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ASUS Xonar Essence STX II

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 

*

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
 

ASUS Announces Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Hi-Fi-Grade Sound Cards with 124dB SNR and 600ohm-Headphone Amplifier

High-end cards build on capabilities of hugely popular Essence STX to deliver exceptional audio clarity drawn from long and trusted Hi-Fi development experience

 

Taipei, Taiwan (12th March, 2014) — ASUS today announced Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1, two new Hi-Fi-grade sound cards designed to delight audiophiles with 124dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) clarity and a 600ohm-headphone amplifier.

Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 build on the success and huge popularity of ASUS Essence STX – the world’s first consumer sound card to deliver 124db SNR audio clarity plus 600ohm headphone amp, and the long-term holder of the number-one position in Head-Fi’s Sound Cards charts, as voted by highly-satisfied users globally.

Keeping the audiophile spirit and philosophy alive, the new Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 cards both feature a remarkable 124dB SNR for line-out connections and 120dB SNR for headphone listening. Precision clock is controlled by a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) clock source, optimized power delivery is assured with low-dropout (LDO) regulators and WIMA® capacitors deliver balanced sound.

With an amplifier capable of delivering impeccable output for up to 600ohm headphones, an additional gain control for in-ear monitor (IEM) headphones, high-quality MUSES operational amplifiers (op-amps) and an included op-amp swap kit, ASUS once again demonstrates its ability to redefine the sound card market.  Essence STX II 7.1 even has the ability to output true 7.1-channel surround sound, via the included simple-to-fit daughterboard.

Commenting on the launch, Ives Chiu, ASUS Product Manager for the Audio Sector in the Multimedia Business Department, said: “Four years after the debut of Essence STX, ASUS remains committed to delivering ever better high-end sound cards to delight the most demanding audiophiles. Drawing on years of experience in developing Essence One, Essence STU and Essence III, Essence STX II delivers meticulous design, quintessential performance and profound musicality — elements that shape the spirit of the whole Essence Hi-Fi series.”

 

Legendary audio quality that just got better

Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 deliver industry-leading 124dB SNR audio clarity, a much-envied quality inherited from the revolutionary and widely-acclaimed Essence STX sound card — and up to 64 times (64X) better than typical onboard audio hardware. Headphone output reaches a fantastic 120dB.

To attain the essence of sound, ASUS engineers equipped Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 with even more Hi-Fi-quality components. These include a premium TCXO clock source that ensures ultra-low jitter, high-fidelity LDO regulators for consistent linear regulation and German-made WIMA capacitors for a more balanced sound. The profound musicality that Essence listeners expect is encapsulated by celebrated MUSES 8920 and MUSES 8820 op-amps, which deliver true-to-life tonality and spacious sound imaging.

Both Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 benefit from swappable op-amp sockets and come with a swap kit that includes three additional op-amps — two Texas Instruments LME49720s and one MUSES 8820 — that allow users to create different timbres and tonal combinations. The swap kit includes a clamp tool that makes it easy to remove the op-amp microchips.

 

True 7.1-channel surround sound that’s easy to fit and great to customize

Exclusive to Essence STX II 7.1 is a multichannel daughterboard that delivers true 7.1-channel surround with high-fidelity 120dB SNR outputs. This easy-to-fit daughterboard slides into a slot adjacent to Essence STX II 7.1, so installation couldn’t be more convenient.

Each channel is fully customizable with nine swappable op-amp sockets — giving audiophiles complete freedom to create the perfect surround-sound experience for their ears and listening environment.

 

Impeccable audio quality that’s all about the details

In their mission to create peerless sound output ASUS audio engineers study and consider all aspects of product design — attention to detail that shines through both Essence STX II and STX II 7.1.

The built-in headphone amplifier supports up to 600ohm impedance — so audiophiles can plug in the finest high-impedance headphones to enjoy the pure quality delivered by Essence STX II and STX II 7.1.

ASUS engineers have also furnished the new cards with an additional gain control designed especially for high-sensitivity IEM headphones, allowing musicians, audio purists and everyday listeners to use snug-fitting earpieces that channel audio output straight to the ear canal — isolating ambient noise for clear sound and undisturbed listening experience.

The cards also benefit from a software package that includes a full version of Dolby® Home Theater, an advanced software suite that turns a PC into a dedicated home-theater center with enhanced surround sound.

 

Official infos here:

http://rog.asus.com/307922014/news/asus-essence-stx-ii-and-essence-stx-ii-7-1-hi-fi-grade-sound-launches/


Edited by Blackbird09 - 3/14/14 at 3:10pm
post #2 of 109

Now this is exciting news.  I've been thinking about replacing my HT Omega for something with RCA connectors!

post #3 of 109

Source? Any specs yet?

post #4 of 109
Thread Starter 

ASUS official Facebook page posted the pictures.

 

What I can tell from the pictures:

1. MUSES 8920 as stock OP-AMP

2. ASUS AV100 Audio Chipset (Same as the ST, STX, and DX)

3. TI PCM1792 DAC - 28bit 192kHz sampling @ 132dB SNR. I think this is an upgrade over the ST and STX? The image quality isn't the best and it could very well be PCM1782 which would be a downgrade.

4. New crystal oscillator SMD package

5. WIMA caps around buffer

6. Changed from OSCON caps for power input


Edited by Blackbird09 - 3/8/14 at 7:46pm
post #5 of 109

I do not see a Dolby Logo on the board.

 

I wonder if that doesn't mean DHTV4?  :confused:

post #6 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackbird09 View Post
 

ASUS official Facebook page posted the pictures.

 

What I can tell from the pictures:

1. MUSES 8920 as stock OP-AMP

2. ASUS AV100 Audio Chipset (Same as the ST, STX, and DX)

3. TI PCM1792 DAC - 28bit 192kHz sampling @ 132dB SNR. I think this is an upgrade over the ST and STX? The image quality isn't the best and it could very well be PCM1782 which would be a downgrade.

4. New crystal oscillator SMD package

5. WIMA caps around buffer

6. Changed from OSCON caps for power input


TI PCM 1792 is 24bit 192 KHZ in a 28 pin package. Is only 132db SNR in mono mode, 127db SNR in stereo mode as used in this card.

post #7 of 109
Interesting , they did space out the PCB
Would have have loved if they got in DSD and 32Bit , would have been a great upgrade if that was the case
post #8 of 109

Muses stock opamps? Sounds sweet. I wonder when it's coming out...

 

Asus seem to be following up on the success of the Essence One...

post #9 of 109

ASUS Announces Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Hi-Fi-Grade Sound Cards with 124dB SNR and 600ohm-Headphone Amplifier

High-end cards build on capabilities of hugely popular Essence STX to deliver exceptional audio clarity drawn from long and trusted Hi-Fi development experience

 

Taipei, Taiwan (12th March, 2014) — ASUS today announced Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1, two new Hi-Fi-grade sound cards designed to delight audiophiles with 124dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) clarity and a 600ohm-headphone amplifier.

Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 build on the success and huge popularity of ASUS Essence STX – the world’s first consumer sound card to deliver 124db SNR audio clarity plus 600ohm headphone amp, and the long-term holder of the number-one position in Head-Fi’s Sound Cards charts, as voted by highly-satisfied users globally.

Keeping the audiophile spirit and philosophy alive, the new Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 cards both feature a remarkable 124dB SNR for line-out connections and 120dB SNR for headphone listening. Precision clock is controlled by a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) clock source, optimized power delivery is assured with low-dropout (LDO) regulators and WIMA® capacitors deliver balanced sound.

With an amplifier capable of delivering impeccable output for up to 600ohm headphones, an additional gain control for in-ear monitor (IEM) headphones, high-quality MUSES operational amplifiers (op-amps) and an included op-amp swap kit, ASUS once again demonstrates its ability to redefine the sound card market.  Essence STX II 7.1 even has the ability to output true 7.1-channel surround sound, via the included simple-to-fit daughterboard.

Commenting on the launch, Ives Chiu, ASUS Product Manager for the Audio Sector in the Multimedia Business Department, said: “Four years after the debut of Essence STX, ASUS remains committed to delivering ever better high-end sound cards to delight the most demanding audiophiles. Drawing on years of experience in developing Essence One, Essence STU and Essence III, Essence STX II delivers meticulous design, quintessential performance and profound musicality — elements that shape the spirit of the whole Essence Hi-Fi series.”

 

Legendary audio quality that just got better

Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 deliver industry-leading 124dB SNR audio clarity, a much-envied quality inherited from the revolutionary and widely-acclaimed Essence STX sound card — and up to 64 times (64X) better than typical onboard audio hardware. Headphone output reaches a fantastic 120dB.

To attain the essence of sound, ASUS engineers equipped Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 with even more Hi-Fi-quality components. These include a premium TCXO clock source that ensures ultra-low jitter, high-fidelity LDO regulators for consistent linear regulation and German-made WIMA capacitors for a more balanced sound. The profound musicality that Essence listeners expect is encapsulated by celebrated MUSES 8920 and MUSES 8820 op-amps, which deliver true-to-life tonality and spacious sound imaging.

Both Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 benefit from swappable op-amp sockets and come with a swap kit that includes three additional op-amps — two Texas Instruments LME49720s and one MUSES 8820 — that allow users to create different timbres and tonal combinations. The swap kit includes a clamp tool that makes it easy to remove the op-amp microchips.

 

True 7.1-channel surround sound that’s easy to fit and great to customize

Exclusive to Essence STX II 7.1 is a multichannel daughterboard that delivers true 7.1-channel surround with high-fidelity 120dB SNR outputs. This easy-to-fit daughterboard slides into a slot adjacent to Essence STX II 7.1, so installation couldn’t be more convenient.

Each channel is fully customizable with nine swappable op-amp sockets — giving audiophiles complete freedom to create the perfect surround-sound experience for their ears and listening environment.

 

Impeccable audio quality that’s all about the details

In their mission to create peerless sound output ASUS audio engineers study and consider all aspects of product design — attention to detail that shines through both Essence STX II and STX II 7.1.

The built-in headphone amplifier supports up to 600ohm impedance — so audiophiles can plug in the finest high-impedance headphones to enjoy the pure quality delivered by Essence STX II and STX II 7.1.

ASUS engineers have also furnished the new cards with an additional gain control designed especially for high-sensitivity IEM headphones, allowing musicians, audio purists and everyday listeners to use snug-fitting earpieces that channel audio output straight to the ear canal — isolating ambient noise for clear sound and undisturbed listening experience.

The cards also benefit from a software package that includes a full version of Dolby® Home Theater, an advanced software suite that turns a PC into a dedicated home-theater center with enhanced surround sound.

 

Official infos here:

http://rog.asus.com/307922014/news/asus-essence-stx-ii-and-essence-stx-ii-7-1-hi-fi-grade-sound-launches/

post #10 of 109

Confirmed, it uses TI PCM1792 as DAC.

 

Photos:

 

 

 

Click on photos, then select original.


Edited by Gradius - 3/13/14 at 5:22pm
post #11 of 109

The cards also benefit from a software package that includes a full version of Dolby® Home Theater, an advanced software suite that turns a PC into a dedicated home-theater center with enhanced surround sound.

 

Software

Dolby® Digital Live/ Dolby® Headphone/ Dolby® Virtual Speaker/Dolby® Pro-Logic II

 

==============================================================

 

I hope they do not mean Dolby Headphone as it's implemented in the Phoebus Cards:  Solely through the DHTV4 Panel removing most control away from the user.....no way to control # of input channels ...ect....ect... :confused_face(1): 

 

 

I'll hope for the best.  :regular_smile :

post #12 of 109

I always used Dolby Home Theater (full version) on my modded STX.

 

It's better than SRS.  Of course, I had to hack Dolby Home Theater in order to run on my STX.

 

I might upgrade my STX to STX II, waiting for reviews before to decide.

 

Hmm, ST/STX also use the PCM1792.  Don't think it would be that much of difference now.

 

What Asus really need to do is better drivers.

 

Asus AV100 = OxygenHD CMI8788.


Edited by Gradius - 3/13/14 at 6:45pm
post #13 of 109

does anyone know the price already?

post #14 of 109

If my experience with the first-gen STX™ (which I purchased for $150 from a vendor at eBay®; amazon.com has it at $166.72 as of 14 March 2014) and estimate of inflation and materials costs are accurate, ASUSTeK Computer will probably set the MSRP at $229 for the STX™ II, $269 for the combined package with the H6 daughtercard - the redesign to accommodate the H6 and the premium MUSES® dual op amps are factors.  Best-case estimate:  It may be possible to land the two-card package for on or around $200.

post #15 of 109
Thread Starter 

Newegg has the STX at $189 right now (March 14th). IIRC the price hasn't really changed since the launch of the STX. Looking at the pictures of the STX II, the only thing that seems to be different are a few passive components, opamps, and layout changes. If ASUS doesn't lower the MSRP of the STX then I can see them selling the STX II at $220. That is pure speculation though. :wink_face: 

 

Edit: Updated first post with Gradius' reply of the press release.


Edited by Blackbird09 - 3/14/14 at 3:12pm
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