Asus Impresario SBW-S1 PRO review

Pubblicato il 25/12/2015 - Last updated: 27/03/2016

Topic: Riproduzione audio hi-fi


Asus Impresario SBW-S1 PRO review

Hi all this time I present an innovative product, especially in the field of computer science.


ASUS is certainly not the top when it comes to audio, makes good products, sometimes even very interesting for the rate at which they are produced (an example is the Xonar U7, I recommend if you remember that the only drivers that make it fit acoustically are the .17 that there are to win 7 and 8; others make the signal phase rotations from manual : "Things to do").


Three acknowledgements: the first to you readers, the seccond to Elena Bottiroli who takes care of the ASUS marketing in Italy, the third to my friend Luigi Santoro, who by founder of turned me the mail of Elena.



The Packaging immediately say that Asus is not the usual audiophile home: cardboard box has a very nice design and fully describes the product. Lifted the cover you see the Impreario S1 under a raised plastic window which you can take the product. Below there is a compartment where everything else.


The bundle consists of:

  • power cable;
  • power suply 12V and 3A;
  • cable jack 3.5" female to RCA male (stereo);
  • micro USB to USB cable to connect the Impresario to your computer;
  • Driver CD and programs;
  • Manual and warranty.


The external materials are essentially composed of plastic. The terminals are all golden.


The drivers I used are those of the CD
The programs attached to "BD suite" are PowerDVD12, Power2Go, PowerBackup and InstantBurn.
With music PowerDVD is decidedly inappropriate, so I used the trusty foobar2000.
With the movies instead PowerDVD12 is a well known old but effective and valid.


Firstly as always here is the link to the manufacturer
Aside from the marketing of the product description page that says everything and nothing we pass to analyze the specific:
Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front out): 114 dB
Output THD + N at 1 kHz (Front out):-0.00056% (105dB) (less than minimum THD of the operational still used ... impossible)
Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 48 kHz
Full-Scale Output Voltage: Line out: 2Vrms (5.65 Vp-p)
Headphone out: 7Vrms (19.8 Vp-p)
Audio Processor: C-Media 6631A
Digital-to-analog Converter (DAC): Cirrus Logic CS4398 (ex-top of the line Analog Device)
Headphone Amplifier: TI TPA6120A2 (top of the line to the amps headphone on Texas Instrument chip)
Operational Amplifier: 2 x NJM5532 (cute, but it isn't anything that costs the right
WIMA Film Capacitor: 2 x WIMA FKP2 (mirror for larks nice capacitors hardly anything if the circuit does not go well)
Sample Rate and Resolution:
Analog Playback Sample Rate and Resolution:
44.1/48/96/192kHz @ 16bit/24bit
ASIO Driver Support:
44.1/48/96/192kHz @ 16bit/24bit
Analog Output
4 x 3.5 mm jack(Headphone out /Side out/Center-Subwoofer out/Rear out)
2 x RCA (Un-Balanced)
Digital Output
1 x S/PDIF out
Adapter Power: +12V ±5%, 3°
Reading these characteristics and giving an eye to picture it is impossible not to think of the Xonar U7.


And here we are finally at testing.
We start from very nice 12V and 3A, ok the figure stated is also correct, but this shows us now a given stated definitely impossible (even theoretically impossible): essentially it's impossible to get 19.8 Vp-p for the fact that the power supply stopping at 12 makes it unfeasible this peak that even in the best case scenario you would stand to 11V.
Other data declared, but unreal is the THD + N essentially ASUS declares a THD + N better even than that of components that use the parent probably preferred to declare any data that were more a goal than anything else.
Speaking of THD as seen in the pictures it amounted to 0.01% for front dispensing while stood at 0.05% to the headphone output. Giving an eye to charts anyway shows that between 100 Hz and 700Hz there are peak THD 0.1% that remain well below the dammed in the rear exit and at 0.5% for the headphone output, only the bass have a 0.5% THD almost fixed.
Before you are done on parallel with the Xonar U7, it becomes so natural look also at THD of this which amounted to 0.005% (for RCA rear), turning out better by 55Hz up as from this frequency down the Xonar U7 is worse than a 0.05% 0.55% giving the THD.
Continuing with graphs, let's switch to frequency response: 20 kHz at -0.2 db. There are no improvements since Xonar U7, but go to improve was with difficult and costly, essentially I consider unnecessary spending so much for trying an improvement in this price range. At least the speaker output, while for the headphone output you have a-0.3 db at 20 kHz a deterioration of 0.1 db which in essence is nothing serious.
Going to analyze the phase, The Impresario S1, like the Xonar U7 presents phase rotations that reach a peak of 23° and only from 18 kHz you get appreciable degradation: hats off all those who over the years have fired at random on the U7 saying it was impossible and certainly more expensive products sounded better ... well this is perhaps the strength of these two products , do a blind test and just listening you will appreciate the benefits of a linear stage. The headphone output does not deviate from this, but unfortunately suffers from the typical TPA6120A2 defect: the lowest output impedance 8 Ohm Chip is the impresario stood around 10 Ohms, nothing serious if you have headphones with an impedance of at least 150 Ohms, but definitely a worse effect with low impedance headphones.
Output impedance is 75 Ohm RCA.
The impulse response is extremely fast and dynamic for the headphone output and for the RCA outputs too.
We finish the test talking about volts and Amps:
the RCA output provides up to 1.6 V and 15 a side not very powerful but it definitely can be integrated in many environments and systems. The residual current is very low and stood at 0.03 µW.
the headphone output can be managed with Gain set to Low or High.
To Low you will get useful parameters if and only if you want to use a headset or external headphone amplifier, you have in fact only 1.7 V and 9 but, the residual current is about 0.03 µW.
On high, the situation becomes very interesting 7V and 35th power is still low but thinking about a cheap high-impedance headphones compatibility is evident; the residual current is 7 µW, major, but still far from any questionable parameter.


Honestly writing I would stop here I said it all in these tests talking so clear that we can argue with them that the Impresario S1 is an Hi-Fi product. The parallel with the U7 is confirmed in the data and have used the same idea was undoubtedly the winning move.


I have not yet officially published an article in which I talk about virtual surround and hope to do so not too far behind the times, this essentially to say that I didn't try the virtual surround sound with speakers behind me I don't have a wall as required by virtual surround calculations and then activate it or not does not give benefits but noted only the hanging of sonic performance. With a full blown surround the undertaker instead could show decisiveness and fairness (I used BD and DVD), also highlighting several Sonic details that without a serious plant pass inuditi. However I'm not a movie buff and I don't want to say too much.


In game I used the headphone surround was effective, but I decided to keep it active (just crush the volume knob to activate it) only with ArmA II, the active surround sound obtained by cannot be said therefore characterised by naturalness, driving simulators and RPG I preferred to turn it off.

Let's say that unfortunately it was necessary for a sound decidedly incupidimento over all "sounded" at least one octave lower, in the RPG the natural sound I consider it important, in driving simulators hear the engine is priceless and naturalness is fundamental.
Although I understand that these considerations are rather personal (due to the excessive importance given to the Netherlands by non current culture) I think incupidimento sounds made less verbose on the battlefield: an M16 doesn't shoot with the sound of an AK47, too bad the M16 of my soldier was firing like it was an AK47. However having some more details on the position is more important.
The experience as a whole was very funny and the Impresario while showing the next to a audiomane has proved to be very competitive and convenient to use.


To listen through the speakers in a definable hi-end impresario behaves with dignity without being afraid of confronting the DAC also similarly priced, but especially not afraid of comparisons with CD players more noble, but by the price comparable. Used as DAC pure sounds very similar to the Xonar U7, of which I have often shown its merits in a correct sound, well positioned on stage, clear but not completely transparent (which is only obtainable with DAC decidedly more expensive). A sound very competitive, which impresses with naturalness with which it is equipped. The advantage of the Impresario becomes clearly intelligible when in addition to do from DAC l'impresario doubles as a CD player. Compared to CD burners in the same house the impresario arises on a much higher level thanks to a quieter, mechanics the outsourcing from the case. The sound coming out from the CD becomes more dynamic, clear, precise and with lower body. Noise level we are very interesting because it is the quietest burner on the market today, make some noise during the Scriptures, but once the CD is very quiet although somewhat noisier on CD players of equal cost. On these however very sound indeed: it sounds standpoint retrieves like a higher-end CD player. That happens thanks to the goodness of the DAC section date from the sound card; the problem is that the impresario without a computer does not work and cannot be used as a CD player.

However, it is also interesting if you are endowed with better DAC analog outputs can be used only with the films and the music can be used as during S1 ratings digital CD player, so the bar is raised a lot, are broken veils places on music by the analog section of the Impresario and the sound becomes even more clear and transparent , this indicates that the work about the mechanics was well executed.


In the headphones the Impresario S1 shows its weaknesses, cannot be used with low gain you must pass mandatory in high gain leading though the amplifier to be better suited to 250 ohm headset to headphones from 32 or 68. The TPA6120A2 allows to implement headphone amplifier in very little space, yet carries with it inherent defects; implementing ASUS doesn't solve problems and limits the output current, proving that the low impedances albeit flyable are not suitable for making bass sound is heard both in the high artefizi. The scene provided by the headphone amplifier is correct though airy and well designed, but to use low-impedance headphones you should provide dedicated amplifier. The rest used correctly repeats everything that was said to the speakers.


ASUS with the entrepreneur wants to offer not only a sound solution, not just a complete Home Cinema solution, but also the latest technology on the market.
Impresario supports recent M-optical media Disc ( both DVD and BR enhance a highly flexible and capacious storage capacity that ensures a lifetime of support for over a thousand years.
It also enables 256-bit encryption and makes use of technology BDXL that writes lots of data on a single Blu-ray disc recordable (BD-R) ─ up to 100 GB on BD-R TL and 128 GB on BD-R QL.


We come finally to the section where you pull the strings on the product.
I haven't had many problems to say that within the computer audiophiles (and beyond) is perhaps one of the most interesting products on the market. The rate is in line with the performance, the novelty and get space in a market full of products, the market price is 250 euros.

A product that has some problems, although I liked no product shall be free from problems.
List them here, but you will notice that they are just observations.
The cable is too short and thin, functional if the pc is extremely close, but you must provide an extension in case you have a coffee table not designed to put a computer.
Secondly does not work as a standalone player from your computer.
However, these observations are largely outdated by the positive facets of the Impresario S1 which turns out to be a very good sound card for gamers, a great player for their movies and also a competitive product musically.

Impresario SBW-S1 PRO (fronte)
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Impresario SBW-S1 PRO (retro)
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Impresario S1: risposta in frequenza e in fase uscita cuffie low gain
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Impresario S1: risposta in frequenza e in fase uscita cuffie high gain
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Impresario S1: risposta in frequenza e in fase uscita rca
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Impresario S1: THD uscita rca
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Impresario S1: THD uscita cuffie low gain
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Impresario S1: THD uscita cuffie high gain
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Xonar U7: THD uscita rca
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli
Xonar U7: risposta in frequenza e in fase
Photography by Marco Maria Maurilio Bicelli