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Using an external amp with the Asus Xonar Essence STX?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

TL:DR version

 

Basically this is the setup I'm planning on using.  Will Dolby Headphones work?  Or is this a bad idea?

 

Xonar Essense -->  Matrix M-Stage amp -->  AKG K702 headphones.

 

Full Version:

 

 

I'm new to high-end audio and I'm trying to pick a good setup for myself. I want a high quality setup for FPS gaming to use with Dolby Headphones. 

 

I picked out AKG K702 headphones after reading up on this site.  More reading seems to say that I need a powerful amp to drive it.  I liked the look and functionality of the Matrix M-Stage and it has great reviews on this site.  However apparently the onboard usb dac doesn't support Dolby Headphones.  So I'm now looking at the Asus card to provide that functionality.  I was thinking of using RCA cable to connect the amp and card together.

 

So my question is, will this setup work?  

 

Will having two amps chained together be an issue?  

 

Can I disable the onboard asus amp?

 

I read somewhere that that Dolby Headphones is disabled on the RCA output.  Is that true?

 

 

 

Sorry if I posted in the wrong forum.

 

Thanks.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by asa11 View Post
Hey all,

TL:DR version

Basically this is the setup I'm planning on using.  Will Dolby Headphones work?  Or is this a bad idea?

Xonar Essense -->  Matrix M-Stage amp -->  AKG K702 headphones.

Full Version:

I'm new to high-end audio and I'm trying to pick a good setup for myself. I want a high quality setup for FPS gaming to use with Dolby Headphones. 

I picked out AKG K702 headphones after reading up on this site.  More reading seems to say that I need a powerful amp to drive it.  I liked the look and functionality of the Matrix M-Stage and it has great reviews on this site.  However apparently the onboard usb dac doesn't support Dolby Headphones.  So I'm now looking at the Asus card to provide that functionality.  I was thinking of using RCA cable to connect the amp and card together.

So my question is, will this setup work?  

Will having two amps chained together be an issue?  

Can I disable the onboard asus amp?

I read somewhere that that Dolby Headphones is disabled on the RCA output.  Is that true?

 

You could plug the M-Stage into the RCA outputs of the Essence STX, But the Essence STX headphone settings (Dolby Virtual Headphone) do not work with the RCA outputs on the STX

 

You just plug the AKG K702 straight into the Essence STX's headphone jack, you do not need the Matrix M-stage (nothing against the M-Stage).

 

 

 

post #3 of 14

Can you use this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TTHVYK/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00 to hook it up to the headphone jack?

 

I am currently using the Schitt Lyr RCA into the Stereo plug to RCA > then plugged into STX headphone jack.   I am still able to use Dolby Headphone for gaming.
 

I am still not sure if the STX amp is disable when using the LYR, I couldn't find this information in this forum.

post #4 of 14

In terms of sound quality which is better to have with external head amp, rca line out or the headphone out with adapter?

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde57 View Post

In terms of sound quality which is better to have with external head amp, rca line out or the headphone out with adapter?

 

Technically, the RCA is better as a line output, which is its intended purpose. The amplified headphone jack has higher noise and distortion, although it may not actually be audible. But using the card that way is a waste of money, since the cheaper Xonars are better than a double-amped STX. You also need to be careful with the output level, since the headphone amplifier is capable of up to 7 Vrms, which is enough to damage some line inputs.

post #6 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

Technically, the RCA is better as a line output, which is its intended purpose. The amplified headphone jack has higher noise and distortion, although it may not actually be audible. But using the card that way is a waste of money, since the cheaper Xonars are better than a double-amped STX. You also need to be careful with the output level, since the headphone amplifier is capable of up to 7 Vrms, which is enough to damage some line inputs.

 

 

Does this mean if I use the headphone jack connected to the desktop amp, I am still using the STX amp and bypassing the desktop amp?  And by using the RCA output with the desktop amp, the built-in STX amp is disable?
 

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shopan View Post

Does this mean if I use the headphone jack connected to the desktop amp, I am still using the STX amp and bypassing the desktop amp?

 

No, in that case you are using the TPA6120A2 amplifier on the STX, and amplifying its output again with the desktop amp.

post #8 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

No, in that case you are using the TPA6120A2 amplifier on the STX, and amplifying its output again with the desktop amp.

 

Ah thanks, that makes sense and clear to me now.  I guess I have to deal with the hassle of exchanging the RCA line out between my speaker and headphones. 

post #9 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

No, in that case you are using the TPA6120A2 amplifier on the STX, and amplifying its output again with the desktop amp.

 

Using the headphone amp to drive anouther amp is not recommended as the headphone amp has some D.C. offset that can be amplified in the case that you have an amp that is D.C. coupled meaning that it has the same gain @ D.C. as it dous with audio frequencies. D.C. output is 15 to 19 millivolts wheras the RCA jacks has 0 D.C. offset stock & only 2 to 3 millivolts if coupling caps are bypassed which is acceptable for driving even a high gain D.C. coupled amp. Note that all my amps are D.C. coupled & are high gain with the exception of the tweeter amp which even though it is capable of D.C. amplification The D.C. is blocked by the crossover at the input of the tweeter amp.

post #10 of 14

I had a very similar idea, but no one seems to have given a proper answer. I bought a T1 to use with my STX. The improvement over the RS 180 (wireless) is noticable, but there is only a little of imaging effect, across all types of files. I installed the official Windows 8 Drivers, then the "Unified Drivers" and it works a little better.

 

My plan is to connect a Beyerdynamic A1 into the STX via RCA (white and red). And then connect the T1 to the A1. The STX AMP doesn't seem to be good enough. Would that give me an improvement? Or would it be a bad idea? Any recommendations?


Edited by ToMa380Te - 3/8/13 at 11:01am
post #11 of 14
I'm wanting to connect an external amp to the stx and just use the dac but disable the asus sonar stx inbuilt amp. How do I do this??
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreign View Post

I'm wanting to connect an external amp to the stx and just use the dac but disable the asus sonar stx inbuilt amp. How do I do this??

 

If you want Dolby Headphone or other processing, then you cannot. Get a Xonar D1, DX, D2, or D2X instead, or a Creative X-Fi card. But you might not actually need an external amp in the first place.

post #13 of 14
You can use Dolby Virtual Speaker through RCA lineout.
post #14 of 14
Yeah I have a nice tube amp that I want to connect. Even though asus and the likes have pretty good amps. I just love the synergy that a tube amp brings. :-) purple angel was kind enough to give me some info earlier on thank you.
Edited by foreign - 7/13/13 at 5:47am
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