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ASUS Xonar Essence STX Reviews

Mr_Owlow

Good Source - Decent head-amp

Posted

Pros: Very good for the price, easily upgradeable sound, runs on power directly from PSU

Cons: Has problems with low impedance phones, a bit tricky mounting discreet Op-Amps

Note: I'm from Sweden so if the wording or sentence structure is a bit off, I blame the Swedish educational system!!    Introduction The ASUS Xonar Essence STX is a two channel soundcard with a built in amplifier and it is a great entry into hi-fi and head-fi, it has a good set of features and handles most games very well, at least with the newer drivers. The card has a good DAC-chip that leads into two I/V stage Op-Amps and then on to either the headphone amplifier chip, called a Hi-Z amplifier, or to the buffer stage Op-Amp. There is also a decent mic/line in for recording. The card takes its power directly from the PSU and therefore gets a very clean and strong power supply, at...
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rroseperry

Good Source Upgrade

Posted

Pros: great neutral sound, easy installation

Cons: not the cheapest, needs a good power source

I wanted to upgrade my computer sound card in preparation for higher impedance phones and eventually a desktop amp. This more than does the trick and improved onboard sound more than I'd expected.   The con about it needing a good power source isn't an argument against it. It turned out that my computer (Vostro 420, 2009) didn't have an extra power connection for the card so I ended up upgrading my power source as well.  
Marlene

Flawed Perfection

Posted

Pros: absolutely neutral, decent headphone amp, built quality, design

Cons: crappy driver, line-in lags & applies compression

I needed a lot of time to make the decision to purchase this card. During January 2010 I pondered if it actually would be an update simply because I already owned two interfaces: Creative X-FI ExtremeMusic and an E-MU 0202 USB. Furthermore, for my Sennheiser HD-600 I already had a headphone amp, a Corda Arietta, connected to the E-MU with the very good Audioquest King Cobra.   But then I heard the X-Fi with my headphones for the first time and was so appalled that I ordered the ASUS Xonar Essence. When it arrived I marveled at the design and the built quality. It looks nice, it feels nice. I subsequently ran into some installation problems (having chosen the wrong slot on my...
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gurubhai

PC audio was never this good

Posted

Pros: Excellent SQ, upgadable opamps, versatile headphone out

Cons: The drivers don't do justice to the quality of this product.

its been over an year since I got this sound card & I have never regretted the decision. It has played game with everything I have thrown at it- D1001, HD580, DT880 600 ohm & even my orthos. The DAC section is superior to my Marantz AVR & so is the headphone out. Tough to believe you can get something better for the price.
beepover

Excellent sound

Posted

Pros: Excellent Sound...no noise in quiet parts of songs, no cracks of music,

Cons: Wish had more extension out of box, but thats what opamps are for

Wish I had something to compare to. Had an audigy 2 for years and thought extension was better in treble. But Audigy 2 does not have a headphone amp and cannot push the HD650 properly. Not even sure it can push the AKG Q701. The HD600 with the audigy 2 are fantastic since HD600 does not need a headphone amp. I am a pretend to be audiophile since I have a limited budget.   Althought I do have tons of headphones: I ripped all music to wav file using EAC. I feel at times I need a headphone tube amp to improve sound. When I tested my STX against a Sony 400 disc CDplayer to receiver, both sounded exactly the same. So I stuck with the STX and ripped the CD collection to WAV.
comfortablejon

The Missing Piece

Posted

Pros: Makes good headphones even better, great sound quality, more than doubles my volume.

Cons: initial driver problems, installation tricky.

Bought Sony MDR XB1000s almost a year ago and they've been great. A mate of mine bought a soundcard and reckons it made a big difference and convinced me to buy one. I read into reviews, and they said that this was a good card for headphones, and they are bang on. It always felt like there was something missing when i first listened to my MDRs, and i kinda felt ripped off after upgrading from MDR XB700s but this card truly justifies the upgrade. I have a modern motherboard ( MSI GD65 8D) and the audio quality increase this card gives over my mobo soundcard is staggering. Max volume increase this card gives is just crazy. HQ audio is completely flawless; no signs of clipping even at max...
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leksasd

Wonderful card

Posted

Pros: Dac, ease of installation, connections, overall build quality, accessories, price, software

Cons: headphone amplifiers performance on lower impedance headphones

I don't really have anything to compare this to, since this is my first non-board soundcard (some might say I took quite a leap) To be honest, I wasn't even expecting that much of a difference on the price, since I'm used to seeing components paying way more, but the quality of the STX really blows me away! The headphone amp is something that could be better, my only other amp is a measly Pro-Ject headbox S, which performs pretty close to the xonar, although being slightly warmer and not as detailed, also I don't really like how it sounds on your general every day 32 ohm gaming headsets, or my 55 ohm akg k121's. The Xonar is a great sound processor though, in fact it's so detailed that...
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bcschmerker4

Good card for a loaded system

Posted

Pros: Excellent shielding, upgradeable op amps

Cons: Drivers brickwalled by MS-Windows 6.1/7.0 audio stack

I originally purchased this audio card for an Asus® CM1630-06 previously upgraded with the same vendor's EAH6850DC/2DIS/1GD5 PCI-Express x16 video card plus an Antec® TruePower™ 750 Blue for sufficient video performance for podcasts and similar live over-the-Web activities at UStream® Television.  Even with the bone-stock JRC2114D dual operational amplifiers in the I-V and National Semiconductor®/Texas Instruments® LM4562N in the line-level buffer position, this card is plenty accurate and has room for further tuning.  I found that the Essence™ has one of the lowest noise floors of any card on the market, almost certainly due to its conservative, radio-grade shielding approach;...
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IfIonlyknew

Sweet

Posted

Pros: The sounds produced are Excellent.

Cons: Drivers that come in the package suck

Once I got this running, It was like listing to my fat JVC receiver....Sounds are very clean.
jacrider

Asus Xonar Essence STX

Posted

Pros: Great sound!

Cons: None ... a bit pricey

Best sounding music on a computer ever.  Both headphones and speakers (I am using AudioEngine's) sound full and clear.   Great upgrade and certainly one that will move to the next computer and likely the one after that!  
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