The ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Surround Sound Card is complemented by a robust retail bundle covering several software titles and an abundant collection of extra cabling. ASUS includes a total of four 3.5mm-to-RCA adapters for connecting RCA equipment to the Xonar D2 while two pair of SPDIF Optical Adapters are provide along with a single SPDIF Optical Cable. For MIDI inputs, the Xonar D2 utilizes a MIDI card that connects to the sound card with an external four pin cable. Additionally, a MIDI Y Adapter is included to marry up to external MIDI components.
On the software side, ASUS includes a CD of “Lite” software titles such as Ableton Live, Sonar LE, Dimension LE, and Project 5 LE. These titles give the end-user powerful tools for a wide range of audio editing, conversion and mastering functions. Ableton Live Lite and Sonar LE offer a complete package for music creation, production and playback while Dimension LE and Project5 LE deliver software synthesizer capabilities for complete composing and production of custom audio. For more details, we suggest visiting the Cakewalk website for a complete breakdown on each program’s functionality. We were pleased to see a fully functional and current copy of PowerDVD 7 included in the package and it was not of the scaled down 2-Ch flavor that has been appearing in many OEM bundles lately. This version is the 5.1 edition that can be upgraded to full Dolby Digital EX 7.1 Surround Capability.
Rounding out the bundle is a Dolby Headphone Dolby Virtual Speaker Demo DVD and a Drivers CD which includes Windows XP and Vista drivers, Electronic User’s Manual, Portable Music Processor and RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.6.
The ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Sound Card itself is built around a 24-bit ASUS AV200 High-Definition Sound Processor that boasts a SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) of 118dB, which is the best SNR we could find, scouring the market for comparable solutions. The card supports 44.1, 48, 96 and 192KHz sampling with floating point filters claiming near lossless conversion. The card is also equipped with four Burr-Brown PCM1796 24-bit D-A Converters for digital sources while a single Cirrus-Logic CS5381 24-bit A-D Converter handles analog signal. The card is encased with an EMI (Electronic Magnetic Interference) shield to ensure surrounding components do not have a negative effect on audio quality. For added aesthetics, ASUS added illumination to the shield while the rear port collection is also illuminated, making finding the right port a bit easier to locate.
The back end comes with all necessary inputs/outputs to fit virtually any usage scenario imaginable. The top starts with a MIC and Line-In port followed by Headphone/Front, Side Surround, Center/Sub and Rear outputs. The last two RCA ports are for SPDIF Input and Output. The top of the card included three connectors as well, one marries up to the external MIDI card while the second supports direct CD-IN, with the third Aux-In port connecting to a TV-Card or other device. (hothardware.com)