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EVGA NU Audio Sound Card

Inle

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#1
EVGA surprised just about everyone by releasing a high-end PCIe sound card, a product from a category many consider as good as dead. We thoroughly tested the NU Audio with a wide range of headphones and speakers, and saw truly amazing results and were blown away by its amazing performance.

Show full review
 
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#2
Share the results 24-bit/96 please.

One channel acts weird, your wires are ok? Tried swapping them to deduce that out? The ADC performance looks bad. Really AK5572, it should do more... there's a derp somewhere. Will look more in the evening after job.
 
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#3
So no 5.1 analogs, no mini HDMI output...
Useless card for gaming or a surround system, sorry.
 
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#4
Great analysis, but I have a question, which sound card is better to listen to music from the computer in a very good headphones (Meze 99) or from good monitors like the JBL LSR305?.

Thanks.
 

Inle

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#5
Share the results 24-bit/96 please. One channel acts weird, your wires are ok? Tried swapping them to deduce that out? The ADC performance looks bad. Really AK5572, it should do more... there's a derp somewhere. Will look more in the evening after job.
Here you go, a full 24-bit/96 kHz report:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xhnym7yihumabl9/NU Audio 24 96.zip?dl=0

My cables are definitely OK, I'm using good quality AudioQuest and Fisual cables. Tried both while doing the RMAA loopback tests.

Great analysis, but I have a question, which sound card is better to listen to music from the computer in a very good headphones (Meze 99) or from good monitors like the JBL LSR305?.
Thanks.
Not sure if I understood your question mate, could you clarify? If you're wondering if this is a good sound card to give you the best that the Meze 99s have to offer (love those headphones BTW, especially in the Massdrop-only "Noir" variant :D), then the answer is yes, with the EVGA NU Audio you'll make the most out of your headphones. I can't think of an another consumer-grade sound card that would be as good for stereo music.
 
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#6
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#7
And yet with no backplate and for purely aesthetic reasons....I don't want it in my system
 
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#8
Great analysis, but I have a question, which sound card is better to listen to music from the computer in a very good headphones (Meze 99) or from good monitors like the JBL LSR305?.

Thanks.
I always advocate for external DACs (whether in USB or more standalone form). That way you don't have to deal with noise from within the case. I got me a Dragonfly Red for that. And at home I still go through my DVD (yup) player to decode what's coming out TOSLINK.

Also, iFi is Asian now?
 
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#10
NU = No U?
 
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#11
I think I just found the first sound card to make me actually want to buy a sound card in over a decade. Seriously.
 
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#12
I'd like to see pics of the card without the shroud, is that possible?
 
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#13
I'd like to see pics of the card without the shroud, is that possible?
Bare pcb picture can be found in the announcement thread from a few weeks back.
 
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#14
So no 5.1 analogs, no mini HDMI output...
Useless card for gaming or a surround system, sorry.
Actually, it's even worse than that (for now). Drivers for this sound card don't actually support SPDIF passthru for Dolby/DTS, despite the spec sheet claiming 5.1 support. If you try to pass Dolby/DTS through the card's optical out, you get silence or an error message. EVGA is supposedly working on a fix, possibly arriving in a couple weeks.

Currently, this card is useless for surround, full stop.
 

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#15
So no 5.1 analogs, no mini HDMI output...
Useless card for gaming or a surround system, sorry.
Yeah. I mean its not like the top end logitech 5.1 speaker sets or entry level 5.1 home theater setups dont have optical am i right?

Some higher tier 2.1 setups have optical too. but those arent cheap. Im sure nobody games on headphones either /S


In any case, I cant remember the last time (or the first time) i heard of any soundcard coming with a mini HDMi port. I remember Auzentech and Asus made cards with HDMi ports for audio but those were discontinued some years ago. I dont even think Asus or creative cards come with one for the same price.
 
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#16
The card is poorly designed, lack of engineering experience? I might have tried putting the card in another PCIe slot further from GPU or PSU. There should be some sort of catch, like sucking some stray EMI. Or the card is a dud.

A simple comparison, took my old saved results. First one is the EVGA, second my ZxR and the third is a PCM1794A based Dual Mono external DAC. 24/96, as we see 50Hz mains ripple reeks in doing external device test while using ADC of the internal card. I have an external ADC coupled via optical, so it is electrically isolated, but I am too lazy, as the plot doesn't differ that lot.

What we see? Creative has pulled every bit from PCM1794A and doesn't suffer being inside the PC as many glorify external DAC's(it's better only by a fraction), it doesn't matter, there are really bad devices everywhere, just pick your poison. Latter both has the same signature distortions, the Texan DAC does it by design for everyone, and cannot be rid of. Sill the AK4493EQ doesn't win versus a Texas Instruments device made around 2004. You can flush those 384kHz/32-bit modes like fake news, as it doesn't deliver better even on 24/96. Harsh, yea I am kinda sorry, but that's the data.

Personally I don't need to read the listening experience, I just need these graphs. If the ADC is working right. The card is overly bright, harsh due to sporadic distortion behavior, as a result of some rising noise past 3K, that's pretty unusual sight, right channel goes haywire even more and that's a HW fault(ADC or DAC part, I am guessing here). Someone may like it actually, if the headphones are with less sensitivity at the highs none will bat an eye. The results are really worse than Samsung Galaxy S8 mobile phone lol, but it ain't bad by any means, because phone outputs are lately pretty acceptable, I've attached result zip for the curious ones. Shame I've lost Xonar STXII results also, it died few months ago anyways, they were a bit better in some places, traded blows, because slightly different IC also.

MY RESUME -
For this damn price? I say this card is rubbish basing on the data we have here. Sorry EVGA, it is not worth more than 50$.

ZXR2.png
 

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#17
The card is poorly designed, lack of engineering experience? I might have tried putting the card in another PCIe slot further from GPU or PSU. There should be some sort of catch, like sucking some stray EMI. Or the card is a dud.
Someone posted some RMAA results on EVGA's own review forum...
Not sure if I can post links, but here it goes: https://forums.evga.com/FindPost/2925931

TBH, I don't know how to interpret those charts, but it seems to be less noisy (-111dB) than the one reviewed here?
 
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#18
Someone posted some RMAA results on EVGA's own review forum...
Not sure if I can post links, but here it goes: https://forums.evga.com/FindPost/2925931

TBH, I don't know how to interpret those charts, but it seems to be less noisy (-111dB) than the one reviewed here?
The results are botched, almost like both have equalizer on. The RMAA conclusions like good, excellent are useless... the floor has to be flat, test signal without harmonics etc it is not that hard. The spectrum is very broad, it depends, like bunch of small errors, or like two very hard loud distorting errors? What's worse? If mathematically looks same. But we hear those few spikes in pain more. You have to see the plots.

I have found a STX result in the net. I had pretty similar results with the card... thanks to the original sharer, whoever he may be.
 

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#19
is it better than a blaster x7 + burson v5i upgrade in term of music for stereo speakers set up or headphones ?
 

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#21
The card is poorly designed, lack of engineering experience? I might have tried putting the card in another PCIe slot further from GPU or PSU. There should be some sort of catch, like sucking some stray EMI. Or the card is a dud.

A simple comparison, took my old saved results. First one is the EVGA, second my ZxR and the third is a PCM1794A based Dual Mono external DAC. 24/96, as we see 50Hz mains ripple reeks in doing external device test while using ADC of the internal card. I have an external ADC coupled via optical, so it is electrically isolated, but I am too lazy, as the plot doesn't differ that lot.

What we see? Creative has pulled every bit from PCM1794A and doesn't suffer being inside the PC as many glorify external DAC's(it's better only by a fraction), it doesn't matter, there are really bad devices everywhere, just pick your poison. Latter both has the same signature distortions, the Texan DAC does it by design for everyone, and cannot be rid of. Sill the AK4493EQ doesn't win versus a Texas Instruments device made around 2004. You can flush those 384kHz/32-bit modes like fake news, as it doesn't deliver better even on 24/96. Harsh, yea I am kinda sorry, but that's the data.

Personally I don't need to read the listening experience, I just need these graphs. If the ADC is working right. The card is overly bright, harsh due to sporadic distortion behavior, as a result of some rising noise past 3K, that's pretty unusual sight, right channel goes haywire even more and that's a HW fault(ADC or DAC part, I am guessing here). Someone may like it actually, if the headphones are with less sensitivity at the highs none will bat an eye. The results are really worse than Samsung Galaxy S8 mobile phone lol, but it ain't bad by any means, because phone outputs are lately pretty acceptable, I've attached result zip for the curious ones. Shame I've lost Xonar STXII results also, it died few months ago anyways, they were a bit better in some places, traded blows, because slightly different IC also.

MY RESUME -
For this damn price? I say this card is rubbish basing on the data we have here. Sorry EVGA, it is not worth more than 50$.

View attachment 118096
Someone posted some RMAA results on EVGA's own review forum...
Not sure if I can post links, but here it goes: https://forums.evga.com/FindPost/2925931

TBH, I don't know how to interpret those charts, but it seems to be less noisy (-111dB) than the one reviewed here?
But that just the thing about internal sound cards. They'll work fine for many people. But once in a blue moon they'll not like some components inside your case (it can be something as simple as a wire) and boy does that suck when it happens.
 
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#22
Can be some interference from mobo or PSU. Audio is picky about this.

Mostly the Win 10 is biggest obstacle in getting good audio.. :/


There should be PSU listed in the article.
 
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#23
But that just the thing about internal sound cards. They'll work fine for many people. But once in a blue moon they'll not like some components inside your case (it can be something as simple as a wire) and boy does that suck when it happens.
Had that problem but fixed it with a $5 SYBA SD-CM-UAUD. It all sounds the same to me. No ground loop now though.
 
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#24
I wonder how this fares x the Asus Xonar Essence STX and does anybody know if soundcards like this or the Asus xonar are better to drive lets say a hifiman 4xx better than amps/dacs?

Asus Xonar essence has the "
High quality DAC
The Burr-Brown PCM 1792A Digital-to-Analog Convertor (DAC) converts signals at 127dB signal-to-noise ratio.
Swappable OPA Sockets
Tune up your unique sound - OPAMP sockets allow simple, solder-less alteration for user-preferred sound color.
"
The marketing headline says "124 dB SNR / Headphone Amp card for Audiophiles "

"Equipping the Xonar Essence STX with the best components and the finest design, the STX delivers a top-of-the-line audio experience with a 124 dB SNR rating. With a built-in headphone amp that can power headphones up to 600 ohms and 6.3 mm headphone jacks, the STX makes a perfect pair with high-end headphones. "

https://www.asus.com/us/Sound-Cards/Xonar_Essence_STX/

I have a denon AH-d5000 and together with the xonar is really good. I wonder if it would be better with an dedicated proper headphone amp or if the xonar essence would do just good.

some references, https://www.head-fi.org/threads/xonar-essence-stx-as-headphone-amp.436613/
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/better-external-dac-amp-than-essence-stx.683474/
https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/3l5kiz
 
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Audio Device(s) Auzen Forte / Yamaha RX-V475 + Pioneer AJ
Power Supply Corsair HX750 / Dark Power PRO10
Software w10 64 / w10 64
Benchmark Scores I don't play benchmarks...
#25
So... that EVGA or an RX-V385?
 
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