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Is the Asus Xonar Essence STX and Sennheiser HD650 a good combo?

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 

Hi all, 

 

this is my first post on this forum. I've been reading through many threads today trying to determine whether or not my planned audio solution is going to provide quality sound in the various areas I need. 

 

I listen to music through my PC with onboard realtek sound and a pair of Sennheiser HD555's. It's ok for entry level stuff, but I want to really appreciate the flawless audio tracks I have. In addition to this I watch Blurays through my PC and obviously would love to hear the quality audio from them as well. And lastly, I'm and avid gamer and have always scrimped on having a quality audio solution when playing games like Skyrim, Battlefield 3, DayZ etc. 

 

My question is this, will the Asus Xonar Essence STX (with headphone amp) and the Sennheiser HD650 headphones deliver decent sound quality for each of these three areas?

 

http://uk.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essence_STX/

 

http://www.sennheiser.co.uk/uk/home_en.nsf/root/private_headphones_audiophile-headphones_009969

 

Any help or advice is appreciated.

 

Burro


Edited by Burro - 1/17/13 at 7:37am
post #2 of 78

The Essence has a nice dac and should be powerful enough for the HD650's.

 

For around the same price you could have also external amp/dac combo such as Schiit Magni+Modi or O2 + ODAC.

 

Some people might say that HD650 don't sound good with entry-level amps, but that's something I would suggest "realizing" with your own ears. ie. if it sounds good to you, it is good.

post #3 of 78

STX sounds like a good option. It outperforms just about every DAC/AMP combo in its price range as far as specs go. It doesn't have as powerful of an amp as the Magni, but its got a higher SNR and is still pretty powerful(7Vrms maximum output I believe).

 

You're going to want some gaming audio features like Dolby Headphone IMO, and using an external DAC is generally not going to provide you with that. Which is what bumps the STX ahead a little more.

 

Although if you do decide to go external you can still get a cheap soundcard and use its optical out and still have those gaming audio effects.

post #4 of 78
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies chaps. So far it seems like they're not an awful combo, which is good as I'm mentally building myself up for the purchase (which isn't the best thing to do really.. but I'm a sucker for new toys :D )

post #5 of 78

I have a Xonar ST, it sounds great, should work fantastic with those senns

post #6 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by ourfpshero View Post

I have a Xonar ST, it sounds great, should work fantastic with those senns


Same here. It definitely does not "underpower them"; it's more a matter of if you are going to be happy with the sound it ends up delivering. FWIW compared to my little dot IV it does a perfectly fine job.

 

Plus the DAC on it is great, so it's always a good way to upgrade just the amp if you wanted to.

post #7 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burro View Post

Thanks for the replies chaps. So far it seems like they're not an awful combo, which is good as I'm mentally building myself up for the purchase (which isn't the best thing to do really.. but I'm a sucker for new toys :D )

I would say to look into replacing the 3 op-amps in the Essence STX.

AD797BR or THS4032 op-amps

 

Make sure you disable the motherboard's built in audio (in the BIOs) when you install the Essence STX,

post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I would say to look into replacing the 3 op-amps in the Essence STX.

AD797BR or THS4032 op-amps

 

Make sure you disable the motherboard's built in audio (in the BIOs) when you install the Essence STX,

Hey

 

I've seen you saying that on almost every STX thread, what benefit does turning off the built in audio on motherboard bring?

 

And also, how can I connect regular 3.5mm self powered computer speakers with the on-board off?

post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xinze View Post

I've seen you saying that on almost every STX thread, what benefit does turning off the built in audio on motherboard bring?

 

And also, how can I connect regular 3.5mm self powered computer speakers with the on-board off?

Disabling the on-board audio reduces the chance the on-board audio might interfere (in some way) with the add-on sound card.

Do some people have more then one sound card installed/enabled in a computer, yes.

I just think it's better to use one working audio setup (sound card) and make your computer's OSs job a little easier.

 

If your talking about hooking up a 2.0 or 2.1, just get a 3.5mm to RCA adapter cable and hook the self powered speakers to the Essence STX/ST's RCA output.

post #10 of 78

I might be interested in pairing the HD600 or HD650 with the Asus Xonar STX. From my understanding, the STX  would be able to drive them, but not to their full potential. What benefits would I hear (if any at all) if I paired it with an external AMP around the same price range such as the Magni or E09K?

post #11 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheuh View Post

I might be interested in pairing the HD600 or HD650 with the Asus Xonar STX. From my understanding, the STX  would be able to drive them, but not to their full potential. What benefits would I hear (if any at all) if I paired it with an external AMP around the same price range such as the Magni or E09K?


You have no idea of  how much  a source able to drive to "full potential" costs .  Head-fier commonly believe/think that the hd650 "scales well" with source, which means in other words, that you have to spend bucketload of money , before reaching "full potential".

I'd rather buy a better headphone, but that's just me.

post #12 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post


You have no idea of  how much  a source able to drive to "full potential" costs .  Head-fier commonly believe/think that the hd650 "scales well" with source, which means in other words, that you have to spend bucketload of money , before reaching "full potential".

I'd rather buy a better headphone, but that's just me.

 

That's the thing. I don't plan on spending $500 - $1000 on an amp to make them 'scale' better. I am looking for something under $200 to drive them 'good enough'. If I had that much money, I would just purchase a better headphone as well.

post #13 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheuh View Post

 

That's the thing. I don't plan on spending $500 - $1000 on an amp to make them 'scale' better. I am looking for something under $200 to drive them 'good enough'. If I had that much money, I would just purchase a better headphone as well.

The xonar stx is enough good for most headphone on the market.

If you don't like the hd650/hd600 with the xonar stx, it's not "upgrading" the source, that would change this.

You might be interested by tube amps, they alter sound in a way that audiophile  like.

post #14 of 78

I never liked the sound of the STX with HD650. HD650 has beautiful...lush...mids. But not with the STX.

post #15 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by maarek99 View Post

I never liked the sound of the STX with HD650. HD650 has beautiful...lush...mids. But not with the STX.

I guess your "lushness" comes from a tube amp. Ok, I've seen few people people upgrading their source, and not changing their mind on the hd650.


Edited by extrabigmehdi - 4/8/13 at 5:48am
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