• PCI Express
  • 5 x 3.5mm RCA jack, Analog Input Jack : 2 x 3.5mm RCA jack, 1 x Digital S/PDIF Output : 1 x Toslink, 1 x Box link
  • Audio Processor :C-Media CMI8888DHT High-Definition Sound Processor (Max. 192kHz/24bit)
  • Special features: Dolby® Technologies : Dolby® Home Theater v4, Smart Volume Normalizer, Xear Surround, Magic Voice, FlexBass, GX 3.0 Game Audio Engine
  • Pros:
  • Great audio performance
  • Lots of enthusiast features
  • Control box
  • Cons:
  • None

For Serious Audio Enthusiasts

For most consumers, soundcards are one of the last things one would consider getting. Integrated ones on motherboards are more than capable enough to output decent-sounding audio. Audio purists would scoff at this notion, however, and knowing their target market, ASUS has just released the ASUS Xonar Phoebus.

Named after the Greek God of Sun and Music, the Phoebus is a 7.1 discrete soundcard labeled under ASUS’ Republic of Gamers’ line of products. Whilst gamers are typically less fussy about audio quality than audiophiles, there are a number of features that gamers would also find highly appealing to their needs as well.

First off, the Phoebus is capable of connecting to a full 7.1 surround sound system. Including technology like the Dolby Home Theater V4 (works only with Windows 7 machines), it has features such as a surround decoder, intelligent equaliser and surround virtualiser, which helps with the surround sound process, even changing a 2-channel audio source.

Having said that, however, the true value of the Phoebus lies in headphones. Not only is the Phoebus EMI-shielded for better audio clarity, it also has a 118dB Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) thanks to this feature. A headphone amplifier is built into the card as well, for different headphone gain settings via software.

An extremely nifty extra would be the control box, which users can use to plug their headphones and microphones without hassle. The control box has also an interesting feature called the Command Technology, which works by combining both the external microphone and a mini mic built into the control box, which helps to reduce environmental noise via an algorithm. Volume control and mute buttons are also strategically placed on the control box for easy access.

Needless to say, the audio performance here is fantastic, offering great fidelity and clarity to go with your premium speakers and headphones.

CHIP CONCLUDE: The ASUS Xonar Phoebus is the company’s answer to every avid gamer and audio purist out there. Coupled with ASUS’ own Xonar Essence One desktop amplifier and Vulcan ANC headphones, you’ll have the one of the best gaming audio setups out there in the market.

(previously published in issue August 2012)