Asus Xonar Xense Premium Gaming Audio Set Reviewhardnrg - November 3, 2010
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I'm not really sure where to start for this conclusion, as I'm still sort of in shock in just how well the Xense and PC 350 performed. I had an idea that the sound card would do well, given the similarity in design to the Essence STX, but I really wasn't expecting the headset to sound this good. I've heard the regular PC 350 headset at the Sennheiser booth at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and I wasn't overly impressed. No doubt the headphone amplification and well-implemented graphic EQ of the Xonar Xense contribute to transforming the PC 350 from a decent headset into the best sounding headset I've ever heard. For the audiophiles out there, you can even change the headphone amplifier's op-amps, to tailor the sonic signature to your particular taste.
The sound isolation works as well as, if not better than, that of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones, which I have used as ear defenders when cutting sheet metal. Usually, with closed-back headphones, the soundstage seems smaller and enclosed. Yet the Dolby Headphone and Environment effects create a convincing aural atmosphere that will have you checking over your shoulder when watching movies or playing games.
Connectivity has been improved over the Essence STX, as you can connect the soundcard to 5.1 and 7.1 analogue speakers. You can have full surround sound from games when using a S/PDIF connection to your speakers/receiver, as you can have the sound card encode the signal as Dolby Digital on-the-fly.
I can't see much room for improvement here, so it truly doesn't get much better than this. I'm not currently aware of any headset solution that sounds better, so I'd say it's fairly safe to say that this is the best headset money can buy, powered by one of the best sound cards designed for headphones in particular.
- High-end headphone sound quality
- Replaceable op-amps for the headphone amplifier
- Strong sound isolation and noise-cancellation keep you and the real world separate
- Dolby Headphone provides excellent surround virtualisation
- Comfortable ergonomic design
- Connectivity to analogue and digital surround sound speakers
- Dolby Digital Live encoding on-the-fly for surround sound gaming using S/PDIF digital audio
- Rotating ear cups allow easy storage/transportation
- Cannot lower the volume <25% using the inline volume control