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ASUS Xonar U3 Sound Cards (XONAR_U3/UAD/B/A)

by Asus
| 12 answered questions

List Price: $60.99
Price: $37.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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  • High performance headphone amplifier drives headphones/headsets to its full potential
  • Best surround sound experience with support for Dolby technologies
  • ASUS GX2.5 enables realistic 3D audio effects in games
  • Xonar hyper-grounding technologies separates audio signals from noise which results in clean and clear sound
39 new from $37.99 2 used from $25.00
$37.99 & FREE Shipping. Details In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

ASUS Xonar U3 Sound Cards (XONAR_U3/UAD/B/A) + Zalman Zm-Mic1 High Sensitivity Headphone Microphone + Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones
Price for all three: $152.69

Buy the selected items together

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Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 3.8 x 7.7 inches ; 8 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0054L8GVK
  • Item model number: Xonar_U3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service. Click here to make a request to customer service.
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: June 6, 2011

Product Description

The ASUS Xonar U3 upgrades your audio via USB for crisp and clear sound in music, movies, games, and VOIP.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

I haven't really noticed a significant improvement in music sound quality.
In my opinion they both offer convincing surround sound effects, with the Dolby Headphone being the better of the two.
Clyde A. Abercrombie
Bottom line, if you want good quality sound and don't want to spend an arm and a leg, buy this.
Michael P. Styler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Clyde A. Abercrombie on December 25, 2011
Verified Purchase
First off I should be honest and tell you that I am not an Audiophile in the truest sense of the word. I played the saxaphone in high school, but I was a mediocore player at best, only toward my senior year could I really tell if my instrument was flat or sharp. I would say my ear is better than most, but not as good as some, especially considering the large number of trained reviewers on the internet.

Testing equipment:
Laptop: Alienware M17xR3
Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-AD700
Soundcards: Asus Xonar U3 USB & FiiO E10 USB DAC
Player: Media Monkey 4.0
Source: Varriable BitRate Mp3 encoded w/EAC(Lame) @ 192-224 bitrate (which most sources conclude to be transparent and near loseless in quality).
For gaming I played Battlefield 3.

The Asus Xonar U3 is a new USB soundcard from Asus that retails for roughly $40. It is comparable to the Creative X-Fi USB 1095, Creative X-Fi Go, and many other USB soundcards. It has an output for stereo headphones/speakers, a microphone input, and the output can be set SPDIF/Optical which enables full support of Dolby Digital Live (this makes the U3 the cheapest way to enable in game surround sound optical audio on a laptop). The U3 can be set as a 7.1 channel audio device within Windows 7.

The software/driver package on the U3 is very easy to install. The software supports all the standard mixer options, and has multiple preset DSP profiles (Digital Signal Processing) including Dolby Headphone (which is probably why you are buying this headset), Music, Gaming, Movie, and HiFi (which disables all processing and plays the music as close as possible to the original format, this is the mode that was used for all music playing tests).
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Anon on July 26, 2011
Verified Purchase
This little card is awesome. It is a huge upgrade in sound quality over my gaming laptop's onboard sound (Alienware M17x R2). Music and movies sound dramatically better, but the real payoff is in games. Dolby Headphone through the Asus Xonar U3 makes games so much more immersive, and the positional audio is really, really accurate (using AT ATH-D700 headphones), improving competitive play immensely. The only knock on this card is that it is not a true audiophile DAC: the sampling / conversion rate is locked at CD quality. This isn't really a legit knock though, as that's not what the U3 is for.

I bought this card after having tried and returned a Creative X-Fi Go! Pro. The sound quality on that card wasn't noticeably better than my onboard sound, the positional audio using Creative's CMSS/THS-TSP was not very accurate, and worst of all, the card made my computer unstable. Some may argue that instability and installation hassles make the Creative cards worthwhile because they fully support EAX/OpenAL. It is true that other cards don't support the newest EAX/OpenAL specs, but so what? No modern games use these sound engines.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By P. knight on June 6, 2012
I have read the few user reviews here and can only agree that the bells and whistles adjustments with synthesized environments are very nice, but disagree with anyone who thinks that this is better than a $25 PCI slot Sound Blaster. http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Labs-SB0570L4-Blaster-Audigy/dp/B000LP0R3E/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1338993874&sr=1-1
The test was easy for me as I have the mentioned Sound Blaster card in one of my PC's and I switched between it and the Asus on the same set of speakers and there is no doubt whatsoever that the Sound Blaster is substantially more hifi than the Asus.
I do have a use for the Asus on an All In One computer that has terrible audio quality and I am very pleased with the improvement, as would anyone with a laptop who has bad onboard sound, so I don't regret the purchase at all and I'm even a big Asus fan which is why I took the chance on this unit, but for anyone who has a PC and is wondering where his/her money is better spent for an audio improvement in the $30 zone, the Sound Blaster blows this one away.
The vocals are the best identifying difference. With the SB, I can hear the quality and detail of the singer's voice, whereas with the Asus, it sounds manufactured, a type of imitation of the original and a bit on the scratchy side. If I had to put a number on it, I would say that the SB is twice the hifi quality of the Asus.
I've been an audiophile fan since the '60s and have worked in the hifi audio biz for many years of my life. I've always wanted to get the best sound I could afford, but now, as I get older, it's more than just a desire, it's more of a need, as the cheap crap audio systems that are prevalent all over, irritate me to the point that I would rather not listen to music at all, than listen to them.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By AK on October 19, 2011
Verified Purchase
This product has pros and cons.

Pros: Has good volume output compared with different onboard amps in laptops. Sound quality wise if your laptop audio sounds like cardboard, then this will be an upgrade. Unit is quite compact. No batteries.

Cons: Even with FLAC files audio is a bit flat and muddled. Sounds like listening to music through a wall.

In the end did I enjoy listening to music with this C-Media DAC, No. It has louder audio if you need it and nothing more.

For reference this was tested with Beyerdynamic 770 and 880 headphones, Panasonic, Sony also. Also own the Xonar ST, STX, DG, and other USB DAC's.
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ASUS Xonar U3 Sound Cards (XONAR_U3/UAD/B/A)
This item: ASUS Xonar U3 Sound Cards (XONAR_U3/UAD/B/A)
Price: $60.99 $37.99
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com