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Should I get an ASUS Xonar Essence STX?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

ASUS Xonar Essence STX is, as far as I know, the only sound card with integrated headphones amplifier.

 

I could buy a stand-alone amplifier, but that would still get the sound from my Motherboard's on-board sound-card, which isn't stellar.

 

Consider that the PC is my main source of music (>95%). So in this case, I would probably waste money on an amp, right? I would need a good sound card first, then an AMP. So the Xonar would be both.

 

What output (in mw) does this card have? I haven't found it anywhere. Some untrusted source said 140 mw. That's lower than even cheap amps. But Sony MDR XB 1000 which I want to buy appear to be working with 100 mw, so that would be ok, right? I have no idea what connection there is between mw, Ohms and decibels ::- ). Ok, I do have some idea: mw is power, Ohms is electrical resistance and decibels is actual loudness.

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post #2 of 13

The Asus should be able to drive just about any headphone you throw at it (barring some high load Orthos which I doubt you'd be buying). It's a great buy for the money.

 

Your other option is an external DAC/amp, but having owned a $200 Maverick Tubemagic D1, I thought the Asus was better.

 

Go for it.

post #3 of 13
The ASUS has driven every headphone I've tried with it bar my Ultrasone PRO2900s which are very badly driven surprisingly. Bad enough that they get staticy. Depending on your budget it is still a very good choice though. Seeing as the ASUS doesn't have its own power supply or case most of the cost of it is going toward the dac/amp(I hope) so it is probably the best setup you can get under $300, but don't quote me on that. I'll let you know how much a difference it is when my dac/amp comes in, though comparing it to a Burson really isn't too fair.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

It does have a power supply, but it takes power from the computer's PSU. I'm not sure if you are already aware of this and you just mentioned that it doesn't have an INDEPENDENT power supply. Anyway, I got a really good PSU with very low ripple & noise.

post #5 of 13
Yes that is what I meant, it shares a power supply with the rest of the computer. I'm currently using an XFX power supply, not the best out there but its pretty good besides the fact that I'm using a refurbished because the original one I had fried a computer frown.gif . Usually I only get static problems with youtube, not sure why really, but I just had a song out of my library static up on me. Don't expect the xonar to be an end all solution, for what it is and what it costs its great, but if you ever do a major upgrade to your rig your want to invest in amping as well as headphones.
post #6 of 13

I believe the Sony MDR-XB1000 are 24-Ohm, which means they can work off anything.

Even the Asus Xonar DG (PCI) $30

 

The Asus Xonar Essence STX (PCI-Express, $175) would be one of the best sound cards to power the Sony XB1000s

Creative Labs just came out with a new sound card, the Recon3D (SB1350) PCI-Express and it comes with a headphone amplifier and sells for around $100.

If all you do is listen to Stereo 2.0 channel sound (music), the Fiio E10 external USB/DAC/Headphone Amplifier would work nicely.

post #7 of 13
The ohm rating of a headphone doesn't necissarily mean as much as you might think. Look at my 2900s or the orthos for example, the Essence cannot drive them well at all.
The sony should be perfectly fine though, I'm not sure how much power the essence is capable of, but I'm pretty sure its at least 200mw.
post #8 of 13

Yes you should and here's why: the STX puts out plenty of power even at default gain, ASUS maintains a mature version of OEM's drivers for the card with all the functionality and cheesy surround effects you could wish for, and you don't have to deal with bloatware a la Creative Labs.

 

Now the XB1000 you may wish to reconsider very_evil_smiley.gif

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

There seems to be a bit of negativity around here about the XB 1000. Care to elaborate? I have a SN 598 HD and I like the sound, but I was going for the XB 1000 for those Dubstep evenings, where bass is so important ::- D.

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axonn View Post
There seems to be a bit of negativity around here about the XB 1000. Care to elaborate? I have a SN 598 HD and I like the sound, but I was going for the XB 1000 for those Dubstep evenings, where bass is so important ::- D.

I've never listened with the XB1000, but I did try the Sony XB500, did not like anything about the sound it output.

My two cents would be Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80-Ohm, I like it's thump.
 

 

 

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axonn View Post

There seems to be a bit of negativity around here about the XB 1000. Care to elaborate? I have a SN 598 HD and I like the sound, but I was going for the XB 1000 for those Dubstep evenings, where bass is so important ::- D.


Bass heavy headphones aren't too popular around here. A lot of the members here seem to listen to classic rock, classical, and 'older' genres where the extra bass can muddy up the sound. I've heard that the XB 1000 would be a great choice with dubstep, I don't think you'll regret it at all. You could also consider the PRO900, but from a review I saw on here a while back the XB1000 is more for dubstep, while the 900 is better for faster electronica. For pure electronica I wouldn't recommend the 2900 that I use, but I love it for my bass heavy metal( Electric Wizard, Toner Low)
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

I also listen to rock & metal, that's why I'm happy with my Sennheiser 598 HD for that. Plus, it's ultra comfortable.

 

What would really help is if I could actually listen to the alternatives such as the PRO 900 or the Beyerdynamic recommended by PurpleAngel. But here in Sweden (Stockholm), there are only a few big stores where I could sample them. The Sony I found at a MediaMarkt.

 

I never buy headphones without trying them first. I'm very demanding in the comfort department. If they don't feel good on my ears, the sound can be heaven and the price can be great, but I won't buy them.

post #13 of 13
I would say to stick with the XB1000 then, the PRO series are very different to the HD598s, the PROs are a more in your face/bright sound, while imo the HD598s are more laid-back, lush. I couldn't stand them when I tried them, too boring. tongue.gif
I'm not sure how the Sonys compare, but if you heard them and like them I don't think you'll regret the purchase.
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