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The Xonar Essence STX Q/A, tweaking, impressions thread - Page 283

post #4231 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcschmerker4 View Post

Congratulations on proofing the National Semiconductor®/Texas Instruments® LME49860NA's at the I-V. wink.gif I'll be checking eBay® for appropriate adapter PCB's to fully tune the same vendor's LME49990MA (which appears to be a direct descendant of the LM318AN high-performance op amp from the equivalent schematic) as a package with surface-mounted compensation filters for the line-level buffer - I have both a Hewlett-Packard® HP2009m display with internal speakers and a Pyle® PCA2 offboard 40Wx2 amplifier for bookshelf speakers that my STX can drive via the dual-RCA output jacks.

Anyone done an A/B test of dual Texas Instruments® THS4031's vs. single Texas Instruments® THS4032 for any one of the three dual-op-amp positions on an Essence™?

You can check out Frisky's impression on THS4032 vs many other op amps including the 49990 on the previous page. He did a pretty nice write up.
I was on the same boat deciding on either THS4032/LME49990 and decided to go for the LME49990. Both are highly recommended but 49990 is slightly more popular. I figured I wouldn't go wrong with either one as an upgrade but my deciding factor was based on the one that offers better workmanship=49990. THS4032 costs a little cheaper but the seller's origin is from China....

49990 is said to offer slightly better low end response than ths4032 but both are known for their superior transparency and neutral sound signature = truely audiophile grade. Also, it depends on what headphone you'll be pairing with. Bass shy headphone will probably want the LME49990 and really bright headphones will probably go well with ths4032 for its smoothness. Well, both shares many similar good qualities.
post #4232 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiramisu View Post

 


The Xonar STX is worth every dollar ~$180 in the long run, so in the end I've decided to place my order on it instead of 1. my existing DGX soundcard + external amp or 2. External DAC+AMP All-in-one unit or 3. Upgrade my existing sound card with better Audio chip and DAC built in + external amp. The Xonar STX option is far better than the above 3 scenarios I mentioned in terms of performance to price ratio and upgradability.

 

Xonar STX is known to have a high end DAC that's comparable to some ~$1,000 DAC external units as most people say, and the built in headphone amp is pretty decent and capable to drive higher impedance headphones. Take $180 and divide the price by 2 and that's like $90 each for DAC and Amp for desktop/stationary use. The value is much better than any of the 3 scenarios I came up with above. Plus, you could always upgrade the 3 upgradable op-amps on the card anytime down the road to keep you happy and satisfied from the itch again.

 

 

I'd  have to differ Tiramisu I own the Xonar Essence ST with high grade op amps  LME4910HA and LME4920HA in both IV, and I have the Audio-GD NFB 1.32 650 USD, the diference is very easy to notice on detail and there's much less congestion on the Audio-GD, also more soundstage and depth. The ST is still very good, but  a dedicated DAC is certainly better. ( Audeze LCD 2.2  and Audio-Technica AD900 for testing ).

post #4233 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by mowglycdb View Post

 

 

I'd  have to differ Tiramisu I own the Xonar Essence ST with high grade op amps  LME4910HA and LME4920HA in both IV, and I have the Audio-GD NFB 1.32 650 USD, the diference is very easy to notice on detail and there's much less congestion on the Audio-GD, also more soundstage and depth. The ST is still very good, but  a dedicated DAC is certainly better. ( Audeze LCD 2.2  and Audio-Technica AD900 for testing ).

 

 

That is true. I also always believed the ST is very good, and on first hand, when compared briefly to my Musical Fidelity M1DAC, I thought it was as good, didn't really feel the M1 is worth 4 times as much. I usually use the M1 in my speaker setup, while the ST is only for my PC, which is the only place where I actually use headphones. However, every time I do a more deep and detailed comparison between the two, its clear why the M1 is more expensive. It simply sounds better. As time goes by, I like the ST less. Its good technically, its got the clarity and detail, but its just...wrong somehow. It doesn't make the music sound enjoyable, its too rough in the high end, soundstage is not all that big, bass is quite lacking and overall as you said the sound is somewhat congested. And thats not immediately noticeable. I used to compare DAC's by taking a 20 sec segment of music, such as a acoustic guitar, or some vocal, and then I'd loop it and compare on my amps with 2 inputs, and I'd always walk away feeling they sound identical. Well, thats because my methodology of testing was totally wrong. What I should have done is picked up the most busy, congested, messy track of some classical or metal, or rock music, something with a lot of things going on...THAT'S where the difference between a cheap and expensive DAC comes out.  It's easy to reproduce a flat frequency response and be technically good, which will make the sound appear good, but there are things that are harder to measure, or not possible at all to measure, and aren't included on the list of features on the back of the box.  It's not all about technical measurement either. 

For example,  ST's DAC measures better than  M1DAC on all aspects, looking at the paper data, you'd think the ST is superior. Yet, listening to both, there's no doubt which one is better.  Same with the headphone amp section. It totally outclasses most standalone amps in terms of measurements, yet, even a cheap Musical Fidelity V-CAN sounds worlds better, so much more spacious, smooth, effortless with more air in the sound, separating everything apart while making it sound more musical at the same time.

 

Oh, and just to add, my findings are with LM49860 or LM49820 in the buffer section, and 2x dual AD797BRZ or 2x LM49820 in the I/V.   

 

Not saying ST / STX is bad, its still most probably the best DAC/amp combo you can get 200 dollars, especially considering its versatility in terms of various dolby features for movies and games that really make a huge difference,  but it's wrong to say it's a giant killer or that it can compete with more expensive gear. I used to say it as well, but I eat my own words now.


Edited by derbigpr - 4/12/13 at 1:44pm
post #4234 of 4907

Quick question about using the LME49990s. Would I have to get the Dual SOIC x 2 or would a single chip per DIP8 package suffice?

post #4235 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

 

 

That is true. I also always believed the ST is very good, and on first hand, when compared briefly to my Musical Fidelity M1DAC, I thought it was as good, didn't really feel the M1 is worth 4 times as much. I usually use the M1 in my speaker setup, while the ST is only for my PC, which is the only place where I actually use headphones. However, every time I do a more deep and detailed comparison between the two, its clear why the M1 is more expensive. It simply sounds better. As time goes by, I like the ST less. Its good technically, its got the clarity and detail, but its just...wrong somehow. It doesn't make the music sound enjoyable, its too rough in the high end, soundstage is not all that big, bass is quite lacking and overall as you said the sound is somewhat congested. And thats not immediately noticeable. I used to compare DAC's by taking a 20 sec segment of music, such as a acoustic guitar, or some vocal, and then I'd loop it and compare on my amps with 2 inputs, and I'd always walk away feeling they sound identical. Well, thats because my methodology of testing was totally wrong. What I should have done is picked up the most busy, congested, messy track of some classical or metal, or rock music, something with a lot of things going on...THAT'S where the difference between a cheap and expensive DAC comes out.  It's easy to reproduce a flat frequency response and be technically good, which will make the sound appear good, but there are things that are harder to measure, or not possible at all to measure, and aren't included on the list of features on the back of the box.  It's not all about technical measurement either. 

For example,  ST's DAC measures better than  M1DAC on all aspects, looking at the paper data, you'd think the ST is superior. Yet, listening to both, there's no doubt which one is better.  Same with the headphone amp section. It totally outclasses most standalone amps in terms of measurements, yet, even a cheap Musical Fidelity V-CAN sounds worlds better, so much more spacious, smooth, effortless with more air in the sound, separating everything apart while making it sound more musical at the same time.

 

Oh, and just to add, my findings are with LM49860 or LM49820 in the buffer section, and 2x dual AD797BRZ or 2x LM49820 in the I/V.   

 

Not saying ST / STX is bad, its still most probably the best DAC/amp combo you can get 200 dollars, especially considering its versatility in terms of various dolby features for movies and games that really make a huge difference,  but it's wrong to say it's a giant killer or that it can compete with more expensive gear. I used to say it as well, but I eat my own words now.

 

Eh no that's all totally wrong. If you really care about doing testing right, you ABX it, volume match it, and then show the results. All other forms of testing are pretty much useless and prone to bias.

 

To say that the Essence's measurements are outstanding (which they arguably are, or at the very least 'good'), yet something is still 'off', smacks of subjectivity in and of itself. There is no way that a device that measures worse than (or even similar to) the Essence is in any way able to offer 'a bigger soundstage', 'more spaciousness', or sound 'less congested', or any of the sort. Those are technical impossiblities.

The reasons for you feeling the way you do about the Essence are yours, but as it stands it obviously does not make any sense. The fact that you state that at first you felt it sounded good but then decided that your testing method was flawed, only to then move on to another flawed testing method and then decide that the Essence actually isn't good after all, speaks for itself.


Edited by SunshineReggae - 4/18/13 at 1:16pm
post #4236 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineReggae View Post

 

Eh no that's all totally wrong. If you really care about doing testing right, you ABX it, volume match it, and then show the results. All other forms of testing are pretty much useless and prone to bias.

 

To say that the Essence's measurements are outstanding (which they arguably are, or at the very least 'good'), yet something is still 'off', smacks of subjectivity in and of itself. There is no way that a device that measures worse than (or even similar to) the Essence is in any way able to offer 'a bigger soundstage', 'more spaciousness', or sound 'less congested', or any of the sort. Those are technical impossiblities.

The reasons for you feeling the way you do about the Essence are yours, but as it stands it obviously does not make any sense. The fact that you state that at first you felt it sounded good but then decided that your testing method was flawed, only to then move on to another flawed testing method and then decide that the Essence actually isn't good after all, speaks for itself.

 

By the way this is not the sound science forum & there are others here that disagree with you & it does not mean we are all wrong. You are entitled to your own opinion & you are free to share it but I do take exception to those who try to say that everyone else is wrong. Slight hint, We are not all wrong. Blind testing has it's place & it is true that there are many things that don't make any difference & guess what? There are many things I've done that hasn't made any difference & some things that have made the wrong difference where I had to go back & try again & some things that have led me in the right direction but encouraged to take it further. I don't need blind ABX testing to figure this stuff out. I need long term testing using many recordings to come to the best sound including some which I know the particular instrument in question as I have heard it live in the exact acoustics it was recorded in & know how it sounds.

 

The stuff I have done does not significantly change the specs of the soundcard or main speakers, yet the sound is so much more listenable as well as more dynamic sounding as it truly captures the raw nature of some instruments that are intended to sound raw while bringing the sweetness out of others.Almost everyone that has heard my system has been extremely impressed in how it sounds saying it's like being in the studio with the musicians. Believe me when I tell you it didn't start out that way. Read some reviews on the speakers in my signature & they will tell you they are not that great to start with. I was able to correct all the problems except bass extension of the main speakers but that was fixed with my modified subwoofer which is flat down to 20Hz & usable to 16Hz.


Edited by germanium - 4/18/13 at 7:58pm
post #4237 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Pain 00 View Post

Quick question about using the LME49990s. Would I have to get the Dual SOIC x 2 or would a single chip per DIP8 package suffice?


The dual-SOIC adapter plug is mandatory for employment of the National Semiconductor®/Texas Instruments® LME49990MA, which is a single high-performance op amp with input and output compensation provisions in a 2x4-pin surface-mount package, in the XONAR® Essence™ and/or Xense®; same applies to the Texas Instruments® THS4031 and THS4032.  The XONAR® Essence™ ST and STX use JEDEC 8-pin dual-inline-package sockets for dual operational amplifiers in the left/mono I-V, right I-V, and stereo line level buffer.  The XONAR® Xense® also uses JEDEC 8-pin dual-inline-package sockets for dual operational amplifiers in the left/mono I-V and right I-V.

post #4238 of 4907

would buying an amp be an improving over the amp on the card?

 

was thinking of purchasing a fiio e9

post #4239 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcschmerker4 View Post


The dual-SOIC adapter plug is mandatory for employment of the National Semiconductor®/Texas Instruments® LME49990MA, which is a single high-performance op amp with input and output compensation provisions in a 2x4-pin surface-mount package, in the XONAR® Essence™ and/or Xense®; same applies to the Texas Instruments® THS4031 and THS4032.  The XONAR® Essence™ ST and STX use JEDEC 8-pin dual-inline-package sockets for dual operational amplifiers in the left/mono I-V, right I-V, and stereo line level buffer.  The XONAR® Xense® also uses JEDEC 8-pin dual-inline-package sockets for dual operational amplifiers in the left/mono I-V and right I-V.

 

Thanks for the quick response. Can't wait to get these. I think they'll sound great with my Denon 5Ks and 600s.

 

 

One other question. I can just replace the IVs and leave the buffer OPAMP as stock or would it be beneficial to also replace the buffer?


Edited by Stanley Pain 00 - 4/19/13 at 5:02am
post #4240 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by eggyhustles View Post

would buying an amp be an improving over the amp on the card?

 

was thinking of purchasing a fiio e9


Not in terms of sound quality. The E9 is basically identical to the amp on the Xonar. I actually own both and they sound quite the same.


Edited by SunshineReggae - 4/19/13 at 6:37am
post #4241 of 4907

so upon puchasing a STX, i became a true believer on the quality and performance of this wonderful soundcard. i posted a wonderful and helpful review on amazon for others to see hoping that it'll spread the word. i have a HD598 and AD700 and it really brought out the best of headphone listening. and what do you know, some duche bag who's never listened to the card deducted a point from my review telling me that he has a hard time believing that a soundcard can be audiophile. what a ****** bag, obviously never even tried out the product, and just stereo type all soundcards as bad, not only that, deducts a point from a review having never experienced it. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/review/R5ZUHS4PKFB6B/ref=cm_cr_rev_detup_redir?_encoding=UTF8&asin=B001OV789U&cdForum=Fx2A03G9IMRYFJG&cdPage=1&cdThread=Tx1B15N2GVT2BR3&newContentID=MxKWOM00G7L9P8&store=electronics#MxKWOM00G7L9P8

post #4242 of 4907

"It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile"

post #4243 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineReggae View Post

"It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile"

that's awesome... who's that from :) i might use it just for the day :)

post #4244 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

that's awesome... who's that from :) i might use it just for the day :)

 

englishman in new york by sting ;)

post #4245 of 4907
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

so upon puchasing a STX, i became a true believer on the quality and performance of this wonderful soundcard. i posted a wonderful and helpful review on amazon for others to see hoping that it'll spread the word. i have a HD598 and AD700 and it really brought out the best of headphone listening. and what do you know, some duche bag who's never listened to the card deducted a point from my review telling me that he has a hard time believing that a soundcard can be audiophile. what a ****** bag, obviously never even tried out the product, and just stereo type all soundcards as bad, not only that, deducts a point from a review having never experienced it. 

http://www.amazon.com/review/R5ZUHS4PKFB6B/ref=cm_cr_rev_detup_redir?_encoding=UTF8&asin=B001OV789U&cdForum=Fx2A03G9IMRYFJG&cdPage=1&cdThread=Tx1B15N2GVT2BR3&newContentID=MxKWOM00G7L9P8&store=electronics#MxKWOM00G7L9P8
LOL That's funny.
I've been using the hd598 and stx for the past year and a half, great pair and synergy but it finally snapped due to its wood construction.
I also agree that the stx arnt audiophile material though since I took a step into it about a month ago.

The hd598 sounded the same or subtle the between a $1000 amp and the stx but the T1 sounds exceptional on the $1000 amp and different from the stx.
The asus dolby headphones and eq sounds good on the hd598 but ridiculously bad on the T1 lol.

So I agree with both statements, the stx is a great card but can't be distinguished with entry level headphones.
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