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Upgrade to Xonar Essence or buy Headphone amp?

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 
I was hoping I could get some opinions on whether it would be worth me upgrading to the Asus Xonar Essence STX, or be better off buying a dedicated headphone amp in the same price range (Something like Graham Slee's Novo) to go with my Dx2.

My current setup is Xonar Dx2 -> Sennheiser HD650

Cheers
post #2 of 102
in your situation, i cant see any reason to get the card over the amp.

especially given your headphones, which in my experience benefit tremendously from being amped, there is no reason to squeeze out a tiny bit more SQ from a DAC, when your entire soundstage is no doubt severely compromised
post #3 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post
in your situation, i cant see any reason to get the card over the amp.

especially given your headphones, which in my experience benefit tremendously from being amped, there is no reason to squeeze out a tiny bit more SQ from a DAC, when your entire soundstage is no doubt severely compromised
And here comes yet another person who comments on the sound quality of the Xonar Essence, without hearing it.
post #4 of 102
Exactly.

And who says the STX doesn't have enough output to drive 650's?
post #5 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bojamijams View Post
Exactly.

And who says the STX doesn't have enough output to drive 650's?
Conversely, who says they do

Honestly I have not heard it so I will refrain from comment about it, logic, however, seems to be that anything getting power from your computer, particularly inside of your computer, is going to sound worse. To further that, it is not only feeding power to the dac, but the amp topology on the same card. Now, I dont want to talk about the caps, resistors, transistors, etc. but I think the power arguement is a strong enough case against having an internal soundcard regardless of the make and technology. I do not believe from what I read that it is charging a battery from the pc power and using the power from that, so that means its directly exposed to your pc power supply, which is bad. I am not talking about shielding, just the fact that it is using the pci slot for its power source.

Dave
post #6 of 102
See again, people commenting on things they don't know.

The essence STX uses a molex power supply for its DAC+Output stage which is a clean line fed directly from the PS, not the pci-e.
post #7 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bojamijams View Post
Exactly.

And who says the STX doesn't have enough output to drive 650's?
I do

Sure, taking power off the high-powered switching PSU may be slightly better than taking it off the PCI-E bus, but that's like saying the spoiler on the Honda Civic really would outperform the BMW without one. HD650 are extremely demanding on voltage swing and unless I missed seeing a serious voltage multiplier on that card with a good filter and rail-rail output opamps, it simply doesn't have the voltage swing to drive HD650 properly.
post #8 of 102
Too bad you didn't own a pair of D2000's... The STX is a phenomenal(ly cheap) card. Though it seems the community is busy on developing a dedicated PSU for the STX. All hope may not be lost
post #9 of 102
If your wondering about the voltage swing, the Essence STX swings from -12 to +12....
post #10 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenAngel View Post
I do

Sure, taking power off the high-powered switching PSU may be slightly better than taking it off the PCI-E bus, but that's like saying the spoiler on the Honda Civic really would outperform the BMW without one. HD650 are extremely demanding on voltage swing and unless I missed seeing a serious voltage multiplier on that card with a good filter and rail-rail output opamps, it simply doesn't have the voltage swing to drive HD650 properly.
No, it'd be more like saying a direct fuel-injection system is better.. which it is.

And why do you think the STX is a Honda Civic? Because of the price?
post #11 of 102
I'd like some insight on this exact same matter myself. I want a sound card and the Xonar Essence looked like "the one" but now I am hearing all kinds of negative stuff about it.
post #12 of 102
From who? There is a thread here for people who actually own the card and that all seems postive based on actual use. If you have questions about the card might be better to ask a owner.
Alternatley if you are interested in a certain amplifier unit ask people who own it. Best opinions...
post #13 of 102
I am most concerned about it not having enough power output to sufficiently drive my coming Sennheisers. I am guessing by this thread that it does not?
post #14 of 102
The Essence STX can drive the HD650's..
post #15 of 102
Absolved! =D

Thanks Robscix
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