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The Xonar Essence STX Q/A, tweaking, impressions thread - Page 267

post #3991 of 4907

I've got the STX and the DT 770 Pro 80 ohm headphones. My top priority is positional audio / best sound stage with gaming on Dolby Headphone. I would appreciate your opinions:

  • LME49720HA's to balance out the strong bass of the DT 770's
  • Or LME49990's for a more neutral sound out of the card and maybe eq out excess bass of the headphones?
  • Or are the stock op amps a good match?

 

Also, is eq'ing via the drivers a no-no?

 

Thanks!

post #3992 of 4907
Higher ohm headphones would have better fit the STX.

I would much prefer LME49860 over LME49720.

AD8620BR says bye bye two both of them smily_headphones1.gif
post #3993 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by leinad_13 View Post

I've got the STX and the DT 770 Pro 80 ohm headphones. My top priority is positional audio / best sound stage with gaming on Dolby Headphone. I would appreciate your opinions:

  • LME49720HA's to balance out the strong bass of the DT 770's
  • Or LME49990's for a more neutral sound out of the card and maybe eq out excess bass of the headphones?
  • Or are the stock op amps a good match?

 

Also, is eq'ing via the drivers a no-no?

 

Thanks!

You could try both methods to see which you prefer.

LME49860 is better then LME49720

post #3994 of 4907

I have an ASUS Xonar Essence ST (the PCI version) and currently use Beyerdynamic DT880 250ohm's on the extra high gain (+18db) setting at about 25% volume. It seems to work great but I just ordered the new Phillips Fidelio X1 headphones which have an impedance of 30 ohms. I know that the ST card has a headphone impedance of 10 ohms and that this may be too high for the Fidelio X1's for optimal sound quality. I'm not entirely sure of the math involved but I think it is roughly a factor of 10, which means that I should be looking at a sound card with a headphone impedance output of 3 ohms right? Is there any card out there that can do this properly without me resorting to any jerry rigging impedance adapter? I do a lot of gaming and watching films as well so the Dolby Headphone function or other virtual surround functions on other cards are pretty important and I don't want to lose that capability.

 

Advice? Or should I not really be worried?

post #3995 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by cib24 View Post

I have an ASUS Xonar Essence ST (the PCI version) and currently use Beyerdynamic DT880 250ohm's on the extra high gain (+18db) setting at about 25% volume. It seems to work great but I just ordered the new Phillips Fidelio X1 headphones which have an impedance of 30 ohms. I know that the ST card has a headphone impedance of 10 ohms and that this may be too high for the Fidelio X1's for optimal sound quality. I'm not entirely sure of the math involved but I think it is roughly a factor of 10, which means that I should be looking at a sound card with a headphone impedance output of 3 ohms right? Is there any card out there that can do this properly without me resorting to any jerry rigging impedance adapter? I do a lot of gaming and watching films as well so the Dolby Headphone function or other virtual surround functions on other cards are pretty important and I don't want to lose that capability.

 

Advice? Or should I not really be worried?

10-Ohms is the lowest I've ever seen for sound card (or motherboard).

Try the Essence ST with the Philips Fidelio X1, see how it sounds.

You could always sell off the Essence ST and replace it with an Xonar DX and O2 amplifier (or the new Schiit Magni amp).

The O2 has a low impedance of .5-Ohms

The Essence ST and Xonar DX use the same C-Media CMI8788 audio processor.

post #3996 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

10-Ohms is the lowest I've ever seen for sound card (or motherboard).

Try the Essence ST with the Philips Fidelio X1, see how it sounds.

You could always sell off the Essence ST and replace it with an Xonar DX and O2 amplifier (or the new Schiit Magni amp).

The O2 has a low impedance of .5-Ohms

The Essence ST and Xonar DX use the same C-Media CMI8788 audio processor.


When you say 10 ohms is the lowest, does that include sound cards without an amp? Because if all sound cards and motherboards have a 10 ohms impedance level then how does buying a Xonar DX and using an amp with it make any difference? What kind of math is involved in determining how an external amp responds when connected to a sound card if it has a higher impedance than the amp?

post #3997 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by cib24 View Post

 

When you say 10 ohms is the lowest, does that include sound cards without an amp? Because if all sound cards and motherboards have a 10 ohms impedance level then how does buying a Xonar DX and using an amp with it make any difference? What kind of math is involved in determining how an external amp responds when connected to a sound card if it has a higher impedance than the amp?

 

Sound card output impedance is usually not an issue with an external amplifier, since the line input of those typically has at least several kΩ of impedance, which is also close to purely resistive in the audio band.
By the way, the Xonar DX has 100 Ω output impedance, rather than 10, while motherboard headphone outputs have varying impedance, but it is often as high as 75 Ω. Do not plug headphones into motherboard line outputs, because they can have 200+ Ω impedance, and use 10 or even 4.7 uF coupling capacitors, so the sound will be poor and underpowered.

post #3998 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by cib24 View Post


When you say 10 ohms is the lowest, does that include sound cards without an amp? Because if all sound cards and motherboards have a 10 ohms impedance level then how does buying a Xonar DX and using an amp with it make any difference? What kind of math is involved in determining how an external amp responds when connected to a sound card if it has a higher impedance than the amp?

Most current sound cards (and all older ones) have a higher then 10-Ohm output impedance, like 35-Ohm, 47-Ohm, 75-Ohm or 100-Ohm.

The Essence STX & ST (Asus Phoebus) are some of the few sound cards with a 10-Ohm impedance, I know there are a few others, but I do not know for sure which models.

(chances are the sound cards with the built in amp. have the low impedance)

All non-amped sound cards (& motherboards) are going to have a higher impedance.

 

When you plug a external headphone amplifier into the Xonar DX (or any non-amped sound card), the sound card's impedance no longer count's. just the external amplifier's impedance.

A normal "line-out" jack (like RCAs) is going to have a high impedance, which is normal.

I guess you could say non-amped sound cards use a 3.5mm line-out jack (green) that pretends to be a headphone jack.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 12/13/12 at 5:22pm
post #3999 of 4907

FINALLY soldered 6 LME49990, THS4032, and AD797BRZ after a good looooong wait.  I definitely like AD797 better than LME49990...everything just blends in better in AD797 compared to LME49990.  And there's...4032, I put them in STX and saw white smoke...didn't want to risk it so I powered down comp, touched the chip and it was hot..too hot.   I have the THS4032[ID], so I'm guessing that just doesn't work at all for the STX.   Any help would be much appreciated. ^^

 

Oh, also bought OPA2107AP, but I'll let my ears enjoy 797 couple of weeks before I'll swap. gs1000.gif

post #4000 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Invisible View Post

FINALLY soldered 6 LME49990, THS4032, and AD797BRZ after a good looooong wait.  I definitely like AD797 better than LME49990...everything just blends in better in AD797 compared to LME49990.  And there's...4032, I put them in STX and saw white smoke...didn't want to risk it so I powered down comp, touched the chip and it was hot..too hot.   I have the THS4032[ID], so I'm guessing that just doesn't work at all for the STX.   Any help would be much appreciated. ^^

 

Oh, also bought OPA2107AP, but I'll let my ears enjoy 797 couple of weeks before I'll swap. gs1000.gif

It does work, I use it. 

 

Maybe you joined some pins?

post #4001 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Most current sound cards (and all older ones) have a higher then 10-Ohm output impedance, like 35-Ohm, 47-Ohm, 75-Ohm or 100-Ohm.

The Essence STX & ST (Asus Phoebus) are some of the few sound cards with a 10-Ohm impedance, I know there are a few others, but I do not know for sure which models.

(chances are the sound cards with the built in amp. have the low impedance)

All non-amped sound cards (& motherboards) are going to have a higher impedance.

 

When you plug a external headphone amplifier into the Xonar DX (or any non-amped sound card), the sound card's impedance no longer count's. just the external amplifier's impedance.

A normal "line-out" jack (like RCAs) is going to have a high impedance, which is normal.

I guess you could say non-amped sound cards use a 3.5mm line-out jack (green) that pretends to be a headphone jack.

Ok, so if I still want to use Dolby Headphone with the Essence ST then I must use the headphone jack which has the amp. And I can't/shouldn't attach an external amp to the ST's amped headphone jack because then I would be double amping...So, if I decide to keep the Phillips Fidelio X1's and want to potentially get the best out of them then I should sell the Essence ST, buy something like the Titanium HD, and then run an external amp from the line out?

 

If that is the case it sounds like quite a bit of trouble for the headphones I bought, haha. At least I can say that I was looking at trying out the Titanium HD anyway since the Dolby Headphone and gaming features on the Essence ST leave a lot to be desired. Well, I will only go down that route if I actually end up liking the Fidelio X1's and/or end up purchasing another pair of low impedance headphones.

post #4002 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by cib24 View Post

Ok, so if I still want to use Dolby Headphone with the Essence ST then I must use the headphone jack which has the amp. And I can't/shouldn't attach an external amp to the ST's amped headphone jack because then I would be double amping...So, if I decide to keep the Phillips Fidelio X1's and want to potentially get the best out of them then I should sell the Essence ST, buy something like the Titanium HD, and then run an external amp from the line out?

 

If that is the case it sounds like quite a bit of trouble for the headphones I bought, haha. At least I can say that I was looking at trying out the Titanium HD anyway since the Dolby Headphone and gaming features on the Essence ST leave a lot to be desired. Well, I will only go down that route if I actually end up liking the Fidelio X1's and/or end up purchasing another pair of low impedance headphones.

Using the headphone jack to RCA works perfectly fine, don't worry about that double amping business with this card.

 

But since the HD is only $109 right now and you don't like DH, it would probably be a better option. Really the biggest advantage the STX has over the HD is its more powerful amp and lower output impedence which you will be negating with an external amp.

post #4003 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by cib24 View Post

Ok, so if I still want to use Dolby Headphone with the Essence ST then I must use the headphone jack which has the amp. And I can't/shouldn't attach an external amp to the ST's amped headphone jack because then I would be double amping...So, if I decide to keep the Phillips Fidelio X1's and want to potentially get the best out of them then I should sell the Essence ST, buy something like the Titanium HD, and then run an external amp from the line out?

 

If that is the case it sounds like quite a bit of trouble for the headphones I bought, haha. At least I can say that I was looking at trying out the Titanium HD anyway since the Dolby Headphone and gaming features on the Essence ST leave a lot to be desired. Well, I will only go down that route if I actually end up liking the Fidelio X1's and/or end up purchasing another pair of low impedance headphones.

You could also get a refurb Creative Labs Titanium (non-HD) for $44.99 at Newegg and connect the external head amp to it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102043

 

You would save $64 over buying the Titanium HD and still get all the same gaming features.

post #4004 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

You could also get a refurb Creative Labs Titanium (non-HD) for $44.99 at Newegg and connect the external head amp to it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102043

 

You would save $64 over buying the Titanium HD and still get all the same gaming features.

 

I will have to first see if I can get the Titanium HD (or regular Titanium) from my parents or something as a Christmas gift since they live in the States but I currently live in London. Then they can bring it over for Christmas. Otherwise, the Titanium HD goes for £110 here in London which is $170. 

 

Anyway, I always wondered...the Essence ST has 3 amp settings (normal, high and extra high) but if you are using the normal setting which is for headphones with less than 64 ohms, is the amp even turned on or is it just like using a non-amped line out? Meaning, if I did get an external amp and plug it into the headphone jack and use the normal gain setting would I still be double amping?

 

What is the potential negative impact of double amping?

 

The Titanium with an Objective2 is the most likely option if I keep the X1's but if I could potentially save money on not purchasing a new sound card then it would be worth it to know about the potential negatives of connecting the amp to the Essence ST headphone jack.


Edited by cib24 - 12/14/12 at 9:07am
post #4005 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by cib24 View Post

 

I will have to first see if I can get the Titanium HD (or regular Titanium) from my parents or something as a Christmas gift since they live in the States but I currently live in London. Then they can bring it over for Christmas. Otherwise, the Titanium HD goes for £110 here in London which is $170. 

 

Anyway, I always wondered...the Essence ST has 3 amp settings (normal, high and extra high) but if you are using the normal setting which is for headphones with less than 64 ohms, is the amp even turned on or is it just like using a non-amped line out? Meaning, if I did get an external amp and plug it into the headphone jack and use the normal gain setting would I still be double amping?

 

What is the potential negative impact of double amping?

 

The Titanium with an Objective2 is the most likely option if I keep the X1's but if I could potentially save money on not purchasing a new sound card then it would be worth it to know about the potential negatives of connecting the amp to the Essence ST headphone jack.

Those three settings only effect volume. I have found that using the highest setting, at 100% system volume going into my amp gives me the same volume as the line out going into my amp.

 

From my own subjective listening, there are absolutely no negative effects using the headphone out other than it can amplify a ground loop. A cheater plug fixed that for my Asgard, and I don't think that the O2 uses 3 prongs so you wouldn't have that.

 

The headphone out has 117dB SNR. That's really good. No problem amplifying that.

 

Also, you might want to look into Schiit's new Magni for an amp. No reviews that I know of yet but it has some pretty good specs and the most power for $100 that I've seen.


Edited by chewy4 - 12/14/12 at 9:28am
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