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Sound card upgrade? - Page 2

post #16 of 133
So what about the Auzentech Auzen X-FI Prelude is it no longer a desirable card i thought it would be a cheaper upgrade since i see them going for $80 shipped, i was thinking of buying one and do a OpAmp upgrade (OPA637SM), where as Asus Xonar Essence STX cost $180 " which is also OpAmp upgradeable" which is a better choice?

Great review of STX and Forte:
Headphone-oriented sound cards from Asus and Auzentech - The Tech Report - Page 1
post #17 of 133
A Prelude is a good choice, I have one myself but I don't use CMSS-3D or EQ or anything like that (I use Sennheiser HD 595 and Beyerdynamic DT 231 Pro headphones for gaming).

The Forte or STX would be a better choice depending on the headphones you are planning to use and whether they would sound much better with an amp.
post #18 of 133
Yes, really depends on what your needs are. There are quite a few around with STX or ST's but they are not perfect for everybody. If your more into gaming -especially with hardware effects a PRelude or Fote is probably a better fit for your needs.

Prelude sounds quite nice with a OPA637SM upgrade.

BTW, Either Prelude an Forte are upgradable with opamps and their new HTHD7.1 card will also be upgradable through opamps. -atleast the front channels anyway.
post #19 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postalisback View Post
A Prelude is a good choice, I have one myself but I don't use CMSS-3D or EQ or anything like that (I use Sennheiser HD 595 and Beyerdynamic DT 231 Pro headphones for gaming).

The Forte or STX would be a better choice depending on the headphones you are planning to use and whether they would sound much better with an amp.
I run a 5.1 speaker set up for gaming and movies, so i wouldn't need CMSS-3D enabled either.
but for music i would use a HD650 (recabled),what I'm wondering is if an external Headphone amp would still be necessary since the STX already has 100mW per channel .
post #20 of 133
People with STX and HD650 have said it can drive them fine. However, I have never tested this configuration myself.
post #21 of 133
That would be awesome, no need for DAC or AMP, everything packed into one little card and to get Superior audio all i have to do is upgrade the stock Opamp.
post #22 of 133
the TI HP amp chip on the STX costs $2.25

the HD650 is supposedly hard to drive and needs a lot of juice, don't expect a $2.25 chip to do that for you(especially on a 12V PSU)...the Essence cards are great, but don't believe that they're the be all/end all and make an external amp useless

and pluging headphones on the line-out doesn't make sense.
post #23 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
the TI HP amp chip on the STX costs $2.25

the HD650 is supposedly hard to drive and needs a lot of juice, don't expect a $2.25 chip to do that for you(especially on a 12V PSU)...the Essence cards are great, but don't believe that they're the be all/end all and make an external amp useless

and pluging headphones on the line-out doesn't make sense.
so you think the Prelude + Opamp upgrade + Amp = a better rout?
post #24 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuze View Post
That would be awesome, no need for DAC or AMP, everything packed into one little card and to get Superior audio all i have to do is upgrade the stock Opamp.
Don't get me wrong. I said there are people that have this configuration. I have never tested it so I cannot really say either way. An external amplifier running off the line outs may be a better configuration for you.
Maybe look around the forum for the members with the 650's and STX/ST and ask them.

You know your needs, maybe a Prelude with external amplifier is a better match for you.
post #25 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuze View Post
so you think the Prelude + Opamp upgrade + Amp = a better rout?
I dunno about the Prelude.

what I know is that the 7.1 Forte gives slightly identical measurements as the STX...sometimes better, sometimes worse...and has a discrete HP amp. so maybe it's a better design than a $2.25 IC.

I didn't consider it because I wanted a PCI card...but the ST + a killer external amp(RSA Predator?) would give stunning results anyway!

the STX/ST measure the same in RMAA on the HP out, but on the line-out the STX measures better....but it doesn't have the uber-accurate 0.5ppm clock(that the ST has) which I believe is worth the slight difference.
post #26 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuze View Post
so you think the Prelude + Opamp upgrade + Amp = a better rout?
I have a Prelude and the Forte for testing and have tested both the Prelude and Forte with OPA637SM your talking about. Great sound quality.

That opamp is pricey and worth more then any card mentioned.


The Forte uses a discrete headphone amplifier using 12 SM transistors IIRC. Many prefer a discrete design over a chip type solution. The Forte's headphone amplifier is very powerful according to testing. You still may want or need a external amplifier. I have been looking at some tubes myself.

The STX/ST or Prelude/Forte are really to top of the soundcard mountain right now for consumer based cards.

Which you choose is just dependant on which features you want and or need.

Hope that helps.
post #27 of 133
there's a lot of background noise in this thread apparently

anyway, depending on your expectations....a stock ST will sound fine. not as a good as an external amp, but still fine
post #28 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
there's a lot of background noise in this thread apparently

anyway, depending on your expectations....a stock ST will sound fine. not as a good as an external amp, but still fine
Now your contradicting yourself. First you said it is not powerful enough, but now it is fine?

Isn't it easier to say you just don't know?
post #29 of 133
Hi!
Im in same situation, having Asus' motherboard with Realtek HD audio and now looking for upgrade. My "sound-route" is Realtek->Coaxial s/pdif->Harman/Kardon AVR 1550->AKG K601. Because AKGs are quite "hungry", I need to set all mixers to 100% in Windows to get enough power out.

So, I'm looking for some soundcard (with coaxial output) to get more sound without having mixers on 100% and maybe a bit better quality too.
post #30 of 133
Someone asked about the Xonar DS. Cheap, cheerful but with no Dolby Headphone option it's the runt of the Xonar litter as far as headphones are concerned.

I own both a Xonar D2 and a Prelude and IMO Dolby Headphone is much more realistic than CMSS-3D Headphone in all circumstances. I'm currently using the Prelude with an external Dolby Headphone processor. If it wasn't for that, I would still be using the D2 for gaming with headphones.
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