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Schiit Asgard VS STX

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I'm planning on buying the Asgard for my AKG K701, Denon D2000 and Grado SR225i. I'd like to know how the Asgard compares to the STX. Should I use the DAC on the STX? Or should I buy the bifrost as well? I'm concerned about interference (noise when you move the mouse or disk activity noise) since I'll be using the RCA out on the STX if I use it as a DAC.

 

I mainly listen to death metal. Bands like Insomnium/Eluveitie/In flames/Kalmah. I'm open to other options as well!

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 28

Do you get interference already?

 

I'd recommend against the Asgard on principle because even the limited manufacturer specs we're supplied with are unimpressive. If its output impedance is low then that would be a good thing with your headphones, but the Essence STX will outperform it in every other way as an amp.

post #3 of 28
As someone who has both the Asgard and the STX, I have to say they work best together. I get a much better listening experience running the RCA outs to the Asgard, thnt headphone out from the STX.
Edited by rroseperry - 12/15/11 at 8:40pm
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

Yes I do hear interference. I just tested it through my speakers (monitor audio RX6) and it's noticeable. I had the woo audio 6 and i remember hearing it through that as well when I turned up the volume.

 

I thought the Asgard has better specs than the STX

 

Output impedance 0.5 ohms vs 10 ohms on the STX

 

Maximum Output: 20V P-P typ vs 5.65 on the STX
 
To be honest, the STX does drive the Denons extremely well. But the K701s distort fairly quickly on the STX, especially during speedruns in certain songs. Has anyone else noticed this with their 701s? 
 
Note: when i say fairly quickly, think 2 o'clock.
 

 

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post

As someone who has both the Asgard and the STX, I have to say they work best together. I get a much better listening experience running the RCA outs to the Asgard, thnt headphone out from the STX.


Thanks :)

Good to hear from someone who owns both. Do you hear interference? No music, volume turned all the way up? Also, which headphones are you driving with the Asgard? 

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiophilic View Post

Yes I do hear interference. I just tested it through my speakers (monitor audio RX6) and it's noticeable. I had the woo audio 6 and i remember hearing it through that as well when I turned up the volume.

 

I thought the Asgard has better specs than the STX

 

Output impedance 0.5 ohms vs 10 ohms on the STX

 

Maximum Output: 20V P-P typ vs 5.65 on the STX
 
To be honest, the STX does drive the Denons extremely well. But the K701s distort fairly quickly on the STX, especially during speedruns in certain songs. Has anyone else noticed this with their 701s? 
 
Note: when i say fairly quickly, think 2 o'clock.


A few problems with your post:

 

Where'd you get the output impedance spec for the Asgard? Last time I looked it wasn't published.

 

You're looking at the wrong voltage for the STX. That's the voltage for the line out. The voltage for the headphone out is 20 Vp-p just like the Asgard, which equates to 7 Vrms.

 

Asgard's rated THD at 1 Vrms is a rather poor 0.1%. Not serious, maybe not even audible, but a whole order of magnitude or more worse than many alternatives including the STX. I'd need to see THD plots into various loads before I really judge it, but manufacturers usually publish best-case numbers and 0.1% is a worrying best-case.

 

If you hear interference, then you should get something external. I'd still recommend against the Asgard.

 

You need to crank the STX to 2 o'clock with the K701? What gain setting are you using?

 

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 

I emailed Schiit about the output impedance.

I checked ASUS' website for the output voltage. It doesn't mention anything about 20V p-p. So I assumed that 5.65V is their output power. I'm sorry if I'm mistaken but I can't seem to find any article saying it's 20Vp-p.

I can't really compare the THD since both companies are specifying their measurements at different frequencies.

I'm using Extra high gain setting (+18db). I use the same setting for my denons. I just double checked. Using foobar, the distortion steps in when the internal volume is about -3db. Also, the loudness isn't hard on the ears at max volume.

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiophilic View Post

I emailed Schiit about the output impedance.

I checked ASUS' website for the output voltage. It doesn't mention anything about 20V p-p. So I assumed that 5.65V is their output power. I'm sorry if I'm mistaken but I can't seem to find any article saying it's 20Vp-p.

I can't really compare the THD since both companies are specifying their measurements at different frequencies.

I'm using Extra high gain setting (+18db). I use the same setting for my denons. I just double checked. Using foobar, the distortion steps in when the internal volume is about -3db. Also, the loudness isn't hard on the ears at max volume.


Very High gain at 2 o'clock with -3 dB in Foobar, or what?

 

Stereophile measured the Essence STX at 7.03 Vrms. To find Vp-p from that you divide it by 0.707, then double it. That's about 20 Vp-p. You'll get slightly less at low impedances because of the output impedance, about 6 Vrms for the K701. 6 Vrms is enough to drive the K701 to 120 dB by the manufacturer specs (Tyll measured the K701 at considerably less efficient, but would still reach over 115 dB).

 

The Essence STX is shielded against interference, though it may not be perfect. It shouldn't be distorting that much at high volume, nor should you need that much volume. Are you sure:

  • It's actually an Essence STX
  • You have it plugged into your power supply
  • You don't have a faulty unit?

 

For reference, my LCD-2 is about as efficient as the K701 give or take a couple dB, and I use it at 40% volume on Low gain.

 

How do you have the card set up with your speakers, anyway?


Edited by Head Injury - 12/15/11 at 9:26pm
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

Extra high gain (+18db) with -3db in Foobar. How do you set the volume to 40% blink.gif? When using ASIO, the Xonar master volume control is bypassed. I only use the software to change b/w speakers and headphone output.

 

I mentioned 2 o'clock because I usually listen to the headphone out on my NAD pre amp (10 ohms output impedance). It has a wider soundstage but that's about it. The NAD is louder than the STX and I can hear the distortion at 2 o'clock. Sorry for the confusion.

 

And yes I've double checked all those things. The interference isn't "in your face" present, but it is definitely audible. The headphone out is dead silent though.

I'm surprised the STX can drive your LCD-2 and at 40%? I must be going deaf! blink.gif

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiophilic View Post

Extra high gain (+18db) with -3db in Foobar. How do you set the volume to 40% blink.gif? When using ASIO, the Xonar master volume control is bypassed. I only use the software to change b/w speakers and headphone output.

 

I mentioned 2 o'clock because I usually listen to the headphone out on my NAD pre amp (10 ohms output impedance). It has a wider soundstage but that's about it. The NAD is louder than the STX and I can hear the distortion at 2 o'clock. Sorry for the confusion.

 

And yes I've double checked all those things. The interference isn't "in your face" present, but it is definitely audible. The headphone out is dead silent though.

I'm surprised the STX can drive your LCD-2 and at 40%? I must be going deaf! blink.gif


Are you sure the sounds your hearing are interference and not something else? Like ASIO causing problems? It can do that if it's not set up properly. Try a different plugin.

 

The interference, if it's what I thought you meant, should manifest itself when you scroll a browser or otherwise tax a processor.

 

Are you sure the distortion is a result of the card and not the preamp, or any number of other things? How is the preamp hooked up? I don't think a preamp should be hooked up to the headphone jack of the card, if that's how you have it.

 

Without ReplayGain (which I use) 40% volume is 85 dB using a 0 dBFS 1 kHz tone. With ReplayGain and normal music, it's around 70 dB average and 80 dB at loud peaks. That's why I'm worried you're not setting this thing up properly. Doing so might alleviate your need to upgrade.


Edited by Head Injury - 12/15/11 at 9:45pm
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

Also, the distortion is only with the AKGs. They drive the denons extremely well. Don't get me wrong, the STX is an amazing headphone amp for the money, but I'm afraid it's not pairing well with the AKGs.

post #12 of 28

The K701 and Essence STX is actually a fairly well known combination. I know when I first joined it was a combo everyone loved. Yes, they can drive them, and to ludicrous volumes. You've got something set up wrong, or faulty equipment, or something.

post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


Are you sure the sounds your hearing are interference and not something else? Like ASIO causing problems? It can do that if it's not set up properly. Try a different plugin.

 

The interference, if it's what I thought you meant, should manifest itself when you scroll a browser or otherwise tax a processor.

 

Are you sure the distortion is a result of the card and not the preamp, or any number of other things? How is the preamp hooked up? I don't think a preamp should be hooked up to the headphone jack of the card, if that's how you have it.

 

Without ReplayGain (which I use) 40% volume is 85 dB using a 0 dBFS 1 kHz tone. With ReplayGain and normal music, it's around 70 dB average and 80 dB at loud peaks. That's why I'm worried you're not setting this thing up properly. Doing so might alleviate your need to upgrade.


No it's definitely not ASIO. I'm getting exactly what you're saying. When i scroll a browser, moving the mouse, opening windows etc. I only notice this interference when using the RCA outs so it's definitely that.

 

The distortion is present on both, the STX and the preamp headphone outs

My connections are correct.

 

1. foobar->STX->RCA out->preamp ->headphone out

2. foobar->STX->headphone out

 

I don't use replay gain. The AKGs are the only headphones that I can bear with the volumed turned all the way up. I don't go that loud with the denons or grados. I'm at -10db with them.

I don't change the gain setting; it's always at Extra high gain.

 

 

 

post #14 of 28

Gain setting only matters for the headphone jack. What volumes are you using when you plug the headphones directly into the STX's jack? If you still have them set that high, you may have a faulty amp section in your STX.

 

You should have Foobar's volume maxed at all times. If you can't do that without distortion, then your STX's DAC might be clipping and it's faulty.

 

What is your sample rate setting? What is your OS? Are you using HF mode? Where is the card located in relation to the processor and any GPUs? It might even be nice to know your motherboard and PSU.

post #15 of 28
Hey, audiophilic is right. I have had both the distortion on speedier songs(with PRO2900s) and the interferance when using the Essence as a DAC only(though it was going into a Burson with a dead left channel). It just isn't suited for certain headphones, and I'll chime in tomorrow when I get my replacement Burson on if it has interference issues with the Essence as well. The STX is interference free when used as a DAC and amp. DAC only, I could hear my hard drive spinning through the headphones along with a few fans.
Gain setting doesn't affect the distortion at all, and I have my STX 2 slots above my GPU (Radeon 6970) on an ECS P67-h2-a2 motherboard. I built this system myself. smily_headphones1.gif The CPU fan is stock atm, and is a few inches from the Essence, pretty sure I was hearing that and the HDD which isn't close to it at all.
Edited by MohawkUS - 12/15/11 at 10:04pm
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