Xonar best audio settings guide

Guide to achieve best audio quality, performance and functionality for Xonar cards and other CMI8788 audio chipset cards.

In sound card application settings (ASUS Audio Center, C-Media Panel, XonarSwitch):
  • Set Sample Rate to 44.1 kHz, this is generally good for most media (games, movies, music), while video DVDs and Blu-rays and some of the Hi-Res Audio music have a sample rate of 48 kHz. Increasing Sample Rate without having a source that’s sampled at a higher rate won’t improve sound quality, in fact, it will degrade it.
  • Select Audio Channel/System input (present only in Win Vista, 7, 8, 10) and Analog Out/System Output settings based on the number of speakers that you have. For a 5.1 audio system select Audio Channel to 6 and Analog Out to 5.1. For a 2.1 audio system, select  Audio Channel to 2 and Analog Out to 2.  By default, selecting more channels than the number of speakers you have connected won’t enable you to hear more sounds or hear the footsteps and positioning of enemies better in games.
    • If you wish to emulate 8 channels surround on 2 channel headphones, set the number of channels to 8, analog output to “Headphones”, enable “Dolby Headphones” and “7.1 virtual speaker shifter”.
    • If you have 2 speakers and a standalone subwoofer that is connected directly to the audio card check this guide.
  • Keep GX (or Xear 3D) disabled. GX is responsible with emulating EAX effects in some older games, but it’s know to cause crashes, audio loops in games and BSODs while it's enabled.
  • If your Xonar card has a dedicated headphone amplifier, set the soundcards output impedance/gain (Ω = ohm) to a value close to the headphones input impedance. Do not set the impedance much higher as it may damage the headphones.
  • Be careful which settings you enable. The effects will increase the DPC latency, which in turn could cause other problems like audio/video desynchronization or slow network/internet speed. They also change the sound not always in a good way, you might like it for your music but it might harm the audio positioning in games. You can read more on the impact of sound effects to DPC latency here.
In Windows:
  • Windows Vista/7/8/10: Setting the Windows audio playback to 24 bit will slightly improve audio quality. Open Windows Sound (right-click on Windows Volume tray icon-> Sounds or if missing type in Windows search: "change system sounds"), select Playback tab, double click your default playback device (for example Speakers ASUS Xonar Audio Device) , go to Advanced tab and in the Default format entry select 24 bit 44100 Hz (studio quality) as shown in this picture. You can find detailed information on audio bit-depth here.
  • Windows Vista/7/8/10: Set Line In and Microphone Default Format to "2 channel, 24 bit, 44100 Hz (studio quality)". Having the bit-depth set to 24 bit will slightly improve the recording quality. To do so open Windows Sound (right-click on Windows Volume tray icon-> Sounds or if missing type in Windows search: "change system sounds"), go to Recording tab, select Microphone or Line In (ASUS Xonar...) and click "Set Default" button in order to have access to it's advanced settings, then double click it, go to Advanced tab and in the "Default Format" entry select 2 channel, 24 bit, 44100 Hz (studio quality) as shown in this picture.
  • Windows XP: Don’t increase the Windows Audio Volume to 100%, instead set it to 80-90% max in order to avoid dynamic volume issue. Issue regarding setting volume to 100% is detailed here.
In audio/video applications:
  • Enable the  audio output/playback to 32bit or 24bit instead of 16bit, as this will slightly improve audio quality. This setting is application specific  so you will have to search for it in application preferences/options. For example, in Winamp the setting is located in Preferences->Playback->Allow 24bit. If you have Windows Vista/7/8/10 then you have to enable 24 bit output in Windows as well.
  • If you use ASIO as playback output:
    • recommended settings would be Bit-Depth set to 24-bit and Latency set to 10 ms.
    • if you experience cracking or popping noises, you need to run the player as administrator (right click and select “Run as administrator") or disable Windows UAC.
  • Windows Vista/7/8/10 only: Set each application volume at 80-90% in order to avoid dynamic volume issue. Issue regarding setting volume to 100% is detailed here.
In games options:
  • Set Sound Quality to Medium or High depending on the importance of sound quality in that particular game. This setting affects CPU usage so if you have a slow CPU you should select Medium and if you have a fast CPU you can go with High. Setting this to High with a slow CPU might cause to much strain on your CPU and this in turn will affect the FPS of that particular game.
  • Set the number of speakers you currently have connected is properly detected.
    • If you've enabled Dolby Headphones 7.1 speaker emulation in soundcard's application settings, if the in-game options allow it, you have to set the number of speakers to 7.1.  The game needs to generate 7.1 sounds which will be processed and converted by the Xonar driver for 2 channels output.

Related content:

Applies to:

  • ASUS Xonar DG, Xonar DGX, Xonar DG SI, Xonar DS, Xonar DSX, Xonar D1, Xonar D2, Xonar DX, Xonar D2X, Xonar HDAV, Xonar HDAV Slim, Xonar Essence ST, Xonar Essence STX, Xonar Essence STX II, Xonar Xense.
  • Other C-media CMI8786 and CMI8788  audio chipset cards:
    • Auzentech: HDA X-Purity 7.1, X-Meridian 1G, X-Meridian 2G.
    • HTOmega: Claro, Claro Plus, Claro II, Claro Halo, eClaro.
    • Razer Barracuda AC-1.
    • TempoTec HIFIER Serenade


  1. PrMinisterGR13 May 2018 @ 13:49

    I have an issue with 7.1 games and stereo speakers. These are my settings: https://imgur.com/Swx7m5Q

    The issue is that the back virtual speakers are way too loud. Like, when an in-game character talks to me and I face him, their voice has a 50% volume, let's say, but when I turn my character's back to them, then the volume becomes almost double. Any ideas about that?


  2. Oguzhan Nurgaz22 Jun 2019 @ 13:53

    I have ASUS Xonar U7 Echelon. I'm playing FPS games while i'm shooting with guns the sound is rising at a time. Cause of that i can't hear anything while im shooting. I'd tried other equalizer settings but there is no effect.


  3. Farley09 Jul 2019 @ 23:46

    Does not apply to Xonar DGX ???


  4. Smokorus21 Jul 2019 @ 11:26

    With UNI drivers my mic is very very quite, i must SCREAM or nothing be recorder... how i can boost up mic?


  5. vicky04 Oct 2019 @ 12:02

    Uni Xonar drive can be used for Xonar SE sound card ???? pllzzz let know as soon as possible..thnku


    • CarvedInside04 Oct 2019 @ 22:35

      It won't work. Xonar SE is and will not be supported as I have stated here.
      FYI you've commented on the wrong page, the right page would have been the page with the drivers. Please make more of an effort next time.


  6. Doanster13 Jan 2020 @ 03:30

    I'm considering getting my hands on some used Xonar cards for the purpose of EAX support via GX in Windows 10, but it looks like this is a bad idea since this isn't going to work properly based on what I see above. Has anyone had experience with using GX in Windows 10 and can comment? Suggestions?


  7. Aviate14 Jan 2020 @ 04:17

    I'm having issues with some games having echoed voices whenever i turn on SVN mode (smart volume) on my Xonar DSX. Everything sounds great with SVN turned on so i hate to turn it off but the echo drives me crazy. I have GX turned off as well. Any help on removing the echo while SVN would be great, currently been testing this with Witcher 3 and Overwatch voice lines.



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