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Asus Xonar U7 : need some information

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schmorblatz
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2014/07/19 18:04:41 (permalink)
Hello,
 
I need an external *USB* sound card with these specifications :
- USB input !
- 5.1 analog output
- S/PDIF output
- Dolby decoding
- and, very important, must come with a Dolby Digital Live (DDL) encoder
 
The only card I found that meets these requirements is the Asus Xonar U7. It comes with Dolby Home Theater v4.
 
But DDL support is unclear. Asus does not advertise this functionality. In the owners manual, I found these informations :
 
"Coaxial digital output port. Connects to an external digital decoder or digital speaker systems, Home Theater systems, AV receivers for outputting digital audio including PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS, etc."
 
> OK. It can passthrough already encoded signals...
 
"Connects to the surround channel input on 4/5.1/7.1 powered analog speakers.
 
> OK. It decodes 5.1 signal to analog sockets.
 
"Through S/PDIF-Out it will deliver stereo PCM and use DDL for 5.1 channel."
 
This is the only evocation of DDL... No mention on Asus website. Just virtualization, equalization, and all those crappy digital signal processing softwares that make you think you live in a bathroom. I am *not* interested in virtual surround !
 
I have 2 questions :
 
1 - does Xonar U7 come with Dolby Digital Live encoder ?
 
2 - if it comes with, can it be installed and used on more than one PC, as I need to use the sound card on at least 2 PCs ?
 
for example, for Sound Blaster X-Fi, DDL & DTS Connect have to be purchased as an option on Dolby Laboratories website ; but I am not interested in Creative USB soundcard (X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro SBX) as many users complain with drivers
post edited by schmorblatz - 2014/07/19 18:19:08

why make it simple when it can be complicated ????
 
rig 1 : Asus P9X79-E WS / i7 4930k / 3-way SLI EVGA 780ti / Quadro K2000 / watercooled / 3D Vision Surround / 3 x Samsung 2233RZ + HP ZR22W
rig 2 : Asus P9X79 WS / i7 4930k / 2-way SLI 770 / aircooled / 3D Vision / Samsung 2233RZ + Samsung 2232BW + HP ZR22W
rig 3, 4 5, etc. : uninteresting !
#1

11 Replies Related Threads

    James_L
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/07/19 19:01:38 (permalink)
    I would expect that the software should not have an issue with being installed on multiple machines as it's software necessary to activate and use the USB sound card. I don't see where it comes with a copy of the live encoder though it does come with a version of the home theater software. I would expect this question to be better answered by someone who either has one or from ASUS themselves.

     

    #2
    schmorblatz
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/07/20 04:04:13 (permalink)
    Thanks for your answer.
     
    I asked for this information here because such a question is non answered on Asus forums ("how to activate DDL with Xonar U7"). So, I don't expect any answer from Asus.
     
    [EDIT] on a reseller's website, I read that a registration could be needed to use the software / hardware. This is the reason why I am wondering if this soundcard can be used on different systems ! I will contact this reseller ASAP.
     
    DDL support is very confusing. On Guru3D.com, the reviewer writes a paragraph about DDL, and concludes :  "Nowadays, you’re hit or miss for surround encoding, some on-board audio chips support it, and some discreet audio cards support it.  It depends on who got the best deal for the algorithms from Dolby. Well, good news everyone, the Xonar U7 does support DDL.". This is not in the specs, and the DDL logo appears nowhere on the packaging.
     
    But DDL support is maybe not required for surround gaming ; in another review, I can see the control panel with ASIO control panel and surround volume settings. As far as surround channels come from a game and go to the analog sockets, it will do the trick. But I am not really familiar with sound on PC... USB 2.0 + ASIO drivers can transmit 6 channels. S/PDIF bandwidth is insufficient, and this is the reason why DDL is needed with this interface : compression, this is what does DDL on the fly. So, DDL is probably not needed for use through analogue outputs with USB 2.0. DDL, AFAIK, is needed only to redirect 5.1 channels to S/PDIF (very low bandwidth).
     
    In fact, I do not intend to use a USB sound card as is. I want to use its PCB in a larger project, including class -D 5 channel amplifier for Hi-Fi speakers, and a decent 5 channel headphone amp. I own such a headphone, with true - *not" fake - surround . I will have to destroy the Xonar case, pick up the PCB, unsolder terminals and rotary encoder, etc. Then put all this together in a case, with just a USB socket for input, 5 speaker terminals, a 9-pin mini-DIN socket for the headphone, and a AC socket to power this. I don't want to buy something that would'nt do exactly what I need ! I am used to weird projects, it's a hobby.
     
    I hope someone here owns this soundcard.
     
     
    post edited by schmorblatz - 2014/07/20 04:13:18

    why make it simple when it can be complicated ????
     
    rig 1 : Asus P9X79-E WS / i7 4930k / 3-way SLI EVGA 780ti / Quadro K2000 / watercooled / 3D Vision Surround / 3 x Samsung 2233RZ + HP ZR22W
    rig 2 : Asus P9X79 WS / i7 4930k / 2-way SLI 770 / aircooled / 3D Vision / Samsung 2233RZ + Samsung 2232BW + HP ZR22W
    rig 3, 4 5, etc. : uninteresting !
    #3
    schmorblatz
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/07/24 03:54:25 (permalink)
    I answer to myself...
     
    Dolby Home Theater v4 includes Dolby Digital Live, but it is'nt advertised. Nothing on Asus website, nothing on the U7 package.
     
    On the Dolby website, one can read : Dolby Digital Output converts all PC audio to Dolby Digital signals, allowing users to connect a PC to their home theater system with an HDMI® or S/PDIF cable.
     
    Really unclear, but it is included with U7 software.
     

     
    Hope this could help, as I did'nt find any accurate information on the web. Except Guru3D.

    why make it simple when it can be complicated ????
     
    rig 1 : Asus P9X79-E WS / i7 4930k / 3-way SLI EVGA 780ti / Quadro K2000 / watercooled / 3D Vision Surround / 3 x Samsung 2233RZ + HP ZR22W
    rig 2 : Asus P9X79 WS / i7 4930k / 2-way SLI 770 / aircooled / 3D Vision / Samsung 2233RZ + Samsung 2232BW + HP ZR22W
    rig 3, 4 5, etc. : uninteresting !
    #4
    James_L
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/07/24 07:20:34 (permalink)
    That is the trouble with bundled software for some manufacturers. A lot of the time I don't see many of the nice offerings for sound cards. Considering I don't generally purchase a lot of high-end audio equipment these days I don't happen to have any of the more recent stuff. I'm glad you were able to answer the question by using the device and seeing the software in action itself. Nicely done.

     

    #5
    severous
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/08/22 10:51:28 (permalink)
    Wouah! Fantastic i finally found a topic about asus u7 and its capacity to encode DDL!! There is no information about it in internet, Not clearly.
    I bought this product and i have connected it by spdif output in my logitech z906 5.1 system.
    You seem to have lots of information about asus u7, finally did you buy it?
    Because i can not have true 5.1 with toslink and Home theater.... where have you find the printscreen with dolby digital live channel selected, it's your printscreen? Because in my sound option, i have only the choice on 2 channel option and there are any dolby digital live option like you...
    I suspect the uncapability to encode ddl, isnt it? If not, can you explain me how can i do it??
    post edited by severous - 2014/08/22 11:33:40
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    schmorblatz
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/08/22 16:36:42 (permalink)
    It *DOES* encode DDL. The picture is a screen capture of my computer. DDL *IS* a subset of Dolby Home Theater v4.

    USB input must be USB 2.0. USB 1.0 does not offer a sufficient bandwidth for all channels. Have a look at the switch "USB Audio 1.0 / 2.0" under the U7. It could be set on USB 1.0 out of the box. I had a try with this switch on USB 1.0, and it outputs Dolby Digital signal. I think that in this case, the U7 produces Prologic (fake) 5.1 (I did'nt really test as I am absolutely not interested in fake surround).

    I use it with two devices : an old Yamaha AP-U70 amplifier (U7 RCA outputs) + homebrew bookshelf speakers, and a Sharkoon XTatic Pro (true 5.1 headset), on S/PDIF output. I get 5.1 DDL signal from the U7. I just re-tested with Crysis 3 : sources are correctly spatialized (front, left, right, back left, back right, etc.), and the Dolby Digital led turns on. It is perfect (and more than perfect with NVidia 3D Surround). I am planning a new 4.0 or 5.1 system with home made speakers and class D amplifiers...
     
    But the U7 control panel is absolutely unclear. The manual is pure crap. But everything works. Here are my settings :
     
    - USB audio switch on (under) the Xonar U7 = USB 2.0
     
    Xonar U7 control panel :
     
    - S/PDIF output = Dolby Digital (right click on S/PDIF-out : S/PDIF-out parameters)
     
    Dolby Home Theater v4 control panel :
     
    - Dolby Home Theater v4 = On ; there is a button in the upper left corner (right click on S/PDIF-out : DOLBY HTV4)
    - all virtualization options = deactivated (I hate virtualized surround)
     
    No registration needed : the U7 can be installed on all your computers or installed operating systems (AFAIK, this is different with Soundblaster products).
     
    Do *NOT* install the drivers from the CD. Download them directly from Asus.
     
    I think it gives a very good quality sound. I know my homebrew speakers (I built them 30 years ago as Hi Fi secondary speakers...). A few years ago, I got a used Yamaha AP-U70 as a temporary solution and used its integrated DAC with my TV and my JBL speakers. It sounded horrible ! This amp produced anything but sound, neither on my JBL L36 or my DIY speakers. I built a class D amp using good chinese modules (Sure), and then reused the Yamaha for my main PC. The Xonar U7 really changed the sound ! It has a far better DAC than this 10+ years amp.
     
    Conclusion : very good hardware, but awful software, as all Asus software I got with mobos (Asus addict for 15+ years).
     

    why make it simple when it can be complicated ????
     
    rig 1 : Asus P9X79-E WS / i7 4930k / 3-way SLI EVGA 780ti / Quadro K2000 / watercooled / 3D Vision Surround / 3 x Samsung 2233RZ + HP ZR22W
    rig 2 : Asus P9X79 WS / i7 4930k / 2-way SLI 770 / aircooled / 3D Vision / Samsung 2233RZ + Samsung 2232BW + HP ZR22W
    rig 3, 4 5, etc. : uninteresting !
    #7
    severous
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/08/28 01:03:02 (permalink)
    Hi !
    Thank you for your help. In fact I have the U7 echelon edtion with the echelon software (sonic studio pro). It has better ergonomy than the U7 original software. However, in sonic studio pro, there is no dolby digital option, I’m shocked.
    It's not my image.
     
    So, thanks to you, I had the idea to install the asus original software for U7 despite the presence of sonic pro studio. Today, I can activate DDL by way of asus original software, and I use sound control from sonic studio pro.
     
    So for anybody who have U7 echelon edition and want DDL, don’t forget to install asus software for U7 basic edition, and activate the DDL option by way of this software.
     
     
    Another question: with DDL, I have only the choice to 44.1hz @ 16bit. It’s far than 96khz @ 24bits. It is important for audio quality? What is the best between spdif config (44.1hz @ 16bit, 5.1) and analog config (192khz @ 24bits, 5.1) for watching movie, listening music and playing games?
    Furthermore, when i activate HTV4 with the option "volume leveling", the sound and the voice can sature easily, and HTv4 makes some "pocks" in my speakers
     
    post edited by severous - 2014/08/28 01:10:49
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    schmorblatz
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2014/08/29 15:52:39 (permalink)
    Did you try to double click the SPDIF Out button in the Output Device section of your software ?
     
    Dolby says : "Dolby Digital coding can process at least 20-bit dynamic range digital audio signals over a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. (The Low-Frequency Effects [LFE channel] covers 20 to 120 Hz.) Sampling rates of 32, 44.1, and 48 kHz are supported"
     
    Wikipedia about DDL : "It converts any audio signals on a PC or game console into a 5.1-channel 16-bit/48 kHz Dolby Digital format".
     
    CD Audio quality is 44.1kHz/16bit. DDL is just CD quality... probably enough for gaming purpose.
    post edited by schmorblatz - 2014/08/29 15:55:10

    why make it simple when it can be complicated ????
     
    rig 1 : Asus P9X79-E WS / i7 4930k / 3-way SLI EVGA 780ti / Quadro K2000 / watercooled / 3D Vision Surround / 3 x Samsung 2233RZ + HP ZR22W
    rig 2 : Asus P9X79 WS / i7 4930k / 2-way SLI 770 / aircooled / 3D Vision / Samsung 2233RZ + Samsung 2232BW + HP ZR22W
    rig 3, 4 5, etc. : uninteresting !
    #9
    ishtangli
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2015/03/15 18:09:21 (permalink)
    Sorry to revive an old thread.
     
    I recently purchased the U7 and like you guys, bought it for DDL.
     
    At first I installed the newest driver from their website but I could not find the DDL option in Windows speaker properties window. I then uninstalled it and installed the driver from the CD. DDL is present BUT I have to live with the terrible interface.
     
    Question: how do I get DDL to work on the newest driver?
     
    Note: I connect my laptop to a HTIB that does not have a Dolby or DTS indicator so I cannot use that to verify.
    #10
    xtreme512
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2015/08/01 08:59:59 (permalink)
    severous
    Hi !
    Thank you for your help. In fact I have the U7 echelon edtion with the echelon software (sonic studio pro). It has better ergonomy than the U7 original software. However, in sonic studio pro, there is no dolby digital option, I’m shocked.
    It's not my image.
     
    So, thanks to you, I had the idea to install the asus original software for U7 despite the presence of sonic pro studio. Today, I can activate DDL by way of asus original software, and I use sound control from sonic studio pro.
     
    So for anybody who have U7 echelon edition and want DDL, don’t forget to install asus software for U7 basic edition, and activate the DDL option by way of this software.
     
     
    Another question: with DDL, I have only the choice to 44.1hz @ 16bit. It’s far than 96khz @ 24bits. It is important for audio quality? What is the best between spdif config (44.1hz @ 16bit, 5.1) and analog config (192khz @ 24bits, 5.1) for watching movie, listening music and playing games?
    Furthermore, when i activate HTV4 with the option "volume leveling", the sound and the voice can sature easily, and HTv4 makes some "pocks" in my speakers
     





    Hi, Im gonna buy U7 echelon as well but I heard somethings that echelon software does NOT have many options and settings that U7 provides. Controlling bass settings cut off freq. etc. and you mentioned DDL etc.
     
    Its funny that echelons only BUT only difference to U7 is that echelon has 2 sonic radar which is useless, sonic studio pro which lacks too many options. and btw, the outer look of the device is rubbish.
     
    Yet my local seller has only echelon version and Im willing to buy it. So my question is, how did you install the original U7 driver into echelon and which driver did you use? Is it 100% compatible, all features worked?
     
    Thanks.
    post edited by xtreme512 - 2015/08/01 09:02:08
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    xtreme512
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    Re: Asus Xonar U7 : need some information 2015/08/11 11:42:43 (permalink)
    Yeah it worked. :)
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