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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 (look for it in specifications, data sheet or manual). Do not set the impedance much higher as it may damage the headphones. Headphones AMP (impedance) options are only available when Analog Out is set to Headphone. In ASUS Audio Center click the Hammer icon to select a different output impedance. In XonarSwitch this is available under Headphones Gain. I'm not aware of an option to control the output impedance being available in C-Media Panel.
  • 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

19 Comments

  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?

    Reply

  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.

    Reply

  3. Farley09 Jul 2019 @ 23:46

    Does not apply to Xonar DGX ???

    Reply

  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?

    Reply

  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

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

  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?

    Reply

  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.

    Reply

  8. Ckone02 Feb 2020 @ 23:13

    I have a question dear admin,

    i have a stereo headset, should i use 2 channels with dolby or 8 channels with dolby and 7.1.

    somehow, 8 channels with dolby and 7.1 on plays music for example in stereo, however, if i switch to 2 channel with dolby and 7.1 on, it uses every "speaker" but it gets very loud and overtuned.

    as far as i understood here, if you have only 2 channels, setting it to 8 channels wont improve anything.

    im using xonar dgx audio center.

    Reply

    • CarvedInside07 Feb 2020 @ 06:11

      The 8 channels with Dolby Headphones settings are not for music because that has only 2.0 audio tracks, they are for content like games and movies that have 7.1 audio tracks.
      For music I would use 2 channels and without Dolby Headphones.

      Reply

  9. Ibadez10 Feb 2020 @ 22:16

    Hello,

    Sorry about my English.

    I have an Essence STX and I downloaded the C-Media Audio Panel driver. (Thank you for your work by the way)

    I wanted to know why you weren't talking about the Dolby Pro logic IIx settings.

    I'm having trouble understanding what it does, when I'm in the game and want to test some settings I have to go back to the office desktop which cuts off my listening and prevents me from being able to tell the difference.

    What do you recommend for games?

    8 chan
    Dobly Headphone + 7.1 virtual shifter

    ok

    But does it make sense to add Dolby Pro logic IIx? What does it bring concretely compared to the 7.1 virtual shifter?

    Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

    Reply

    • CarvedInside10 Feb 2020 @ 23:31

      Dolby Pro Logic IIx is for upmixing stereo sounds(2.0) to 5.1 or 7.1 speakers. To further explain that, you would use that if when listening to music you would want the sound to come out from all the speakers instead of only from the front speakers. Such a feature is not useful or good for sound positioning in games.

      I think games these days have good positioning when using stereo speakers/headphones (and 2 channels output). But depending on the game you could see an improvement with 8 channels with Dolby Headphones and 7.1 Virtual Speaker. In case you want to test between 2 channels configuration and 8 channels with Dolby Headphones and 7.1 Virtual Speaker configuration, you need to exit the game each time you want to test new settings.

      To test between various settings you might want to use XonarSwitch, make different profiles with various settings and assign each profile a hotkey for easily switching between them while in-game. But again, this is won't work properly if you are switching between 2 profiles with different number of channels if you don't exit the game.

      If you really appreciate my work and my time, you should consider sending me a donation if you haven't done that yet.

      Reply

  10. Confused16 Feb 2020 @ 02:17

    Hello,

    ASUS Z77 mobo , Windows 7 64 Bit, Xonar DGX sound card pcie, 8.1a installed - Low DPC latency
    Dell AX510 Soundbar with Sennheiser 598 headphones plugged in directly to the soundbar.

    Using C-Media panel, I have the following settings, but sound is still a bit too low:

    System Input: 2 CH
    DSP Mode: 7.1 Virtual speaker shifter

    Output mode:
    Analog Output: 2 speakers
    Digital Audio 44.1 KHz
    S/PDIF Output - not selected

    On every other tab, default settings.

    On Windows 7 settings: 24 bit/44100 Hz
    Checked both allow applications to take control and give exclusive mode applications priority.

    Any recommendations on how to make the sound louder?

    Reply

    • CarvedInside18 Feb 2020 @ 04:24

      I've spend a lot of time writing all these materials and software. I can no longer also spend time offering dedicated support for free. If you wish my help with this you'll have to make a donation of $5 or more. If you wish to do so, mention in the donation message your nickname or about the problem so I know it is from you.

      Of course, if someone else wants to provide you with a solution, they are free to do so.

      Reply

  11. Doanster18 Feb 2020 @ 08:34

    @CarvedInside You've been the best thing to happen to Asus sound cards! I would like to make a donation and just want to confirm that donating to MaxedTech is the same as donating to you? Thanks!

    Reply

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