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Xonar DX -> Xonar STX worth it for Sennheiser PC 360?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I was just wondering if you would consider going from my current Xonar DX to an STX. 

 

I picked up the Xonar DX for 40 off Ebay a year ago and I am about to buy a PC 360.

 

Would I notice any audio difference and is it enough to justify 160 dollars?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by D126 View Post

I was just wondering if you would consider going from my current Xonar DX to an STX. 

I picked up the Xonar DX for 40 off Ebay a year ago and I am about to buy a PC 360.

Would I notice any audio difference and is it enough to justify 160 dollars?

Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio (in the BIOS)?

Try the "Unifed Xonar Drivers" from Brainbit?

 

The Xonar DX and Essence STX use the same Audio processor (C-Media CMI8788), but the STX has a better DAC and op-amps.

(but audio quality wise, I'm not sure there is a big difference).

I would say just to add an external headphone amplifier to the Xonar DX,

The DX is a fairly good sound card, but not the best choice for driving headphones.

 

External Headphone amplifiers

PAV2V, $70

Fiio E9, $88 (same amp. chip as STX)

Schitt Magni, $99

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I didn't disable onboard audio in the bios, but I am using the Uni Drivers.

 

I'm sort of confused on the subject of audio amps. Is it really needed for a 50 ohm headset?

 

Do audio amps make audio more clear at louder volumes or just more loud? Is my lack of audio amp the reason why I hear feedback/buzzing in the background of my headset when I turn it up to max volume?


Edited by D126 - 1/10/13 at 2:12am
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by D126 View Post

I didn't disable onboard audio in the bios, but I am using the Uni Drivers.

 

I'm sort of confused on the subject of audio amps. Is it really needed for a 50 ohm headset?

 

Do audio amps make audio more clear at louder volumes or just more loud? Is my lack of audio amp the reason why I hear feedback/buzzing in the background of my headset when I turn it up to max volume?

 

The problem with Senn cans is that the impedance isn't constant. You have peaks that are a lot higher than the average impedance... which means that you need an amp to truly drive them.

 

For instance, I've got the PC360 and, without properly amping, the Superlux 668B ($25) sound better to me. Once you amp them (I've got an Objective 2... and, before that, a Fiio E9 that didn't sound as good as the O2) there is a very noticeable difference.

 

Also, no, the feedback/buzzing has nothing to do with whether you have an amp or not. It may be caused by either the recording or because noise is leaking into your sound card, and the higher the volue, the more you are amping such noise.

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by D126 View Post

I didn't disable on-board audio in the bios, but I am using the Uni Drivers.

I'm sort of confused on the subject of audio amps. Is it really needed for a 50 ohm headset?

Do audio amps make audio more clear at louder volumes or just more loud? Is my lack of audio amp the reason why I hear feedback/buzzing in the background of my headset when I turn it up to max volume?

It's better to disable the on-board audio (in the bios).

The Xonar DX's line-out/headphone jack (green) has a very high impedance (around 100-Ohms), which can cause problems with headphone audio quality, like bloated bass.

Technically with 50-Ohm headphones (PC360), you would prefer to have the headphone output jack you plug into to have an impedance of 6-Ohm (or less).

The Essence STX and Fiio E9 have an impedance of 10-Ohms.

The Schiit Magni has an impedance of under 1-Ohm.

 

I'm not sure what is causing the buzzing in the back ground, but with the add-on amplifier, you can leave the volume lower and still hear because of the better audio quality.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

It's better to disable the on-board audio (in the bios).

The Xonar DX's line-out/headphone jack (green) has a very high impedance (around 100-Ohms), which can cause problems with headphone audio quality, like bloated bass.

Technically with 50-Ohm headphones (PC360), you would prefer to have the headphone output jack you plug into to have an impedance of 6-Ohm (or less).

The Essence STX and Fiio E9 have an impedance of 10-Ohms.

The Schiit Magni has an impedance of under 1-Ohm.

 

I'm not sure what is causing the buzzing in the back ground, but with the add-on amplifier, you can leave the volume lower and still hear because of the better audio quality.

Wait - so would a Xonar DX + Schiit Magni give me better sound quality than an STX or is the 10 ohm vs 1 ohm trivial? If costs were not an issue would you go with the better DAC on the STX or the better ohm of the DX + Magni?

 

Also noob question - how would I use the headphone amp with my soundcard? I see the Red and White on the back of the Magni along with the Headphone Jack in front. Would I plug my Green Headphone Line into the Headphone Jack on the Magni and put my Pink Mic Line directly into my soundcard? How would I link the Red and White Jacks with my soundcard?

 

Thanks!

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by D126 View Post

I didn't disable onboard audio in the bios, but I am using the Uni Drivers.

 

I'm sort of confused on the subject of audio amps. Is it really needed for a 50 ohm headset?

 

Do audio amps make audio more clear at louder volumes or just more loud? Is my lack of audio amp the reason why I hear feedback/buzzing in the background of my headset when I turn it up to max volume?


The feedback could be coming from the Mic - try turning that down if you have a headset on. Do you get a buzzing with onboard sound at max volume too? I would compare that to the card. If it is JUST buzzing with the card, I would consider it a possible power / interference issue. Try using a different slot on the MB / different molex connector, whatever. Try a different jack output also to see if the problem appears from all of them.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by D126 View Post

Wait - so would a Xonar DX + Schiit Magni give me better sound quality than an STX or is the 10 ohm vs 1 ohm trivial? If costs were not an issue would you go with the better DAC on the STX or the better ohm of the DX + Magni?

 

Also noob question - how would I use the headphone amp with my soundcard? I see the Red and White on the back of the Magni along with the Headphone Jack in front. Would I plug my Green Headphone Line into the Headphone Jack on the Magni and put my Pink Mic Line directly into my soundcard? How would I link the Red and White Jacks with my sound card?

 

Thanks!

Technically, any headphone under 80-Ohms might not perform their best with the STX, but I use 50-Ohm headphones with the STX and they sound fine.

Down the line you might pick up a pair of Denon AH-D2000, which are only 25-Ohm, I would assume they would work better with the Magni.

As the Magni is external, it would not be affect by any "electrical noise" inside the computer case.

You can easily take the Magni and use it anywhere there is an electrical outlet.

 

To connect the Xonar DX to the Magni, you would need a 3.5mm stereo (mini-jack) to RCA (red/white) cable.

The 3.5mm would plug into the DX's green jack. and the RCA end into the Magni's RCA inputs.

And you would plug the mic into the DX's line-in/mic-in jack (guess it's pink?).

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by D126 View Post

Wait - so would a Xonar DX + Schiit Magni give me better sound quality than an STX or is the 10 ohm vs 1 ohm trivial? If costs were not an issue would you go with the better DAC on the STX or the better ohm of the DX + Magni?

Also noob question - how would I use the headphone amp with my soundcard? I see the Red and White on the back of the Magni along with the Headphone Jack in front. Would I plug my Green Headphone Line into the Headphone Jack on the Magni and put my Pink Mic Line directly into my soundcard? How would I link the Red and White Jacks with my soundcard?

Thanks!

I would not go with the STX if you already have the DX. Did that upgrade, and I think going the headphone amp route is the better choice and keeping the DX is the better choice. +1 for the Magni.

And here's a good source for the cable PurpleAngel is talking about. Get the male 3.5mm and male RCAs ends (not the one with the female).
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prava View Post

 

The problem with Senn cans is that the impedance isn't constant. You have peaks that are a lot higher than the average impedance... which means that you need an amp to truly drive them.

 

For instance, I've got the PC360 and, without properly amping, the Superlux 668B ($25) sound better to me. Once you amp them (I've got an Objective 2... and, before that, a Fiio E9 that didn't sound as good as the O2) there is a very noticeable difference.

 

Also, no, the feedback/buzzing has nothing to do with whether you have an amp or not. It may be caused by either the recording or because noise is leaking into your sound card, and the higher the volue, the more you are amping such noise.

I did the same thing with my PC360's. Although an external amp is not needed for the PC360's. I found that hooking an external amp like the O2 completely puts the PC360's at its Full Potential and i get more volume oh games and movies.  The O2 also gives off a nice refined sound to it. I also considered the O2 a much better sounding amp than the E9.

 

EDIT: I also was referring to the Astro Mixamp on the Xbox 360. Not the PC, and for some of the movies the sound recording on some movies on Netflix Seems to be set low. That's why i used an external amp with the PC360's. But for Games it was perfect, didn't need the O2 :D


Edited by Poetic - 5/15/13 at 1:29pm
post #11 of 11

As others have said, since you already have a DX just stick with it.

The DX has never been a slouch since its debut as the D1 and it continues to be a very good card today even if it's over half a decade old.

 

What you want is a good amp, I'd suggest the Schiit Magni above all else personally. I've never tried an O2 so I can't comment on how good it is.

 

As for the FiiO E09k having a little bit too much of an output impedence to match the PC360 (which is what I thought before as well), it doesn't seem to be an issue because the PC360 has a tendancy to inflate up to 80ohms under many situations. Not a perfect match up, but if you can't get the Magni then the E09k is a good choice.

 

If you need something for portable use, the fairly new FiiO E12 is also a brilliant choice.

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