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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. x3zsp
    Hey guys, since Christmas I own a STX II (hdav 1.3 before) and also since back then I preying the net for improving the sound quality further more (Muses 02 are laying next to me).

    I found something interesting in a hifi tuning store: a customized powersupply that loads a NiMh rechargeable batterypack which actually supplies the DAC/Preamp. Plesse take a look at the picture/link. The key benefit of this is that all the current supplied is clean by principle and must not be expensively cleansed (although I dont think this will be cheap either).

    Please tell me what you think of this? I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

  2. bcschmerker4

    Concerning upgrades for the XONAR® Essence™ Series, our fellow Head-Fi'er @raymond555 gave us information on the Sparkos® SS3602 discrete dual operational amplifiers, currently the cleanest, fastest available for those who can afford them for the I-V (@PurpleAngel has them on or about $80.00 per JEDEC DIP-8 module):
    The SS3602 is also usable for the line-level buffer, but some have acceptable results with the old Signetics® NE5532 dual audio amplifier in the buffer position.  Sorry I cannot help with the Hör-Wege® modular audio system, but I haven't encountered it before.
  3. xPakrikx
    In this short post Im gonna try to describe my feelings about my STX + Burson V5-OPA-D and what mods I have done on STX. :)

    I am a very happy owner of speakers EVE audio sc205, which I bought in 2015. Before them I was using M-audio BX5 D2. After short time I started to think about upgrade of my STX, because of new speakers of course :) After quick search i found couple upgrades possible, like:

    - change OP amps in din8 socket
    - upgrade crystal oscillator
    - change caps in LP filter

    In first step i chose to change OP amps, its less invasive to PCB and the simplest way to improve sound. In the beginning i tried to obtain MUSES 02, but without success, only one shop sell this OP amps in my country (Slovakia), pretty high price for shipping ...:frowning2:. Ok then i try buy some on aliexpress, fake of course, but for extremly low price.
    Fake MUSES 02 sounds dull,thick, inaccurate bass with messy layering. After this "test" with fake MUSES i increase budget for OP amps and start looking for Burson discrete AP amps. In november I finally decided to buy Burson V5-OPA-D2. I took “Head-fi Hot Topic Deal” for $180USD inclusive of postage + after communication with burson i got extension legs for free. Very friendly and helpful communication, thanks for this to Burson.

    After installation i had problem with EMI from PSU. Soundcard was very close to PSU and unfortunately i have m-atx MB (asus maximus v gene) and two-slot GPU + tiny pc case (Jonsboo C3).
    To solve this problem i got idea to customize original EMI shield, photos bellow :)

    How does Burson V5-OPA-D sound?
    - much better separation in mids
    - very clear and natural sound
    - much better dynamics
    - very clear heights
    - significantly improved precision and deep bass
    - beautiful sound stage and stereo imaging
    Some photos :) from my "mod".
    In final step i fix dip8 sockets to EMI shield ... next time
    Thanks Burson :) sounds perfect
    verde57 and Cruxiaer like this.
  4. alej16
    hello. im sorry that i write this here , i try to create new thread in computer audio but cant do it for some reason ..
    i have xonar stx for a long time now , and yesterday i upgraded PSU , everything was ok after that i watched some ytube videos and no problems was found
    so today i start the pc to listen some music with foobar (line out with amp and speakers) and notice that my right speaker is way louder than my left speaker , u cant hear left at all unless u mute right speaker .
    so i thought there is something with volume control , then i checked and all was fine . then i reinstaled drivers for STX same problem .
    so next thing was to check all the connections maybe there is something wrong all was fine i even try with diferent power cable but the problem was still there .
    next thing was to try headphone out and there is no problem with volume , left and right channel is same volume .
    so i took the card out and for the first time took the shield off and noticed that one of the opamps was a bit out of its socket and i thought that was the probelm so i pushed it in all the way but that didnt make any difference , then i swaped two of the op amps since they are the same and that didnt help also...
    i really dont know what to try anymore , card seems to work with headphone out normaly but with line out left speaker is very quiet
    maybe some of u guys can help me here i really dont have money for new card at the moment .
  5. xPakrikx
    Hmm, ok then problem is after filtering , check output power from RCA, with voltmeter
  6. alej16
    quick update
    i just found a spliter from 2x rca to headphone jack and it works normal with this cable so RCA output is OK
    it seems something is wrong with my NAD amp after all hmm .
  7. xPakrikx
    yop :) or speakers
  8. alej16
    well.... everything is back to normal yay :)
    after finding that RCA is ok i put everything back to normal and started playing with amp.
    we all know that NAD amps maybe are not best build quality etc. i have 326 model
    and looks like the potenciometer for balance is acting a little turned him left right few times and seems that worked lol .
    heh even electronic can have bad day sometimes :)
  9. phaenius
    Hi guys,
    I recently bought an Asus Xonar Essence STX card from ebay.de. The seller assured me that the card was "nearly new" and fully working, modded with new OP-AMPs and all, but when I got the card, it only worked on digital level. On analog (the value of this particular sound card) I could only get a very low and distorted sound on line-out and no sound at all on headphones output. So, basically I got scammed. Now, I know that many of you will suggest to throw away the card and buy a new one, presumably a STX-II, etc., but if I would have had that much money, I wouldn't have bought an used one in the first place. So, my question is if anyone has any suggestions on what to do in order to repair the card and if it can be done. I gave the card to person I know, who's very good in electronics and he told me that the power supply section of the card, the one that is giving current to analog section of the card is messed up. He already found a fried PolyZen chip, but I would like to know if you have any more suggestions of what I may do. Also, some schematics would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  10. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Sometimes the op-amps come lose, did you every try pushing on them to make sure they are well seated?
    Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio, in the BIOS, when you installed the STX?
  11. phaenius
    I disabled the on-board sound, the sound card IS recognized by computer. And no, OP-AMPs are fine, I even bought new ones (yes, I installed them correctly).
  12. beepover

    hd595 lacking bass...not the stx...get better headphones...i have the 595...great sound no bass
  13. koaly
    Hello everyone,
    I would ask for an advise.
    I've got Essence ST on Ebay for a bargin price. I've managed to install it (Asus Sabertooth FX 990, Win 10x64) and the driver works well. There is an issue that the sound is somewhat slower by 50% in every Windows application. All headphone / RCA / SPDIF outputs work the same. If I switch between outputs (front / rear headphones) in the Asus app I hear clicks from the soundcard. Is it normal?
    I've noticed that when I switch the frequency to 44.1 kHz it gets a liitle faster. Asio driver makes no difference. It's not an issue of the motherboard as I just removed M-Audio PCI card that worked well.
    I've noticed certain signs of very bad quality soldering on the card by previous owner(s). Looking at the pins with extra solder it seems that they installed another oscillator. The original oscillator has no marking on it and very rude solder on its both sides as well as on one pin of 7805. Capacitors that are installed right after opamps have shortcuts on the other side of the pcb.
    I appreciate getting your ideas whether the oscillator can cause the issue or anything else.
  14. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Is the on-board audio disabled the BIOS?
    Sometimes active on-board causes issues with an add-on internal sound card.
    My Asus Xonar Essence STX use to make the click sound.
    But I stopped using the STX a few years ago, so memory might be a little foggy.
    Have you tried the Unified Xonar Driver?
  15. koaly
    Hi PurpleAngel,

    Thanks. Yes I've disabled Azalia (Realtek) in Bios, deinstalled its drivers and updated the Xonar driver to the last Uni version. No change unfortunately. For the moment I see the only one solution - to buy Vanguard thing and try to replace the default oscillator, because the card had signs of such an upgrade. I just thought if anybody has an idea of what hardware element could influence the slow sound?
    Here's what I found on the PCB
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