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In my last feature I was utterly immersed in learning all about what upsampling was and, thanks to Audiophiles.com, my understanding shot up several levels. The next step was for me to try and get to grips with the world first that ASUS had created – 8x Symmetrical Upsampling – on the Xonar Essence One.

Now, common upsampling USB DACs (ditigal to analog converters) only transfer the audio source to 192kHz but the Xonar Essence One upsamples 44.1/88.2/176.4kHz input to 352.8kHz. And it upsamples input from 48/96/192kHz to 384kHz while still keeping the quality of your music.

xonar essence one

This sounds awesome but I was a little taken aback as I had no idea what it meant. Fortunately the answer is dead easy – the sample rate is the number of samples of audio carried per second and is measured in either Hz or kHz. The more samples per second, the better the quality.

The Xonar Essence One also upsamples the bit-rate to 32bit according to the original contents. Understanding this is just as easy – the bit rate measures how much data is transmitted over a certain amount of time and the higher the bit rate, the higher the quality of the audio and the bigger the file.

So what the Xonar Essence One does with this 8x Symmetrical Upsampling feature is it increases both the bit rate and the kHz without compromising the quality and delivering extremely tasty sound to the person sitting happily in the lounge on the other end.

With these devastatingly awesome new skills in mind (I was seeing myself as something of a baby audiophile now) I set to playing music through the Xonar Essence One and seeing how the different settings delivered different sound.

It was a very interesting experience. In some cases I couldn’t really tell the difference if I am honest, but in other cases I could and it was in these moments that the quality of the Xonar Essence One stood out. So far it appears to be converting me to the Way of the Sound.

xonar essence one

The next element I tackled in my Xonar Essence One testing was to get my head around many of the other features of sound lingo and it took a while. Even now, after weeks of learning, I have to admit that I am still not completely au fait with every last nook and cranny.

However, it did start me on a path that has made me a lot more aware of sound quality and what kind of values I’m prepared to put up with. The Xonar Essence One has found a very happy home beside my PC and my ears have fallen in love with it. It’s not often you can say that…

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