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Audio-gd compass or Xonar essence STX

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
hi,

I am looking to upgrade my source chain and have finally decided on these two

1.) xonar essence ( $160 locally )

2.) Audio-gd Compass ( ~$300 shipped )

has any one compared these two?

Which one should I choose ?
post #2 of 78
You kinda named two different animals there. One is a headphone amp and the other is a sound card. What do you have already? Are you asking if you should upgrade your realtek or get a DAC? I'd say do both IMO. If you can only afford one, get the SC.
post #3 of 78
I'd upgrade your headphones over either, to be honest. Instead of the Compass I'd probably spend about $400 and get the Denon 2000's ($211 shipped) and the Essence STX (apparently $160 for you), and be very happy. There are other headphone options in that range of course, but none I preferred to the 2000's. This is, of course, my opinion, I don't claim that they are better than others, however I consider them so.
post #4 of 78
Thread Starter 
I shall be upgrading my headphones (DT880 or D2000 most likely) sometime later and since I shall be making the investment only once so I wanted to get the best source available for my budget.
post #5 of 78
This is gonna be interesting as nobody on head-fi have had experience with both.
post #6 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krosenqu View Post
You kinda named two different animals there. One is a headphone amp and the other is a sound card. What do you have already? Are you asking if you should upgrade your realtek or get a DAC? I'd say do both IMO. If you can only afford one, get the SC.
both are DAC + AMP ( one internal & other external )

In both cases, according to reviews, the DAC is probably better than amp though the amp is not bad either.

Just finished reading separate reviews in which both of the them have been compared to corda opera, I gather that Compass is probably better than essence. Though, to what degree, is not clear.

Any information would be welcome.
post #7 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telix View Post
I'd upgrade your headphones over either, to be honest. Instead of the Compass I'd probably spend about $400 and get the Denon 2000's ($211 shipped) and the Essence STX (apparently $160 for you), and be very happy. There are other headphone options in that range of course, but none I preferred to the 2000's. This is, of course, my opinion, I don't claim that they are better than others, however I consider them so.
Where can you get the Denon 2000 for $211? which price search engine do you use?

Thanks.
post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonboy403 View Post
This is gonna be interesting as nobody on head-fi have had experience with both.
I've heard both, and recently. I thought the Compass was quite bright and harsh on the high end with a pair of HD580s, but I didn't test it extensively.
post #9 of 78
Thread Starter 
^^ you mean you compared your usual setup (essence + Denon D2K) with Compass + HD580. Its Interesting, because FWIR, Its the D2Ks which are known for being bright and the Senns having rolled of highs.
Am i getting it right ?
post #10 of 78
Thread Starter 
and yes, I would also like to know where one can get D2Ks for $211 shipped
post #11 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by gurubhai View Post
^^ you mean you compared your usual setup (essence + Denon D2K) with Compass + HD580. Its Interesting, because FWIR, Its the D2Ks which are known for being bright and the Senns having rolled of highs.
Am i getting it right ?
No, I heard the Compass with my 580's and another head-fi'ers newer pair of 580's, on his macbook with ALAC files. My main listening setup is currently what is in my sig, which I highly prefer, especially in the upper frequencies. I'd have to audition the Compass more to give a proper comparison, since I only gave it about 20 minutes, max. There is really no reason for me to do so, however, since I don't plan on purchasing anything like that any time soon.
post #12 of 78
I am uncertain if it is against the rules to post links to stores, but:

LIMITED GOODS Electronics D & M DENON HYBRID HDPNES/MAP $349 EA AH-D2000

They are frequently back ordered. I was fortunate enough to get them immediately upon ordering. They are quite legitimate, even though the store looks a little bogus.
post #13 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telix View Post
I've heard both, and recently. I thought the Compass was quite bright and harsh on the high end with a pair of HD580s, but I didn't test it extensively.
That's very interesting as the impressions of the Compass is ALL OVER THE PLACE! It's been described as warm, neutral, bright, harsh...
post #14 of 78
Thread Starter 
well, I am really leaning towards xonar now..
post #15 of 78
I'm also interested in the Xonar Essence STX comparison. Of course, the comparison is not quite apples-to-apples given the price / value differential.

I have the Compass paired with the DT880/250s and there's plenty of synergy with this setup. The beauty of the Compass is its versatility with swappable OPAs and user adjustable jumper settings to customize the sound to your listening preferences and with your cans. I am currently using / burning OPA-Moon with the Neutral jumper setting and the expanded soundstage is really nice though the mids are a little more recessed relative to OPA-Earth.
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