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ASUS Xonar Essence STU - Page 3

post #31 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Good question. Theoretically, an Asynchronous USB connection would have lower jitter due to the way timing is controlled.

 

There's also the issue of EMI/RFI from the various signals bouncing around inside the PC, which of course don't apply to the external STU.

 

Another thing is the power supply - the STU has an external power brick kind of like a laptop would have. It probably falls somewhere between a basic wall-wart and a dedicated linear power supply. Is it better than the PSU in your computer? Depends. Some people have really nice PSUs in their machines, others don't.

 

Lastly, and this might be the biggest deal - volume control. When using the ST/STX, all volume control is handled in the digital domain. That results in a loss of resolution. Is it audible? Probably not, if you only reduce it to 90% or something. But who listens at nearly full blast? Most listening is likely to be done in the 20-50% range, which is almost certain to cause audible degradation. The STU doesn't have this issue, instead relying on a pretty good quality analog potentiometer to adjust volume. Note that when using an external headphone amp, this difference no longer applies, since the ST/STX could then be used at 100% volume, and the external amp would be used for volume control. 

 

Thanks for that information Project86.

 

I currently have the STX and I don't hear any interference within my PC. I also have a Corsair HX850 watt PSU in my system. Are you saying the volume in Windows should be at least at 90% to avoid any loss of resolution with the sound card?

 

Anyways, I'll probably hold off on an external DAC until I see some direct comparisons between the STU and STX.

post #32 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Depends on how Asus did the drivers. Some DACs still allow software volume control, or EQ, to be performed in the digital domain prior to spitting out a digital stream for the DAC to decode. If that's the case on the STU, then any sort of plugins or extra processing should work. Others, due to their drivers, specifically block any sort of data manipulation, leaving all controls such as volume to be handled by the DAC only. I have yet to connect my PC to the STU so I don't know how it works yet. I'll get to it though. But I think the STX had hardware Dolby Headphone on board? The STU definitely doesn't have that. 

Doh, you're right. I completely missed the fact that Dolby Headphone isn't listed in the specifications...
post #33 of 101

My thoughts on the STU are posed HERE

post #34 of 101

There is my review about this soundcard:

http://soundnews.ro/2013/06/22/asus-xonar-essence-stu-review-english-version/

 

I hope you will enjoy it.
 

post #35 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savian View Post

There is my review about this soundcard:

http://soundnews.ro/2013/06/22/asus-xonar-essence-stu-review-english-version/

 

I hope you will enjoy it.
 


Thanks for the link - I'd have to agree with you for the most part. That lack of "bite" on Enter Sandman is a double-edged sword for the stock opamps. It seems limiting at times but also helps it be more forgiving with bad recordings. 

 

Nice pictures by the way. 

post #36 of 101


need to be deleted :/


Edited by Behelith - 6/25/13 at 1:40pm
post #37 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Lastly, and this might be the biggest deal - volume control. When using the ST/STX, all volume control is handled in the digital domain. That results in a loss of resolution. Is it audible? Probably not, if you only reduce it to 90% or something. But who listens at nearly full blast? Most listening is likely to be done in the 20-50% range, which is almost certain to cause audible degradation. The STU doesn't have this issue, instead relying on a pretty good quality analog potentiometer to adjust volume. Note that when using an external headphone amp, this difference no longer applies, since the ST/STX could then be used at 100% volume, and the external amp would be used for volume control. 

I've been trying to find an answer for this, and I think you may be able to help me.

 

This Volume Control... Would I need it if I use Powered Speakers with the ST? I'm running two Airmotiv 5's with the ST. I have the gain knobs at max, and I have the source on max, so I control the volume in the ST control panel.

 

Is this a bad thing? Do I want everything at a 100% and then only control volume by some other means?

post #38 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFahrenheit View Post

I've been trying to find an answer for this, and I think you may be able to help me.

 

This Volume Control... Would I need it if I use Powered Speakers with the ST? I'm running two Airmotiv 5's with the ST. I have the gain knobs at max, and I have the source on max, so I control the volume in the ST control panel.

 

Is this a bad thing? Do I want everything at a 100% and then only control volume by some other means?

 

It's theoretically bad since you are using software to control the volume and thus throwing away bits/resolution in the process. How much impact will this have on the actual sound? That's hard to know, because how do you set up a comparison? I'd say if nothing else, you should run the software volume as high as possible to reduce the impact. I know the independent volume control setup of the Airmotivs make it less than ideal to adjust volume that way, but maybe turn those down a bit so you operate above 50-60 percent in your Asus control panel. If you are operating at software volume levels less than that, it is a more significant loss. 

post #39 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

It's theoretically bad since you are using software to control the volume and thus throwing away bits/resolution in the process. How much impact will this have on the actual sound? That's hard to know, because how do you set up a comparison? I'd say if nothing else, you should run the software volume as high as possible to reduce the impact. I know the independent volume control setup of the Airmotivs make it less than ideal to adjust volume that way, but maybe turn those down a bit so you operate above 50-60 percent in your Asus control panel. If you are operating at software volume levels less than that, it is a more significant loss. 


I guess Digital is worse than Analog when it comes to Volume Control, but I did notice that the ST had two different volume controls. The mixer has a master volume, which is set to 76 by default, and then there's the digital knob. Wouldn't this basically emulate what you're talking about? Also, the thing with the Motivs is that they're best left in the "Calibrated" position—meaning that the gain knob is set to MAX—so I feel like the only way to go is to get an external volume control. Would the pilot one work? Forgetting its name... Ah right, this thing: http://www.tcelectronic.com/level-pilot/

post #40 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFahrenheit View Post


I guess Digital is worse than Analog when it comes to Volume Control, but I did notice that the ST had two different volume controls. The mixer has a master volume, which is set to 76 by default, and then there's the digital knob. Wouldn't this basically emulate what you're talking about? Also, the thing with the Motivs is that they're best left in the "Calibrated" position—meaning that the gain knob is set to MAX—so I feel like the only way to go is to get an external volume control. Would the pilot one work? Forgetting its name... Ah right, this thing: http://www.tcelectronic.com/level-pilot/

 

Could be a good choice - never used it myself but I've heard of it.

 

The point here is not to make you go out and buy more stuff in search of an elusive upgrade. Maybe you are happy with the sound of your setup. If so, leave it as-is. I was just pointing out the differences between the ST and STU, and one of those differences happens to be analog volume control. Which theoretically is an improvement, and in the case of the STU, it's definitely an upgrade for usability (with the independent levels for line out and headphone out). 

 

Then again, the Level Pilot doesn't cost a lot, and perhaps you will notice the improvement. It probably depends on how much you normally attenuate your levels.

post #41 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Could be a good choice - never used it myself but I've heard of it.

 

The point here is not to make you go out and buy more stuff in search of an elusive upgrade. Maybe you are happy with the sound of your setup. If so, leave it as-is. I was just pointing out the differences between the ST and STU, and one of those differences happens to be analog volume control. Which theoretically is an improvement, and in the case of the STU, it's definitely an upgrade for usability (with the independent levels for line out and headphone out). 

 

Then again, the Level Pilot doesn't cost a lot, and perhaps you will notice the improvement. It probably depends on how much you normally attenuate your levels.


Yeah, I can't complain. It sounds great to me. I tried lowering gain and raising volume and it sounded the same to me. I've also heard that Emotiva is coming out with their own passive volume control, so if the price is right, I might buy it.

 

Thanks for the explanation!

post #42 of 101
I've got xonar stx now ,do u think that I should upgrade to stu ?
post #43 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngkwunwah View Post

I've got xonar stx now ,do u think that I should upgrade to stu ?

 

Depends. Are you happy with it? Would you have a use for some of the extra features the STU brings? If you've got some higher-end headphones I'd say it could be worth it, but that's up to you. 

post #44 of 101
I've been looking around to see if I could get one but, I've only found them in Europe. Does anyone know where you would be able to get one in North America?
post #45 of 101
I wonder if stu will overlap the market of essence one and plus edition .which one is better ?
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