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X-fi Elite Pro vs Asus Essence ST

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
Recently reinstalled my Elite Pro again after some time with my Essence ST.
idea of this thread is to really bump the Elite Pro which seem to have gone forgotten.

I must say the Elite Pro does really outclass the Essence and not by a small margin with my gear. I do have dedicated headphone amps so I am reviewing the line outs here.

The difference in soundstaging is tremendous. I exchanged the opamps on my essence to the 49720NA which certainly helped some in that area. But it´s not even close to the Elite Pro. It just present the music way better. I also appreciate there is less bass boost on the Elite Pro. Just about all my gear sound better balanced on it and it´s so much easier to portray the orchestras.

Now the Elite Pro don´t allow opamp switching. Is there any opamps that gives soundstaging to the Essence ST to rival the Elite Pro.
post #2 of 82
discretes?



these will kill those chips on the Elite Pro for sure! but I also love LT1124ACN8(kudos to SpudHarris for recommending it to me), you should try it sometime.
post #3 of 82
I have the Elite Pro and just received my Essence ST on Monday. I have upgraded all the opamps on the Elite Pro to the LM4562. This provides even a better soundstage than the stock opamps. I use the Elite Pro in a 7.1 configuration at home in my HTPC. I am using the Essence ST in a two channel system in my office. When the H6 board because available, I may buy it and use the Asus in my HTPC.

Because I am using different amps, speakers, motherboards, power supplies, etc. it is hard to compare the two soundcards. However, so far the Essence ST has been causing listening fatigue after only a few minutes. My ears must be sensitive to something that it is doing. I am using AD8620BR and OPA2107 opamps in it right now. I listened to my Elite Pro last night for about an hour and had no listening fatigue. I do think that the Essence ST has greater dynamics. I'll probably be able to compare more when I have tried the Essence ST in my HTPC.
post #4 of 82
Based on the difference in SQ between the X-Fi Titanium (that has similar SQ as the Elite Pro) and the Xonar STX I have to agree with oqvist and mojave.

The X-Fi Titanium has a deeper soundstage, the audio is more crisp, precise and has better position. Also the sound of the X-Fi is more smooth, relax and laidback. You can listen for hours to it. The Xonar STX is very load, agressive, clear and harsh. You can't turn the volume up without getting pain in your ears.

Based on all the people that are saying the Xonar ST share the same agressive and load sound like the STX I will not going to buy this card (It's also still not available here after all those months it's released. Why?) . Different opamps does not dramatically make the sound incredible smooth and laidback with this card, based on the posts of some ST owners.

I think I should try the Audiotrak or Onkyo. Strange thing I can't find a shop in Holland that is selling Onkyo cards. Also on ebay I couldn't find any Onkyo audio cards.
post #5 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojave View Post
so far the Essence ST has been causing listening fatigue after only a few minutes. My ears must be sensitive to something that it is doing.
on headphones? does one ear start hurting very quickly? that's what I experienced...like if the jitter correction thingie was actually working as an oscillator that made my eardrum resonate at some nasty (inaudible?) frequency.

I had it RMA'ed(one of the DIP8 sockets was tarnished to death, so I thought it was the reason), but the replacement card(different serial#) was identical.

The guy I sold it to has a bad case of tinnitis and doesn't seem to experience it.
post #6 of 82
Your orignal information said it wasn't the card at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
I initially thought that my new soundcard was faulty, because I started having pain in my left ear right after buying it(which went away when forcing crossfeed in foobar )

can an out-of-phase driver give pain to the inner ear

if I play mono, the sound is very much on the right side...and so is a sinetone in sinegen..ah well, it's really getting on my nerves at this point

right now I'm on the mobo onboard chip, and the left channel still sounds slightly out-of-phase...so my Asus soundcard is more or less ruled out. I guess it's time to recable everything again, put a furutech 1/4" plug and switch the drivers

if the sound is left centered afterwards, I guess the right driver is indeed busted....I won't be caught on recabling ever again, I can tell you that
post #7 of 82
I am using speakers, not headphones. I just changed the I/V opamps to OP2277 and this seems a little smoother, but the irritation or harshness is still there. I still want to try the card in my HTPC for an apples to apples comparison with the Elite Pro.
post #8 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander01 View Post
Based on the difference in SQ between the X-Fi Titanium (that has similar SQ as the Elite Pro) and the Xonar STX I have to agree with oqvist and mojave.

The X-Fi Titanium has a deeper soundstage, the audio is more crisp, precise and has better position. Also the sound of the X-Fi is more smooth, relax and laidback. You can listen for hours to it. The Xonar STX is very load, agressive, clear and harsh. You can't turn the volume up without getting pain in your ears.

Based on all the people that are saying the Xonar ST share the same agressive and load sound like the STX I will not going to buy this card (It's also still not available here after all those months it's released. Why?) . Different opamps does not dramatically make the sound incredible smooth and laidback with this card, based on the posts of some ST owners.

I think I should try the Audiotrak or Onkyo. Strange thing I can't find a shop in Holland that is selling Onkyo cards. Also on ebay I couldn't find any Onkyo audio cards.
Well depending on the cans you use, some soundcards may not be a good match for these sources. There were people in the STX and ST thread adding other opamps to make them bright and offer more detail so as always tastes vary from person to person.
If your not into that ultra-detailed type of sound perhaps other cards wouldbe a better match. I would wath the Onkyo though as Thoppa stated in his thread his Onkyo sounded very close to a ST so it may have a similar type of sonic profile. There may be some mods there also with opamps so that might not be a good indication.

What about A Forte or Prelude? They are much warmer cards offering a warmer type of "tubey" sound heard on X-fi equipped cards while still be quite detailed and clear. Read some reviews as they may help you find a card that is a better match for your gear and personal tastes.
post #9 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojave View Post
I have the Elite Pro and just received my Essence ST on Monday. I have upgraded all the opamps on the Elite Pro to the LM4562. This provides even a better soundstage than the stock opamps. I use the Elite Pro in a 7.1 configuration at home in my HTPC. I am using the Essence ST in a two channel system in my office. When the H6 board because available, I may buy it and use the Asus in my HTPC.

Because I am using different amps, speakers, motherboards, power supplies, etc. it is hard to compare the two soundcards. However, so far the Essence ST has been causing listening fatigue after only a few minutes. My ears must be sensitive to something that it is doing. I am using AD8620BR and OPA2107 opamps in it right now. I listened to my Elite Pro last night for about an hour and had no listening fatigue. I do think that the Essence ST has greater dynamics. I'll probably be able to compare more when I have tried the Essence ST in my HTPC.
The AD8620 and OPA2107 are two very bright and detailed opamps.
Did you try testing the card out with the stock opamps?
I am guessing you might be usign the OPA2107 for I/V and AD8620 for buffer?
This would cause a very brightdetailed signature to be "buffered" onto a already bright signal. If your I/V are bright try using a opamps that rolls off someof the highs. This is the same ideas as when some say you don't use the same opamps for buffer as you do for I/V because it will increase the negative aspects. If you know what I mean.
Then again the card just may not be what your after? You may be happier with a different source or it may be a better match for your personal gear.

Edit, I see you changed out the opamps...try putting the 2277 in the buffer. This may roll off some of the highs.
post #10 of 82
hehe, the vultures are roaming

harsh over speakers?? try over headphones.
post #11 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by oqvist View Post
Recently reinstalled my Elite Pro again after some time with my Essence ST.
idea of this thread is to really bump the Elite Pro which seem to have gone forgotten.

I must say the Elite Pro does really outclass the Essence and not by a small margin with my gear. I do have dedicated headphone amps so I am reviewing the line outs here.

The difference in soundstaging is tremendous. I exchanged the opamps on my essence to the 49720NA which certainly helped some in that area. But it´s not even close to the Elite Pro. It just present the music way better. I also appreciate there is less bass boost on the Elite Pro. Just about all my gear sound better balanced on it and it´s so much easier to portray the orchestras.

Now the Elite Pro don´t allow opamp switching. Is there any opamps that gives soundstaging to the Essence ST to rival the Elite Pro.
Sometimes when I change DAC, speakers, soundcards, etc I feel the later its better,
but I would advice to give some time to both cards and then consider again,

as for the Elite, don't forget its price tag when first released, its totally different with the other xfi cards, and I think its still the flagship of Creative,

so, no surprise if its better then the essence..
post #12 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
What about A Forte or Prelude? They are much warmer cards offering a warmer type of "tubey" sound heard on X-fi equipped cards while still be quite detailed and clear.
I have tryed the Prelude some months before I had the the STX and I must say I couldn't hear much difference between the the X-Fi Titanium and X-Fi prelude. That's also the reason why I decided to buy the Xonar STX because I thought that a different Audio Chipset made more difference. And it indeed did, but not completly in a positive way. The Xonar was way more clearer then the X-Fi's but also more agressive and loud. I also feld the soundstage wasn't as deep as with the X-Fi's. With the X-Fi Titanium the sound is very intensive and deep. I missed this with the Xonar STX.
post #13 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander01 View Post
I have tryed the Prelude some months before I had the the STX and I must say I couldn't hear much difference between the the X-Fi Titanium and X-Fi prelude. That's also the reason why I decided to buy the Xonar STX because I thought that a different Audio Chipset made more difference. And it indeed did, but not completly in a positive way. The Xonar was way more clearer then the X-Fi's but also more agressive and loud. I also feld the soundstage wasn't as deep as with the X-Fi's. With the X-Fi Titanium the sound is very intensive and deep. I missed this with the Xonar STX.
Different sources will have different sonic profiles but as Sonci pointed out sometimes it takes a while to get used to a new signature as your still cosnidering the differences between the sound your hearing now and what you were hearing before. -If that makes sense
Your gear also plays into the equation also such as your speakers/amplifiers and or headphone. I hear a difference between the Prelude and Titanium. Maybe if these soundcards you have tested are not to your liking perhaps a external DAC or DAC/amp combo might be a better match with what you want or the gear your currently have.
post #14 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonci View Post
Sometimes when I change DAC, speakers, soundcards, etc I feel the later its better,
but I would advice to give some time to both cards and then consider again,

as for the Elite, don't forget its price tag when first released, its totally different with the other xfi cards, and I think its still the flagship of Creative,

so, no surprise if its better then the essence..
Where do you put the Prelude in comparison to the E-Pro?
post #15 of 82
and quite honestly, let the Essence cards burn in for a while...my HD2 was the same, the caps on these cards take a while to sound as they should IMHO.

the stock HD2 was dark as hell, the trebles opened up after several days..some other ppl mentioned the exact same thing.

IME the STX also smoothed out quite a bit after 1 month or so...just leave them playing music 24/7 at low volume.
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