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Upgrade to Xonar Essence or buy Headphone amp? - Page 3

post #31 of 102
I don't think anyone considers this a FOTM or a high-end desktop amp replacement. It is however a king of the sound cards in terms of audio quality, so some praise is deserved there.

At the end of the day, this is a $200 product which includes a DAC, an amp, a digital output capable of supporting DDL as well as other technologies like Dolby Headphone so it does a lot of other things that an amp/dac can't do.

For $200 it IS the best dac+amp combo you can buy. I would dare anyone to find a better one for that price.

Does it beat a $1000 dac+amp? Probably not. But I bet you it gets pretty close and at 1/5 the price, this is the best price/performance for a dac+amp.
post #32 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bojamijams View Post
For $200 it IS the best dac+amp combo you can buy. I would dare anyone to find a better one for that price.
I don't doubt that this card offers a great price/performance ratio, though, this place is called the Head-Fi, and there are a lot of people here that can spend a LOT more than $200. How good a product is isn't judged solely on its market price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bojamijams View Post
Does it beat a $1000 dac+amp? Probably not. But I bet you it gets pretty close and at 1/5 the price, this is the best price/performance for a dac+amp.
This may or may not be true, depend on who you're asking.
post #33 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bojamijams View Post
Does it beat a $1000 dac+amp? Probably not. But I bet you it gets pretty close and at 1/5 the price, this is the best price/performance for a dac+amp.
What is your assumption based on?
post #34 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneth View Post
I don't doubt that this card offers a great price/performance ratio, though, this place is called the Head-Fi, and there are a lot of people here that can spend a LOT more than $200. How good a product is isn't judged solely on its market price.


This may or may not be true, depend on who you're asking.

So the more you spend the more you head-fi? That make many people uncomfortable.

Usually, good things are expansive because they used good component and they spent lots of time tweaking the performance. But pricing can also be used to suggest the segment strategy only and not directly related to cost and performance.

It's true in the hi-fi area that good things are usually expansive, but more often they have to be priced high because they can only sell so many piece an year and they have to cover that part of the cost.

Anyways, just check out Benchmark DAC1 or Senhaisser HD800 you'll see more "religious" thing going on there. To me, it's not religious, it's just those who have experienced it happened to like it.
post #35 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbieyao View Post
So the more you spend the more you head-fi? That make many people uncomfortable.
Perhaps you mis-interpreted me (or maybe you didn’t get my point). This place is called the Head-Fi, and most people here have spent more on audio-related equipments than the general public. This is not an assumption, but a fact. So, when I say a lot of people here can (and willing) to spend more than $200, it is also a fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbieyao View Post
Usually, good things are expansive because they used good component and they spent lots of time tweaking the performance. But pricing can also be used to suggest the segment strategy only and not directly related to cost and performance.
I don’t dispute that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbieyao View Post
It's true in the hi-fi area that good things are usually expansive, but more often they have to be priced high because they can only sell so many pieces an year and they have to cover that part of the cost.
Again, I agree. But if you go back and read through all the comments, all the people who have had some experience with a dedicated headphone amp have not made one single negative remark about the Essence. We’re simply curious about it and its alleged near-the-much-more-expensive-standalone-HP-amp performance. It might be true, we’ll see.

Personally, I'm doubtful about this claim for the simple fact that I have a similar soundcard (Claro Halo), it also has the same on-onbard HP amp chip as the Essence. To me, it's a tier below my HP amp. Now, it's entirely possible that the Halo isn't as good as the Essence, but at this point, I haven't met anyone that has both card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbieyao View Post
Anyways, just check out Benchmark DAC1 or Senhaisser HD800 you'll see more "religious" thing going on there. To me, it's not religious, it's just those who have experienced it happened to like it.
I stopped reading those threads a few days ago, I’m going to refrain myself from reading anymore posts about it until it's released.
post #36 of 102
I recently acquired the HD650s, and have spent hours and hours researching amps and dacs (had a few close buys), but am still left indecisive; there's just too much stuff out there, and it's nearly impossible to make a confident choice solely through hear-say.

I'd like to play games, listen to music, and record/mix audio, while knowing my HD650s are getting a decent power supply. I'm close to just going with the STX and calling it a day until later when A) I have enough money for a real headfi setup and B) I know more about headfi in general.

On a side note, does anyone know if the guitar rig 3 kontrol board's headphone out provides a sufficient drive for the senns? I'm not entirely sure how to read specs, so could anyone explain this:

Headphone Outputs (D/A):
Load Impedance: 8-600 Ohm
Maximum Output Level: 1,61V rms @ 100 Ohm
SNR (weighted): >91dB
THD+N (60 Ohms): 0,013%
post #37 of 102
I'm interested in this card based on what I've read, but I've seen no actual support, so I think I will sit on it for my home rig (even though im rarely at home).
post #38 of 102
The Essence STX can easily drive my Senn HD650 no question about it. Just set the impedence to properly drive the HD650, and way you go end of story.
To all of you sitting on the fenceon this should seriously have a listen if you can its an amazing setup price/performance ftw.
post #39 of 102
Thx for giving use your impressions with the card and the cans.
post #40 of 102
i recently bought the essence STX and HD650's ironically.

I bought the essence due to price limitations as i would much rather get one of the much nicer desktop amps.

the senneheiser's are my first high quality headphones and i think that the 650's and the essence STX sound amazing. I still plan to upgrade to a nicer (and more expensive) desktop amp in the future, but for now im definitely satisfied.
post #41 of 102
Glad your enjoying your system, as I suggested a few pages back along with a few others that have tested the card with various headphones. The STX has more then enough muscle to drive the HD650's and sounds very good while doing it.

Enjoy.
post #42 of 102
Yes, but the headphone amp is a low end one but still, all things considered, a VERY good deal at the retail price.

One good thing about that onboard headphone amp is it's transparency.
Does it beat a high-end headphone amp? No.

I tested the onboard headphone amp vs. the Headfive and the onboard more than competed with it, with the Headfive giving more emphasis on the mids..
Versus my MKV, no competition though, the MKV wins easily (tested with DT880's).

Also I feel the analog out sounds better than the headphone out. I tested that with the AD700's, which don't benefit much from being amped.
post #43 of 102
The line-outs do sound better then the Headphone out, that has never been disputed.
If the built in headphone amplfiier is not your particular flavor, use the line-outs to power whatever headphone amplifier you wish.
Considering the price not too bad at all.
post #44 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post
Yes, but the headphone amp is a low end one but still, all things considered, a VERY good deal at the retail price.

One good thing about that onboard headphone amp is it's transparency.
Does it beat a high-end headphone amp? No.

I tested the onboard headphone amp vs. the Headfive and the onboard more than competed with it, with the Headfive giving more emphasis on the mids..
Versus my MKV, no competition though, the MKV wins easily (tested with DT880's).

Also I feel the analog out sounds better than the headphone out. I tested that with the AD700's, which don't benefit much from being amped.
Finally someone who has compared the essence with standalone amp spoke out.

Perhaps dismissing the myth of the Essence being able to drive the HD650 to its full potential?
post #45 of 102
After all of the actual owners of both the 650's and the STX telling the forum the card can drive the headphones, what more do you want?
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