Oh wow auditioned the little dot mk3 and little dot dac 1 last night and there is a noticeable improvement over the asus stx. Soundstage is bigger mids are more upfront and centre. Bass tends to have a little more kick to it. I will be honest I didn't believe that there would be such a noticeable improvement over the Stx but I was wrong. The whole external amp and dac versus soundcard I previously wrote on forums and the general consensus was I had to spend big to improve the Asus stx soundcard. It is however not the case the sound has more detail but now I'm left pondering if I spend a little more will I get even more improved sound. For the money I spent I'm quite happy with the sound I'm getting out of the hd650. As I have just started my music journey I'm eager to experiment and try different equipment as well as enjoying the music experience on the way of course.
I am (or was) in the same boat...want to get external setup but need money now to get a DAC to upgrade over the one in the Essence.