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X-fi Elite Pro vs Asus Essence ST - Page 6

post #76 of 82
Thread Starter 
Well tomorrow my Essence ST is shipping out so for me the Elite Pro and Keces 131 mk 2 definiatly won the battle. More synergy then anything I suspect and if I didn´t already have my headphone amps I would probably kept the ST.

But it´s indead great times... I am for the first time in my life using an Ipod mini... Yes I am that slow and using my Ed 8 I had no idea it could sound this good. No amplification and just straight from an Ipod. Not going to lie and say it´s on par with my home setup but impressive still.
post #77 of 82
Believe it or not my Droid Eris cell phone which has media capabilities does very well in the sound department though it does have limited volume output. The sound from it comes very very close to the Xonar Essense STX which is a huge compliment to the phone provided you play music on it that has sufficient volume. Better than my Sansa Fuze media player actually. The Fuze sounds ever so slightly muffled in comparison to the phone or my Essence STX soundcard. Makes listening to music on the go a pleasure.

The Essence STX card is truly an exceptional card in its own right. Listening at home on my computer is better sounding than any of the dedicated sources I've had in the past or present though I have to admit all my dedicated sources were not what i would call high-end. They were more midfi than hifi.
post #78 of 82

What???? Harsh sound and pain in ears? You couldn´t have been more mistaken about these two cards. Perhaps you read those opinions in a creative forum... 


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.


post #79 of 82
Originally Posted by lofoscopico View Post

What???? Harsh sound and pain in ears? You couldn´t have been more mistaken about these two cards. Perhaps you read those opinions in a creative forum... 


The STX does have a rather bright sound compared to a stock Titanium, that's an opinion found anywhere. But those cards aren't really on the same level. Now, if it was a Titanium HD, the conversation would be different ;)

post #80 of 82

 I have a Xonar STX that I modified & the interesting thing is that even though with the mods it is slightly even brighter it also sounds smoother & more detailed than stock at the high frequencies. The brightness actually makes musical sense with the mods & is not offensive like it was stock. It is also warmer sounding as well. The extra body balances with the highs very nicely.Sound stage now is very huge with lots of ambient information from the recording venue.

post #81 of 82

Nice post, I missed it though back at the time,

Can you ask Jack what he thinks of opamp rrolling?

Originally Posted by germanium View Post

The friend of mine who is the engineer I was talking of in the previous post was Jack Strayer. He worked for A&M records, Disney Studios & a number of others. He was a electronics engineer. Whenever he went into a studio that had transistor gear he & his crew working with the studio personel removed the transistor gear & install thier own tube gear for the recording sessions they were working on to get the best possible sound.

The amps in question that he was working on before he got sick & died was sold to Red Rock Audio. They modified his design with different lower quality parts & proceeded to sell them at an exstravagant price never invisioned by Jack strayer. Jack was going to sell them for $7,000. Red Rock audio was asking 40,000 last I seen.

In the review posted by 6 moons audio reviews they mentioned that jack was old school & didn't believe in certain parts selections. What they didn't realize was Jack was actually extremely meticulous with his parts selection & used parts that were top gradeoff the shelf or custum designed by people that were 1 in a million in thier understanding of the device they were designing & precious few others could actually design his particular output transformer for example. Jack had even approched the transformer company that makes Red Rocks transformers & they said they couldn't do the type of design. The disign that Jack specified was very difficult to wind or even calculate the reactances within it because of the complex windings but done right it could have flat response well beyond the audio spectrom with very little phase shift. Someting that is impossible with standard transformer design such as what was used in the Red Rock Renaissance amp. Even the speaker wire had to be custom ordered to the length required as the transformers characteristic output impedance matching was done inside the speaker wires amp end plug & was complex enough that it would have been impractical for most consumers & even for some recording engineers to do. By doing it this way though one could very quickly change to different impedance speakers as quickly as changing a plug.

The review of the Red Rock verion is here 6moons audio reviews: Red Rock Audio Renaissance

This is the high priced version that really meant for consumers, not the pro version made by Jack strayer my friend. I spent a fair amount of time with both Jack & his amp to know that it really did sound better than any of the high priced tranny amps or tube amps we compared it to.

All this is to say please don't think it bad that I say something has a tube like sound as it is indeed the highest compliment that I can give. Jacks amps sound was full of life & body without sounding harsh. Unlike the old design consummer tube amps these had had high frquency extention up the kazoo all the way up into AM radio land 500KHz + & full power bandwith that was truely flat 10Hz to 30KHz, a far cry from the 30Hz to 15KHz +or- 3db of the older consumer tube gear.

Here is a link to Jack Strayers original amp.http://www.nutshellhifi.com/VSAC98.html It is second picture from bottom. This is the stereo model in powder coat black. The 50watt monoblocks looked just like this but had only 2 small signall tubes in the center position. There was also a brushed stailess steel top version. The stereo version had 2 chassis, one for power supply & one for the amp itself. The mon blocks were four chassis to get stereo set up the same way as the stereo version. The stereo version had 572-10 tubes & the monoblocks used 811 tubes both from Svetlana.

These amps weren't just Class A amps but Class A1 limited meaning they could not be driven out of Class A as as soon as you approached the Class A limit the small signal tubes were set up not to be able to drive any current so the amp would go into soft clipping at the class A1 limit.

Jack strayers amp is the top amp on the list of amps used at Opus 4 studios http://www.opus4studios.com/Opus4Studios/Equipment.html. I also knew Dr. Mike Matesky from when I was a member of the Pacific Northwest Audio Society, Dr. Mike Owns Opus 4 & He was involved with building it at that time.


post #82 of 82
Originally Posted by sonci View Post

Nice post, I missed it though back at the time,

Can you ask Jack what he thinks of opamp rrolling?


Unfortunately Jack is dead.


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