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[RT] ASUS Introduces the Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Cards - Page 6

post #51 of 231
My onboard is good enough well at least with the one on my current motherboard.

I would rather use an external sound solution via usb/spdif instead of dealing with possible buggy drivers again from ASUS.
post #52 of 231
Do note that advertised SnR is vastly different from real measured SnR. It's quoting the opamp maximum theoretical max on the spec sheet, however implementation via electrical circuit makes this vastly hard to achieve. This is why electrical engineers get paid the big bucks.
Need to know what headphone amp chip it uses.

Also please don't 'ricer' your soundcards by op-amp 'upgrading' it.
Yes, the term 'ricer' is the perfect analogy for it.

You cannot solely judge sound quality by the opamp it uses. It's like judging how fast a car goes solely by the engine and nothing else. It's massively flawed.

<-- former OCN Audio editor.

The only real difference I can see between Essence STX and STX II is it comes with 7.1 connectivity and no need for an additional daughter board like the STX.
Edited by chinesekiwi - 3/15/14 at 1:46pm
post #53 of 231
Would also like to know what DACs they are using for the rear/center/subwoofer/etc... channels.
post #54 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strider49 View Post

Would also like to know what DACs they are using for the rear/center/subwoofer/etc... channels.

It should be the same as the main STX board. Unless I'm missing something...
post #55 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by 45nm View Post

http://www.stereophile.com/content/asus-xonar-essence-ststx-soundcards-measurements
As for these new versions of the STX and the 7.1 gimmick it seems Asus offers nothing new with the STX II lineup. The previous generation could power 600Ohm headphones with ease and I can attest to it as I am listening to a STX with my Beyerdynamic T1 (600Ohm).

I know stereophile says the STX measured better, but it's just my opinion that the ST sounded better. It perhaps wasn't as detailed in the top end, but it sounded more natural and was less fatiguing over long listening sessions. If you have the T1's, you should know better than to only trust measurements. Because if that were the case, then the HD800 would win every time against the T1. It is entirely possible for two speakers or amps to have very similar measurements, yet sound leagues apart in actual sound quality. But, that's just my opinion tongue.gif

You should really think about getting an external amp with the T1's. The ST/X really doesn't do it justice, and the T1's deserve better amplification, especially considering their cost. "Source first" is the general rule of thumb I tend to follow smile.gif I had switched to the Woo Audio 2 for a while, though now I'm using the Beyerdynamic HDVA 600 with my T1's reterminated in stereo XLR... It hurts to hear the loss in sound quality switching back to the ST/X for amplification.
Edited by ColSanderz - 3/15/14 at 3:40pm
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post #56 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSanderz View Post

I know stereophile says the STX measured better, but it's just my opinion that the ST sounded better. It perhaps wasn't as detailed in the top end, but it sounded more natural and was less fatiguing over long listening sessions. If you have the T1's, you should know better than to only trust measurements. Because if that were the case, then the HD800 would win every time against the T1. It is entirely possible for two speakers or amps to have very similar measurements, yet sound leagues apart in actual sound quality. But, that's just my opinion tongue.gif

You should really think about getting an external amp with the T1's. The ST/X really doesn't do it justice, and the T1's deserve better amplification, especially considering their cost. "Source first" is the general rule of thumb I tend to follow smile.gif I had switched to the Woo Audio 2 for a while, though now I'm using the Beyerdynamic HDVA 600 with my T1's reterminated in stereo XLR... It hurts to hear the loss in sound quality switching back to the ST/X for amplification.

The STX while it may be somewhat aggressive on certain notes still has enough output impedance and dampening to drive higher impedance headphones in the range of 80Ohms+. The STX can actually drive the T1 quite well and there is no doubt of that.It is also far from fatiguing and unnatural. You can read some of the posts on Head-Fi that confirm this if there is any doubt about it. Here is such a post:
Quote:
Objectively speaking, there is no reason why the Xonar Essence STX would not be perfectly fine to drive the T1. It is false information that it has "not enough power" to drive those headphones, and is mostly based on audiophile prejudice against sound cards, and the (incorrect) assumption that an expensive headphone requires an equally expensive amplifier. In fact, this card has worse - but usually still not bad - sound quality when driving low impedance headphones (and especially some IEMs), so you can ignore advice from those who suggest it is "not suitable for driving anything higher than 32 Ω". The only way in which high impedance is "difficult to drive" is that it needs more voltage for the same power, but the amplifier on the card can output enough voltage (up to about 7 Vrms without audible distortion) for almost everything, including the T1.

None of the FiiO amplifiers would "upgrade" the Xonar STX for the purpose of driving the T1. The T5p is basically a closed version of the T1, and sacrifices some sound quality for isolation. If you do not actually need isolation, it is a worse choice for the price, regardless of what you drive it with.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/663445/xonar-essence-stx-beyerdynamic-t1#post_9430767

Concerning measurements of the HD800 and the T1 if you look they are quite similar except for the higher treble peaks that the Beyerdynamic T1 produces.
graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=4061&graphID[]=2033&scale=30

I also have an external amp (it is clearly listed in my signature of my current rig). It is the JDS Labs O2+ODAC which can power 95%+ of the headphones on the market including my late serial number HD800. You might be asking why don't I alternate between both on the O2+ODAC and that is because it is more convenient and faster to alternate between both with a couple of clicks in Control Panel. I also do not believe in the Snake-oil balanced cables or thousand dollar amps. Headphones make more of a difference than a more expensive amp/dac. If you don't believe me you can check out the testing between the Benchmark DAC1 Amp/Dac and the O2. The Benchmark DAC1 is a $1000> amp and dac combo that has an excellent reputation in the community. That is also verified with Blind listening and Objective tests (rather than the flawed Subjective testing).
post #57 of 231
Still using a bridge chip, they could have at least given us a native PCI-E card.
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post #58 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by 45nm View Post

The STX while it may be somewhat aggressive on certain notes still has enough output impedance and dampening to drive higher impedance headphones in the range of 80Ohms+. The STX can actually drive the T1 quite well and there is no doubt of that.It is also far from fatiguing and unnatural. You can read some of the posts on Head-Fi that confirm this if there is any doubt about it. Here is such a post:
Concerning measurements of the HD800 and the T1 if you look they are quite similar except for the higher treble peaks that the Beyerdynamic T1 produces.
graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=4061&graphID[]=2033&scale=30

I also have an external amp (it is clearly listed in my signature of my current rig). It is the JDS Labs O2+ODAC which can power 95%+ of the headphones on the market including my late serial number HD800. You might be asking why don't I alternate between both on the O2+ODAC and that is because it is more convenient and faster to alternate between both with a couple of clicks in Control Panel. I also do not believe in the Snake-oil balanced cables or thousand dollar amps. Headphones make more of a difference than a more expensive amp/dac. If you don't believe me you can check out the testing between the Benchmark DAC1 Amp/Dac and the O2. The Benchmark DAC1 is a $1000> amp and dac combo that has an excellent reputation in the community. That is also verified with Blind listening and Objective tests (rather than the flawed Subjective testing).

You might as well include the original HD800 as well as the HD800 balanced. I dunno, I'd say the balanced had a definitive impact on the measurements. That said, it is very nice to see that Sennheiser has been making revisions so the 2013 unbalanced is much closer to the original balanced HD800 that was measured. The newer measurements are a lot more mature and well behaved. It was my original reason for taking the T1 instead as the sibilance in the HD800 was too much for me.
graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2033&graphID[]=863&graphID[]=4061&graphID[]=2321&scale=15

Yes, I'll agree that spending thousands on cables is a bit foolish, I couldn't say the same switching from unbalanced to balanced. It is also well documented that balanced cables change the performance of a headphone.

You did correct me in that the ST/X is definitely more than capable of powering the T1's. Yea, I'll admit fault there. I'm well aware of the O2. I think it's absolutely wonderful and performs well above its price point, but doesn't hold a candle to some of the more pricier stuff out there (read >$1000). I think we should keep in mind that these differences can sometimes be quite small (and often exaggerated as huge). But I'm not looking at price/performance, I am looking at absolute performance regardless of price. For example, compared to the Woo Audio 2, I feel the ST/X was, among other things, very muddy in the low end and recessed in the mids. And then the next improvement was made with the balanced 4pin XLR. That difference was not small, and it's like listening to a different headphone altogether. Again, just my opinion on the topic.

I can tell though that we probably won't be convincing each other of our opinions and ideals on audio equipment but that's the nice thing about audio. Everyone is looking for something different, and they are always right when they come to their own listening preferences.
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post #59 of 231
Please use the raw data on the Innerfidelity headphone data downloads as the Headroom graphs are averaged and thus flawed.
post #60 of 231
balanced does not change how a headphones sound. If anything, it adds additional distortion,
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