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I suppose the question applies to Linux in general but what have user's experiences been with Asus Xonar U3? Does it improve the sound quality of onboard or the generic drivers cripple it?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have used this device in Ubuntu 11.10 and my experience is that it does improve the sound quality and adds a lot more power to the output (Acer Extensa laptop). Of course the actual improvement depends on the quality of the onboard sound chip.

Unfortunately the Xonar U3 Audio Center SW doesn't support Linux but the device is usable also without it.

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So does this work as Plug and Play or any modules to enable manually? – Eshwar Mar 9 '12 at 16:58
At least I hadn't do anything else than select the correct output device from the audio settings. – Esa Mamia Mar 10 '12 at 13:21

My experience with the Xonar U3 and 11.10 on a Samsung RV511 laptop has been very good.

Installation is dead simple, just plug in and go to Sound Preferences (right click on Sound icon) and the hardware, input and output tabs selecting in turn the USB Advanced Audio Device. And there you have it, a noticeably improved sound output, haven't used the Xonar with a mic yet so I can't comment on the input capabilities of the Xonar.

The Xonar can also be accessed through alsamixer, not sure whether this is any different to using the Sound Preferences (probably not).

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I have installed the Xonar U3 on a Raspberry PI using raspian and kernel 3.10.25. I can confirm that the device shows up and both the analog audio out and microphone in are working properly.

However, the optical (S/PDIF) output does not work in my hands. Alsamixer shows a "Digital" switch, and I can turn the S/PDIF laser on and off with it, but no sound can be heard when I plug the S/PDIF toslink table into my stereo (stereo and cable are confirmed good).

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It is supported. However, volume control doesn't work with analog headphone output in my experience. You have to enable SPDIF to fix this issue, but it can be done only on MS Windows and it isn't persistent, hence if your computer reboots without the sound card plugged in, you lose visibility of the digital output... until you enable it in MS Windows again.

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