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The Xonar Essence STX Q/A, tweaking, impressions thread

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by telix, Apr 28, 2009.
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  1. stv014
    Not unlikely if both are bit perfect, as they should be.
  2. WiR3D
    Setup guide
    And personally I prefer musicBee to foobar, and Media Player Classic Home Cinema or KM-player (for people who really like to tweak)
    Also the AKS K242HD or AKG K240mkII with THS4032 opamps in the I/V section is a good cheaper headphone, but it lacks a bit of the deep sub bass. It has big soundstage, and suits the STX well. 
    PurpleAngels recommendations are good though.
    Setup guide
    24bit @ 48kHz is the best output format, the STX measures the best in the lower sampling rates, but has a bug with 24bit@44.1kHz.
    should answer most of your questions.
  3. gtiboy
    Just a quick one guys, I installed 3 LME49720HA's into the STX but there's no sound? why do you think this could be? everything is installed correctly with power. When the computer is turned on you hear that clicking sound by the card and hear a hiss in the headphones, but when I go to play music there's nothing?
    Just realised they had to be aligned in the same direction according to the marking on the Op-Amp itself.
  4. brdnhigh
    thanks guys..another thing i was wondering does the asus xonar control panel overide the windows settings..and does the foobar settings overide the xonar settings?
  5. brdnhigh
    sorry for all the questions..but is it best to keep the settings at 48/24 for music, movies and games?  and set the channels accordingly and hi fi enabled
  6. cel4145
    This is weird. I just got around to trying the UNi Xonar drivers with my Essence STX. My headphones work great, but I can't switch to the line out using the "2 Speaker" analog setting in the Xonar control interface so that I can use my desktop speakers. Instead, there is a click when "2 Speakers" is enabled and the gain gets boosted on my headphones. 
    I'm sure I'm missing something stupid. Any suggestions where to look? 
    Windows 7 64-bit. v1.61 UNi Xonar
  7. DamageInc77
    That also happened with me. Is there any fix?
  8. harryyeo
    This is a known issue with the 1.6x drivers.
    Best way to avoid is to reinstall with 1.53 drivers.
  9. cel4145
  10. Dezign
    I have some questions regarding this card. I am using both headphones and 2.1 speakers for it.I I've read lots of guides, and while they mostly agree on channel setup etc, they disagree on other things. So I decided to make this post in hope for people that know to answer. I am looking to get the optimal quality, with all the surround functions enabled.
    Speaker setup
    1. Settings I use for watching videos: PCM 48 KHz, 2 channels, dolby virtual speaker. Is this correct, should I use HIFI?
    2. I use same settings for playing games, but with HIFI enabled, is this correct to produce the most true and clear sound with all surround options?
    3. I have HIFI enabled and 2 channel mode for listening to music, is this correct to produce the most true and clear sound?
    Headphone setup
    4. Settings I use for watching videos: PCM 48 KHz, 6 channels, HIFI on. I've tried both Dolby Headphone and HIFI, and I really don't know which gives the best quality. What do you guys think? Also, does the use of HIFI prevent surround sound or ANY feature at all, from a movie with 5.1 sound for example? Whats the real difference between those, preference?
    5. For playing games, I use the same settings as for movies, PCM 48 KHz, 6 channels, HIFI on. Are these settings correct? I really think that HIFI produces a more rich and chrisp sound than Dolby Headphone does, what do you think? Also, is there ANYTHING at all in terms of audio positioning or quality, that is not utilized by using HIFI? Do I have to use Dolby Headphone to get all the sound features from a game? Should I use more than 48 KHz for games like WoW, Crysis 2, and BF3?
    6. For listening to music, I set the channels to 2, and use the HIFI mode, with 48 KHz. Is this correct for producing the most accurate sound?
    I am generally not sure what the difference between Dolby Headphones/Dolby Speakers are. Is it a matter of preference? I've found that Dolby seems to be better for the speakers, and HIFI much better for headphones. Do you guys agree on this? Is there any real difference in audio quality, positioning etc?
    Would be fantastic if you could explain these things to me. Thanks a lot.
  11. elwappo99
    Hello Dezign! I see this is your first post, so welcome to these parts!!!!! I've tried my best to help below! One thing I would emphasize, is to play around with the settings yourself. It's all about what you enjoy the most, not necessarily what other people think sounds best to them.
    1. This is a personal choice. If you enjoy the sound of the dolby virtual speaker, then use that. If you like the sound of the 'hi-fi' mode, then use that. This is definitely a personal choice. 
    2. Using games I usually do hifi enabled. There's a video somewhere, where a user showed the dolby headphone was better for placing sounds around you, but I can't find it atm. I don't think there is a way to pass the dolby headphone through digital out... someone correct me if I'm wrong because I'd love this setting! 
    3. Yes, that should give you the most clear and unaltered sound overall.
    4. The dolby headphone produces an altered sound to recreate a speaker environment. This is another one of those just listen to them and pick which one you like.
    5. Hifi mode should sound that way. The dolby digital is processing the sound to some extent which will lead to some degrading in SQ, although it should be small. 
    6. Yes it is. 
    Definitely should be the case. What headphones do you have? Usually headphones show much more detail, so doing the dolby headphone settings will show the sound quality being reduced. Your speakers probably don't have the high resolution of the headphones, so you don't notice the loss in quality! 
    Dezign likes this.
  12. Dezign
    Thanks for the reply Elwappo!
    I use these speakers: Harman Kardon Soundsticks III, and these headphones: Sennheiser HD 595 (should I use any gain for these, and what does gain really do - just increase the volume, or make the quality better?).
    The question I still have in mind is, say that a movie has a 5.1 audio output (which I select in VLC), will HiFi mode playback 5.1? Do I need Dolby Headphone enabled for the surround 5.1 sound? In theory, it shouldn't, right? Since HiFi mode from what I've read is unprocessed signals only, which would equal to 5.1? Is this the same in games?
    So all in all, HiFi and Dolby Headphone is 100% a matter of taste? If this is the case then the choice is simple for me, since HiFi is much better imo. But I want to make sure that I'm not missing out on some special "sound effect" feature that I'm not aware of such as surround sound or positioning?
  13. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I believe most movies come with Dolby audio tracks, so to me it seems you want Dolby Headphone enabled.
  14. elwappo99
    Definitely the case with the HK soundsticks VS Sennheiser HD595. Those sennheisers are far more revealing than the speakers. You don't really need to use gain unless you want the volume to be louder than the maximum. It just boosts the power to that headphone out. 
    Before I jump into the audio output I should clarify something (I'm not sure of your audio knowledge, and if you are knowledgeable I'm not trying to be condescending). 5.1 means there's 5 individual channels for speakers and 1 channel for the subwoofer (L, C, R, RL, RR). Stereo sound for headphones means there's only 2 channels (L, R). The headphone out can only output 2 channels (L, R), as well as the RCA outputs on the back.
    Your question about 5.1 going to 2.0 is one I'm afraid I cannot answer, because there's a lot of software that's happening in that. I would suspect that 5.1 would only go to the Digital Out on the back of the ST. I think the software would then take the L and R from VLC and send that directly out (in HiFi) or do it's Dolby headphone from the L and R and send that out to the headphones (L,R only). 
    Yes, HiFi vs Dolby is really about taste. HiFi should sound much better when listening purely to music (more detailed sound), but some people may enjoy it for movies and such (it's kind of fun to crank up the volume on action movies with that setting). You're exactly right when you said special "sound effect". The dolby headphone is a "special sound effect" that tried to make your headphones sound like you're listening in a room with speakers. It's really about your taste, and it sounds like you're pretty spot on when you say it doesn't sound good at all for music listening :)
    Also, I found that video here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/557826/question-about-dolby-headphone-in-essence-stx-and-how-it-works-with-headphone
    I personally don't game with dolby on, because I find the hifi mode to be more accurate. But I've got some expensive amplifiers that really help with the sound positioning, so to each their own! 
  15. Jademalo
    Hey, I've got a question about Opamps
    I'm a little confused why there are three. I'm guessing that the third one up front is for something specific to the white and red out.
    Is it that one is for the left channel, and one is for the right? If so, that leaves me a little bit confused. I know that some Opamps are single channel and some are dual channel, and that this card requires dual channel opamps. Now, since there are two.. doesn't that mean single channels would suffice?
    As you can probably tell, I'm a bit lost. If the Opamps are dual channel - why do you need two? Is there a difference between dual channel Opamps and stereo? If so, is that why there are two - for the stereo? If not - do they work together in a manner akin to SLI or something, alternating signal? (I literally have no idea how they work lol) Or, is it that the red/white out uses one, and the headphone out uses the other?
    I'm also a bit curious about the third one - what exactly does it do? I know its something spesific to the White/Red out, but I don't know what exactly.
    I'm willing to learn, but I'm finding conflicting sources and it's difficult to nail down an exact answer. I hope the question is phrased alright - It's mainly my confusion as to why there are two of the same Opamp, and the difference between single channel and dual channel opamps.
    Currently I'm looking at getting myself two LME49720NA and a LM6172IN, and giving them a whirl to see if they suit my tastes.
    And help would be appreciated, thanks!
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