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ASUS Essence Review

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If you've been using your motherboard's sound card, you may not know what you're missing, but an ASUS Essence sound card can change that. These hi-fi sound cards help deliver sound that's hard to describe.

The circuitry of ASUS Essence cards is where you can find many of the extras that make these high-end cards premium. A separate power supply for this card via a four-pin connector ensures that you get a cleaner supply of power. You also get a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) clock on these boards, which offers high-precision digital signal processing. What this ultimately means for you is that you get highly accurate conversions of sound with fewer imperfections. The result is cleaner audio. 

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Additionally, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) on ASUS Essence cards is higher than that of standard sound cards on a motherboard. You can expect about 124 dB SNR, which gives you clear sound, while on-board sound cards usually hover around 88 dB SNR.

An important feature of a premium sound card for any audiophile is its surround sound support. With this sound card series, you can immerse yourself in a roomful of sound with Dolby surround sound. On one of them, you get 7.1-multichannel surround sound, which means you can hook up an eight-speaker audio system and get a fuller, richer sound than that of a 5.1-multichannel setup, which supports a six-speaker system.

Realistically, you're likely using headphones at your PC, and ASUS is aware of that. So, you can take advantage of the manufacturer's inclusion of headphone amplification that supports up to 600-ohm impedance, which means you get a boost to clearer and cleaner audio that comes close to the original recording's quality.

You also get an op-amp swap kit with these ASUS Essence sound cards, so you can change the tone and timbre of the sound you hear. The kit includes a pair of needle-nose pliers and three different op-amp microchips.

If you're serious about sound, you have the equipment needed to deliver quality audio, but you can't really reproduce the clear, clean sound you want unless you have a top-end sound card like the ASUS Essence. You can even swap out op-amp chips and tailor your music to get the tone you're craving with these premium sound cards.

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