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Xonar DGX vs higher end cards

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Is there a significant difference in features between the entry level Xonar cards like the DGX vs the higher end cards like the Xonar Essence STX or the Creative Xi-Fi Titanium HD if all you care about it sound through headphones?  

 

While I do have an analog output to a receiver to power some stereo speakers, I predominately use my sound card for gaming and listening to music via headphones (will be purchasing Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80).  So I don't necessarily need optical outputs/inputs nor do I need Dolby Live functionality.  

 

I care about music sound quality and surround virtualization.  Also I would like the auto-detect to work on the front panel so I can jack in the headphones without switching each time in the software.  I understand that is a problem with some of the cards.

 

I am willing to spring for the Titanium or the Essence if it would qualitatively make a difference in headphone listening.  But if not, then I would just go for the DGX.

post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by livngston View Post

Is there a significant difference in features between the entry level Xonar cards like the DGX vs the higher end cards like the Xonar Essence STX or the Creative Xi-Fi Titanium HD if all you care about it sound through headphones?  

 

While I do have an analog output to a receiver to power some stereo speakers, I predominately use my sound card for gaming and listening to music via headphones (will be purchasing Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80).  So I don't necessarily need optical outputs/inputs nor do I need Dolby Live functionality.  

 

I care about music sound quality and surround virtualization.  Also I would like the auto-detect to work on the front panel so I can jack in the headphones without switching each time in the software.  I understand that is a problem with some of the cards.

 

I am willing to spring for the Titanium or the Essence if it would qualitatively make a difference in headphone listening.  But if not, then I would just go for the DGX.

Asus Xonar sound cards to not auto detect headphones, everything is manual switched thru the Xonar control panel.

The Creative TiHD (Titanium HD) does automatically switch to headphones when headphones are plugged in.

I'm not sure how well the TiHD's front panel headphone jack powers headphones (compared to the back panel headphone jack)?

With the Xonar sound cards, the front panel headphone jack is just as equally powered as the back panel headphone jack.

The Essence STX/ST and TiHD both come with better DAC(s) then the DGX.

I do think the DGX is a great value for it's price.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

For the DGX, at least according to Asus on the product info webpage, it supposedly has auto-detect of the front panel jack.  Not sure if anyone got that feature to work or not.  I know it is only advertised on the DGX and not the DX or Essence.

 

What makes the DAC better on the Essence/Titanium?  The 192K versus 96K sampling rate?

post #4 of 25

The DGX is a budget sound card. Not just the DAC, but the electronics in the whole analog audio path for headphone output will be better in the Essence and Titanium. 

post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by livngston View Post

For the DGX, at least according to Asus on the product info webpage, it supposedly has auto-detect of the front panel jack.  Not sure if anyone got that feature to work or not.  I know it is only advertised on the DGX and not the DX or Essence.

 

What makes the DAC better on the Essence/Titanium?  The 192K versus 96K sampling rate?

 Both the TiHD & the Essense cards support 24bit /192KHz sample DAC output but the TiHD only supports 24bit /96KHz recording & the Essense STX/ST cards support 24bit/192KHz recording. I wouldn't worry too much about the higher recording sample rate though as it actually comes at the expense of performance & some aliasing distortion as it is not very well implimented on the Essense cards & it is best to just use the 24bit/96KHz recording option on these cards anyway. Measured  output above 48KHz reproduced freuency showed only aliasing products.


Edited by germanium - 8/27/12 at 9:06pm
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by livngston View Post

For the DGX, at least according to Asus on the product info webpage, it supposedly has auto-detect of the front panel jack.  Not sure if anyone got that feature to work or not.  I know it is only advertised on the DGX and not the DX or Essence.

 

What makes the DAC better on the Essence/Titanium?  The 192K versus 96K sampling rate?

Just double checked, the Xonar DGX & DSX have auto sensing on the front panel headphone jack.

But I think only those two models have auto sensing.

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 

Is there a huge difference in sound between the 192 KHz vs 96 KHz for playback?  What about the surround virtualization?  Do the TiHD or the Essence STX offer any advantages over the DGX for surround virtualization?

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by livngston View Post

Is there a huge difference in sound between the 192 KHz vs 96 KHz for playback?

 

Not really, especially if you do not even have music recorded at 192 kHz. The difference is that the higher quality cards can also play the lower sample rates better. How much of that is audible, or whether it is worth the extra price, that can be debated. At least the Essence STX does have a better headphone amplifier, though (not sure about the Titanium HD).

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I am on the fence.  I am considering purchasing either the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (80 ohm) or the new Beyerdynamic Custom One (16 ohm).  The new Beyers would not even require a headphone amp, and I know the DT770 will need one, but the 80 ohm model should be fine with even the DGX amp.  

 

As most of my music is in MP3 format (from Amazon) I doubt they have many encoded at 192 Khz.  I predominately will use the card for gaming over music.  So I am really curious if the Essence or TiHD offer any advantages in virtualization.  I understand EAX is emulated in Windows 7, so not sure if the TiHD offers any advantage there?  

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by livngston View Post

Thanks.  I am on the fence.  I am considering purchasing either the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (80 ohm) or the new Beyerdynamic Custom One (16 ohm).  The new Beyers would not even require a headphone amp, and I know the DT770 will need one, but the 80 ohm model should be fine with even the DGX amp.  

 

As most of my music is in MP3 format (from Amazon) I doubt they have many encoded at 192 Khz.  I predominately will use the card for gaming over music.  So I am really curious if the Essence or TiHD offer any advantages in virtualization.  I understand EAX is emulated in Windows 7, so not sure if the TiHD offers any advantage there?  

I would recommend not using 16-Ohm headphones (Beyer Custom One) plugged directly into sound cards, sound cards have a high impedance (at the headphone jack).

So you would need to get an add-on external headphone amplifier with a low impedance, like the O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier, new $155.

The DT770 Pro 80-Ohm would be better for plugging straight to the Essence or TiHD (or DGX).

 

I'm far from an EAX expert, But I'm fairly sure Windows 7 does not emulate EAX, in any way.

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by livngston View Post

Is there a huge difference in sound between the 192 KHz vs 96 KHz for playback?  

 

One question you should be asking is what source media are you going to use that is encoded that way? Commercial CDs are 16bit/44.1khz, and there's no benefit in upsampling them. SACDs (expensive) and blu-ray (multichannel) support higher higher bit and sampling rates. There are some downloadable flacs for purchase that use higher sampling rates, but they are more expensive. 

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Just double checked, the Xonar DGX & DSX have auto sensing on the front panel headphone jack.

But I think only those two models have auto sensing.


So does the ROG Xonar Phoebus

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newt182 View Post


So does the ROG Xonar Phoebus

Check Asus's Phoebus website, nothing on auto sensing for the Phoebus.

post #14 of 25

I just got the Beyer dt770 80 ohms and just got a cheap xonar DG soundcard for 20 bucks on newegg (just looked it is 16 bucks). Unlike the DGX the DG has a dedicated headphone amp. 

 

This is my first real jump into hi-fi and it has been great. You will for sure want to find some higher quality source files - it will really make a difference. 

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonf View Post

I just got the Beyer dt770 80 ohms and just got a cheap xonar DG soundcard for 20 bucks on newegg (just looked it is 16 bucks). Unlike the DGX the DG has a dedicated headphone amp. 

 

This is my first real jump into hi-fi and it has been great. You will for sure want to find some higher quality source files - it will really make a difference. 

Try the "Unified Xonar Driver" from the website Brainbit.

I believe the Xonar DGX does come with the same headphone amp. as the DG.

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