3D sounds processing capability
» XP: DirectSound2.5 SW, A3D®1.0, OpenAL generic modes, 128 3D sounds processing capability
» Bundled Software Utility:
» ArcSoft Total Media Player: Supports playback of all three Blu-ray disc video formats: High Definition MPEG-2, AVC, and VC1's well as all kinds of other High Definition (HD) content: WMV HD, QuickTime HD, DivX HD, and H.264 HD
*Note* - Future versions of this card should be bundled with an updated version of TotalMedia Theatre3 designed specifically for the Xonar HDAV1.3 Slim.