ASUS showed off its Xonar U3 at CES 2011, a new USB stick that promises to deliver better audio quality for laptops. Availability is unknown but ASUS promises it will be quite affordable, similar to the Xonar DG audio card which costs just $30.
Dubbed the Xonar U3, this USB dongle features the same audio chip and pre-programmed "pop" that our blind listeners liked so much in the DG. A headphone amplifier optimized for 32-150 Ω has been squeezed into the device, which is no larger than a thumb drive. You also get virtualization software to emulate EAX positional audio effects and to simulate surround-sound speakers with stereo headphones.