Asus Xense Review
As this is an all-in-one audio solution with both the soundcard and headphones in the single package, large is certainly the word.
One side of the box is typical of the Asus standard we've come to expect. Clear and classy with all the pertinent information readily available, including a lift-up flap that allows prospective purchasers to get a good look at the outstandingly shiny Xense itself. The other side is clear plastic to allow for easy viewing of the Sennheiser headsets.
Speaking of packaging, it definitely needs to be taken back to the drawing board. As you can see in the shot on the above right, our sample didn't survive the couriers without the plastic breaking. With all our samples needing to be returned to the manufacturer it's important not to damage the packaging and so we have to remove everything very carefully. However the complexity of removing both the soundcard and headphones in a manner that it could be put back together is also something you need to do in case of needing to RMA it. Doing so is all but impossible with at least 16 or so plastic tabs spread here there and everywhere, and the whole thing having a multi-compartment structure. It would be far preferable to adopt the method used in their motherboards whereby the items are in a box and a flap is opened to reveal both the headphones and the card itself.
Anyway, moving on to the card, this is bling factor 10. Gold plated connectors and that insanely shiny chrome cover really make this stand out. So often the soundcard is the red-headed step-child of your internal components, but with the Xense it can hold its head high with the rest.
As you can see the EMI shield covers all the important elements of the soundcard which should ensure quality sound reproduction without the high-power devices that form today's gaming PCs interfering.
The Xense is powered by a single molex cable. With so many devices using PCI-e or SATA, it's nice to have a use for those molex cables we once couldn't get enough of.
Adding to the "mmm shiny" nature of the card, just look at those. The combination of chrome and gold is just gorgeous and pictures really don't do justice to how pretty this is in the flesh.
Inputs are taken care of with two standard inputs to be used with the Sennheisers as we'll see on the next page. Should you wish to use an alternate speaker/headphone arrangement then Asus have provided an adaptor that utilises the standard colour identification system. Of course, all gold-plated.
Let's have a look at the PC350 headphones.