Jul 30, 2010 at 4:39 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14


New Head-Fier
Apr 10, 2010
I just bougth an HD 650 and i need  a DAC + AMP, i use my computer 24/7 so i was planning to buy the sound card Xonar Essence STX  from ASUS.
I need your opinion on this please.

Jul 30, 2010 at 9:00 PM Post #2 of 14
Buy a DAC instead of a soundcard. You'll still need an amp, however.
Jul 30, 2010 at 9:12 PM Post #3 of 14
If you want to go down the path of a home rig, a DAC is a much better investment than a sound card. I highly recommend the Musiland Monitor 02 US. It sounds really nice (even without an amp).
Jul 31, 2010 at 8:27 PM Post #6 of 14
What is your budget? We could be recommending a recable, a Lavry DA11, and a AudioGD Phoenix, while you stand there with your jaw hitting the ground at the cost.
EDIT: I see you are planning to buy an expensive sound card. I again recommend buying a DAC (and Amp) instead. Is your budget the cost of the sound card (~$175)?
Jul 31, 2010 at 9:09 PM Post #7 of 14
The sound card has an audiophile grade DAC and headphone amp, which connects to the PSU.  The STX is has very good price to performance ratio.  From what I've seen, people whom have both prefer the STX over the Little Dot MkIII and iBasso.  I compared it to the Heed CANAMP and it was just as good.
Aug 1, 2010 at 3:18 AM Post #8 of 14
I have the STX and upgraded to separate Amp and Dac and while the improvement was nice I also realised how good the card is for the money. The DAC part is particularly good as said.
Aug 1, 2010 at 3:27 AM Post #9 of 14
well the asus line of soundcards do great audio i guess. i have a xonar d2 and tried to compare the sound quality to a sansa clip. using the same flac file, i listened to the sound coming from the sansa hooked to the little dot mk2, and the xonar hooked to the same mk2. the sound coming out of the hd650 was definitely so much better using the xonar...
the stx should really do much better 

crazy experiment with a subjectively determined conclusion. but i was curious as to how much the d2 was over the clip, considering that the clip ain't that bad 

Aug 1, 2010 at 5:19 PM Post #10 of 14
Aug 2, 2010 at 1:16 AM Post #11 of 14
There aren't really any better DACs.  People use external DACs because less EMI from the computer can reach it, or so they think.  The STX has its analogue pathways shielded and any noise from the computer is likely to be over the PCI bus, which will still send it to an external DAC via USB.  You can always try to upgrade the amp further down the road by connecting it to the STX's line out; like if you want a tube amp because you like tube distortion.  
Aug 2, 2010 at 9:37 PM Post #12 of 14
Thank u very much for the replies!! good answers 
, it really help.   My budget for DAC and Amp is $1000 (i had a small inheritance from my grandfather who died a few months ago
and  he left me $ 1200 and his record player he was really in to music and before he passed away we were equipping the living room with a nice stereo, headphones  so i  would like to end his legacy)     what would you recommend for a perfect sound thank u very much in advance  using the HD 650, because i read many post about desktop  DAC and amp but i get confused many differents models thank u a lot

Aug 3, 2010 at 12:16 AM Post #13 of 14
please recommend something good 

Aug 3, 2010 at 1:19 AM Post #14 of 14
I had the Asus ST upgraded with 49720HA's feeding HD650 (silver dragon recabled) sounded good but not great, you can do better for your HD650's. Don't get me wrong the Asus ST is a great card, the DAC ([size=x-small][size=x-small]BB PCM1792A)[/size][/size] is it's strong point but should be paired with a dedicated headphone amp, another options is DIY which seems to be the craze these days; Gamma 2, Buffalo 2, specs on the COD (BB PCM1794) looks good too.
Currently building a Beta22, but ordered an M-Stage to keep me company for the time being, which seems to be getting some serious attention as of lately.
If you insist on going the sound card route I'd advise you to wait since there are some new cards coming out later this year (Asus Xense, Titanium HD) at least don't pay full price for the Asus ST/X just use any old DAC for the time being until then, but for now focus on getting amped.

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