So how does the ASUS Xonar U5 fare overall? It is a very solid choice for anyone looking to improve their audio quality when gaming – without breaking the bank. Not only is this little sound card convenient, but it does a good job of improving audio quality in non amplified headsets and goes a long way to improving clarity too.
Clearly designed with gaming in mind, the Xonar U5 improves audio quality in key areas and we like the clever Sonic Studio settings. These let you tweak how you sound to fellow gamers, making sure that they can hear you without focusing on distracting sounds in the background.
The support for audio files up to 24bit 192KHz is a welcome addition and it will certainly help headphones perform to their best as degrading MP3 compression is removed from the audio equation.
The Xonar U5 supports virtual and real 5.1 surround sound too, so if you have a headset or speaker system that is compatible, you are ready to rock. If you demand 7.1 surround support, you will have to buy the bigger and slightly more expensive option – the Xonar U7.
If ASUS make a future revision, I would like to see improved push switches on the sound card itself. They are quite clunky and do not have the same quality feel as the rest of the product.
Overall, it is difficult to find fault with tthe Asus Xonar U5. It does mean an extra set of cables trailing to the back of the PC, but this can actually make things a bit more convenient when you need to plug in a headset.
You can find the ASUS Xonar u5 on Amazon for £65.
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- Convenient for moving, ease of plugging in cables, installation
- Gives games and music a nice clarity and volume bump
- Lots of back-end options in Sonic Studio
- Great for combating background noise over VOIP
- Push buttons feel pretty tacky
- Onboard sound can sometimes steal control
KitGuru Says: The ASUS Xonar U5 is a great little external soundcard that is very convenient and gives your audio some much appreciated punch.