I'm a happy owner of the Xonar Essence STX for about a year now but I have a problem that is driving me crazy. The card is picking up noise from the PC all the time and in the past few months it has become very audiable. I hear the hard drives spinning and this very annoying tzzzzt sound. Has anyone experienced this and if so, is there a solution other than getting an external DAC?
Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS.
I'm in the process of replacing my Essence STX with a Audio-GD NFB-15.32 DAC/Amp ($255+ shipping).
No background noise and does a nice job of driving all my headphones (dual WM8741 DAC chips).
Comes with USB/optical/coaxial inputs.