ASUS Xonar DG Sound Card Review

Affordable, feature packed, 5.1 channel sound, headphone amp and built in S/PDIF, this is the ASUS Xonar DG. Yes, it is the cheapest card in the Xonar lineup, but it definitely carries more than its weight. The Xonar DG is Dolby Headphone and GX2.5 enabled which takes care of all current gaming support. While its great sound quality (up to 96kHz/24bit) makes all movies, and music truly enjoyable. There will even be times when you blindly mistake the Xonar DG for its bigger brother the Xonar Xense. Putting all of that fancy stuff aside, if you need a new soundcard and are on a budget, the Xonar DG is the card for you. Continue reading to find out all of the reasons why.

Special thanks to ASUS for providing us with the Xonar DG Sound Card to review.


Audio Performance
Output Signal to Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) 105dB for 5.1ch
Input Signal to Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) 103dB
Output Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (A-Weighted) Up to 0.0025% (-92dB)
Input Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (A-Weighted) Up to 0.0022% (-93dB)
Frequency Response (-3dB, 24bit/96kHz input) <10Hz to 48kHz
Output/Input Full Scale Voltage 1Vrms (3Vp-p)
Headphone Impedance Optimized for 32-150Ω
Main Chipset
Audio Processor C-Media CMI8786 High Definition Sound Processor (Max. 96KHz/24bit)
Sample Rate & Resolution
Analog Playback Sample Rate & Resolution 44.1K/48K/96kHz @ 16/24bit (all channels)
Analog Recording Sample Rate & Resolution 44.1K/48K/96kHz @ 16/24bit
S/PDIF Digital Output 44.1K/48K/96kHz @ 16/24bit
ASIO 2.0 Driver Support 44.1K/48K/96kHz @ 16/24bit
I/O Ports
Analog Output Jack 3.50mm mini jack (x3) (Front/Rear/Center-Sub)
Analog Input Jack 3.50mm mini jack (x1) (Line In/Mic)
Input (for CD In/TV Tuner) Aux-In (4 pin header on the card)
Digital S/PDIF Output High bandwidth Optical Connector supports 96KHz/24bit
Front Panel Audio Header Supports headphone jack detection, automatically switch audio output from back panel to front
Driver Features
Dolby Headphone
GX2.5 (up to EAX 5.0)
Smart Volume Normalizer
Karaoke Functions

The front of the Xonar DG box is very ‘audio-ish’. There are traveling sound waves, planes flying at high speed, a picture of the soundcard, and a wireframe model of a person using a headset. The text on the box is glossy and embossed. Some of the DG’s features are displayed on the front such as Headphone Amplifier, Dolby Headphone, GX2.5 , and Jack Sensing Front Panel. The left side of the box lists Package Contents and System Specs, whereas the right side lists the Product Specs and Features. Rotating the box 180 degrees from the front brings us to the back. Here we find the key features of the Xonar DG in 15 different languages.

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Opening up the box we see the Xonar DG card tightly nestled in place. And once everything is out of the box, in addition to the Xonar DG we’ll find the Quick Start Guide, Driver CD, and a Low Profile Bracket.

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Closer Look
The Xonar DG features a darkish brown/black PCB with the ASUS and Dolby logos prominently displayed in the bottom center. A normal sized bracket is already installed, however there is a low profile bracket in the box for HTPC’s. It is a 5.1 channel card, so as expected you’ll find three 3.50mm jacks for main, rear and center/subwoofer (LFE). Also, similar to the Xonar Xense, there is only one input jack. This one jack doubles as a mic and line-in input. Finally there is the S/PDIF digital optical output.

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