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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. CVLover
    So im about to Recap my card this week/weekend. im going to use the Elna Silmic II caps 220uf 100v caps and Mundorf EVO Silver Gold Oil 0,1uF 650V as "MKP" cap parallel to the silmic II on the back side of the sound card. i was wondering if this would work ok together and what improvements i should/will experience. i talking about the output stage of the card. i have the Burson Audio Supreme Sound V5 OP-Amps installed and made i big difference in sound quality!
  2. Voxata
    The Burson V5 opamps made a MASSIVE difference with my card. I was honestly ready to upgrade from the STX on my HTPC, however, that won't be happening now.
  3. topcat888
    Can I just ask, does changing the opamps have any affect on the digital output or is it bypassed when using the spdif output..?
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    The STX's op-amps (analog) have no effect or involvement in the card's digital outputs.
  5. topcat888
    As I thought, thank you for confirming that...
  6. Voxata
    If you plan to use optical put you're bypassing the STX entirely. Its a great dac for the money. That's my primary use with it, goes into my home theatre 2chan setup.
  7. scruffy1
    new to this forum, but a long term user of a pair of xonar hdav 1.3's for myself and my daughter's desktops ; ttbomk the xonar stx and the hdav have the same layout wrt the 3 opamps
    i have already upgraded the buffer amp to in both to a (2x mono to "single dual") opa627 which improved the sound quite noticeably
    recently i got the itch on trying the new burson V5i, a pair of which will soon arrive and usurp the opa627 positions, and will report here on my experiences (and my daughter's thoughts) once they have settled in
    however, having digested the above information, a few questions on the op amps i have to play with, and whether the following ideas are not a good idea, or useful experiments :
    firstly, V5i in the buffer, and replace the pair of jrc2114's with the liberated pair of dual opa627's  ?
    secondly, v5i in the buffer and the earlier liberated LM4562's in the i/v slots to replace the jrc2114's ???  is there any sort of likely benefit to be had ?
    and finally (though less likely as i am greedy for a V5i for myself), the opa627 left in the buffer, and the V5i's in the i/v slots - my daughter has a better desktop sound set up than me, so it would be in her rig for maximal benefit
    downstream from the hdav i am running a pair of klipsch 2.0, whereas hers runs through a topping t22 class t amp, and on to a pair of venerable but pristine wharfedale diamond 3's
    we both also use audiotechnica ath-ad700's, but in both cases they plug via the rca route - in my case into the headphone jack on the klipsch, in hers, via the front jack on the topping amp
    apart from the complication of an extra component channelling the rca to a headphone jack, they are similar routes
    i am most pleased for any erudite comment on the combinations of op amps proposed, as i am naive as to the best choices for the i/v slots, but well satisfied with the opa 627's i am using, and looking forward to hearing the bursons +/- a little bit more tweaking once i get used to them
    thanks in anticipation
  8. Jonathan Crouch
    Out of curiosity has anyone had the Burson OPA V5 duals do damage to a STX 2 as of yet? My last STX 2 completely burned up right after I started using them and they were never placed into it improperly. My sound system was a STX 2 coupled with a Klipsch Promedia 2.1, a Astro A40 headset and a V Moda M-100 set.
    Edit: I brought this up with Burson however, I never had issues when I was running two OPA V5 D's in the right and left slots and a Muse 8920 in the I/V slot. They sent me a V5i to try and replaced the others that burned up which I am very thankful for. However that STX 2 is gone and I am hesitant to redo this build with a 2nd STX 2.
  9. scruffy1
    it's a tight squeeze to get the V5i into the buffer socket in the asus xonar hdav1.3, but with some gentle "encouragement" if seats well after making sure the adjacent components give it some space
    the metal cover / faraday cage fits over the applied op amp with a little head room - my cover already has a paper adhesive "pad" which used to be my ersatz insulation for the naked dual opa627 which stretches about 7.8mm above the buffer socket (some 0.2mm taller than the encased V5i), because it was really close to if not quite touching the 'cage
    i was immediately impressed by the improvement over the opa627 solution, so much so that i have been feeding back to back flacs to the klipsch 2.0's since i first re-sealed the computer, which by my clock is now over 9 hours straight apart from a brief break for dinner, where it was still playing in the study off the dining area
    perhaps despite the above poster's experience, there was a short somehow ? 
    jon, did you use the buffer slot with the V5's ?  or was it the i/v slots ?
    and can you confirm it was the V5 and not the V5i ?
    for the record, the dual V5i in the buffer slot on my xonar hdav1.3 has been without issue used continually immediately after placement for over a third of a day thus far; my only complaint is that i have been unable to drag myself away from the desk chair because i am spellbound
    when i eventually stop exclaiming "no way ! "  and "you're kidding ! !! " from repeatedly hearing details i never even knew were there despite this system being the 3rd best combination of audio components in the house (until the upgrade), i'll attempt to give a coherent description of the things i am enjoying about it
    but i'd best get some sleep first, if i can detach myself   [​IMG] 
  10. Jonathan Crouch
    I was using 3 OPA V5-D's originally, now I'm using two OPA V5 D's and a V5i (I decided to go ahead and try the combo after replacing my STX 2.) The interesting thing is the V5's only suffered damage when I was running my Klipsch Promedia 2.1 over the RCA jack. This happened twice before my last STX 2 was damaged
  11. scruffy1
    could there be a current leak from your 2.1's ?  i am a noob when it comes to electrickery, so don't even know if that's a possibility
    my hdav is also ported from the rca plugs (not that there's a lot of other choice),and as noted, is completely well behaved
    how long into use did the stx get toasted ?
  12. AllYourFort
    Hi guys. So I got my STX 2 in the mail a few days ago got it in my system. It is by far the best sound card I've owned! The sound is leaps and bounds above the on board. I am using the DT 990 Premium 600 Ohm they sound amazing. It's a pleasure playing the new Doom with good sound. I have just a quick question about what I should set my sampling rate to. I have it set to 192 khz currently.
  13. scruffy1
    i had mine set at 44.1 because that was the sample rate of the flacs i was playing, but only yesterday discovered that perhaps because of the better abilities of the upgraded buffer amp that 192 sounds decidedly better
    my guess is that the best setting is entirely up to where it sounds best to you, as there is probably no "correct" setting, just options to see what does it best for you  :)
  14. scruffy1
    how to fit the burson (dual) v5i opamp in xonar hdav or xonar stx sound card
    here's how it fits   ....just
    pardon the detail, but this is included for the benefit of those who may not have done this previously
    a reminder that you need the burson v5i dual opamp for this situation, or any other dual opamp you might choose that is compatible with the specs required
    please note that you modify your card at your own risk; my enthusiasm to have you enjoy an upgrade needs to be weighed against your potential disappointment if you somehow nuke your previously lovely sound card
    that would be sad, but it won't be my fault, will it ? so as long as we have that understanding...
    i presume anyone rocking a xonar is familiar with pci-e slots and fitting cards, but if not, get some assistance or do some reading
    as always, you need to power down and safely remove the xonar, noting the ancillary molex needs to be unplugged too - take the usual precautions re static discharge
    undo the 4 small screws holding the cover / faraday cage, noting that they can strip their mounting holes easily, and you may need traction on the cover to make them screw out easily - gently but firmly does it
    and put them somewhere safe - not just on the bench, from where they will migrate mysteriously to your utter frustration at the end of replacing the opamp; a small bowl or equivalent is fine
    okay, ready for the rather simple but slightly more nerve wracking part if you are new to this :
    take your hdav 1.3 (or an stx), noting the "blue" dual opa627 is in the buffer socket - easier to see the colour in the closer view
    the original amp supplied in that spot is marked (LM)4562NA
    yep, that's it there, with all those white things labelled "8n2 100" snuggling up cosy
    you need to pull it out - purists have a tool, but i have fingers which do fine with the dual opa627; but i think i recall using a bios chip puller for assistance when i took out the original buffer amp, as it hasn't got the same lip to grasp, a small screwdriver or a spudger will help - a thin guitar pick is good
    if you choose a screwdriver, don't slip and gouge the traces or the only sounds you'll hear thereafter may be profanity
    the v5i is marginally less high above the socket than the opa627 is when seated, but it's definitely wider
    trying to get it to fit between those white protrusions takes a little persistence
    looking "along" the socket you will note the slight slant you'll need to impose on the components
    they move pretty easily with a firm grip, courage and one gentle tweak...  but i suggest you shouldn't wiggle them lest you break their legs
    and in goes the v5i, taking note of the notch under the v5i to confirm orientation with the notch of the socket (facing the camera, as easily seen in the photo above)
    even though the opamp looks uneven below, it seems quite firm and refuses to sit under the level of the right sided components - it is however quite properly seated
    i have now replaced the buffer in both my xonar hdav cards with the v5i - both fit as shown, and most importantly, both are working fine despite the minor apparent asymmetry - closer inspection above (and below) reveals that the vertical obstruction is marginally closer on the side nearer the pci-e connectors
    don't forget to screw back on the cover / faraday cage before you re-mount the card in your computer, and also to plug back in the molex and your rca's
    then boot up, sit back, and enjoy your new improved audio experience
    hope that helps instil confidence, because apart from the minor jostling for seating space, it's an easy job
  15. eXistencelies
    So I have owned this card for 2 years and have really enjoyed it, but I am going to be doing a custom PC water loop and having this card inside my case may ruin the aesthetic look I want to have. So I have been tinkering with the idea of going to an external amp/dac. This SC powers my AKG Q701 and ATH M50x. Anyone here have any suggestions on an external amp that will be the same quality to the SC? I'd also like to keep dobly, but that may not be possible I don't think? So if I can find a good external amp/dac that doesn't break the bank I will be selling my card here or over on reddit's hardware swap.
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