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ASUS Xonar Essence STX II - Page 6

post #76 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post
 

Quick question, the STX II version without the extra daughterboard for analog 7.1 output, it still allows up to 7.1 processing internally right? (it's still selectable in the software?) Surprisingly hard to find an answer since all the reviews of the STX II is the 7.1 analog output version.

For gaming in mind, I'm slightly curious in the Xonar ROG Phoebus card too due to Dolby Home Theater v4 which seems to work pretty well for gaming but the sound quality again is a lot worse of that card in comparison to STX/STX II. It's a shame STX II doesn't support it!

EDIT: Nevermind on Dolby Home Theater v4, everything sounds too "distant" after checking a couple of youtube vids which leads to less immersion.


In fact, the Essence™ STX II packs digital 7.1 capability from the outset, as does the original STX, but is also engineered to drive the Asus® XONAR® H6™ daughtercard for analog connections to the Side, Rear, Front-Center, and Subwoofer channels.  Additionally, the latest drivers for the CMI-8788 from C-Media International allow for scaling the Effects section's virtual room to three sizes, as I found in Maxed Tech® UNi XONAR® Audio Software™ 1.71.

post #77 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcschmerker4 View Post
 

 

 

 retrofit to the original STX™; splice bypass capacitors from the adapter PCB's to the card's supply rails.

where can I find more details about this?

post #78 of 92

Ordered the STX II, now let's hope for the best. Would be awkward if after BOTH trying STX II and ZxR I'd still use onboard. :P

post #79 of 92
Where can i order one in the us?
post #80 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post
 

Ordered the STX II, now let's hope for the best. Would be awkward if after BOTH trying STX II and ZxR I'd still use onboard. :P

Congratulations. Where did you order it from ? Do share your impressions with us. Thank you.

post #81 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by richbass View Post
 

Congratulations. Where did you order it from ? Do share your impressions with us. Thank you.


I'm from Finland so I ordered from a finnish store with -6% off so it matched amazon.co.uk pricing. There's been a bit delay with the shipping though due to labor strike with the postal service so might get it hopefully on monday or tuesday.

I hope there are experienced opamp rollers around if I don't like the stock signature. That's a new field for me so don't know anything about which chips sounds like what.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 7/6/14 at 4:33am
post #82 of 92

So I picked it up today. After a little testing I definitely like it more than ZxR soundwise from a soundstaging point of view but the funny thing is that I still think the onboard Realtek solution on my ASRock Extreme6 Z87 with a ALC1150 chip and two TI NE5532 onboard amps sounds (which is by far the best sounding onboard chip solution I've tried) at least like 80% of that of STX II and has a very similar sound signature too, only small small differences. The ZxR stood out more clearly in sound having a much more bloated subbass response and the highs slightly bit toned down. The STX II in comparison to the ZxR is less bloated in the subbass and a brighter but the onboard may be like ~5% brighter still leading to the STX II sounding ever so bit smoother/more fullbodied than the onboard. For my equipment the STX II and Realtek is a much better fit making the ZxR sound too warm and too bloated in the subbass.

So far it's difficult to say with the stock STX II opamps whether or not I prefer the Realtek or STX II, the Realtek have suprisingly tight and punchy bass characteristics which is highly attractive to me personally, in that aspect it may even be slightly bit favorable but the mids may be like slightly bit favorable towards STX II but I'm unsure whether I find the highs TOO smooth or not. Might need to try some other opamps.

Edit: The other included opamps just plain sucked to my ears, not that much of a different sound signature, just less clear, almost shockingly muffled so avoid those, there's a reason the muse (although cheaper models) are used by default. 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 7/7/14 at 11:16am
post #83 of 92

Intriguing it is :blink: ... I have *exactly* the same motherboard and never bothered with onboard sound solution! I'm on discrete atm (at the time was considering STX II too) ... so may, just may, try the onboard  as one purely fun fueled exercise ,  as I hear from you that onboard is certainly no slouch at all. On the other hand, maybe it's not good idea as I may question my existing "high end" audio chain - and that would be no fun at all :D

 

Who would say that ASRock will take such care of audio circuit ...

post #84 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Incognito73 View Post
 

Intriguing it is :blink: ... I have *exactly* the same motherboard and never bothered with onboard sound solution! I'm on discrete atm (at the time was considering STX II too) ... so may, just may, try the onboard  as one purely fun fueled exercise ,  as I hear from you that onboard is certainly no slouch at all. On the other hand, maybe it's not good idea as I may question my existing "high end" audio chain - and that would be no fun at all :D

 

Who would say that ASRock will take such care of audio circuit ...


Has to be said that it also has to be setup correctly (I'm the person who would try ticking/disabling every possible checkbox and audition what happens), the only config which sounds good for music (good soundstaging) and quite okay positioning for gaming is when speaker config set to:

 

 

With stereo speaker config, the soundstaging and imaging is just horrible with Realtek, I tend to prefer 5.1 with it. Now those speaker checkboxes needs to be EXACTLY like that too or otherwise you will be missing front and rear sounds in games. With ASUS STX II that wasn't the case, in fact a premilary quick test concluded I'd just select 8 speakers in the ASUS control panel and be done with it which will have all checkboxes selected and you won't miss any sounds in games either, with the ASUS card I'd say slightly preferred 7.1 speakers as opposed to 5.1 like with onboard, there's some slight differences how the positioning/imaging is while gaming, nothing major. On the onboard I think 7.1 is tiny bit worse than 5.1 though, it's like the positioning becomes slightly bit more messy while with STX II 8 speaker setting actually handles it quite nicely and it sounds more smoother processed on a 360 degree and possibly ever so tiny bit less "in-your-face".

Also another slight tweak I like to do with Realtek as it very slightly affects how the soundstaging is projected is to go to the "Levels" tab in properties for the Realtek "speaker" output in the windows control panel and scroll down to the last volume slider, the "front" vol slider and decrease it from 100 -> 97%. This seems to make the mids come slightly less centered/in-your-face with 5.1 speaker config allowing for a bit more realistic/spacious soundstaging. It's not the same as just decreasing/increasing the volume, I've focused on this thing changing back n forth and with critical listening you can hear it does give a slight improvement in that regard. So with these things in mind, the Realtek cope well in terms of soundstaging, now ASUS does a very similar job with 5.1/7.1 speakers. ZxR I found can't give the same kind of virtual 5.1 sound, must be a driver/software processing thing. If I'm not mistaken the ASUS drivers and Realtek drivers are built from CMedia? If so I'm not totally surprised.

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 7/8/14 at 4:01pm
post #85 of 92

Hey guys I'd like to try this Asus...but I'd like to kow if it would be good for a pair of dt990 (250 ohm) or with a couple of empire r1900 or It's only a way to waste money?

 

Then it would be so much better than STX (first version) or ST (I'm talking about sound,flexibility,driver support)?

 

Thanks


Edited by donaldduck2004 - 7/8/14 at 6:04am
post #86 of 92

Today have been quite satisfied with the STX II. 8 Channels, 24bit/44.1kHz, EQ etc disabled. I've tried Dolby headphones before for gaming so that's no news, it varies quite a lot from game to game if I like it or not (It's not something I'd use on say any UE3 engine based game as that game has good natural processing as long as you stick to 5.1/7.1 speakers for example). I definitely prefer DH-1 mode since DH-2 starts to sound slightly bit too distant to me already and DH-3 is obviously too reverby and too spacious. DH-1 has a closest to natural sounding distance to stuff, especially if you're standing in front of an NPC talking for example, give it some slight bit of a EQ tweak (since DH adds a slight bass boost and slight highs cut) and results slightly improve too (bit of a bass decrease and very slight highs increase (like 1-2 steps down in the bass range) and like 1 step up at 4kHz, 2 steps up at 8kHz and 16kHz or something along those lines. Having set up like this, especially indoor voices sound particularly convincing in Skyrim, like being in the same place even it feels like.

Yesterday I was unsure whether or not the highs were too smooth but today after having played around a little with gain settings, amp volume vs source volume, I've found that it's just fine, pretty much on the same level as the Realtek onboard source which I also found to have really good synergy with my setup. In this case I have to say the most notable difference comparing the STX II to the Realtek has to be the midrange, it offers a bit better resolution there, as for the bass and highs, I dunno, it feels actually quite neck and neck, nothing particularly standing clearly out as noticeably better (the bass on the STX II sounds like reaching/offering ever so tiny bit more very very low bass but the onboard is no slouch either and it's stepped up a bigtime since say 4-5 years time or so when onboard always had crappy bass output still. Besides I'm personally looking for punch rather than quantity bass so it's not necessarily a pro either having more, the ZxR was definitely too bloated in the deep subbass for my needs) but yea I was almost shocked the first time I auditioned this motherboard's amped output (only the frontpanel is amped to the capability of driving up to 600 ohm headphones so I can get probs with noise depending on amp volume set as you can imagine so therefore I used to keep the amp vol a bit lower and source a bit higher when using that (I'm using the fully analog amp digiZoid ZO2.1 if any1 wonders which was designed to be used out of a headphone jack). Anyway I hear a night and day difference between plugging to the onboard's frontpanel amped output compared to the rear panel which is significantly less powerful (and sounds less clear, muddier, less dynamic etc and comparing to that there would be a night and day win for STX II but from the frontpanel the difference isn't such huge like some most people have thought, it's specced as 115dB SNR which starts to be high for Realtek though).

The 4-level gain settings is a nice touch on the STX II, the normal gain <64 ohm setting works perfectly with my M-Audio Q40 with 64 ohm impedance. The 16-32 ohm gain setting is a nice touch though for IEMs or very sensitive headphones.

I checked the latency and it's not quite ideal but varies between like 25 - 52 microseconds (usually there around 50 while in use).

EDIT: slightly offtopic but interesting food for thought. Just as an example what kind of capacities the onboard solutions can have these days. If I'd have the digiZoid ZO2.1 amp volume set to max vol from the amped onboard jack I'd have to use like 7%(!) windows volume on the source, every 1% would give a very noticeable difference in volume, I'd probably already starting feeling uncomfortable at like 10-12% haha. Now with ZxR for example I was more like 9-10% for normal listening volume if amp was set to max. I haven't tested with STX II but I suppose it's more like 6% probably too at max gain so yea it's crazy what kind of power they stuff directly onto onboard solutions these days, especially in such a noisy environment and not even being able to select any gain levels, one gain level for 16 - 600 ohm, yea right!! :P


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 7/8/14 at 4:43pm
post #87 of 92

Switching back to Onboard after having used the STX II exclusively for a few days I become instantly a bit unsure with the STX II. The soundstaging seems to be a bit more to my liking on the onboard still if using the particular config I posted above. It seems more speaker-like, free-roaming, around the head, doesn't sound very in-your-head at all. Damn. xD 

There's slightly bit better resolution in the mids in the STX II but otherwise I don't instantly feel a big downgrade in sound quality but the soundstaging differences stands out quite a bit to me. This kind of sucks, I'd want better SQ but with the soundstaging of onboard. :P Soundstaging is a big deal when you use a closed headphone with not overly good soundstage ability but with onboard it takes it more closer to open headphone staging so it's kind of hard to ignore that.

post #88 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post
 

Switching back to Onboard after having used the STX II exclusively for a few days I become instantly a bit unsure with the STX II. The soundstaging seems to be a bit more to my liking on the onboard still if using the particular config I posted above. It seems more speaker-like, free-roaming, around the head, doesn't sound very in-your-head at all. Damn. xD 

There's slightly bit better resolution in the mids in the STX II but otherwise I don't instantly feel a big downgrade in sound quality but the soundstaging differences stands out quite a bit to me. This kind of sucks, I'd want better SQ but with the soundstaging of onboard. :P Soundstaging is a big deal when you use a closed headphone with not overly good soundstage ability but with onboard it takes it more closer to open headphone staging so it's kind of hard to ignore that.

How can I set the Xonar Phoebus to have the same 7.1 channel Headphone settings like the STX .  I have dolby home v4 installed  and do I need to enable Surround Virtualizer headphones or just enabling DHV4 is enough to enable the Surround Decoder ?

 

If I see  MKV DTS movies with media player, what settings should I select in the audio option, Stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 . What should I select if I see 7.1 movie ?

 

It's so hard to know what to select compare to Razer Surround Headphones that has 7.1 discrete channels, u just set to 7.1 and done with it.

post #89 of 92

hey guys!

is there a big difference of sound quality between 1st and 2nd version ? I would avoid spend 50 euros...or 2nd version  of them worth?

 

I'm talking about of only 2.1 usage and headphones of max 300/600 ohm...

post #90 of 92
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