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The Xonar Essence STX Q/A, tweaking, impressions thread - Page 287

post #4291 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanseivan View Post

The volume control is digital.
 

So is the "Gain" control digital on these cards

post #4292 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

 

If any "dual amping" will occur depends on the construction of the actual amplifier, if there are any "pre amping" going on from the inputs or if it's just passive circutry. If the circuit before the power amp is passive in "direct mode" there will be NO dual amping. There are different constructions out there so you can't generalize. Anyway, an easy way to guess what's going on is if the volume control is analog or digital. If the volume control is digital there will be NO real analog direct, so in that case you're right, but if the receiver has a good old analog volume control chances are the routing  are smarter done ... some higher end "pre amps" are entirely passive and just routes the different inputs to an external power amp. Also, to avoid "dual amping" I assume the user is not connecting the HP-out to a receiver, because that output is indeed amped so there will be dual amping. The line-out on Essence ST is just buffered and of much higher signal quality and could drive a power amplifier directly without any pre amp whatsoever, even if risky because it's too easy too accidentally raise the volume on a PC.

 

As I said, I don't know how the actual Yamaha is constructed, but the questioner says he can't hear any difference so it's probably done the not so pure way.

 

The best way to enjoy the ST in this case seems to use it as a headphone amplifier only, for that it is very good and borders on high-end territiory ...  :-)

when you connect through the RCA line out on the STX to another Amp, does the volume control in the Asus control panel affect the output volume still? 

post #4293 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by germanium View Post

So is the "Gain" control digital on these cards

 

Yes, it's in the onboard DSP, as it is on all audio cards. Which in it's turn is controlled by the drivers on the PC. And it have nothing to do with sound quality per se as it is entirely in the digital domain before the DAC. It would matter more if it was after the DAC. Except, the sound resolution in bits is reduced when you lower the sound.

 

If you refer to the recent discussion, so wasn't it anything on any volume control itself we where dicussing, but rather the presence or not presence of active circuitry in the signal path in Home A/V-receivers which could color the sound - or not - in a A/V-receiver so is a digital volume control a rather sure sign that the circuitry before the power amplifier-stage is at least not passive. Normally, passive is to prefer, even if very high quality active circuitry can do without coloring the sound. But probably not in an entry-level receiver anyway ....


Edited by xeizo - 5/3/13 at 3:04pm
post #4294 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

when you connect through the RCA line out on the STX to another Amp, does the volume control in the Asus control panel affect the output volume still? 

 

Yes, the volume is controlled via the onboard DSP(C-Media Oxygen 8788HT aka Asus AV100/200) which is controlled by the Asus-drivers ie the control panel. So, you could use a poweramp directly, but it is not advicable as if you lower the volume very much digitally through the driver you get less bits(not bitperfect). And, you have to lower the volume otherwise you would be playing maximum loud all the time. So you need some sort of volume control after the line out, whether it's a preamp, a mixer or an integrated amp/receiver. So you can run bitperfect if you like.

 

Also, if you should slip with the mouse on the volume control onscreen you would blow the speakers, if you run straight to a poweramp - not so good ...

 

edit. forgot, you can't change the volume on the card through the drivers when running in ASIO-mode, it bypasses the drivers and uses the card as a more or less clean DAC.


Edited by xeizo - 5/3/13 at 3:14pm
post #4295 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

 

Yes, the volume is controlled via the onboard DSP(C-Media Oxygen 8788HT aka Asus AV100/200) which is controlled by the Asus-drivers ie the control panel. So, you could use a poweramp directly, but it is not advicable as if you lower the volume very much digitally through the driver you get less bits(not bitperfect). And, you have to lower the volume otherwise you would be playing maximum loud all the time. So you need some sort of volume control after the line out, whether it's a preamp, a mixer or an integrated amp/receiver. So you can run bitperfect if you like.

 

Also, if you should slip with the mouse on the volume control onscreen you would blow the speakers, if you run straight to a poweramp - not so good ...

maybe someone else can chime in on this as well, but if the analogue out signal through RCA also has a volume control to itself, and you connect it to an external tube amp, aren't you amping it "twice"? 

 

how would one set the volume on the RCA line out then to the Max? and lower the volume knob on the Tube amp? i re-read your post three more times, but i swear i am still having trouble understanding it... i dont know if it's the wind or the california brush fire. 

post #4296 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

maybe someone else can chime in on this as well, but if the analogue out signal through RCA also has a volume control to itself, and you connect it to an external tube amp, aren't you amping it "twice"? 

 

how would one set the volume on the RCA line out then to the Max? and lower the volume knob on the Tube amp? i re-read your post three more times, but i swear i am still having trouble understanding it... i dont know if it's the wind or the california brush fire. 

 

It's because you're not familiar with "digital", there is NO volume control in the signal path AFTER the DAC ie Digital-to-Analog-conversion on the Xonar ST.

 

The only stuff in the signal path on ST is a buffer-OP and a pair of filter caps, the sound will be as loud as the DAC-chip plays.

 

The ideal would be to play at maximum level on the sound card as that is what gives best sound quality, best S/N and so on, unless something is clipping in which case one may have to lower the digital level a notch. So, the best is to control the volume externallly ie via the volume control on your tube amp.

 

edit. as I said, if you use ASIO the soundcard always plays at max level aka "bitperfect".

 

edit2. but you have sort of a "double amping"-point in the fact that the buffer-OP is a small amplifier, and it could affect signal quality. Now, you can't use the DAC-chip WITHOUT a buffer-OP as one is needed for it to work. But you can change it for a better one, or change the filter caps to better ones, or direct couple the OP to the RCA:s(in which case you could get oscillation if unlucky, that's why the filter caps are normally needed depending on how good your main amp are). Anyway, this "OP-amp rolling" is quite popular here  :-)

 

edit3. The RCA-output on the Xonar ST is of VERY high quality: -124dB S/N, 10-90000Hz frequency response, 0.001% THD+IM etc so normally it's your surrounding gear which is not up to the task ...


Edited by xeizo - 5/3/13 at 3:40pm
post #4297 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

 

It's because you're not familiar with "digital", there is NO volume control in the signal path AFTER the DAC ie Digital-to-Analog-conversion on the Xonar ST.

 

The only stuff in the signal path on ST is a buffer-OP and a pair of filter caps, the sound will be as loud as the DAC-chip plays.

 

The ideal would be to play at maximum level on the sound card as that is what gives best sound quality, best S/N and so on, unless something is clipping in which case one may have to lower the digital level a notch. So, the best is to control the volume externallly ie via the volume control on your tube amp.

 

edit. as I said, if you use ASIO the soundcard always plays at max level aka "bitperfect".

thanks for clearing it up. so just we're clear. through the RCA out on the STX, the Asus volume control and windows volume control will still raise and lower the sound volume, but it's NOT amping? so one should leave the volume knob in Asus control panel at max? and we're not talking about the mixer panel, which is always left at 76. and from there on, the user controls the volume from the tube amp? 

 

i was always under the assumption that if it's through an analogue out, if it affects the volume, then it's being amped. 

post #4298 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

thanks for clearing it up. so just we're clear. through the RCA out on the STX, the Asus volume control and windows volume control will still raise and lower the sound volume, but it's NOT amping? so one should leave the volume knob in Asus control panel at max? and we're not talking about the mixer panel, which is always left at 76. and from there on, the user controls the volume from the tube amp? 

 

i was always under the assumption that if it's through an analogue out, if it affects the volume, then it's being amped. 

 

Now you're starting to understand  :-) And, if you use ASIO so is the mixer panel totally bypassed, which is really the best playback mode. ASIO was created for professional recording studios, those people don't want any coloration they haven't introduced intentionally by themselves ...

 

If you use Foobar2000 you can install a ASIO-plugin and use as sound output in Foobar2000:s preferences.

 

Microsoft have created something similar called WASAPI, there is a plugin for that too. WASAPI and ASIO are technically exactly as good.

post #4299 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

 

Now you're starting to understand  :-) And, if you use ASIO so is the mixer panel totally bypassed, which is really the best playback mode. ASIO was created for professional recording studios, those people don't want any coloration they haven't introduced intentionally by themselves ...

 

If you use Foobar2000 you can install a ASIO-plugin and use as sound output in Foobar2000:s preferences.

 

Microsoft have created something similar called WASAPI, there is a plugin for that too. WASAPI and ASIO are technically exactly as good.

 

i've used WASPI but there're issues with using other softwares at the same time that gives error message. which ASIO plug-in should i use and where can i get it. 

 

so the buffer opamp is an amp itself, which is back at square one of what i was trying to say. is there a DAC that by-pass any amp stage and just lets the external amp does the whole amping? or is such a thing called DAC/AMP combo

post #4300 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

 

i've used WASPI but there're issues with using other softwares at the same time that gives error message. which ASIO plug-in should i use and where can i get it. 

 

so the buffer opamp is an amp itself, which is back at square one of what i was trying to say. is there a DAC that by-pass any amp stage and just lets the external amp does the whole amping? or is such a thing called DAC/AMP combo

 

There is a good ASIO-plugin under "plugins" on the foobar2000 homepage!

 

And to the DAC-chips, there are indeed DAC-chips that doesn't need any buffer-OP. Wolfson has a popular one, which has a long DIY-thread here. Exactly that Wolfson-chip is by accident what sits in my bluray-player, and yes, it has good sound quality  ;-)  However, those DAC-chips are not the highest end ones, those which are the best do require buffer-amping all of them. And even if they do, they are ultimately better, unless paired with a really bad OP.

post #4301 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

 

There is a good ASIO-plugin under "plugins" on the foobar2000 homepage!

 

And to the DAC-chips, there are indeed DAC-chips that doesn't need any buffer-OP. Wolfson has a popular one, which has a long DIY-thread here. Exactly that Wolfson-chip is by accident what sits in my bluray-player, and yes, it has good sound quality  ;-)  However, those DAC-chips are not the highest end ones, those which are the best do require buffer-amping all of them. And even if they do, they are ultimately better, unless paired with a really bad OP.

 

interesting. thanks for the info. i'll check out the ASIO plugin. the WASAPI issue i was having was when i play music. sometimes opening up other applications gives error that there's no sound driver available, duahh... but it's just annoying that i have to close the error message everytime. 

post #4302 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

 

interesting. thanks for the info. i'll check out the ASIO plugin. the WASAPI issue i was having was when i play music. sometimes opening up other applications gives error that there's no sound driver available, duahh... but it's just annoying that i have to close the error message everytime. 

 

Yes, those plugins are made for ultimate sound quality, not convenient multitasking  ;-) But mabe ASIO coexists better for you? The principle is still that it tries to run the sound card exclusively, so there may be error messages. Use the one of them which is the least annoying for you  :-) 

post #4303 of 4910

^^^ actually the Schiit Bifrost / Valhalla combo i've been looking at, and eventually will be upgrading to, is supposedly discreet and don't use op amps. i am going to give those a try at some point. 

post #4304 of 4910
Please use the asio drivers from "xonar unified" (Google it).
It allows you to use game/YouTube sounds at the same time with Foobar smily_headphones1.gif

I know the asio works because there are some bad encoded songs that can't be played.
Make sure to adjust the asio channel mapping too and rpgwizard dolby headphones for the best experience smily_headphones1.gif
post #4305 of 4910

Hello. I have been lurking off and on for awhile now. I currently have this sound card (STX Essence) as well as a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-A900X's. Also have a pair of 700's that I'm trying to decide what to do with.

 

I primarily listen to music (mp3s/FLAC & Winamp w/ the WSASPI plugin), but also occasionally dabble in FPS's. (Namely TF2 and BF3)

 

I tried searching the thread, but came up fairly empty as regards to my question:

 

Is there a "best" practice regarding the sample rates? I understand music is typically 44.1khz, if I set the Xonar control panel to anything higher music will get re-sampled. Is this particularly a bad thing? Also, if I do change the sample rate to 192khz, am I supposed to also set this sample rate in the "Advanced" tab of the speaker properties? 

 

I have also read that you should set the gain on the headphones to match the impedance, but was curious as to whether the potential damage is brought about if/when the output volume is set too high, or if simply setting the gain alone is enough to do it. I swear the cans sound better with the higher "medium" gain setting in Xonar, but am worried since it suggests "Normal Gain" for my cans (42 ohms).

 

I realize these questions have been probably asked/answered before. I tried searching but it didn't work all that particularly well. 

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