The guys over at VR-Zone have had the opportunity to take a closer look at the Xonar Xense soundcard from ASUS, a joint venture between the company and Sennheiser that will come as part of a soundcard/headset (PC350) kit. The fact that Sennheiser have been involved with the project means will be the expectation of a certain quality of sound. If the hardware is anything to go by it could deliver something special for gamers.
The card takes a different approach from some previous ASUS cards (such as the Essence STX that impressed us so much when reviewed last year). Rather than RCA connectors, there is a DVI port that will drive multi-channel audio (7.1) via a dongle, though you still get 6.3mm audio jacks for headphones and microphones. The board boasts separate power for its analog circuitry and low ESR capacitors. Also present are Texas Instruments and Cirrus Logic DACs and a Texas Instruments headphone driver. There are two socketed DIP OPAMPs (JRC 24110s), which allows them to be easily swapped out for upgrades / user preference. As with the STX, relays are also employed and the whole thing is based on a C-Media Chipset (model not specified).
This is one card I am looking forward to hitting review benches. Pricing and release date are currently unknown.