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Essense ST/STX worth it? DG + Sennheiser 598 at the minute.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Okay, would it be worth it? I'll probably pick up the sound card second hand if I can find it. I use it around 50/50 for music and gaming. I guess I'm happy with my current setup, but I'm not overwhelmed in either games or music. Imaging in games is important to me, but the Essense uses Dolby tech as well as the DG. (Which wasn't great IMO)



Thanks
post #2 of 21

It will be a nice upgrade for music, if paired with some pretty nice cans.

 

For gaming, I would say not so much.

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by David164v8 View Post

Okay, would it be worth it? I'll probably pick up the sound card second hand if I can find it. I use it around 50/50 for music and gaming. I guess I'm happy with my current setup, but I'm not overwhelmed in either games or music. Imaging in games is important to me, but the Essense uses Dolby tech as well as the DG. (Which wasn't great IMO)

The Titanium HD with the Schiit Magni might offer a little better sound quality over the Essence STX.

The Magni's headphone amplifier (.25-Ohm) is a lower impedance then the Essence STX (10-Ohm), which might benefit the audio quality of the 50-Ohm HD598.

post #4 of 21
Just upgraded from the Xonar STX to the ODAC and O2. I think there is some improvement in SQ in terms of depth (blackness) and imaging. Not dramatic, but some. After my experience with both, if you don't feel you need the DSP abilities of the Xonar, I'd suggest going with the Schiit Modi/Magni stack.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Should I perhaps be looking at an Amp + Dac instead? Any suggestions for what to buy? I'm in the UK with around £130 to spend.
post #6 of 21
Sorry. I don't know. The discussion so far in this thread has been based on North American pricing. The Schiit units and the Titanium sound card are especially good values here.

If you have an open PCI slot, then it looks like the Asus Xonar ST might be your best bet since it's near your budget on Amazon UK.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I should be able to get the ST for around £80 on eBay. Should I be looking at external amp too? Schiit seem to be recommended, but I can't find them here. The 02 Amp is pretty pricey as well. Perhaps I should keep the £130 and sell the Sennheisers to upgrade to something even better? No idea really.

I'm off to try Foobar with WASPI though, I've been using Google play music and 320kpbs MP3's so far. (Don't shout at me...) :P
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by David164v8 View Post

Yeah, I should be able to get the ST for around £80 on eBay. Should I be looking at external amp too? Schiit seem to be recommended, but I can't find them here. The 02 Amp is pretty pricey as well. Perhaps I should keep the £130 and sell the Sennheisers to upgrade to something even better? No idea really.

I'm off to try Foobar with WASPI though, I've been using Google play music and 320kpbs MP3's so far. (Don't shout at me...) :P

A Essence ST for 80 pounds ($125) is a very good deal and the Essence ST's headphone amplifier should get you by.

post #9 of 21
The Xonar ST has a decent headphone amp, and overall is a better sound card than the DG. I would think you would get a noticeable improvement, but it depends on what your expectations are.

Nothing wrong with high bit rate MP3s. Some people can barely tell much difference (if at all) between those 320k and lossless files. smily_headphones1.gif
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

A Essence ST for 80 pounds ($125) is a very good deal and the Essence ST's headphone amplifier should get you by.

Yeah, I can hopefully get it :) If I wanted to an external AMP, what would you recommend? Also, what plugin should I choose for Foobar? Bit confused :P

post #11 of 21
I'd wait and see what you think of the ST/STX. You might not think it needs and amp.

Sorry. I'm not a Foobar user.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Alright, thanks for the help everybody. I could get a Titanium HD for £60. I've heard they are better for gaming, but I'm worried about driver support. I'd guess the Essence is better for music? I don't play games all that seriously, and I'm on Skype most of the time, but I still wouldn't like to be at much of a disadvantage. If the Titanium is only marginally better for gaming, and worse at music I'll probably get the Essence. I mainly play Valve games anyway, and I'm pretty sure they don't use EAX or anything.

post #13 of 21
£60? I think I'd go for that and than add a better headphone amp when you can afford it. Or if you want to be done with it, then get the Xonar.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by David164v8 View Post

Alright, thanks for the help everybody. I could get a Titanium HD for £60. I've heard they are better for gaming, but I'm worried about driver support. I'd guess the Essence is better for music? I don't play games all that seriously, and I'm on Skype most of the time, but I still wouldn't like to be at much of a disadvantage. If the Titanium is only marginally better for gaming, and worse at music I'll probably get the Essence. I mainly play Valve games anyway, and I'm pretty sure they don't use EAX or anything.

The Titanium HD with an external headphone amplifier (Magni or O2) should give you slightly better audio quality over the Essence ST or STX.

The Titanium HD has slightly better op-amps and DAC then the Essence ST/STX.

The external head amp should offer a slightly cleaner signal.

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
And it's better at gaming? I'm sold smily_headphones1.gif Unfortuneatly the two amps you mentioned are really expensive here, almost twice as much as the sound card itself :/ I think I'll just buy the sound card now, and either buy a cheap amp or save up for one of those two.
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