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Asus Xonar Essence ST Sound Quality Issues - Page 2

post #16 of 49
Thread Starter 

Normal gain is considered the low-gain mode as it is the lowest type you can select.  As for trying out higher gain modes, I am reluctant.  On normal gain, I reach comfortable listening levels at volume 1 using IEMs and around 15 using headphones.  Choosing higher gain shows a message saying that it could potentially damage my phones if the impedence is not matched.  I don't know if it will actually blow up my phones but still, I don't really want to take the risk...

post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerox202 View Post

Normal gain is considered the low-gain mode as it is the lowest type you can select.  As for trying out higher gain modes, I am reluctant.  On normal gain, I reach comfortable listening levels at volume 1 using IEMs and around 15 using headphones.  Choosing higher gain shows a message saying that it could potentially damage my phones if the impedence is not matched.  I don't know if it will actually blow up my phones but still, I don't really want to take the risk...


And the MDRs didn't show the static, so it wouldn't matter if you tested your junker phones...

 

I see your predicament.  Hopefully the RMA solves your problem, if not, the device I linked to previously should do it.  (However resistant to my solution you are.  <_<)

post #18 of 49
Thread Starter 

Oh please don't get me wrong.  I just wanted to exploit every possibility before I embarked on the final solution of using an attenuator.  Getting another unit should give us an idea whether the problem is with the sound card or with other noise sources in the computer.  I sincerley apologize if I tended to resist your ideas and support ROBSCIX's ideas (now that I look back it certainly seems like it) but I equally appreciate both of your inputs.

 

Thank you very much and I will update when I get a new unit.

post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerox202 View Post

Oh please don't get me wrong.  I just wanted to exploit every possibility before I embarked on the final solution of using an attenuator.  Getting another unit should give us an idea whether the problem is with the sound card or with other noise sources in the computer.  I sincerley apologize if I tended to resist your ideas and support ROBSCIX's ideas (now that I look back it certainly seems like it) but I equally appreciate both of your inputs.

 

Thank you very much and I will update when I get a new unit.


Heh, I was just buggin'.  Don't worry about it.  Please do update when you get the new unit, though.  I'm curious if it is a problem with the unit.

post #20 of 49

When troublshooting....every input can help.

post #21 of 49
Thread Starter 

Ok... I just got the new unit from ASUS and I get the same hum.  The SQ does seem to be improved but that's probably because I have a CD playing and not my usual MP3s...  Ugh.. so I guess I need to buy an attenuator


Edited by zerox202 - 6/21/10 at 4:35pm
post #22 of 49

Have you tried changing the sample rate to a different value than 44.1KHz? I can hear the hissing noise at 44.1KHz, but not at 48, 96, or 192. I'm using the Ultrasone HFI580's (closed, so decent isolation, 32Ohm).

post #23 of 49
Thread Starter 

I've been busy with work and haven't been able to check back on this thread.  Fufula, I will take your advice and try that this weekend.  Happy Fourth of July Everyone!

post #24 of 49

Are you using the SVN feature of Asus control panel ?

If yes, then disable it.

 

Also l hope you haven't increased the default volume in mixer (76%).

post #25 of 49
Thread Starter 

SVN is off, tweaking the mixer volume doesn't get rid of the hum unfortunately.  However changing the sample rate to something other than 44.1KHz does get rid of most of the hum, although there is certainly some left over.

post #26 of 49

I recently switched from headphone out to line out. The hiss is gone at 44.1kHz and it even sounds a little better due to my opamp combo (nothing fancy, 2x49720NA/LM6172). I guess the problem lies in the built in amp, but why it's only affected at the lowest sampling rate remains a mystery...

post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerox202 View Post

Hello, I bought the Asus Xonar Essence ST PCI sound card after hearing so much good stuff about it.

 

But I've encountered a problem with the card.  When I use my IEM to listen music on my computer, I hear a constant hissing noise.  Since the Xonar Essence has such a good signal-to-noise ratio and all the EMI shielding, I'm thinking I shouldn't be hearing this constant background noise.  Of course, I'm a noob and do not fully understand what those terms mean, but it sounds like it has to do with noise.  I'm seriously considering if this is a product defect and if I should RMA this.

 

Here are some details so you guys can help me better:

-The noise is present all the time when the IEM is connected to the port.  Whether I change the sound output to the RCA outputs or others do not matter.  Whenever the computer is on and my IEM is connected to the headphone port, it puts out a constant hissing hum.

-I don't really hear that much of a hum when using other headphones, but I think that's because IEMs get better noise isolation.

-IEM model is Shure SCL-3 if that helps.

 

Also, I know that there is definately noise coming from my sound card because I don't get that sort of noise when I connect to my mp3 player or any other sound source.

 

I've been using the card for nearly five months now, and I've been hearing that noise ever since I bought the card.  I kind of ignored it until now, but now it's really bugging me.  Additionally, I don't think I heard too much of a sound quality improvement from the Xonar Essence over my onboard sound card, maybe I think that because on the other side of my head I think the card is defective.  Anyway, I'm wondering if any of you fellow Xonar Essence users experience this and if you guys think I have a defective product and should RMA it.

 

Thanks a bunch!

Daniel



I believe the problem comes down to not having the windows sound properties  advanced settings set for 24 bit output. The 16 bit setting introduces a hiss sound known as dither to linearize the low bits in a 16 bit system. Recordings that have been made proff\esionally already have this signal imbedded so it is not need from the soundcard. Switching to 24 bit output cancells the dither from the card & largely elliminates the hiss. Any remaining hiss will be that of the opamps which should be -117 db for the headphone out & -124db for the line out. Sure earphones by the way are extremely sensitive & will reveal any hiss whatsoever even that which is around -117db so if you still get hiss when the card is set to 24 bit output that is the problem. It is not a fault of the card but overly sensitive earphones. I had some sure earphones that were 115db @1mW & they could just barely pick up the noise from the headphone amp output but I had to turn the headamp off & on & back off to tell for certain so it was definately very quiet in 24 bit mode.

post #28 of 49
Thread Starter 

Huh, it is interesting how the line-out would sound better with a sound card that heavily advertises its "superb headphone amp" quality.

 

@germanium

Can you guide me through the steps that are needed to change the setting from 16bit to 24bit?

post #29 of 49
Originally Posted by fufula View Post

why it's only affected at the lowest sampling rate remains a mystery...


not a mystery at all(refer to their Xonar D2 review for the whole story): http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/multimedia/display/asus-xonar-essence-stx_8.html#sect0

 why is the odd problem with the noise level at 44.1 kHz not solved since the Xonar D2?

 

Originally Posted by zerox202 View Post

Huh, it is interesting how the line-out would sound better with a sound card that heavily advertises its "superb headphone amp"


The super headphone amp is a $2 chip


Edited by leeperry - 7/8/10 at 5:08pm
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerox202 View Post

Huh, it is interesting how the line-out would sound better with a sound card that heavily advertises its "superb headphone amp" quality.

 

@germanium

Can you guide me through the steps that are needed to change the setting from 16bit to 24bit?



Right click on the speaker icon in the taskbar near the clock then left click on play back devices, right click on the speaker output that shows your desired soundcard which is the Asus Essense St soundcard & select properties. When the speaker properties window opens go to the advanced tab & there you will find where you can set the bit depth & desired sample rate. Select 24 bit 44.1KHz if you are using CD's or MP3. Set higher if using primarily DVD or other high bit rate source in the advanced tab then click apply then OK & close the sound properties window. Now go to you Essense ST driver control window & set the sample rate to any higher sample rate than 44.1KHzThis sets the card up to do its own sample rate conversion & improves performance with CD quality music. By setting it up as thus you are using the samplerate converter up to reduce jitter as well as convert to a higher sample rate. 

 

By the way it is a matter of opinion that the headphone output sounds worse than the lineout & this is not in fact shared by everyone. I found that the lineout in stock form softens the sound substantially but interestingly hardens the sound of cymbles due to the quality of the coupling caps. If these caps are removed the sound become pretty much an exact copy of the headphone output quality meaning that in stock form there is in fact losses occuring in the lineout compared to the headphone output. With the caps removed & wire substituted the sound is substatially clearer, bass firmer & more expressive, even capturing the sense of placement in the soundfield of the bass instrument in many cases where this was lost in the stock lineout configuration. Sound overall is clearer & smoother in the high range as well. 


Edited by germanium - 7/8/10 at 9:01pm
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