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[Gaming] Auzentech Forte vs Essence STX + which OS?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
I've pretty much narrowed my choice down to the forte since every review I've read has said that it is better for gaming and that is my main priority however, my question is why is it better for gaming? Is it because of EAX? Now that EAX is dying and the essence stx supports openAL and dolby headphone whereas the forte does not, could it possibly become better than the forte for gaming? Another option would be to just pick up a cheap extrememusic to tide me over but the headphone amps really intrigue me as I plan to pair them with my AD700 and later a pair of DT880s sometime in the future.

I'm also going to be building my rig tomorrow. A Q6600, ATI 4850 with 4 gigs of ram. I planned to install Windows 7 like everyone else but I'm scared that it won't work properly with my soundcard. I mean what's the point of spending $200 on a soundcard only to install an OS that's going to cripple it and I still haven't found reason that necessitates installing vista/win7 over XP. Will EAX and gaming in general sound better in Windows XP because of the way sound is processed?

All thoughts on the matter will be welcome and appreciated!
post #2 of 53
I would say forget EAX. So many games that are coming out NOW just use their own processors that there's almost no advantage to getting a high-grade gaming sound card unless you wanna cut down some CPU cycles. The Essence does sound processing quite well and I never had any issues with it.

As far as the ExtremeMusic, I actually have that card installed on my sister's desktop and it's quite nice, about as good as the Xonar DX, but the Essence is like a night and day difference from both.

I'm not sure what your concerns about Windows 7 incompatibility are, I had the beta version installed for a while with Vista drivers and had no problems with it. I'm sure it will be even better once retail Windows 7 comes out, Asus is pretty good about releasing driver updates.
post #3 of 53
If gaming is the primary goal then the Forte is the right choice. While the ASUS card is an excellent audio only card it only has limited OpenAL support and in my opinion less reliable gaming HRTF options.

If you want to wait then use the motherboard's audio, do not purchase an ExtremeMusic type card.
post #4 of 53
As someone who spent dozen of hours researching into making an almost identical situation, let me say that from my point of view, I could not be happier with my pair of Windows 7 RC1 x64 with the Auzentech Forte. The February vista drivers work perfectly, and if you are a heavy music listener I would recommend the latest WASAPI plugin with foobar. Works great.

FWIW, I prefer not to use the Crystalizer/CMSS 3D effects most of the time due to how this distorts the sound.

Also, I should note I have never listened through a essence STX, however I have bought and then promptly sold a Xonar DX in the past, due to it's horrible driver support for my uses.

My setup = ATH AD900 - X-fi forte - Windows 7 RC1 x64

I used an identical setup in XP, the sound was not close to as good as it is on windows 7.
post #5 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 43st View Post
While the ASUS card is an excellent audio only card it only has limited OpenAL support and in my opinion less reliable gaming HRTF options.
In your opinion? Have you actually heard or used the Essence?

On a gaming level, I'd say it doesn't really matter which card you pick.

As an ex-"X-fi" user, if you're on this forum and sound quality really matters to you then I suggest the Essence. Especially since you own two pairs of cans, one of which is fairly demanding of a good source and amp (DT880)
post #6 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by taso89 View Post
In your opinion? Have you actually heard or used the Essence?

On a gaming level, I'd say it doesn't really matter which card you pick.

As an ex-"X-fi" user, if you're on this forum and sound quality really matters to you then I suggest the Essence. Especially since you own two pairs of cans, one of which is fairly demanding of a good source and amp (DT880)
I have an excellent source and amp.. the Forte!

But yes.. I'm not impressed with Dolby Headphone for gaming, which is available on other cards by the way. I've also had c-media based cards before.. not impressive at all. (sounds pretty silly making blanket statements about chipsets doesn't it?)

I'm not saying the STX is bad mind you.. I'm just responding to the OP with regard to 'gaming' question, which is likely better supported on the Forte, in XP, Vista, and 7.
post #7 of 53
Here's the latest review from Xbitlabs.
I think it says a lot regarding OP's question.

Gaming Test of Xonar Essencce STX vs Auzentech PreludeTwo in One: Asus Xonar Essence STX Sound Card Review (page 6) - X-bit labs

Coclusion:
Anyway, today, the Xonar Essence STX is the best choice for a person who wants to enjoy excellent-quality music, especially in 250-300Ohm headphones. It will also be good in games and may even prove superior to X-Fi based audio cards in some gaming situations. And finally, this audio card can be used for high-quality sound recording as it offers solid ASIO support. It also offers two outputs with different connectors and significantly different sound and is based on the modern PCI Express interface. Thus, I just can’t think of a worthy opponent to this audio card in terms of functionality and sound quality.
post #8 of 53
Here's the latest review from Xbitlabs.
I think it says a lot regarding OP's question.

Gaming Test of Xonar Essencce STX vs Auzentech PreludeTwo in One: Asus Xonar Essence STX Sound Card Review (page 6) - X-bit labs

Coclusion:
Anyway, today, the Xonar Essence STX is the best choice for a person who wants to enjoy excellent-quality music, especially in 250-300Ohm headphones. It will also be good in games and may even prove superior to X-Fi based audio cards in some gaming situations. And finally, this audio card can be used for high-quality sound recording as it offers solid ASIO support. It also offers two outputs with different connectors and significantly different sound and is based on the modern PCI Express interface. Thus, I just can’t think of a worthy opponent to this audio card in terms of functionality and sound quality.
post #9 of 53
Also see Rob's reviews at Guru3d Essence STX & Forte.

(the Forte and Prelude are different cards BTW)
post #10 of 53
Im in a similar situation but the problem I have is that my motherboard: http://robotsa.com.mx/ecom/images/GI...5-ds3l_big.jpg
Coupled with a GTX260 doesnt leave alot of room for the PCIE sound cards. The forte might overlap my memory slot clips, not sure if that would be a problem, and if I have it on the bottom PCIE slot, it may be too close to the vid card.

What is the best for audio/gaming (more audio than gaming) in the regular PCI slot variety?

Oh and if I were to go for PCIE, which is better between Forte, Xonar D2X, and Essence?

As far as regular PCI goes I am looking at Xonar D2 and Prelude.
post #11 of 53
I see 3 PCIE x1 slot on that mobo .. you can fit a sound card there no problem.

If you need 5.1/7.1 over analog, you will have to go for either the Forte or the D2X. As far as sound quality goes, the Essence is definitely the way to go.
post #12 of 53
Quote:
But yes.. I'm not impressed with Dolby Headphone for gaming, which is available on other cards by the way.
Dobly Headphone on a PC sound card sucks, it is nothing compared to dolby headphone on a receiver.

Dolby headphone works 2 way for surround, either with dolby digital (if fed with optical, wich mean a signal with 5 discrete channels) or with dolby pro logic2 (if fed with analogue, wich is NOT like dolby digital at all)

A pc sound card can't decode a dolby digital signal, its a dolby restriction. It can only ENCODE it but then you need to bring that signal to a decoder.

So using DH with your headset on your pc card is a gimped experience . I had the Claro Halo and tought DH sucked as well, then played the same game on xbox360 with the astro mixamp and it was MUCH better.
post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMom View Post
Dobly Headphone on a PC sound card sucks, it is nothing compared to dolby headphone on a receiver.

Dolby headphone works 2 way for surround, either with dolby digital (if fed with optical, wich mean a signal with 5 discrete channels) or with dolby pro logic2 (if fed with analogue, wich is NOT like dolby digital at all)

A pc sound card can't decode a dolby digital signal, its a dolby restriction. It can only ENCODE it but then you need to bring that signal to a decoder.

So using DH with your headset on your pc card is a gimped experience . I had the Claro Halo and tought DH sucked as well, then played the same game on xbox360 with the astro mixamp and it was MUCH better.
Why would the routine be different on a PC then a receiver? It is licensed Dolby Headphone technology so it should be the same thing. Comparing two devices may be different based on the setup and the devices output quality.

As for soundcard not Decoding. Not so, there are many soundcards out there that will decode a Dolby Digital signal.
post #14 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pm@c View Post
Im in a similar situation but the problem I have is that my motherboard: http://robotsa.com.mx/ecom/images/GI...5-ds3l_big.jpg
Coupled with a GTX260 doesnt leave alot of room for the PCIE sound cards. The forte might overlap my memory slot clips, not sure if that would be a problem, and if I have it on the bottom PCIE slot, it may be too close to the vid card.

What is the best for audio/gaming (more audio than gaming) in the regular PCI slot variety?

Oh and if I were to go for PCIE, which is better between Forte, Xonar D2X, and Essence?

As far as regular PCI goes I am looking at Xonar D2 and Prelude.
For hardware gaming and a PCI card, the Prelude 7.1 is the king of the hill.

This is a old debate, As to if you want a card that has hardware gaming features or not. Such as OpenAL..etc.
You really need to decide how important hardward gaming features are to you and base your decision off that. Research any products your interested in so you can make an informed buying decision.
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMom View Post
Dobly Headphone on a PC sound card sucks, it is nothing compared to dolby headphone on a receiver.
I have much the same experience with you on that one.

However, it's worth noting that some cards can in fact decode DD signals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX
Why would the routine be different on a PC then a receiver? It is licensed Dolby Headphone technology so it should be the same thing. Comparing two devices may be different based on the setup and the devices output quality.
I haven't had experience with the most recent edition on the Asus, but generally from the past the hardware implementations have just had better configurations and sometimes offer more configurations. For example, my SU-DH1 allows three settings of Dolby Headphone. I use number two because the first doesn't have as large a soundstage and number three tries to echo a concert hall sucking life out of the system IMO. Number two does exactly what I'd expect, imitate an average listening room.

If the Asus improved upon this then it's a step in the right direction, but unfortunately is still not suited for gaming due to no DirectSound emulation.



As for which card to get . . . the Forte. While most games are switching over to OpenAL many have not. Even fairly recent games have had sound issues in in-game movies because the audio required directsound. Prince of Persia, Mirror's Edge, and a few others come to mind off the bat.

This is why you basically need Audio Alchemy. There's no way around it really AFAIK. Either that or you're gambling on devs making both an awesome game and avoiding directsound 100%. Hope that helps
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