Evga nu audio review: EVGA Nu Audio Pro Review: Who Needs a Sound Card in 2020?

EVGA NU Audio Review: Crisp, Clear, Sound For PC Enthusiasts

EVGA boldly entered a new product category and launched its first sound card at CES, the aptly named EVGA Nu Audio. The Nu Audio card represents the culmination of a few years of co-development efforts with the folks at U.K.-based Audio Note, makers of high-end audio reproduction equipment. Unlike many sounds cards that tweak and massage source material to produce various effects, EVGA’s goal with the NU Audio card was strictly on quality and playing back source material as close to how the original creators intended, with minimal filtering. To that end, the NU Audio card is packing nothing but top-notch components, right down to its Nichicon solid-state capacitors and audio-grade resistors. Of course, EVGA injected its enthusiast DNA into the NU Audio card as well and it features a stylized metal shroud, customizable RBG lighting, copper shielding, and gold plated outputs.

Take a look at the EVGA Nu Audio’s full list of features and specification below, and then we’ll dig in a little deeper and see what makes the card tick and how it performs with a variety of source material. ..

EVGA Nu Audio Sound Card
Specifications & Features
Audio DSP XMOS xCORE-200, Native DSD Support (up to x256)
Output Configuration 2 Channel (Analog), 5.1 Channel (Digital via S/PDIF)
Dynamic Range (DNR) / Signal To Noise (SNR) 123dB (Stereo Playback), 121dB (Line-In Recording)
Playback Format Up to 384kHz, 32bit (Stereo), Up to 192kHz, 24bit (Optical)
Headphone Amp 16-600 ohm (Independent Analog Control)
Maximum Voltage 8Vrms
Maximum Current 250mA
Recording Format Up to 384kHz, 32bit (Line-In), Up to 192kHz, 24bit (Mic-In)
RGB Lighting 10 — Mode w/ Audio Reactive Lighting
I/O Stereo Out (RCA L/R), Headphone Out (6. 3mm), Line-In (3.5mm), Mic-In (3.5mm), Optical Out (TOSLINK Passthrough), Front Panel Header
Premium Components DAC — AKM AK4493, ADC — AKM AK5572, OP-AMP (Headphone) — ADI OP275, OP-AMP (Line Out) — ADI AD8056; Capacitors — WIMA, Audio Note(UK), Nichicon; Power Regulators — Texas Instruments TPS7A47/TPS7A33 ultralow-noise power solution
Switchable OP-AMPs Headphone, Line out
Interface PCIe x1 Gen2
Power Connector 1x SATA Power
Supported OS Windows 10, 8.1, 7

Find The EVGA NU Audio At Amazon.com

There is a lot going under the hood of the EVGA NU Audio. At the card’s heart is an XMOS xCORE-200 DSP, which is used in some quality USB audio gear. In fact, the NU Audio is essentially a USB audio solution packed onto a PCB, The card’s XMOS DSP is a USB controller that’s bridged to PCI Express via an ASMedia ASM1042. This may seem quizzical to some of you, but keep in mind that USB Audio Class 2.0 is a well-established standard for HiFi and Pro Audio production. The Dynamic Range (DNR) and Signal to Noise (SNR) are 123dB for stereo playback and 121dB for line-in recording, respectively, and the card supports a wide range of playback formats.

The EVGA NU Audio board itself is construction of a silver and gold-plated, multi-layer PCB, with isolated ground planes for the analog and digital circuits, to help cut down on noise transfer and interference. With all of the components and circuitry on the card, it does require additional power through a standard SATA connector (that feed is not just for lighting), but the circuitry is treated to its own copper shielding and is covered by a chunky heatsink.

All of the capacitors used on the card consist of high-quality Audio Note Standard, Nichicon solid, and Panasonic FC caps, and all of the other components were selected with an eye on quality as well. The Nu Audio card features an AKM AK4493 32-bit DAC with the aforementioned 123dB DNR, that feeds a balanced linear phase low-pass filter consisting of TI LME49724 fully-differential amplifiers. That signal is fed into an ADI AD8056 dual Op-Amp, which actually resides in a socket. Should users want to upgrade Op-Amps in the future, that is possible with the EVGA NU Audio as well.

The headphone output on the card has its own ADI OPA275 Op-Amp (also upgradeable, though not interchangeable with the AD8056 due to voltage differing voltage requirements), paired to dual TI LME49600 power amps. The headphone output feeds the 6.35mm headphone jack with a low impedance signal, to minimize noise and improve transient response. Also part of the headphone output is a Maxim DS1882, which allows for software-based volume controls.

Pumping audio into the card and converting analog signals to digital is handled by an AKM AK5572 32-bit ADC (121dB capable). The setup allows for studio-quality line-in recording at up to 384KHz. The microphone input has its own independent circuit as well, powered by the Cirrus Logic CS5346, which is a 24-bit 192KHz capable part with a max dynamic range of 103dB. The microphone circuit can be configured for line level signals as well, though it’s not as high quality as the dedicated line-in.

External I/O on the EVGA NU Audio card consists of gold-plated stereo line-outs, a 6.3mm headphone output, 3.5mm line and microphone inputs, and an S/PDIF output. Included with the card are a couple of adapters though; one 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter and a dual RCA/component (male) to 3.5mm jack.

EVGA NU Audio Pro 7.1 Premium Sound Card Review

EVGA NU Audio Pro 7.1 Premium Sound Card Review

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  • EVGA NU Audio Pro 7. 1 Premium Sound Card Review

  • Specifications And Features

  • Packaging And Contents

  • The NU Audio Pro 7.1

  • Internal Components

  • Audio Driver

  • Conclusion

  • All Pages

Page 1 of 7









   Largely thanks to the cooperation between EVGA and Audio Note UK the PC audio market has become a lot more exciting as of late. Sure, after many decades in the market Creative is still the number one manufacturer of audio cards (both internal and external models) for the PC (and is still leading in terms of sales) but competition is always good for consumers and that’s exactly what EVGA brought to the table with their NU Audio Premium Sound Card model last year (review here). Over the years EVGA established themselves as one of NVIDIA’s and Intel’s most trusted and reliable partners not only because of their high-performance graphics cards and mainboards but also their excellent after sales support so when they entered the PC audio market last year many people thought it was a one-time deal. Today with us we have the latest addition in their line-up called the NU Audio Pro 7.1 and so it would seem that EVGA is really serious about also establishing themselves in the high-end/audiophile PC audio market.

   EVGA is the #1 NVIDIA authorized partner in channel sales throughout North America. Based on the philosophy of intelligent innovation, market knowledge, and the real time operation, EVGA continues to identify the need in the market place and providing the solution to that need. By offering product differentiation, a 90 day Step-Up program, and other customer focused programs, EVGA is a clear leader in all categories: etail, retail, distribution, and system builders. With headquarters in Brea, CA, EVGA’s global coverage includes EVGA GmbH in Munich, EVGA LATAM in Miami, and EVGA Hong Kong. For further information online about EVGA, visit https://www.evga.com.

   EVGA announced their NU Audio Pro 7.1 cards (set and two separate cards) roughly 2 months ago and as clearly stated by its name this is their very first sound card to also support 7. 1 surround sound, analog that is. As some of you are well aware the very first NU Audio Card was (still is) not only an audiophile targeted model (thanks to its XMOS xCORE-200 32-bit multicore microcontroller, the AK4493 and the AK5572 converters and the swappable OP-AMPs) but it did support 5.1 surround sound via its digital optical output (SPDIF) which allowed the end user to connect it with a compatible surround sound system (usually to an audio/video amplifier). Now even though the new NU Audio Pro card uses the same microcontroller by XMOS it does take things a step further compared to its predecessor, not only due to fine-tuning and its higher-performance hardware components (including Seiryu capacitors by Audio Note and the UKLT1469 op-amp) but also due to the addition of a small expansion card (connect together via mini DisplayPort) which ads a total of 3 analog outputs (3.5mm) to the mix for analog surround sound support. So, this time over the NU Audio Pro card is not only also Hi-Res Audio certified and features Nahimic 3D audio enhancements but supports playback formats up to 384kHz/32bit for stereo (2. 0), 192KHz/24bit via the optical output (5.1) and 192kHz/32bit for Multi-Channel (4.0/5.1/7.1). Other features include customizable RBG lighting (6 modes / audio reactive), newly designed front metal shroud, EMS shielding backplate, copper shielding and gold plated outputs.


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Top notch sound card in review: Can EVGA NU Audio set new standards in the lab? igorsLAB

You can start from scratch and fight to free yourself, or you can rely on long-term competence that you purposefully buy. EVGA made the latter for good reason and, along with Audio Note, launched EVGA NU Audio as a sound card plug-in that doesn’t want to hack but knock. You can quickly notice this in the price, because the entrance here is just over 285 euros, still. That’s a lot of digital wood, but the equivalent has to be right. But that’s what I have a lab for. nine0003

Speaking of the audio note. The company, which was founded in the UK in 1991, can now look back on an interesting history, because it has remained true to the pipe amplifier to this day and has managed to set trends over the years and still keep the tradition going. But don’t worry, NU Audio is of course 100 percent tube free and not completely free yet, because it’s only established that it’s also worth being soldered on it.

This is not a PR-compliant advance laurel now, just a little anticipation of my demolition, which I did as always. Which would make me unpack because the box opens quickly when your curiosity about you. And that’s where he goes now. nine0003

Shipping & Exterior

If you unpack the sound card, you will also find an RCA jack adapter for line out and a 6.3 to 3.5 mm jack adapter for headphone output. Most people will probably need it if they want to plug in headphones. Some small flyers round out the contents of the package, the rest must be downloaded, because without a driver the headphone output is juicy and powerless.

Yes, software is needed and it also updates the firmware automatically. This in itself is very commendable, but this firmware update, along with the Windows 10 May update, caused me some grief, because after that, for example. Right Mark’s audio analyzer stopped working. It remains to be seen whether this is due to trial software or a combination of driver, software and Windows. Of course the functionality of the sound card doesn’t detract from it, but I can only show the numerical values ​​before updating the measurements later. Much more important measurements with an oscilloscope worked, of course. nine0003

At first glance, EVGA’s NU Audio is supposedly a «normal» PCIe x1 plug-in card. In detail, however, you can see that the three 12-volt connectors per slot are not used, although they can supply up to 5.5 amps, i.e. 66 W. However, the manufacturer decided to leave the supply through the motherboard to the graphics card alone and instead rely on the normal SATA power connection at the end of the board.

The advantage is supply security because many boards have already reached their limit in terms of board layout with currents over 6 amps through the 24 pin motherboard connection. In addition, it prevents perekipsy from the video card to the power line of the sound card. Of course, it doesn’t look good to have such a SATA cable hanging around freely in a PC, but accessory retailers should also offer better SATA extensions. nine0003

The front features a metal cover that features a stamped inscription audio note in addition to the EVGA logo and that also relies on air intakes above the voltage converters. This also applies to the end of the card where the air permeable plastic end was located. At the top we find the EVGA logo, you guessed it, RGB lighting. You can like this or just turn it off, depending on your pre-love or hate. nine0003

Here you can also see that the RGB driver chip (SONIX SLED1734) is not sitting on the PCB itself, but on a small board on the cover. That’s why I’m taking demolition at this point, even if it’s all in the details. The second break is then for the front panel title (HD audio).

The back is not protected because the manufacturer probably thought you didn’t have to. As long as the sound card sits above or far below the graphics card, which could be the case, but what if you can’t find enough room for more distance? This is exactly what I’m going to do next. Incidentally, as is often the case with EVGA, the board comes from Victory Giant, EVGA’s longtime partner in all sorts of things. nine0003

Card connections are manageable and fully sufficient, analog 5. x outputs are no longer needed. We find two analog input jacks, each with a 3.5 mm line-in jack and a microphone. the outputs are much more interesting here because EVGA has completely cut off the analog line from the headphone output. In addition, there is a mandatory SpDIF as an optical output. That’s it, and that’s more than enough.

In addition to the possible power and voltage (all RMS) for different headphone output impedances, I will be able to offer very interesting values ​​later in the measurements and even without spoiling beforehand I can already unharness that this card can blow up many competitors with a gesture of nonchalance. This is also related to the assembly, but I will come to this in a matter of time. nine0003


This software is still a bit in motion, but the latest versions are already usable and stable. The problems described only occur in connection with one test software, so a relaxed warning can be given, even after the May update. What I personally love is the fact that you don’t have a fixed gain switch that increases the amplifier’s gain by a fixed amount, but you can actually fire the afterburner continuously for the headphone output in addition to a master control that applies to both outputs. nine0003

This is important in that high-recalcitrant head rumors reach the last areas of the limit, and this is also the first internal sound card, for example. can feed the Beyerdynamic T1 out of full control. This, in turn, should be avoided as much as possible, but it would be possible if you wanted to. And that in itself has a certain entertainment value. Well, the Beyerdynamic A20 is still a bit sportier, but wiping out the hardware is also the last thing you want.

The microphone input is quite sensitive, and the built-in Cirrus logic chip is quiet enough to connect even a micro micro micro capacitor with a clear and low noise level. Nahimic and virtual surround sound can be loved and used, but with smart headphones it works. The rest of the gadgets in the DSP are standard in their class, and nothing is missing, a sort of micro compression included. The 10-band EQ is also finely structured and you can save everything extra in different profiles at the end. nine0003

I’m almost through with the introduction, because the tilted muffler won’t suffer frostbite when looking at the data sheet. It fits like the famous eye fist, which probably justifies the price this time around. I didn’t find fake information and PR fights this time either. Thanks for this!

Specifications and data

Audio DSP:
  • XMOS xCORE-200
  • Native DSD support (up to x256)
  • Up to 384 kHz, 32bit (stereo)
  • Up to 192 kHz, 24bit (optical)
  • Up to 384 kHz, 32bit (Line-In)
  • Up to 192 kHz, 24bit (Mic-In)
  • Stereo Line-B (3. 5 mm jack)
  • Microphone (3.5 mm jack)
  • Microphone Front (Header)
  • Stereo Line-Out (RCA Chinch Ler)
  • Digital output (SPDIF 5.1)
  • Line-Out Front Panel (Header)
Headphone output:
  • 6.3 mm plug (with 3.5 mm adapter)
  • 16 — 600 Ohm Impedas
  • Additional gain controller
  • nine0910 Max. 8 Vrms (600 ohms)

  • Max 250 mA (32 ohm)
  • 123dB (Stereo Playback)
  • 121dB (Line-In recording)
RGB lighting: Various modes included. Audio control
  • DAC — AKM AK4493
  • ADC — AKM AK5572
  • OP-AMP (headphones) — ADI OP275 (replacement)
  • OP-AMP (Line Out) — ADI AD8056 (replacement)
  • Capacitors — WIMA, Audio Note (UK), Nichicon
  • pannungsregler – TI TPS7A47/TPS7A33 ultra low noise
  • PCIe x1 Gen2
  • 1x SATA Power

EVGA NU Audio 5.