Components and Design – ASUS Xonar U1
The Xonar U1 is fairly small in stature, but its UA100 audio processor lays the smack down with its analog sample rate maxing out at 48 KHz in 5.1 mode (digital). The Xonar U1 also transcodes stereo audio source into Dolby Headphone, Virtual Speaker, and even 5.1-channel Dolby Digital and Pro-Logic II surround sound output.
This USB-based sound solution is crafted using a high-quality aluminum that has been buffed to a mirror finish. Photos of this device really don’t do it justice. Even the USB cord uses silver-colored wiring to round out the product design. The top of the U1 is a volume control knob that has a blue and red LEDs that glow in a strobe pattern during normal and muted volume settings.
The base of the U1 Audio Station has a thick rubber pad that secures it to almost any surface. I’ve seen too many USB devices come with flimsy bases that do not hold the product firmly in place. This is certainly not the case with the U1.
Many external sound devices still have a plethora of outputs that can confuse and frustrate typical PC users. This isn’t the case with the U1, which features only two outputs for headphones and a microphone.
One nice and unexpected addition to the U1 bundle is vertical array microphone. This MIC suppresses ambient noises for up-to-20 dB, leaving only front-side clear voice for VOIP applications or online gaming.
The entire bundle includes the Xonar U1 Audio Station, optical S/PDIF adaptor cable, stereo vertical array microphone, driver CD, and user manual. This bundle matches up pretty well to the U1’s price take of $89.99 at Newegg.
The U1 Audio Station has an aesthetically-pleasing construction and design that includes blue and red LEDs that indicate when the volume is muted or powered on.