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So, let’s move on to the next, very interesting, menu item called FlexBass.

Just as the name of the option suggests, you can flexibly distribute the bass among the speakers. The cross-over slider determines the threshold below which all frequencies are sent to the subwoofer and are cut out from the small-size channels. For large speakers, low frequencies are not cut off.

The cross-over is high quality, ensuring a symmetrical slope by 36dB and bringing no distortions into the sound.

The two bottom buttons, AEC and VocalFX, have appeared but recently in the driver.

The Acoustic Echo Cancellation mode is meant for video conferencing and other voice communication via the Internet. It disables all processing effects and tries to suppress the sounds that enter the microphone from the speakers. A brief test of this mode proved its high efficiency.

I guess it would be handier to have the AEC setting as a button in the bottom right corner of the Xonar D2 Audio Center where the sound processing presets are grouped because this setting is in fact represented by one On/Off checkbox.

The last tab, earlier called Magic Voice, offers a few additional features for processing the microphone signal. You can change the voice timbre (male, female, cartoon, monster), apply one of the four environment effects, and enable a special effect for games.

VocalFX applies reverberation to the gamer’s voice as determined by the game for the gamer’s current location. This feature was introduced by Creative Labs in EAX 5, and now ASUS can proudly claim that its product supports the competitor’s most modern technologies. You’ll see shortly if it is really so – in the gaming tests. Right now let’s take a look at other, hidden, parts of the driver. At its ASIO support, for example.

ASIO is a special interface for transferring data into the sound card with a specified delay. It is used in most sound-editing software. The Xonar D2 provides full support for ASIO 2.0 with 16-bit and 24-bit data precision and frequencies of 44.1, 48, 96 and 192kHz. Besides, the driver supports such an exciting feature as ASIO multi-host thanks to which several programs can work with ASIO simultaneously. The card doesn’t adjust the frequency automatically. If the frequency differs from the base one, the signal is recalculated using a high-quality software resampling algorithm. For comparison, the Creative X-Fi begins to switch the generator’s frequency in this case, clicking with the relay.

The Xonar’s ASIO implementation might be called perfect if it provided for paralleled recording of more than one source and supported a few additional reproduction channels (the Creative X-Fi has 18 such channels, for example). To remind you, the C-Media Oxygen HD audio-controller employed on the Xonar D2 allows recording eight streams simultaneously. It would also be handy if the ASIO settings screen could be opened from the Xonar D2 Audio Center.

I nearly forgot to tell you about one more original feature of this sound card. Upon installing the driver, you can see two new audio devices in the system: ASUS Xonar D2 Audio and ASUS Xonar D2 Converter. The latter device is meant for a quick application of effects to musical recordings. If you use an MP3-player and you like the spatial effect produced by Dolby Headphones or Virtual Speaker technologies or if you just want to correct the sound with the equalizer, you can run the included program called ASUS Portable Music Processor to re-encode your favorite recordings in MP3 and WMA formats with any special effect available to the driver.

I guess you’ve learned enough about the sound card’s potential. It’s time to check its practical qualities.

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