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Asus Xonar STX/ST and headphones: A basic guide - Page 3

post #31 of 51

Most of you people are assuming there is a real gain change with the headphone amp. There is not a real hardware based gain change, only a software volume limiting change. The real gain of the headphone amp is 12db or a gain factor of 4X over the 0db gain level of the line out. The only thing that happens when you lower the gain is the driver limits to between 1-3 bits lower than the max output available. Each bit represents 6db. Dynamic range of the DAC is reduced by that amount with each "gain reduction". As such as long as you match the volume for each gain change the sound will be an exact match. If you increase the "gain" by 6db but reduce the volume control by 6db the sound will match exactly.

 

It is a myth that there is any sound change other than that that occures as a result of the ears sensitivity ( Fletcher-Munson curves ) with the gain changes. If the volume is matched there will be no difference in sound as there is no difference in the ears sensitivity if the volume is the same nor is there any difference in the frequency response of the amp at the difference in "gain" as there is no real difference in actual gain of the amp itself.

post #32 of 51

Interesting info. Thanks.

post #33 of 51

I bought the Xonar Stx card recently observed that there is no audio channel option in the audio manager. I use windows 7 32 bit OS. My headphone is HD 598

post #34 of 51
in the asus xonar control panel, seti the Analog output as headphones, then the hammer icon you see when in headphone amp is the options for the ST/X headphone amp settings.
post #35 of 51
Hello people,

A small tip for the linux users who want good sound from the asus soundcards (D2(X)/ST(X).
Since recent kernels, there is finally support for the 3 power levels for the headphone amplifier.
Ahh linux..so inconvenient..how do i set it up right for 44100 cards?
You just have to have alsasound started, and check if the soundcardmodule is loaded ("snd_virtuoso"),
create /var/lib/alsa/asound.state (with: # "alsactl store").
Then mb the most important step: create a good /home/user/.asoundrc

Below my .asoundrc for 44100 listening, the soundcard is not "fully occupied" bij the music stream thnx to dmix, so you can
open movies etc too (with (resampled) sound). In audacious (or other desired player), use alsa, default pcm (dmix). if used "hw0,0" , then the audiocard is fully occupied, just like with wasapi plugin, or asio in windows. Well then.. doesent the audio quality from anything involving dmix suck? No.


/home/"username"/.asoundrc:



#######################################
pcm.!default {
type plug
slave.pcm "dmixer"
}

pcm.dmixer {
type dmix
ipc_key 1024
slave {
pcm "hw:0,0"
format S32_LE # internal processing 32 bit
period_time 0
period_size 1024
buffer_size 24576 # can tweak this

rate 44100 # for emphasis on hifi listening, no resampling for music
# rate 96000
# rate 192000 # lets go crazy
}
bindings {
0 0
1 1
}
}

ctl.dmixer {
type hw
card 0
device 0
}
pcm.dsp {
type plug
slave.pcm "dmixer" # use our new PCM here
}
ctl.mixer {
type hw
card 0
}
#############################################



Hope this info to be useful for some linux/musiclovers.

P.Packer (with essence ST + HD600, kernel 2.6.37)
post #36 of 51
N.B. "format S32_LE" isnt neccesary, you can remove that =)
post #37 of 51

I don't know anything about the technical aspects of how the gain settings actually work, but from my experience so far listening to my HD650s through the STX with stock op-amps, I feel that the middle gain setting of 64-300 ohms is probably best for those cans. At the same volume level (as adjusted by ear) through ASIO, the 300-600 ohms setting produces some distortion in the bass. Outside of sound quality, both settings have no trouble with having volume loud enough, that's for sure. In Foobar through ASIO, I'm usually working in the left-most portion of the volume bar, and similarly, in Windows I haven't had to put the mixer above 50% for anything yet.

post #38 of 51

Hey guys, I have a problem getting my Xonar Audio center to output a sampling rate of 192khz. Everything below that works (96, 44.1 etcetc.) I have a onkyo receiver that has a blurbrown DAC that is capable of playing 192khz music. My settings, as far as i can tell, from the Sound->Playback->Speakers(Asus xonar essence stx audio device)-> speaker properties->advanced-> is set at 24 bit 192kh, tested and working.

 

is there another setting I should be aware of that I am not enabling?

post #39 of 51

Addendum: after some further listening i must put some nuance my previous post.. Don't know why, mb i'm crazy, but pure soundquality-wise,
i'm getting the impression that the above dmix-setup lacks a bit in the high frequencies after all =(. i can't explain this.  I must have been in a positive mood that day.
Even no asoundrc (=48000 hz from: cat /proc/asound/card0/pcm0p/sub0/hw_params , while playing 44100 files)  at all, seems to sound a little bit better better than the 44100 dmix device for music.
It must be the hardware resampling on the xonar cards being so good, that it doesnt matter much if you  put 44100 as default sampling rate in asoudrc or not, but
this  ".asoundrc"  is my favorite so far for the ST! =).  I will leave it at this! My hifi friends!

--------------------

pcm.!default{    #  
 type hw
 card 0
 device 0
 rate 44100    # for that good feeling
}

ctl.mixer {
    type hw
    card 0
}

---------------

 

best wishes

P.Packer

 

post #40 of 51
I tried to do that in my opensuse boot but for the life of me couldnt get it to use the asoundrc I made. So I in up leaving it as it is.
post #41 of 51

Yes Genclaymore,

It could be (i have only experience with fedora & gentoo, so im not sure about suse)  that suse uses pulse-audio, or some other layer (there are 2 or 3 i believe)
on top of alsa. But: the basis for linuxsound on every distro is alsa (oss still works if you want, but this is older, would not say worse)
What you could do is: find the configuration files for alsa & pulseaudio/jack/esd etc. and deactivate/remove anything but alsa.
 (try the suse fora or irc channel)  There is a good chance that there is documentation in /usr/share/doc/.  
Linux is all about knowing what/where the most used configuration files are, like xorg.conf for X-server,
/var/lib/asound.state for your audiomixer settings,   or /home/"username"/.asoundrc, for per-user audio-card settings.
The uniqueness of every distro is that they often  have a slightly different location/format of their config files, startup scripts etc.
In practise you have to familiarize yourself with some 3 or 4 configfiles that you will acces frequently, with "nano" or "gedit" or any text-editor of choice.
A tip: just type "man aplay" and a "man alsactl" in a terminal window, en read it =).

Best wishes,

A.J Pennypacker

("I assume that there's a waterfall grotto?")

post #42 of 51

Great information! Thanks.

post #43 of 51

After a bit of belated experimentation, I take back what I said about avoiding the extra high gain setting because of bass distortion. This turned out not to be a problem with the gain, but with the STX ASIO drivers! Going through the Windows mixer / ASIO4All (and I assume other ASIO drivers) takes away the distortion that I found with the 300-600 ohm setting and so this is now definitely the best setting to use. One thing's for sure: I'm not trusting Asus' ASIO drivers anymore after this.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurashima View Post

I don't know anything about the technical aspects of how the gain settings actually work, but from my experience so far listening to my HD650s through the STX with stock op-amps, I feel that the middle gain setting of 64-300 ohms is probably best for those cans. At the same volume level (as adjusted by ear) through ASIO, the 300-600 ohms setting produces some distortion in the bass. Outside of sound quality, both settings have no trouble with having volume loud enough, that's for sure. In Foobar through ASIO, I'm usually working in the left-most portion of the volume bar, and similarly, in Windows I haven't had to put the mixer above 50% for anything yet.



 


Edited by Kurashima - 3/27/11 at 7:55pm
post #44 of 51

Hopefully the new Asus Phoebus will be an improvement in every way over the STX/ST.

Something that will grind the Titanium HD into the dust.

post #45 of 51

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Hopefully the new Asus Phoebus will be an improvement in every way over the STX/ST.

Something that will grind the Titanium HD into the dust.

 

 

The Asus Xonar Phoebus is yet another atempt from Asus to make a gaming capable soundcard, yet such card has lower specs and measurements than their current Essence ST/STX flagship products. The only good thing I see about the Xonar Phoebus is that it is actually a soundcard rather than the laughable Recon3D series from Creative, unlike the X-Fi Titanium HD that outperforms every single soundcard in existence when it comes to gaming audio, and is basically the best consumer soundcard, just like the Essence ST/STX are, albeit with different signatures.

 

For all that, the Xonar Phoebus is fated to fail. Asus should continually improve over past products, even if it's about hardware available on the market for some time.

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