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Asus Xonar Essence, as a transport

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

With hundreds of pages on the Asus Xonar Essence, this info must be buried somewhere.

And since the Xonar is so cheap and so good, I am sure a lot of people have used it as a first step in computer music.

 

My question is quite simple.

 
Once you move to an external DAC, is the Xonar Essence a keeper as a transport?
Is the SPDIF out average/good/great, or is Hiface and its kind mandatory to climb the ladder of higher sound quality?
 
Thanks for sharing...
post #2 of 23

This has been on my mind too. Would an Audio-GD Digital Interface or the HiFace really perform better to make it worth it?

post #3 of 23

I upgraded to an external DAC and built a new computer with an up-to-date motherboard. I thought about selling the STX and use the onboard SPDIF but the STX's SPDIF just sounded better and more dynamic so kept it. Detailed reviews found the high-bandwith SPDIF on the Essence to be high quality and low jitter. It can also output 192Khz through optical which is a plus for me.

post #4 of 23

Both the DI and Hiface are portable which the sound cards are not... but between the three I doubt you'd notice any kind of difference

post #5 of 23

 

Originally Posted by zenpunk View Post

 

Detailed reviews found the high-bandwith SPDIF on the Essence to be high quality and low jitter.


There's nothing "low jitter" about 700ps over toslink...the STX DSP has a 500ps spec in its datasheet, they added a 75ps CS2000 reclocker on the ST for a good reason.


Edited by leeperry - 9/22/10 at 8:19pm
post #6 of 23

700ps ! even better , that's a lot lower than I thought. Stereophile's review reported:

 

"Word-clock jitter in the STX's TosLink S/PDIF output, measured directly with the AP SYS2722 and a 44.1kHz datastream, was low at 1.48 nanoseconds, which is close to the system's resolution limit. Jitter in the analog output, assessed with the Miller Audio Research analyzer, was very low at 170 picoseconds left and 186ps right.

 

Anyway I stop being concerned with such level of jitter.

 

 

post #7 of 23

^^i think they mentioned at Stereophile that at some point they had to recalibrate their jitter-measuring system, so it most likely accounts for that difference. 700ps Toslink output jitter was measured recently after calibration. 

post #8 of 23

I remember reading some high end DAC review that the reviewer found one of the best results when fed the DAC with STX optical out.  So I assume STX is great as a transport, and we know that not all transport is created equal. 

post #9 of 23

Look for tansformer coupled S/Pdif outputs they are usually sought after for the cleanest signals.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

Look for tansformer coupled S/Pdif outputs they are usually sought after for the cleanest signals.


I'd appreciate more details. Still doing my first musical server, want to do it right.

What is a transformer coupled SPDif output?

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredhammersmith View Post




I'd appreciate more details. Still doing my first musical server, want to do it right.

What is a transformer coupled SPDif output?


Wait, if you're building a high end music server and buying a card for the transport for S/PDif why not just buy a high quality S/Pdif source?

Such as HiFace or Teralink X2?

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well, basically because the Xonar Essence can eventually serve other purposes, like a nice headphone source, or a third rig (I have a 2nd one).

But if the Hiface is clearly superior, at 150$, it is a no-brainer.

 

I presently own a Micromega Stage IV as a CD player, a Linn 5103 sound processor (on loan), acting as a DAC and pre-amp, a nice OTL amp from Atma-Sphere (S30) and a pair of highly efficient two-way speakers from Nirvana Audio (Montreal).

 

This configuration cannot do hires and the Micromega will eventually die (eleven years already), so I'm preparing my next system, which will be computer-based. I've ripped my 2K CDs in FLAC, tagged them, put them into a silent HD. 

 

My next move is a nice DAC, maybe the Eastern Electric Tube DAC (I want and need a good output stage), maybe (if times are tough) the Matrix Mini. But I still need a SPDif source, and if the Xonar is as good as the guy at Stereophile measured, it can serve as well as a nice DAC in the meantime.

 

But I am all ears. Any comment and suggestions are welcomed at this point.

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

bump.

post #14 of 23

I am in a similar situation too. Surely someone has some sort of usb to spdif AND the essence.

 

Also, the toslink seems to be the prefered output of the stx, but has anyone tried the coax spdif output?

post #15 of 23

bump

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