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Better external dac+amp than Essence STX - Page 2

post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

One thing I find somewhat worrying about the Magni is that some people reported radio interference with it (and by that I mean it can basically turn into a radio receiver), and that depends on the output cable, that is, the "radio reception" often only appears when using a headphone extension cord. This could indicate a lack of adequate RF filtering, or even stability issues (because of the problem being triggered by changes to the headphone cable, which presents a capacitive load in the RF range). However, I do not have the Magni to test this, so I do not want to discourage anyone from buying what might be a great product at an affordable price, but I thought this curious - even if probably rare - issue could be worth mentioning.

That's interesting. I wonder if it can be replicated by anyone who has a Magni.
post #17 of 54
Thread Starter 

Solutions so far for surround output as well as stereo from a PC:

 

DAC (Soundcard + possible additional Amp depending on the card) inside the PC.

DAC (Soundcard) in PC with Amp (O2 or Magni) outside.

DAC in PC (any soundcard with a SPDIF output) feeding surround signal to an external DAC/AMP (with SPDIF input: Audio_GD say) or separate DAC (again with SPDIF input) and an Amp. In SPDIF mode, the surround signal from the soundcard is preserved.

 

From what I read, the PC itself provides the power source at least; also the CPU does some processing too in surround sound if you're not going the SPDIF route; so perhaps we should factor in it's presence in the equation/chain?

 

Again.. amazing replies from you guys. I agree the further they are from potential electrical interference in a PC case makes perfect sense (mine's is overclocked but not heavily, plus I have a reasonably high end GPU)  Thing is.. the above options are really just shifting the same components around from inside, half out the door to almost completely outside of the computer :)

 

Would prefer to at least have an external amp. OK .. how about a STX/ZxR with a low output impedance O2 or Magni amp to pair up with say the MA900 or X1 for a bit of double amping?  Pre-amp to amp.. been done before? Even my old ultra low impedance FiiO E5 stuck in the back of either as a starter (via the headphone out) might well smooth out any potential distortion due to the 1/8th rule.

 

Am however open to all and any suggestions.  Happily I'm old enough to put plenty of time into researching this stuff. Unhappily I live far away from any dealers that let you hear their headphones - I've only heard the X1's out of my mate's IPhone (he's a sound engineer - but rarely ever in Britain).

post #18 of 54
The line out on the STX is that--a line out meant to hook up an amp, just like the left/right line out on a home audio CD player. It won't be double amping. It's only double amping if you connect the amp to the STX's headphone output.
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

Solutions so far for surround output as well as stereo from a PC:

 

DAC (Soundcard + possible additional Amp depending on the card) inside the PC.

DAC (Soundcard) in PC with Amp (O2 or Magni) outside.

DAC in PC (any soundcard with a SPDIF output) feeding surround signal to an external DAC/AMP (with SPDIF input: Audio_GD say) or separate DAC (again with SPDIF input) and an Amp. In SPDIF mode, the surround signal from the sound card is preserved.

 

From what I read, the PC itself provides the power source at least; also the CPU does some processing too in surround sound if you're not going the SPDIF route; so perhaps we should factor in it's presence in the equation/chain?

As CPUs run faster and people are getting 4 core or 6 core or even 8 core CPUs.

You would think more of the Headphone Surround Sound processing, is being shifted from the audio processor to the CPU.

Anyway, the sound card audio processor and the CPU would be doing all the Headphone Surround Sound, before it's sent thru the S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output, or in the case of sound card like the Xonar DX/D1, thru it front line-out/headphone jack. The Headphone Surround Sound output would be 2-channel PCM (digital or analog). Which of course will in the end, go to the stereo headphones.

 

Also there is the option of using DDL (Dolby Digital live) or DTS-Connect to compress up to 6-channel of digital audio (which is not Headphone Surround Sound), thru S/PDIF (optical or coaxial).

post #20 of 54
Thread Starter 

Cel4145 - headphone amp out to external amp is exactly what I meant in order to retain the surround signal (Have edited my post to clear that up). This in depth review of the STX mentions it here: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/multimedia/display/asus-xonar-essence-stx_5.html

 

I like this reviewer's solution: By choosing the default audio device in the audio control panel he can use either the DAC for the best stereo quality, or he can use it just as an amp for his soundcard - thus getting surround when required.

 

Purple Angel - thank you for clearing that up.

post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

Cel4145 - headphone amp out to external amp is exactly what I meant in order to retain the surround signal (Have edited my post to clear that up). This in depth review of the STX mentions it here: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/multimedia/display/asus-xonar-essence-stx_5.html

Does it not have the Dolby Headphone out capability via the line out? I can't remember (I don't care for Dolby Headphone) from when I had the STX, but the Xonar D1 has it via its one output. Seems strange that the STX can't do it via that line out. Maybe PurpleAngel can verify one way or the other.
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Does it not have the Dolby Headphone out capability via the line out? I can't remember (I don't care for Dolby Headphone) from when I had the STX, but the Xonar D1 has it via its one output. Seems strange that the STX can't do it via that line out. Maybe PurpleAngel can verify one way or the other.

The Essence STX itself can not do Dolby Headphone thru it's RCA line-outputs.

It can send Dolby Headphone out it's front panel Audio header

But it might(?) be possible to use a program like Cyberlink Power DVD to do Headphone Surround Sound (Dolby or DTS), then send that signal out thru whatever active output the STX is set for (like the RCA line-out).

post #23 of 54

All,

 

Glad someone posted this as I am in a similar situation. I am running a Xonar DX to an Advanced Acoustic EYZ 8 to Monitor Audio Bronze speakers. Headphones I have Senns HD 595 and Shure 535 SE edition. I also have a HTC One and Ipod 5G with 240GB on board.

 

The Xonar is picking up interference from the PC through a 3.5mm to phono jack set up. I do game (BF3 and L4D2) and I use FLAC increasingly. I have been thinking about going to an Essence STX2 as the shielded part should help. But a DAC with a Spdif input would allow me to keep the existing Sound Card.

 

So not sure to go with something as basic as a FIIO D3 or go to a FIIO E17 or alike that I could use with my Ipod (I don't use the HTC currently as Poweramp doesn't supporting streaming).

 

Thoughts?

post #24 of 54
Thread Starter 

Any thoughts on amplified headphone out to an low impedance external amp? I know the RCA's are preferred due to cleaner signal (and Creatives can output surround this way).

post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

Any thoughts on amplified headphone out to an low impedance external amp? I know the RCA's are preferred due to cleaner signal (and Creatives can output surround this way).

Before I would do that, I would probably go with the Xonar DX/D1 and get a good amp. Then later on when you can afford it, a good optical DAC. Or splurge now and get a Xonar DG and an Audio-GD DAC/amp (or another that has optical input and great sound). Unless the extra money is a burden, the latter seems the better choice because--based on everything I have been hearing here--I would bet you are going to wonder if you could have gotten better sound, and then you are going to want to upgrade. Many of us have been there and done that smily_headphones1.gif
post #26 of 54
Thread Starter 

Well food for thought here guys. Cel.. Seem to remember you that said in another thread that your upgrade from the D1 to STX wasn't as good as the D1 to a new external amp (did I get this right?). Anyways.. enjoying going through all the options, but lots of potential pitfalls; for example I would very much like to use the Modmic in it's current iteration... however they don't get on well with the STX apparently! Grrrr. I have actually heard an X1 and loved it and naturally would choose to buy it over an unknown headphone - but then you discover soundcards come with 10 Ohms or way more impedance and the headphoned you want rated at 30 Ohms > ok then... look for an amp with low impedance output to smooth it out...... but RCA out on the STX doesn't do surround.. .aaargh!

 

Quote:
Many of us have been there and done that smily_headphones1.gif

LoL! I'm sure you've enjoyed the whole process though, I am too :smile:

 

Think I will very probably get a cheaper soundcard as you all suggest and also a DAC/AMP with SPDIF input. The Audio_GD does look very tempting. Or hopefully Epiphany Acoustics comes out with a SPDIF input version that I believe they are working on. Again many thanks all.


Edited by SaLX - 10/2/13 at 9:48am
post #27 of 54

I've got an audio-gd 15.32 and a X-Fi Z.  Perfect combo to maximize DSP (I like SBX better than dolby headphone) and then output to a good DAC/AMP. 

post #28 of 54
Thread Starter 

Was thinking about going for the SBZ today to pair with the audio-gd Exiton. Glad you posted! Take it you connect via SPDIF not USB and that you're getting surround? Would getting the cheaper OEM unshielded SBZ be OK seeing as I'd be outputting digital (I'm assuming EMI wouldn't affect the signal so much)?

post #29 of 54
Look for a open box Z on Amazon as they dip to $70. Since you are using just the dsp, the emi shield isn't necessary. I have a second pair of headphones plugged into the Z and it does fairly well, so you might consider the emi shield for the future.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

Was thinking about going for the SBZ today to pair with the audio-gd Exiton. Glad you posted! Take it you connect via SPDIF not USB and that you're getting surround? Would getting the cheaper OEM unshielded SBZ be OK seeing as I'd be outputting digital (I'm assuming EMI wouldn't affect the signal so much)?
.
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

Was thinking about going for the SBZ today to pair with the audio-gd Exiton. Glad you posted! Take it you connect via SPDIF not USB and that you're getting surround? Would getting the cheaper OEM unshielded SBZ be OK seeing as I'd be outputting digital (I'm assuming EMI wouldn't affect the signal so much)?

I would assume the Z OEM, Z retail & Zx are all the same sound card, just some of them come with extras, like the shield, microphone or external interface box (Zx).

Personally, I would go for the OEM (used) for use with an external DAC/amp.

 

The is also the older Sound Blaster Titanium (non-HD), pick up a used one of eBay for around $50

Has the S/PDIF optical output.

If your ok with using CMSS-3D for headphone surround sound.

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