ROG ThunderFX: be a better gamer with headphone amping

January 11th, 2012 in .Products .Sound
Suds McSoapdish
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New for 2012 ROG motherboards and revealed this CES, we get the ThunderFX, now bundled with select models. This is basically an external headphone amp and splitter, as it’s designed for renaissance gamers who have more than one platform and at the same time put a premium on politeness: you don’t want to disturb anyone while doing your gaming business, but nor do you want to suffer from tinny audio syndrome!

ROG describes ThunderFX as a USB DAC (digital-analogue converter), and it’s specifically designed to work with PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Unlike headsets hooked up directly to those three (well, to the controllers in the case of the consoles), ThunderFX integrates a special microphone that filters out noise, so the quality of chat/voice carried through it is noticeably improved compared to non-noise cancelling gear.

For in-game sound, ThunderFX (which arrives with its own software suite) supports several pre-set profiles, or modes, plus it has a flexible equalizer you can fiddle with to change settings. The sound quality we got from our own time with ThunderFX appears to be on a par with several Xonar cards from ASUS. Perhaps not the absolute top of the line, but certainly better than onboard PC audio. The SNR rating for ThunderFX is 116dB, which is about three times the clarity of integrated motherboard audio.

Personally, what I like most about ThunderFX is that it encourages headphone gaming. I love the privacy of headphones and the fact that they eliminate any noise nuisance to other people, but of course the trade off is that many cans just don’t sound all that great. ThunderFX seeks to remedy that by driving an impressive 300 ohms of headphone amplification, supported by audio-centric capacitors of the same type used in receivers and standalone amplifiers.

The device comes with headphone and microphones connectors, as well as a selector to switch between inputs. This way, the same headphones can be used on all three gaming platforms, and you don’t have to even get up to disconnect and reconnect them. Plug in to ThunderFX, then switch instantly. This adds convenience and versatility to gaming, and the politeness factor need not be underestimated! And hey, it’s bundled with ROG motherboards – sweet deal!

What do you think of headphones gaming? Are you the private type? Let us know!

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  • Vishal

    Nice to fill my one more front panel slot with ROG device.Really I want this one.

    But tuning wheels… ?