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Asus Xonar DG /DGX and it's performance, help and tips needed

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi,
 
I made a new thread to ask about Asus Xonar DG/DGX and it's performance. Mainly about the output impedance, which seems to be a bit shady, as Asus doesn't give more specific information about it. People discuss it being around 10 ohms, since the preceding models have had 10 ohms. I would like to know, how likely is that 10 ohms to be true and how harmful would it be for my 32 ohm headphones performance. My motherboard has Realtek's ALC898 integrated chipset and shouldn't have no more than couple of ohms output impedance.
 
Main question: If it affects the sound scale of my 32 ohm headphones negatively (Beyerdynamic DT 440, got them cheap so bought them), which areas (Lows/Mids/Highs) it would affect and how much? Would the negative effects be worth the gain in other areas or possible generally better sound quality?
 
MadBulll

post #2 of 22

IMO ALC898 > Xonar DG/DGX. Mine DGX had hiss and I didn't notice any difference between it and ALC898.

post #3 of 22

Hi.

 

I have the Asus Xonar DG and used Philips SHE 3580 and didint really notice any hiss when i cranked volume up.

The Asus Xonar DG is directly under my Graphic Card, my GPU has very bad coil whine. Its so loud its audible when you sit near the computer.

But cant hear a thing from the headphones when i crank the volume up, the Xonar is dead silent.

I was actually surprised it didint have any noise when i got the Asus Xonar DG. Was afraid since its not EMI shielded and my GPU sings.

 

Compared to the on-board sound card the Asus Xonar DG is much cleaner sounding, more detailed.

I think its quite neutral so it doesent really color the sound. At least i didint notice any coloration worth mentioning.

Tried different Ohm headphones from 16 ohm IEM's to 32 ohm headphones, 55ohm and 150ohm.

It powered them all quite nicely and in my opinion, everything sounded the way they were supposed to. 

 

But take my opinion with grain of salt since i am no audiophile. Im actualy quite new to this world of quality sound.

Somebody with better ears could hear the flaws and faults of Xonar DG but in my opinion for 25$ - 30$ you cant really beat it.

 

This could be a silly comment, but never use the front headphone jack if you care about sound quality.

Also the Asus Xonar DG amp only works directly from it (the back jack). It doesent provide amplification to the Front jack.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info/help and opinions. I will be getting Asus's Xonar DGX as well maybe next week or week after that. Then i will try and test it out and hear myself whether i keep it or not. I have my own ears to rely on that case but as Notus mentioned, it sounded better for him, then why not try. Some state, that the low sequences can get cut a bit or dampened when changing to cheaper side of a soundcard from Realtek's ALC898 or such, which is pretty decent for integrated sound. They base their opinion on the thing, that the output impedance is about 10 ohms, which would be taken away from that 32 ohms. I really don't know myself and i have tried to look over the internet but no clear and solid information from anywhere, that how much the output impedance of Asus's Xonar DGX really is.

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadBulll View Post
 

Hi,
 
I made a new thread to ask about Asus Xonar DG/DGX and it's performance. Mainly about the output impedance, which seems to be a bit shady, as Asus doesn't give more specific information about it. People discuss it being around 10 ohms, since the preceding models have had 10 ohms. I would like to know, how likely is that 10 ohms to be true and how harmful would it be for my 32 ohm headphones performance. My motherboard has Realtek's ALC898 integrated chipset and shouldn't have no more than couple of ohms output impedance.
 
Main question: If it affects the sound scale of my 32 ohm headphones negatively (Beyerdynamic DT 440, got them cheap so bought them), which areas (Lows/Mids/Highs) it would affect and how much? Would the negative effects be worth the gain in other areas or possible generally better sound quality?
 
MadBulll

 

I'm not 100% sure what the output impedance is on the Xonar DG/DGX is, but I've used several difference headphones in the 32-ohm to 40-ohm range with the DG/DGX and the headphones did not seem to be negatively effected by the output impedance of the Xonar DG/DGX.

Your comparing what is consider one of the better on-board audio chip-sets to one of the lowest costing sound cards.

I personally would doubt your motherboard headphone output has a lower impedance then the Xonar DG/DGX.

You can get an Xonar DG for $28, with a $10 mail in rebate, from Newegg, so it's only $18 to find out if the DG can improve audio quality.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

I'm not 100% sure what the output impedance is on the Xonar DG/DGX is, but I've used several difference headphones in the 32-ohm to 40-ohm range with the DG/DGX and the headphones did not seem to be negatively effected by the output impedance of the Xonar DG/DGX.

Your comparing what is consider one of the better on-board audio chip-sets to one of the lowest costing sound cards.

I personally would doubt your motherboard headphone output has a lower impedance then the Xonar DG/DGX.

You can get an Xonar DG for $28, with a $10 mail in rebate, from Newegg, so it's only $18 to find out if the DG can improve audio quality.

Mhm, the low output impedance i ripped from one of Tek Syndicate's video, where this guy who does audio technology for living, said that most motherboards have output impedance as low as 1-2 ohms, in the same video he also said that most sound cards have output impedance of around 10 ohms and even higher. And just a short sidenote, i propably won't be ordering the soundcard from Newegg, mainly because i'm from Finland :D.

 

I will however order the Xonar DGX (not DG because i don't have PCI lane on my mobo) and see it for myself, if it does noticeable difference compared to the onboard audio. If it gets better and no negative sides, then i will for sure keep it, but if i find it to lack something i'd like, then i might return it and come back once i can afford getting better audio with external DACs and such. Either way, good to hear about your positive experience with Xonar, i'm looking forward getting one myself and hear the possible difference!

 

Ps. The video can be found by typing "Gaming Audio Myths" to Youtube.


Edited by MadBulll - 4/4/14 at 3:27pm
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadBulll View Post
 

Mhm, the low output impedance I ripped from one of Tek Syndicate's video, where this guy who does audio technology for living, said that most motherboards have output impedance as low as 1-2 ohms, in the same video he also said that most sound cards have output impedance of around 10-Ohms and even higher. And just a short side note, I probably won't be ordering the sound card from Newegg, mainly because i'm from Finland :D.

 

I will however order the Xonar DGX (not DG because i don't have PCI lane on my mobo) and see it for myself, if it does noticeable difference compared to the on-board audio. If it gets better and no negative sides, then i will for sure keep it, but if i find it to lack something i'd like, then i might return it and come back once i can afford getting better audio with external DACs and such. Either way, good to hear about your positive experience with Xonar, i'm looking forward getting one myself and hear the possible difference!

 

Ps. The video can be found by typing "Gaming Audio Myths" to YouTube.

 

The Tek Syndicate Gaming Audio Myths video has been talked about on Head-Fi, I think I can speaker for a lot of other Head-Fier in that Tek Syndicate "Logic" does not make a lot of sense, at least to a lot of Head-Fiers.

 

The high end sound cards with built in headphone amplifiers usually have around a 10-Ohm output impedance,

midrange sound cards like the Sound Blaster Z & Zx is 22-Ohms.

Older sound card designs that do not come with a "true"? headphone amplifier, can have an output impedance as hi as 100-Ohms.

 

Having an headphone output impedance of around 1 to 2-Ohms is very desirable.

How is it that motherboard manufacturers could build into their motherboard better audio features then those built into a dedicated sound card?

They can't, at least not for a reasonable cost.

In really high end motherboards ($250 or more), they are starting to build in some nice audio hardware.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 4/4/14 at 7:38pm
post #8 of 22

Its possible you wont hear any improvement over the better (best) on-board sound cards but it wont sound any worse.

Also the Amp will help drive most headphones up to 150 ohm. Audio has come a long way since even the on-board sound cards can actualy sound good. But i think the Xonar DG is a good card for its price and brings a lot to the table.

If you play games the Xonar DG most likely will win any on-board sound card, it does have virtual surround setting. For music it does impact the sound depending what setting you use. But for gaming its quite nice, positioning does improve quite a lot. Also the SVN option helps in games. But i think its very nice with movies, some movies have very loud sound effects and the speech is very quiet. SVN brings all the sounds to the same level. But not everybody uses those effects so the over all value may be different from person to person.

 

Actualy from my experience most IEM's has audible hiss with majority of on-board sound cards. But cant be sure what the cause is.


Edited by Notus - 4/4/14 at 4:27pm
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

The Tek Syndicate Gaming Audio Myths video has been talked about on Head-Fi, I think I can speaker for a lot of other Head-Fier in that Tek Syndicate "Logic" does not make a lot of sense, at least to a lot of Head-Fiers.

 

The high end sound cards with built in headphone amplifiers usually have around a 10-Ohm output impedance,

midrange sound cards like the Sound Blaster Z & Zx is 22-Ohms.

Older sound card designs that do not come with a "true"? headphone amplifier, can have an output impedance as hi as 100-Ohms.

 

Having an headphone output impedance of around 1 to 2-Ohms is very desirable.

How is it that motherboard manufacturers could build into their motherboard better audio features then those built into a dedicated sound card?

(They can't).

 

Mmm, you've got a point there. It's always sad when all kind of information isn't been given to the audience, even when they want it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Notus View Post
 

Its possible you wont hear any improvement over the better (best) on-board sound cards but it wont sound any worse.

Also the Amp will help drive most headphones up to 150 ohm. Audio has come a long way since even the on-board sound cards can actualy sound good. But i think the Xonar DG is a good card for its price and brings a lot to the table.

If you play games the Xonar DG most likely will win any on-board sound card, it does have virtual surround setting. For music it does impact the sound depending what setting you use. But for gaming its quite nice, positioning does improve quite a lot. Also the SVN option helps in games. But i think its very nice with movies, some movies have very loud sound effects and the speech is very quiet. SVN brings all the sounds to the same level. But not everybody uses those effects so the over all value may be different from person to person.

 

Actualy from my experience most IEM's has audible hiss with majority of on-board sound cards. But cant be sure what the cause is.

Yes, that could also be. The surround features and such aren't as intriguing to me, but the fact that they give you some kind of headphone amp on the same package along with general improvement over the integrated audio. That's why i'm so curious about whether it's smart or not to buy one, if it'll help with the headphones or not. That i will find out within couple of weeks when i order mine. I'm pretty sure the differences, were they positive or negative, can and will be heard, if there are any. If there is no negatives, at least i can be happy about cpu having less work to do when soundcard is there to handle the audio. :)

post #10 of 22

Well i choose Asus Xonar DG mainly because of the Amp and the fact that next real improvement in audio quality is over the 100€ price.

Take into consideration that you need both DAC and AMP.

At least that's what i understood after my extensive research into budget sound card / amp's.

Of course it all depends in what part of the world you live in.

 

When you get the Xonar it would be very nice to hear what you think about the Asus Xonar DGX.


Edited by Notus - 4/4/14 at 5:13pm
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Notus View Post
 

Well i choose Asus Xonar DG mainly because of the Amp and the fact that next real improvement in audio quality is over the 100€ price.

Take into consideration that you need both DAC and AMP.

At least that's what i understood after my extensive research into budget sound card / amp's.

Of course it all depends in what part of the world you live in.

 

When you get the Xonar it would be very nice to hear what you think about the Asus Xonar DGX.

 

I am also quite new (complete noob) to audiophile world but i'm more than eager to get inside it. I've used these headphones actively maybe a week or so now, the burn-in should be almost enough for them to sound as they should. Also i'll have some time to listen these before i get the card and hopefully there will be some difference that i am able to notice. I'll try and remember to report back here once i get the card and get to make some comparing between the integrated and Xonar and whether it was worth it in terms of audio. I have good but short memory so lets hope i'll remember to report back here when the time is right!

post #12 of 22

Warning - long message ahead!

 

I've been in a similar situation recently - planning to buy a Xonar DG as an upgrade to my onboard ALC892.

I ended up biting the bullet as it was very cheap (about 20$, used) and can/could always resell it with minimal loss.

 

Here is a summary of my personal experience with Xonar DG (and Superlux HD668B headphones), after a week of use:

My expectations: bit more power and headroom, some improvements in separation and soundstaging (not much, but enough to notice and enjoy).

What I can say is that my expectations were only partially met.

The DG delivers way more power (in high gain) than I expected. It can drive the HD668B's to ear damaging levels. In high gain everything above 35-40% in volume becomes too loud on the vast majority of music for more than 5 minutes.

I also invited a friend over to do some more tests with his Fiio E10 dac/amp and Sennheiser HD580 headphones.

The mutual conclusion was that the DG can make the HD580's extremely loud in high gain mode with no sweat.

Unfortunately this is only real praise I can give about the DG.

 

In terms of sound quality alone I've found it very tough to evaluate.

At the lowest gain setting the output is very similar to my onboard ALC 892. I had a very hard time noticing sound differences between the two.

Sometimes I felt the DG was slightly better with more control and speed, slightly more air, but it was extremely difficult to pinpoint the differences and I wouldn't bet my life on these differences.

The more I A/B-ed the two on the same song the more identical they sounded.

The only encouraging thing is that whenever I felt one of the two sources was (slightly) better, it was always the DG. And never the ALC892.

 

So, after a week of use and many many comparisons, in my mind, the DG is on a similar level of sound quality with the onboard soundcard. I wish (and ardently hoped) it was better, but unfortunately I could/cannot hear that with my headphones.

With the Sennheisers it's not a contest as the onboard cannot drive them well enough to form a good opinion. From the limited loudness available the conclusions were more or less the same. DG vs. onboard = extremely similar.

 

That being said, my decision was to keep the Xonar DG.

Why? - Even though it doesn't seem to provide significant improvements in sound, the extra power it's capable of does make a difference.

My main gripe with the onboard was the lack of headroom with some quieter recording (especially orchestral classical music).

Without enough power, the music lacked some of the dynamic contrast and the intensity of the crescendos. And that really diminished the pleasure of listening to these recordings.

With the DG, power is a non-issue and in that regard I can listen to all my music without ever needing more volume.

 

And the last thing I will mention is about output impedance.

Unfortunately I don't know it and have no way of measuring it. However I suspect it's a bit on the high side (10ohm or more)

 

Here's why: from what I read some of the signs of high output impedance are boomy, uncontrolled bass and grainy, hard treble. My Superlux headphones are 56 ohm (not terribly low) and 98db SPL.

 

On some of the music I listen to often and know very intimately I noticed that the bass is a bit more prominent and more boomy than what I'm accustomed to hear from the ALC892.

Moreover my HD668B are known for their rather harsh treble, which I always EQ down in Foobar (about 5db between 5 and 10 Khz).

After a few days with the DG I started reshaping the EQ curve as the treble felt hotter and more 'hard' (if I can say so) than usual.

With my friend's Sennheisers (which are 300 ohm headphones) I didn't notice any of these things compared to his Fiio E10.

The DG wasn't as resolved nor as airy, but overall the tonality and balance were more or less the same. The E10 has very low output impedance (below 1 ohm if I remember correctly).

 

Now, these are not scientific conclusions and should be taken for what they are - a personal opinion (assumption) based on subjective listening and limited knowledge.

 

 

Sorry for the long winded message and thank you to those for those who beared reading it.

I hope my experience would be of some help.


Edited by Jim Wingnuts - 4/4/14 at 6:44pm
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Wingnuts View Post
 

Warning - long message ahead!

 

I've been in a similar situation recently - planning to buy a Xonar DG as an upgrade to my onboard ALC892.

I ended up biting the bullet as it was very cheap (about 20$, used) and can/could always resell it with minimal loss.

 

Here is a summary of my personal experience with Xonar DG (and Superlux HD668B headphones), after a week of use:

My expectations: bit more power and headroom, some improvements in separation and soundstaging (not much, but enough to notice and enjoy).

What I can say is that my expectations were only partially met.

The DG delivers way more power (in high gain) than I expected. It can drive the HD668B's to ear damaging levels. In high gain everything above 35-40% in volume becomes too loud on the vast majority of music for more than 5 minutes.

I also invited a friend over to do some more tests with his Fiio E10 dac/amp and Sennheiser HD580 headphones.

The mutual conclusion was that the DG can make the HD580's extremely loud in high gain mode with no sweat.

Unfortunately this is only real praise I can give about the DG.

 

In terms of sound quality alone I've found it very tough to evaluate.

At the lowest gain setting the output is very similar to my onboard ALC 892. I had a very hard time noticing sound differences between the two.

Sometimes I felt the DG was slightly better with more control and speed, slightly more air, but it was extremely difficult to pinpoint the differences and I wouldn't bet my life on these differences.

The more I A/B-ed the two on the same song the more identical they sounded.

The only encouraging thing is that whenever I felt one of the two sources was (slightly) better, it was always the DG. And never the ALC892.

 

So, after a week of use and many many comparisons, in my mind, the DG is on a similar level of sound quality with the onboard soundcard. I wish (and ardently hoped) it was better, but unfortunately I could/cannot hear that with my headphones.

With the Sennheisers it's not a contest as the onboard cannot drive them well enough to form a good opinion. From the limited loudness available the conclusions were more or less the same. DG vs. onboard = extremely similar.

 

That being said, my decision was to keep the Xonar DG.

Why? - Even though it doesn't seem to provide significant improvements in sound, the extra power it's capable of does make a difference.

My main gripe with the onboard was the lack of headroom with some quieter recording (especially orchestral classical music).

Without enough power, the music lacked some of the dynamic contrast and the intensity of the crescendos. And that really diminished the pleasure of listening to these recordings.

With the DG, power is a non-issue and in that regard I can listen to all my music without ever needing more volume.

 

And the last thing I will mention is about output impedance.

Unfortunately I don't know it and have no way of measuring it. However I suspect it's a bit on the high side (10ohm or more)

 

Here's why: from what I read some of the signs of high output impedance are boomy, uncontrolled bass and grainy, hard treble. My Superlux headphones are 56 ohm (not terribly low) and 98db SPL.

 

On some of the music I listen to often and know very intimately I noticed that the bass is a bit more prominent and more boomy than what I'm accustomed to hear from the ALC892.

Moreover my HD668B are known for their rather harsh treble, which I always EQ down in Foobar (about 5db between 5 and 10 Khz).

After a few days with the DG I started reshaping the EQ curve as the treble felt hotter and more 'hard' (if I can say so) than usual.

With my friend's Sennheisers (which are 300 ohm headphones) I didn't notice any of these things compared to his Fiio E10.

The DG wasn't as resolved nor as airy, but overall the tonality and balance were more or less the same. The E10 has very low output impedance (below 1 ohm if I remember correctly).

 

Now, these are not scientific conclusions and should be taken for what they are - a personal opinion (assumption) based on subjective listening and limited knowledge.

 

 

Sorry for the long winded message and thank you to those for those who beared reading it.

I hope my experience would be of some help.

 

Now that was rather in-depth information and that's what i personally appreciate. And no, not too long message at all! And now to my opinions about some of your views:

The higher power actually works out for me too. I as well find myself sometimes listening to tracks that just don't have enough volume and turning up the volume to max currently isn't enough. So in that manner the Xonar DG should help.

 

The lacking sound quality difference probably won't be a problem to turn my world around. I can always comfort myself with CPU having less work to do and maybe my Logitech Z623 speakers could get something out of the soundcard instead.

 

And lastly, the impedance. Bass becoming more boomy instead sharp, accurate punches, might actually work out better for me as of current situation. I listen to metal, rock etc and occasional other kinds of music which in turn need that boomy bass. Now, once i get my own Xonar DGX, i can also make my own conclusion whether it fits for me or not.

 

Many thanks for your effort on that message, it wasn't in vain! 

 

Ps. A bit short side message, i had to type this in a hurry


Edited by MadBulll - 4/5/14 at 4:55am
post #14 of 22

The effect of output impedance will vary from headphone to headphone, depending on how they vary in impedance across their frequency response. Some headphones will be affected very little due to having a fairly flat impedance across the frequency range, whereas others can vary wildly.

Personally I didn't have an issue when I used my 32ohm HD429 with my Xonar.

post #15 of 22

Amp does more than just increases the volume. Some headphones need more power in some frequency's to sound the way they are meant.

What i can tell from Innerfidelity graphs HD-668b require's more juice in the bass and high's to sound the way they are.

With proper powering they will have more prominent bass and more energy in the high's. That's most likely what you are hearing with the Xonar DG.

With the on-board ALC892 they wont have the power to drive the superlux so they sound more "flat". But i think it could be a good thing in this case as HD-668 has very hot treble even without proper powering. You can turn off the amp if you feel like it, just switch it to line output.

 

You just described the sound of Superlux HD-668b, grainy treble, boomy bass. At least what it is in some of the reviews. http://www.head-fi.org/t/649623/review-superlux-hd668b

 

But like i say'd earlier, audio has come a long way and now even the on-board sound cards sound good. At least the better ones out there.

Actually i think technology has come so far that improvements in audio are very subtle until you put a lot of more money into it.

Biggest difference in sound will more than likely come from Amp vs no-Amp.

 

I think sign of high ohm output is usually hiss with low ohm headphones, IEM's. At least that's what i have understood.

 

Kraken2109 explained it better.


Edited by Notus - 4/5/14 at 5:18am
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