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Need a little help... Sound card or amp for desktop? - Page 2

post #16 of 37
The Xonar Essence is an all around better sound card than the DG, and it is specifically designed for 2 channel use. Whether or not you will find the expense worthwhile is based on your particular tastes and values. All you can do is try it and see.
post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The Xonar Essence is an all around better sound card than the DG, and it is specifically designed for 2 channel use. Whether or not you will find the expense worthwhile is based on your particular tastes and values. All you can do is try it and see.

What about the essence specifically makes it a better sound card? 

 

Edit: Remember, I'm a super newb!

post #18 of 37
post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 

I read that article but there weren't any comparisons of the STX to the DG at all. All the reviewer was comparing the card to was sound systems >$2500  and saying that it was functional as the cheapest option he would consider for headphone sound for the PC. He also used a lot of technical jargon which I'm sure a lot of people on this site and those in sound engineering would appreciate, but I only understood about 1/3 of it. I really appreciate you showing it to me though as it does show me that I have a lot more to learn, however it doesn't really help my current predicament. 

 

I'm really looking for an option that will give me an really stellar sound solution for now (relative to my current sound experience, which is virtually nothing) and maybe be an option that I can use for a few years, even carry into my next PC build. I really am not looking for any kind of an elite set-up, but I do want a little growing room.

post #20 of 37

I dont know if the cable is EMI shielded between the Essence ST and the H6 (its possible its digital signal fed to the H6). The H6 has its own DAC. Well as far as i know, ST is one of the best internal sound card if not the very best consumer card. For music and game's it most likely is the best. I think diminishing returns for DAC's start quite early, people usually dont want to admit it. For Amp's its slightly trickier since there is compatibility what you have to take into consideration.

At least thats the impression i got when i read a lot of reviews and tests. There is always the fact that majority of people cant hear as much details and as some people.

 

There are days when i can hear every tiny bit of detail without even trying and day's when i cant hear an elephant dancing riverdance next to me.

 

Of course there are other options and it depends on the gear you currently use. Does it have spdif connector or hdmi?

post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Notus View Post
 

I dont know if the cable is EMI shielded between the Essence ST and the H6 (its possible its digital signal fed to the H6). The H6 has its own DAC. Well as far as i know, ST is one of the best internal sound card if not the very best consumer card. For music and game's it most likely is the best. I think diminishing returns for DAC's start quite early, people usually dont want to admit it. For Amp's its slightly trickier since there is compatibility what you have to take into consideration.

At least thats the impression i got when i read a lot of reviews and tests. There is always the fact that majority of people cant hear as much details and as some people.

 

There are days when i can hear every tiny bit of detail without even trying and day's when i cant hear an elephant dancing riverdance next to me.

 

Of course there are other options and it depends on the gear you currently use. Does it have spdif connector or hdmi?

I have an spdif out connection from the onboard audio and hdmi out from the discrete video card.

post #22 of 37

I was thinking if you have receiver that has spdif connection or something. Some even have HDMI connection these days. Analog 5.1 wont leave that many options. Its the Asus Xonar DG, Asus Xonar DX, Asus Xonar Phoebus, Or the Asus Xonar Essence ST with the expansion card Xonar H6. There are also some Greative options but from what i can tell, they have even worse issues with drivers and support. Over all it seems people think Asus cards are better quality. There is always the option to use your current On-board with the 5.1 logitech's and plug a external DAC / AMP with spdif. Or USB.

post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately I don't have a reciever with an spdif. I wouldn't mind using an external DAC/amp at all actually, as long as the price is not too steep. I'm not particularly fond of USB sound solutions as I have found them to be a little bit finicky from past experience. I would prefer something that uses optical, but usb is not totally out of the question, if someone has a good suggestion. I have been looking into getting a fiio e17 (has spdif) coupled with an e07k, but I would have to wait until my next paycheck.
post #24 of 37
A USB DAC would be a very good option for good SQ for music. But for gaming, an internal sound card will offer virtual surround. The E09K (I'm assuming you meant that model) would be good if you have higher impedance headphones, but the E17 is actually a better match for the X1's 32 ohm impedance. The E17 also has optical out, which means it can be compared with an inexpensive sound card like the DG to take advantage of the virtual surround processing; a USB DAC completely bypasses the sound card all together.

The other consideration is what kind of Logitech speakers do you have? Now that you have the X1, are you sure you will be using the speakers for gaming? A lot of head-fiers have a good headphone for gaming, and then have a really good 2.0 speaker setup for listening to music when not using headphones. Then the STX makes more sense, but spending $85 on the H6 expansion doesn't if you have a $100 set of speakers.
post #25 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

A USB DAC would be a very good option for good SQ for music. But for gaming, an internal sound card will offer virtual surround. The E09K (I'm assuming you meant that model) would be good if you have higher impedance headphones, but the E17 is actually a better match for the X1's 32 ohm impedance. The E17 also has optical out, which means it can be compared with an inexpensive sound card like the DG to take advantage of the virtual surround processing; a USB DAC completely bypasses the sound card all together.

The other consideration is what kind of Logitech speakers do you have? Now that you have the X1, are you sure you will be using the speakers for gaming? A lot of head-fiers have a good headphone for gaming, and then have a really good 2.0 speaker setup for listening to music when not using headphones. Then the STX makes more sense, but spending $85 on the H6 expansion doesn't if you have a $100 set of speakers.

 These are my current speakers. They are not terrible nut they are only 2 steps above the $100 dollar option you described. Any opinions on what to do would be appreciated.

 

And it was the E09K I was thinking of.

post #26 of 37
Thread Starter 

If anyone has an opinion on how to get good sound from the PC without trashing my current speakers I would appreciate it. I listen to music, watch movies, and play games.

post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGuyver View Post
 

If anyone has an opinion on how to get good sound from the PC without trashing my current speakers I would appreciate it. I listen to music, watch movies, and play games.

Your best option would be a sound card since it would have the analogue surround outputs you need for your speakers.

post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kraken2109 View Post
 

Your best option would be a sound card since it would have the analogue surround outputs you need for your speakers.

Which sound card would be a good option and give me a headphone amp?

post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGuyver View Post
 

Which sound card would be a good option and give me a headphone amp?

Xonar DG is a cheap option that's worth trying.

post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGuyver View Post

 These are my current speakers. They are not terrible nut they are only 2 steps above the $100 dollar option you described. Any opinions on what to do would be appreciated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGuyver View Post

If anyone has an opinion on how to get good sound from the PC without trashing my current speakers I would appreciate it. I listen to music, watch movies, and play games.

You came to this forum to discuss how to upgrade your setup for better sound quality and seem committed to looking at some of the very best options you can. So no one would be "trashing" your speakers to discuss various upgrade options and how their quality fits into it. The Logitech X-540 were in fact a $100 speaker setup when they were released back in 2006, and there are certainly better options now for that money. As you get used to the new X1s, you may easily find that the X-540s don't do it for you any more--there's a huge gap in sound quality between the two. Thus, I would not spend money on the STX H6 upgrade to support those speakers. You might find in a few months you are no longer listening to them much and/or are ready to upgrade them, and because you have an excellent open headphone, that you don't need the surround setup for speakers any more. Many head-fiers end up with 2.0 or 2.1 setups instead, and not spending the $85 would be a good start towards a budget to support such an upgrade.
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