I do a lot of music/video editing as a side job and I need high quality audio. Also, I enjoy listening to quite a lot of lossless music to relax. I use Sennheiser HD 800S and Schiit Audio’s Mjolnir amp and Gungnir DAC as my main setup.
Enough about myself, onto the review.
Packaging is pretty good. The card itself is not that heavy, but they used sufficient amount of materials to package the NU. The employees who design how much packaging material and look premium should get a raise. Looks great.
Very premium. I mean, what do you expect from a 250$ product? Crappy plastic and tape? EVGA’s build quality on the NU is exceptional. It feels nice in the hand and solid, nothing moves. Looks nice in the case and the logo isn’t too big.
The card installed very easily, take off a few exterior brackets then pop it in and install a SATA power connector in the front.
Software installation was fine. I didn’t find any issues with installing it.
How I tested this was comparing subjectively to the Schiit audio combo, NU, and a Sound Blaster X. I am also using a few of the headsets I have in my possession. Sennheiser HD 800S(high) and HD650(mid-low)
Game: “Rainbow six siege”:
Note: This game doesn’t have great audio direction, but I enjoy it, nonetheless. Games have a finite quality of audio, and once you hit the maximum for quality it will become logarithmic gain.
- Schiit audio combo: I’m familiar to these so the audio is clear and isn’t muffled by electrical interference. Great directional sound.
- EVGA NU: It sounds like Schiit audio combo. On the very highs there is small amounts of electrical interference. It might be my hardware or the card, I just do not have the equipment to try it. It has good directional sound.
- Sound Blaster X: I didn’t enjoy these when I used them years ago, it might have degraded a tad due to improper storage, but audio is still better compared to onboard audio. The occasional hiss is very audible, but still usable. Decent directional sound, subpar compared to EVGA NU.
- Schiit audio combo: Crystal clear, vibrant and dynamic.
- EVGA NU: Crystal clear, vibrant and dynamic. Sounds like my Schiit combo. The electrical noise went away at the high end and started at the low end. Not too noticeable. Directional sound still better than Sound blaster X.
- Sound Blaster X: Small hissing/humming at the very low end of the spectrum.
I usually listen to classical music. I tested these setups using a site that has a variety of music that I could use to compare.
- Schiit audio combo: Very clear differences between the high and lows in the tracks. You can tell where the directional audio cues come from. This is my base/control test.
- EVGA NU: I didn’t like these as much. You can tell where the sound is coming from, but I’m not sure if they’re better than the sound blasters in this case. I think this is because they were not tuned for music, rather it’s for “gaming”. This causes the Nu to sound muffled, like it’s going through a screen. I used base setting in the software.
- Sound Blaster X: These have slightly better directional sound than the EVGA NU. I can feel like the sound is coming from in front of me a tad better than the NU unit. I used base settings in the software. Clearer than the Nu.
- Schiit audio combo: Very clear distinct places where sounds are coming from. Highs and lows are audible still.
- EVGA NU: This one sounds like the Sound Blaster X in directional sound this time, but again music seems muffled. It's like your behind a screen listening to it. It's so weird.
- Sound Blaster X: This one sounds clear in music and directional sound is on par with the NU. Very lows are now inaudible.
- Design: Clean and modern look. Finish is good, I like how it isn’t a straight up straight box wall design.
- Ease of installation: Plug and play, mostly. Only thing you have to do is to download the software.
- Software: The control for each setting is great if you’re really picky for certain things.
- Cost: $250 is quite a bit more than I would pay for this product now. When something very comparable to me, sound blaster X, is ~$150 new. Though the build quality is much higher in the Nu and looks much better.
- Software: To be honest, I did not like the software. It crashed on me once and sometimes very confusing. At least it’s better than some software I’ve used before to change settings.
- Not sure if you could do this, but maybe include a knob or allow me to purchase one separately? I enjoy the manual control that the Schiit system gives me for volume.
- Power connector that goes to the end of the card. Maybe consider making it a PCIE power draw instead. I’m not sure if that would increase the electrical noise that the device has. The SATA cable that connects to it makes it look silly or include a SATA cable that only has one head.
- Software needs improvement it needs to make it easier to use and more intuitive. Though I don’t expect it to improve much in this regard, they don’t have an army of software engineers to fix these issues or improve it by much. It’s good enough but they need to fix the crashing issues.
I recommend this device if you really like the look (I bought this for the looks). But you could get something comparable for a bit less. If you need something that has a great support team, design, and a brand/warranty you can trust you should buy this. If you don’t care, just buy something else used because it will be cheaper, but with no warranty nor EVGA’s top support.
Though maybe my review might not be accurate because I doubt that the Nu would sound worse in some cases, than a Sound blaster X. I might have gotten a defective unit, or my computer is outputting more electrical noise to the card compared to the sound blaster. I probably won’t RMA it as it isn’t worth my time to trouble shoot everything and go to the post office. I will likely use it for gaming only or gift it to a friend.
Edited: for grammar and wording.
post edited by YujiLi - 2019/04/19 18:24:59