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Xonar Essence STX: Sneak Peek!

post #1 of 2063
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys, I figure many of you here may be interested in some new information about the upcoming Xonar Essence STX card. Have a look: HERE

HWC actually has a engineering sample of the card and we will be looking it over with a magnifying glass and testing it fully to see what it has to offer the headphone and audio communities. Do we have any opinions, suggestions or comments on this card?
post #2 of 2063
I for one am very psyched about this card and will probably buy one the moment it comes out.

I'm curious to see how the 1792 DAC and new grounding circuitry help improve its sound over the HDAV (my current source). The HDAV already sounds better than the D2 I had previously (which in itself was a wonderful card).

Any chance HWC can include at least subjective tests of the Essence w/ different opamps installed? Specifically the LT1361, which for me significantly improved the highs on the HDAV. They sounded kind of flat and "digital" with the stock LM4562, but became more airy, liquid, and 3-Dimensional w/ the 1361.

Also, any idea when this thing is going to be released? Asus's press release at ASUSTeK Computer Inc. doesn't say anything about when it comes out...

And what's the diff between the AV100 and AV200?
post #3 of 2063
Latest news: Early December and rated at about 1999 Yuan... (340$CAN)
post #4 of 2063
Cool, $279US isn't too horrendously priced. About what I expected.

Where'd you hear this? Did they have any other juicy details not-yet released?
post #5 of 2063
According to this, it's recommended street price is around €199.
post #6 of 2063
I don't think it will beat dedicated head amps, but how will it fare as a DAC? We'll just have to wait and see then.
post #7 of 2063
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadFi Fanatic View Post
I don't think it will beat dedicated head amps...
You're right, it wouldn't. I have a Claro Halo, and it's on-board headphone amp is very mediocre (AFAIK, both of these cards use the same TPA6120A2 chip).
post #8 of 2063
whowa.....

gimi gimi gimi...

Nice preview and nice card, i want it...
post #9 of 2063
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneth View Post
You're right, it wouldn't. I have a Claro Halo, and it's on-board headphone amp is very mediocre (AFAIK, both of these cards use the same TPA6120A2 chip).
The amp chip is only part of the picture. You also have the amplification section before it. The Xonar has a impressive amplification section which feeds into this headphone amplifier.

Look at the specifications of the heapdhone amplifier. If it sounds mediocre to you that would be because of the Halo's supporting circuitry -such as the DAC, filters and opamps prior to the differential inputs on this chip.
According to the specifications, there is nothing mediocre about this chip. Have a Look:

0.00014% THD + N
Current-Feedback Architecture
Greater than 120 dB of Dynamic Range
SNR of 120 dB
1300 V/μs Slew Rate
The fast slew rate, high Dynamic range and low SNR make this a great chip for powering headphones.
post #10 of 2063
Yes, you're correct in that the Xonar do have very impressive specs. However, you of all people should know that by having impressive specs doesn't necessary mean that it'll have good/great sound quality. Neither one of us have this card, so anything we say here are purely speculative. Like I said on another thread, I'll get the Xonar Essence when it's released, and compare it with my current soundcard. If it offers enough improvement then I'll keep it, otherwise, I'll return it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
The amp chip is only part of the picture. You also have the amplification section before it. The Xonar has a impressive amplification section which feeds into this headphone amplifier.

Look at the specifications of the heapdhone amplifier. If it sounds mediocre to you that would be because of the Halo's supporting circuitry -such as the DAC, filters and opamps prior to the differential inputs on this chip.
According to the specifications, there is nothing mediocre about this chip. Have a Look:

0.00014% THD + N
Current-Feedback Architecture
Greater than 120 dB of Dynamic Range
SNR of 120 dB
1300 V/μs Slew Rate
The fast slew rate, high Dynamic range and low SNR make this a great chip for powering headphones.
post #11 of 2063
Thread Starter 
Those number I posted are of the amp chip itself. They are hardly mediocre specifications for a headphone amplifer chip. You can only use specifications so much but they do help in giving you a idea of how the part will perform. Low distortion,fast Slew rate, high dynamic range are all measurments designers look for when choosing components.
Measurements have their place and they can relay if a part is low,mid or high grade based on the specs. The TI chip is a high quality and nice sounding amplifier if the supporting ciruitry is of similar grade.
post #12 of 2063
ROBSCIX,

I never said that the Xonar Essence is going to have a bad on-board headphone amp, nor did I say it’s going to be a mediocre soundcard. I agree with the fact that it has very impressive specs. But I also mention that I have a soundcard with somewhat similar design/specs as the Xonar Essence. From my personal listening experience, I found HT Omega’s implementation (of its HP amp) to be very mediocre. Will the Xonar Essence blow everything out of the water? Maybe, but at the price point where it is marketed at, it’s unlikely. Let’s just wait until the card is released, and we’ll each have our say in this matter.
post #13 of 2063
Thread Starter 
I never said you did. You said the Can amplifer chip was "mediocre" and I said it depends on the supporting circuitry which on the Essence is much better.
Both cards contain the same Headphone amplifier but that is where the similarities end. The designs of both cards are different and the specifcations are also much different. I would wait and see official annoucment from ASUS as to price point before putting stock in a post. I think your misunderstanding what I am getting at. Anyway back to the Essence STX...
post #14 of 2063
Thread Starter 
Hoping to have some more info, pics and possible listening tests this week. Will post links for you guys who are interested in this new card.
post #15 of 2063
hi Robscix
Any update on the test?
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