I really don't understand my xonar essence stx
May 17, 2015 at 2:24 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2

Spandy87

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I have had the card for many years now, and generally it sounds pretty good. I can still remember how amazed I was at the difference in clarity when I switched from the onboard Realtek crap to the xonar with my D2000s. Night and day. But even after all these years of tinkering, I have to admit, I have no idea how this thing works.

So I've come to you all with several questions, in the hope that I will be able to use this thing properly.

1. How can I tell if the card is really playing 24bit sound? I have been using Foobar, and have the WASAPI component installed for 24bit playback. Does this mean that even 16bit audio files will benefit as well? Or just the 24 bit ones. Is this different with a standalone DAC?

2. It feels like there is no tangible difference in sample rates. 44.1k sounds just like 192k. There is all kinds of misinformation about same rates out there, especially when using Foobar as well. If I am using 48k resampler on foobar, and have the xonar settings at 48k, does that upsample the file from 44.1k? Because at the bottom of foobar, the sample rate still says 44.1k for most of my files.

3. I give zero ****s about the surround sound garbage. Am I better off with a standalone DAC? I already have an amp so the DAC is all I'm using the card for. I understand that the DAC in the xonar is pretty good, and I do not really mind the little bit of intereference from the case, since it is only audible at super high volumes. What other benefits does a standalone DAC provide that a sound card doesn't? How much of a difference does the improved circuitry of a standalone DAC provide, if the chips used for the DA conversion are comparable in quality?

4. How much do drivers affect the sound quality? Part of me wants to eliminate the possibility of drivers being a bottleneck for sound quality, but I have also heard that USB can cause problems too. Any recommendations here?
 
May 17, 2015 at 6:29 PM Post #2 of 2

PurpleAngel

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I have had the card for many years now, and generally it sounds pretty good. I can still remember how amazed I was at the difference in clarity when I switched from the onboard Realtek crap to the xonar with my D2000s. Night and day. But even after all these years of tinkering, I have to admit, I have no idea how this thing works.
So I've come to you all with several questions, in the hope that I will be able to use this thing properly.
1. How can I tell if the card is really playing 24bit sound? I have been using Foobar, and have the WASAPI component installed for 24bit playback. Does this mean that even 16bit audio files will benefit as well? Or just the 24 bit ones. Is this different with a standalone DAC?
2. It feels like there is no tangible difference in sample rates. 44.1k sounds just like 192k. There is all kinds of misinformation about same rates out there, especially when using Foobar as well. If I am using 48k resampler on foobar, and have the xonar settings at 48k, does that upsample the file from 44.1k? Because at the bottom of foobar, the sample rate still says 44.1k for most of my files.
3. I give zero ****s about the surround sound garbage. Am I better off with a standalone DAC? I already have an amp so the DAC is all I'm using the card for. I understand that the DAC in the xonar is pretty good, and I do not really mind the little bit of interference from the case, since it is only audible at super high volumes. What other benefits does a standalone DAC provide that a sound card doesn't? How much of a difference does the improved circuitry of a standalone DAC provide, if the chips used for the DA conversion are comparable in quality?
4. How much do drivers affect the sound quality? Part of me wants to eliminate the possibility of drivers being a bottleneck for sound quality, but I have also heard that USB can cause problems too. Any recommendations here?

 
I doubt you will hear a quality difference between 16-bit and 24-bit, 24-bit might be a little louder.
Most music is 16-bit/44.1K, so setting the DAC for anything above 16-bit/44.1K should not improve music quality.
hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio, in the BIOS, before you installed the STX or the sound card software.
 
Try deleting the Asus drivers and try the Unified Xonar drivers.
http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/
 

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