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Different Xonar Sound cards

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello.

 

I'm about to buy one of the asus Xonar sound cards.

 

For my purposes all it will do is process a digital audio signal. It needs to output this  through SPDIF to my E17.

 

 

After almost of month of researching into these sound cards I don't really know what their differences are. I'll link you to a few of them, maybe you can tell me what their recomended uses are, and what benefits you get for venturing higher up the price range.

 

 

I see the range starts with the "DG"

 

(http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-Xonar-5-1-Sound-Card/dp/B006LFXBB8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1354016015&sr=1-1)
 

 

 

Then for almost the exact same price, then there's the "DGX"

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-Express-Normalizer-Virtual-Speaker/dp/B007RMMYFI/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1354016015&sr=1-2

 

 

Very keen to know about the differance between the two I just mentioned

 

 

You've then got this thing which while being pretty pricey looks the cheapest of the lot, and I'm not keen on having the plasticy little box on my desk, but if it sound good I'll get it. Also, it matches my cheesy motherboard :)

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-Xonar-Phoebus-Express-Soundcard/dp/B007ZTILC8/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1354016015&sr=1-7

 

 

 

Then there are a few with these nice looking shields covering them, maybe just for looks. I see this one comes with an adapter for optical SPDIF.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-Xonar-ESSENCE-Internal-Sound/dp/B002BZIZ04/ref=pd_cp_computers_1

 

 

There a few more, but I'll be here all day if I list them all.

 

 

 

So my question is, what differances are their between these cards? And what benefits do you get for getting the more expensive ones?

 

once I figure all this out I might make a sort of 3rd party buyers guide to these cards for others to get a quick look at what card is meant for what.

 

Thanks,

Chris.

post #2 of 8

The Xonar DG and DGX are basically the same card, the only difference is that the former is PCI, while the latter is PCIe.

 

The Essence ST (PCI) and STX (PCIe) include a more powerful and higher quality built-in headphone amplifier than the Xonar DG/DGX, and also a better DAC and ADC, but these cards are limited to stereo analog outputs, while the DG/DGX support 5.1 channels. However, the Essence ST can be expanded to 7.1 channels with the Xonar H6 (which cannot be used without the ST).

 

The Xonar Phoebus (PCIe) includes the same headphone amplifier as the Essence cards, but it does have 7.1 channel outputs, at the expense of using slightly lower spec DAC chips. It also comes with a control box for volume control and connecting headsets.

 

The shields you can see on some cards are there as a protection against electromagnetic interference from other parts of the computer. Note however that it is also possible to get interference through ground loops or bad quality power supplies, and the shield is not useful against those problems at all.

 

There are also differences between the cards in the C-Media audio processor chips used, and the driver features (support for Dolby technologies, etc.). Check their specifications for details.

 

The other Xonar cards (DS/DSX, D1/DX, and D2/D2X) do not have a built-in headphone amplifier, only line outputs.


Edited by stv014 - 11/27/12 at 9:43am
post #3 of 8

If your planning on keeping the Fiio E17 plugged in all the time, into a sound card's S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output port, the just get the Xonar DG (PCI) or DGX (PCI-E).

The Xonar DG, DGX ,DS, DSX, DX, D1 only come with S/PDIF optical, no coaxial. (no big deal).

The advantage for you even using a (Xonar) sound card is for Dolby Headphone surround sound, the DG & DGX will do 5.1, the other Xonars will do 7.1.

The Xonar DS & DSG will only do DTS (not Dolby), DTS seems to used a lot for audio in Blu-ray movies.

If all your planning on do is listening to 2-channel audio, like music, then you can plug the E17 straight into the computer's built in digital audio ports, USB or S/PDIF (optical & coaxial), no need for add-on sound card.

If you use the motherboard's S/PDIF ports, then you can usually take advantage of the motherboard's built in audio features.

 

What headphones were you planning on using with the E17?


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/27/12 at 1:55pm
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the summary STV014, cleared up allot.

 

Yes, Angel. The plan is to have the card plugged into the E17 constantly, for the sole purpose of having dolby headphone running through my system, and the software that goes with the card has sweetend the deal for me aswell. I also like the idea of having software with a decent equalizer.

 

 

So it looks like I have a choice between being able to accept a 5.1 or a 7.1 signal. And then wheather I want to use a PCI or a PCIe interface to my motherboard.

 

To be honest, I've liked the idea of the optical cable, but only because IT USES LIGHT, it just sounds really really cool to me. But is coaxial the prefered cable type for SPDIF?

 

So which cards support the 7.1 dolby signal?

 

 

 

Oh, and the E17 is then going into the E09K. As for headphones I have a pair of DT880 600ohm on the way. I'll also be using a whole load of cheapy headphones who's sound signitures I like.

 

Thanks for the advice,

Chris

post #5 of 8

If you do not intend to use any analog features of the sound card at all, and only need it for 3D audio in games, you may also consider the X-Fi Titanium (not HD) instead of the Xonar cards.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Haigh View Post

Thanks for the summary STV014, cleared up allot.

Yes, Angel. The plan is to have the card plugged into the E17 constantly, for the sole purpose of having Dolby headphone running through my system, and the software that goes with the card has sweetend the deal for me aswell. I also like the idea of having software with a decent equalizer.

So it looks like I have a choice between being able to accept a 5.1 or a 7.1 signal. And then wheather I want to use a PCI or a PCIe interface to my motherboard.

To be honest, I've liked the idea of the optical cable, but only because IT USES LIGHT, it just sounds really really cool to me. But is coaxial the preffered cable type for SPDIF?

So which cards support the 7.1 Dolby signal?

Oh, and the E17 is then going into the E09K. As for headphones I have a pair of DT880 600ohm on the way. I'll also be using a whole load of cheapy headphones who's sound signitures I like.

The Xonar DX (PCI-E) and D1 (PCI) are the 7.1 with Dolby Headphone.

As your getting the Fiio E09K, you can just plug it straight into the Xonar DX/D1, because if you insert the E17 into the E09K and use the E17 as the DAC, you then have to use the E09Ks USB connection, which bypass the Xonar sound card(s), which means no Dolby Headphone.

 

With sound cards, most S/PDIF connections are optical, so coaxial is not really an option anyway.

 

For low impedance headphones like 50-Ohms or less, it would be beter to use the E17, plugged into the Xonar's optical port.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/29/12 at 8:24am
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks.

 

I've decided to go for the D1 now,  just about to place the order.

 

 

The E17 has a SPDIF input on the top of it. Someone has told me that this input is available and works whilst docked with E09K. So I wont be using a USB connection at all.

 

PC -----(PCI)----> Xonar D1 ----(SPDIF)----> E17 ----(Dock mechanism)----> E09K -----> Headphones

 

If the SPDIF to the E17 ends up not working, I will just switch to using the sound card when I'm gaming (for dolby headphone), probably skipping out my FiiO setup all together. Would just be nice to have it all in one line.

post #8 of 8

If you do not need the tone controls of the E17, and do not have interference issues with the sound card, you can in fact skip the E17 entirely, and have good sound quality with the Xonar connected directly to the E09K.

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