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[RT] ASUS Introduces the Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Cards - Page 7

post #61 of 231
by bojinglebells "the 7.1 daughter board seems very silly; doesn't seem like there would be much of a niche for people with 5.1-7.1 setup who would want to connect it via analog directly to an audiophile soundcard...but I suppose its nice to have the option

I guess I just don't know of many if any good PC speakers anymore, or that if you have your own HT speaker setup, why you would want to connect it via analog rather than digital and let your own equipment do the sound processing."


@ bojinglebells

That's the point, a person using this card with the daughter card would not use PC speakers. I actually ran the ST/H6 combo with my PC serving as my preamp to 8 channels of amplification. Speakers are Klipsch Cornwalls, Klipsch Heresy for the center, Def Tech BP-1's and BP-2's for sides and rear and 2 15 inch subwoofers for the LFE. EQ and room correction is accomplished by JRiver. There is a market (basically the HTPC market and audiophile HIFI music).

I would connect by analog rather than digital to let JRiver handle all processing and EQing - and connect via digital (toslink and coax) limits my resolution and down rez's my Blu-Ray's. If you are using an HTPC - analog outs to power amps or HDMI to a receiver are the main ways to go.
Edited by prerich - 3/26/14 at 6:35am
post #62 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebduncan View Post

I don't understand the need for a sound card anymore, its called use your digital out and connect to a REAL audio solution.

I guess it kinda makes sense for headphone owners who want a built in amp, rather than external.

I personally use optical toslink out to my 7.1 receiver. I can plug head phones into that if I choose to, or I can just use my massively over powered speakers to shake the house.

My receiver is older and doesn't support the HD audio codecs, otherwise I'd use Hdmi.
Ok, you're at the best solution you can get with your older receiver. However with HDMI you have the jitter issue along with HDCP, with toslink and coax you have the resolution limitation. Allowing your sound card to output to amps via analog outs - and using ASIO drivers, you are capable of high resolution audio, including those at odd sampling frequencies such as 88.2khz and 176.4 khz, this combined with the ASUS seperate clock makes it ideal for computer audiophiles. What I would have liked to have seen is for Asus to introduce a HDMI to analog out multichannel DAC using the ESS 9018 Sabre 32 DAC chip. I've found another company that has such a product.

Many audiophiles opt for an external DAC solution (these are generally 2 channel) - but the Asus product is one of the few to offer high-end audiophile sound with a multichannel option.
post #63 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by barcode71 View Post

Read about the STX II before it was posted here, I'm well aware of the specs. Maybe you should read what people are replying to before jumping the gun. I was referring to his post,
MacG32 says he has a STX card I don't know why he's drooling over the STX II since the exterior looks exactly the same as the vanilla board, including the daughter board. And no I'm not trolling, it's a simple straightforward comment.
STX was not capable of multichannel via analog out ...only through digital coax or toslink. This means downrez'd audio. Many in the HTPC realm have opted for the Claro Halo or the Asus ST/H6 because you can get full resolution HD audio through the analog outputs. That's the reason I didn't buy the STX because there was no way to add the analog outs - I was stuck with Toslink or coax for multichannel and it meant I had to keep a motherboard with PCI slots. I see what Asus is doing and I commend them for it, however they could have really reached for the clouds. wink.gif
post #64 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).
Nice head-fi rig you got there!!!
post #65 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by bojinglebells View Post

the 7.1 daughter board seems very silly; doesn't seem like there would be much of a niche for people with 5.1-7.1 setup who would want to connect it via analog directly to an audiophile soundcard...but I suppose its nice to have the option

I guess I just don't know of many if any good PC speakers anymore, or that if you have your own HT speaker setup, why you would want to connect it via analog rather than digital and let your own equipment do the sound processing.

There's still a lot of people with Z-5500's or better 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound systems who prefer that over a pair of headphones. My main issue with sound cards these days is the lack of 5.1 and 7.1 outputs. Now, if only the daughterboard didn't take up an extra slot....

Howe else am I going to run 3 way SLI mad.gif
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post #66 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubadah View Post

Christ I hate PCI-E 1x. It's totally insufficient to support a card this size. For stubby little USB controllers, half height NICs etc, sure. But for deep, long sound cards with the added weight of EMI shielding it's a joke.

Since many users end up putting these cards into physical 16x slots, I'd like them to leave a dummy 16x PCB extension on the card (snap off for 1x slots), then the card can be well secured for those users at least.

You realize that a steel M3 screw that SHOULD be used when securing your cards in your case, is actually holding down your card with a few 100s of lbs of force, right?
And that you are not supposed to just plug it in and "hope" it stays put by the spring friction introduced by the slot's contacts?

Just checking. rolleyes.gif

The system you are suggesting adds complexity and cost for no real benefit.
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post #67 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by prerich View Post

Ok, you're at the best solution you can get with your older receiver. However with HDMI you have the jitter issue along with HDCP, with toslink and coax you have the resolution limitation. Allowing your sound card to output to amps via analog outs - and using ASIO drivers, you are capable of high resolution audio, including those at odd sampling frequencies such as 88.2khz and 176.4 khz, this combined with the ASUS seperate clock makes it ideal for computer audiophiles. What I would have liked to have seen is for Asus to introduce a HDMI to analog out multichannel DAC using the ESS 9018 Sabre 32 DAC chip. I've found another company that has such a product.

Many audiophiles opt for an external DAC solution (these are generally 2 channel) - but the Asus product is one of the few to offer high-end audiophile sound with a multichannel option.

I'm sorry, but ASIO drivers have *zero* impact on your audio "resolution". I would be more worried about your ears, than your drivers, when it comes to listening.

I would also like to know how you are being limited by S/PDIF, of which Coax and TOSLINk both are. You won't notice the difference between 48 and 96 Khz in normal environments, if at all.
Edited by DVLux - 3/26/14 at 12:01pm
post #68 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVLux View Post

I'm sorry, but ASIO drivers have *zero* impact on your audio "resolution". I would be more worried about your ears, than your drivers, when it comes to listening.

I would also like to know how you are being limited by S/PDIF, of which Coax and TOSLINk both are. You won't notice the difference between 48 and 96 Khz in normal environments, if at all.
Well for one instance everyone knows that Toslink is limited to a maximum of 48khz for multichannel and doesn't support High Resolution multichannel codecs.
2. Your comment about the ASUS ASIO drivers are wrong. The Asus STXII, when using ASIO drivers will handle the following resolutions 32khz, 44.1khz, 48khz, 88.2khz, 96khz, 176.4khz, and 192khz (discovered by Stereophile and its also on the STXII spec sheet)...the odd-balls being 88.2khz and 176.4khz - these however are seen most often in high-fidelity downloads. The more common resolutions are 44.1khz, 48khz, and 96khz....but spdif limits these to 48khz in multichannel. Bluray is capable of 192 khz multichannel lossless playback. Now I know that most sound engineers master at a maximum of 96khz (but usually 48khz). I know most people say you can't tell the difference and I know that the PC world is video driven. However, in the audio world we like what we like and if someone can discern the difference - jolly good for them. I'm not a gamer...at all. I'm an HTPC Bluray and music fan and I love multichannel high resolution files. In order to do this - Toslink doesn't fit the bill (for multichannel).

I currently use a Phonic Firefly 808u as a sound card, overkill for most people ... yes, but I love it. My sound system would be considered overkill, but my video would be considered trash to a gamer (as long as it handle 1080p I'm fine...hey I'm even fine with 720p). I can handle video that's less than "perfect" but if the audio is subpar - I'll know it.

PS - everyone doesn't listen in "normal enviornments" - I have acoustic treatments (bass traps, diffusors, etc) , I've also applied PEQ and conducted acoustic measurements of my system using a calibrated mic and software. I'd be considered the niche customer that Asus is aiming at. What they should have done is add DSD support to the STXII along with the 7.1 analog - that would have been huge!
post #69 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by prerich View Post

Well for one instance everyone knows that Toslink is limited to a maximum of 48khz for multichannel and doesn't support High Resolution multichannel codecs.
2. Your comment about the ASUS ASIO drivers are wrong. The Asus STXII, when using ASIO drivers will handle the following resolutions 32khz, 44.1khz, 48khz, 88.2khz, 96khz, 176.4khz, and 192khz (discovered by Stereophile and its also on the STXII spec sheet)...the odd-balls being 88.2khz and 176.4khz - these however are seen most often in high-fidelity downloads. The more common resolutions are 44.1khz, 48khz, and 96khz....but spdif limits these to 48khz in multichannel. Bluray is capable of 192 khz multichannel lossless playback. Now I know that most sound engineers master at a maximum of 96khz (but usually 48khz). I know most people say you can't tell the difference and I know that the PC world is video driven. However, in the audio world we like what we like and if someone can discern the difference - jolly good for them. I'm not a gamer...at all. I'm an HTPC Bluray and music fan and I love multichannel high resolution files. In order to do this - Toslink doesn't fit the bill (for multichannel).

I currently use a Phonic Firefly 808u as a sound card, overkill for most people ... yes, but I love it. My sound system would be considered overkill, but my video would be considered trash to a gamer (as long as it handle 1080p I'm fine...hey I'm even fine with 720p). I can handle video that's less than "perfect" but if the audio is subpar - I'll know it.

PS - everyone doesn't listen in "normal enviornments" - I have acoustic treatments (bass traps, diffusors, etc) , I've also applied PEQ and conducted acoustic measurements of my system using a calibrated mic and software. I'd be considered the niche customer that Asus is aiming at. What they should have done is add DSD support to the STXII along with the 7.1 analog - that would have been huge!


Sigh...Stop using the word "resolution". Those are *sample rates*. Drivers are drivers, and the allowed samplerate/bit depth is determined by your A/D D/A chip. ASIO has jack all to do with it. Also, you might want a different sound interface... Since USB introduces jitter. rolleyes.gif
Edited by DVLux - 3/26/14 at 1:16pm
post #70 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVLux View Post

Sigh...Stop using the word "resolution". Those are *sample rates*. Drivers are drivers, and the allowed samplerate/bit depth is determined by your A/D D/A chip. ASIO has jack all to do with it. Also, you might want a different sound interface... Since USB introduces jitter. rolleyes.gif
I've used the phrase "sample rates" in a couple of my post already as the terms are interchangeable. USB introducing jitter?!!!! An asynchronous USB interface has the least amount of jitter - however, I'm not using USB - I'm using Firewire (that's what the U is for in the model name ...universal). What surprisingly has an amazing amount of jitter is Toslink.

P.S. You can have the best chip there is, write bad drivers for it - and it will perform like garbage. And by the way - in the sound industry - we tend to prefer ASIO due to its low latency.
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