updated 11:15 am EDT, Fri October 5, 2007
ASUS Xonar U1
ASUS has just updated its sound adapter range with a unique hub that steps up the audio quality for notebooks and other PCs with basic integrated sound. The Xonar U1 becomes a USB alternative to the PCI-based Xonar D2 and offers both the traditional features of a sound card as well as help for travelers. Hardware acceleration for DirectSound, EAX, and Dolby surround helps game and home theater enthusiasts; notebook users are helped by a headphone amp that increases the volume on less easily-driven headphones as well as an array microphone that eliminates the feedback and other noise that often plague built-in notebook and webcam audio.
The Taiwanese peripheral maker also promises a hardware DAC that restores lost detail in MP3s and an SPDIF output for computers limited to stereo output jacks. ASUS has not announced which countries will see the U1 or its official price, though the device ships in six colors ranging from black to yellow and is likely to be available in the US.