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Torn between the Xonar DX or a refurb STX

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
After buying a a new pair of headphones, I realized that the integrated sound on this motherboard is not very good, so I've been looking at getting either the xonar dx or the stx.. Obviously the stx is better, but what about it would make it worth 50-80$ more?

I use Sennheiser HD 429s, and I'm mainly looking for better sound quality in music
Edited by Hobybobag - 3/31/12 at 8:50pm
post #2 of 7
It really depends.

Will you be moving to 5.1 in the future, or is 2.1 sufficient?

The DX can output 5.1, while the STX is stereo.

Having owned both, I can tell you without a doubt that the STX is superior to the DX, especially in terms of headphone performance.
The amp on the STX delivers cleaner sound than the DX even on low impedance headphones such as your 429s, and scale well in terms of sound quality up to the majority of 600 ohm sets (excluding those of low sensitivity)

Now, whether you will notice a difference... It is doubtful on your current 429s.

I noticed small improvements when I shifted over from my DX to STX on my ATH-M50s, but it was readily apparent on my Beyer DT-880s (250ohm). I recently had a chance to play around with a DX again with my current headphones, the Ultrasone PRO900s, and there was a clear, audible difference.

Also, if you like switching between headphones and speakers, the STX has the capacity to swap outputs from the dual RCAs which would presumably go to your speakers, and the 1/4 in headphone output.

Some other things to keep in mind, the DX runs off of 4 pin power and the STX runs off of molex.

If you are satisfied with your audio at this point, and don't think you will be spending too much money in the future in the field, go with the DX. It will serve you well at an astounding price. However, if you intend to take your audio exploits further and further, and don't want to be limited by the relatively low powered amp on the DX, go for the refurb STX, or buy one off the OCN marketplace like I did.

Final option, buy the DX with the intent of buying the STX later. You can always sell it, and owning multiple sources, headphones, and amps will helps attenuate your ears to the subtleties that stem from different hardware. You also get the upside of having personal experience with the hardware, which lets you give personalized input on the matter like I am now giving to you. smile.gif

Take Care

P.S I apologize, but I won't be able to reply to this thread as it develops, because I need to have my 1,000th post be my long-in-progress Westone 3 review. All replies will be posted in edits to this post.
Edited by pangolinman - 3/31/12 at 9:10pm
post #3 of 7
Are the HD 429 the new headphones? If so, you want to get new headphones again (of higher quality) before you start thinking about upgrading another part of the signal chain.

Well actually if you hear some weird static or spurious noises from the onboard audio, then that would be worth fixing now by getting something else. But other than that, just use that until you get headphones of a better class.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Are the HD 429 the new headphones? If so, you want to get new headphones again (of higher quality) before you start thinking about upgrading another part of the signal chain.
Well actually if you hear some weird static or spurious noises from the onboard audio, then that would be worth fixing now by getting something else. But other than that, just use that until you get headphones of a better class.

Yes, the 429s are the new ones, I don't quite understand why everyone keeps implying that they're not very good though, they're the best headphones I've ever heard worriedsmiley.gif

To put it simply, my iPhone has significantly better sound quality than my onboard audio
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobybobag View Post

Yes, the 429s are the new ones, I don't quite understand why everyone keeps implying that they're not very good though, they're the best headphones I've ever heard worriedsmiley.gif
To put it simply, my iPhone has significantly better sound quality than my onboard audio

Well, there's much better headphones out there, even though these are already a huge step over what a lot of people use. Generally the difference between headphones is a lot greater than the difference between other parts of the signal chain, so if you were looking at spending like $150 or more total, I'd say to just spend all of the money on the headphones rather than half on headphones and half on a sound card. For the cost of HD 429 and say a Xonar DX (not to mention STX cost), you could have like a Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 or M50, Ultrasone Pro 550, Shure SRH840, Sennheiser HD 558, or whatever else is suitable.

I'm somewhat skeptical of the iPhone having that much better sound quality. Usually that shouldn't be the case. However, onboard audio does vary widely in quality, so I guess it could be true. If you want to try something in hopes it will be better, I wouldn't spend on anything more than a Xonar DG for now.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Are the HD 429 the new headphones? If so, you want to get new headphones again (of higher quality) before you start thinking about upgrading another part of the signal chain.
Well actually if you hear some weird static or spurious noises from the onboard audio, then that would be worth fixing now by getting something else. But other than that, just use that until you get headphones of a better class.
Theres all kinds of weird noises.. Also practically bass comes through really distorted if I use an equalizer at all, and I know it's not the headphones because it sounds fine on everything else, i just never noticed any of this before because my old headset was so crappy
(10$ logitech headset)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Well, there's much better headphones out there, even though these are already a huge step over what a lot of people use. Generally the difference between headphones is a lot greater than the difference between other parts of the signal chain, so if you were looking at spending like $150 or more total, I'd say to just spend all of the money on the headphones rather than half on headphones and half on a sound card. For the cost of HD 429 and say a Xonar DX (not to mention STX cost), you could have like a Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 or M50, Ultrasone Pro 550, Shure SRH840, Sennheiser HD 558, or whatever else is suitable.
I'm somewhat skeptical of the iPhone having that much better sound quality. Usually that shouldn't be the case. However, onboard audio does vary widely in quality, so I guess it could be true. If you want to try something in hopes it will be better, I wouldn't spend on anything more than a Xonar DG for now.

I think I may get the DX, and sell it later on
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
figured I'd update this

I got the DX, and I regret nothing biggrin.gif
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