Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › UPDATED 1/12/12: X-Fi Bites the Dust - Titanium HD vs. Essence STX Comparo
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

UPDATED 1/12/12: X-Fi Bites the Dust - Titanium HD vs. Essence STX Comparo - Page 7

post #61 of 173
I can't find it on the Americas section of the Onkyo site. I wonder when it will come into production in the US or if it has already died out in the US.
Trinity
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A10-5800K Biostar Hi-Fi A85W APU Integrated Graphics G.Skill 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 64GB Western Digital WD Blue 500GB Lite-On iHAS124 CD/DVD Burner Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (Pull Configuration) 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX Filco Majestouch Black w/ Cherry MX Blue (JIS l... 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair CX430 NZXT Source 220 Logitech Click! Mouse SteelSeries QcK Mini Diablo III Edition 
AudioAudioOther
Sony SRS-T10PC USB Portable Speaker Realtek Onboard Audio Intel Centrino Desktop Wireless 
  hide details  
Reply
Trinity
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A10-5800K Biostar Hi-Fi A85W APU Integrated Graphics G.Skill 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 64GB Western Digital WD Blue 500GB Lite-On iHAS124 CD/DVD Burner Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (Pull Configuration) 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX Filco Majestouch Black w/ Cherry MX Blue (JIS l... 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair CX430 NZXT Source 220 Logitech Click! Mouse SteelSeries QcK Mini Diablo III Edition 
AudioAudioOther
Sony SRS-T10PC USB Portable Speaker Realtek Onboard Audio Intel Centrino Desktop Wireless 
  hide details  
Reply
post #62 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyMaster;13105624 
A Little History
As many of you know, Creative has been in the sound card market for decades. They had their humble SoundBlasters, started the Audigy line and eventually started the X-Fi line of cards. Now, even though the X-Fi was technically the most advanced sound DSP (digital signal processor) to ever grace the computer world, it had its issues. The earlier DSPs had overheating issues and many of died a premature death. Then came the Vista debacle when the drivers were clearly horrible.

Sometime around when Creative was having issues with Vista drivers was when Asus decided, "Hey, let's enter the sound card market!" And enter they did. By utilizing the C-Media OxygenHD DSP, Asus took one of the most potent multimedia DSPs and threw it on a PCB packed with features. Not only have they eaten away at the market share by offering very good quality sound cards, but they also appealed to the Hi-Fi/audiophile market with the Xonar D2X and later, the Essence STX and ST. The Asus front garnered support on the back of Creative's Vista driver issues even though they had issues with drivers themselves when Windows 7 came out.

As some of you already know, I recently bought a Xonar Essence STX. Even though I already own the Titanium HD and a Xonar D1, there have been a lot of discussion on which of the two (Essence STX or Titanium HD) was actually better. Considering that the two are close to or are each respective company's flagship card, a comparison was unavoidable. There has been much back and forth discussion from Asus owners and Creative owners on which is actually the better card. No one had enough evidence to draw a conclusion until now.

Setup
256kbps or above MP3/FLAC => X-Fi Titanium HD/Xonar Essence STX => Ultrasone PRO 550 Headphone
Little Dot MKII with gain set to 5 may also be used.
All testing will be conducted in stereo. The Titanium HD will be using Audio Creation Mode. The Xonar Essence STX will be using Hi-Fi mode. No equalizers or DSP effects of any kind will be applied.

Pics

X-Fi Titanium HD

aniumhd.jpg

Xonar Essence STX

essencestx.jpg

Xonar D1 (not included for direct comparison but may be used for reference from time to time)

xonard1.jpg

Drivers


Music Impressions
The Essence STX is often touted as the "best music sound card." The Titanium HD was essentially Creative's answer to Asus' current stranglehold on that title. Several key factors contribute to overall sound quality: the DAC chip responsible for converting a digital signal to an analog waveform, the operational amplifiers (opamps), the DSP which handles and sometimes modifies the digital signal, as well as the power and filtering circuitry (capacitors, resistors, etc.). For this comparison, several tracks from different genres are included. Clarity, instrument separation, bass/mid/treble emphasis and sound stage will be considered.

Deadmau5 - Right This Second from the album 4x4=12 (FLAC)
Deadmau5's Right This Second is a great song that works very well with the Ultrasone PRO 550. It builds up from the start, dips into silence and then it hits you with visceral bass energy. It has a great tempo with several different notes playing at the same time.

I listened to both sound cards twice on this song. I came from the TiHD to the STX and was immediately impressed by an echo of the primary note of the track on the left channel. The channel shifting of the "beeping" details at about 4:15 was more noticeable on the STX. Wow. That same echo blended in more with the rest of the song on the TiHD. Same applied to the beeping. It was less of its own entity, but part of a whole. Although you could separate out each note easily on both cards, I'll have to hand the Essence STX the win on this one.

STX.

Eminem - B____ Please II from the album The Marshall Mathers LP (320 kbps MP3)
This song has several audio cues that hit you when you aren't looking for them, such as car horns at 39 seconds on the left channel. The bass in this song isn't particularly deep. Voices (particularly Snoop Dogg's) have a tendency to shift around on the sound stage. Gunshots also make an appearance every now and then and typically are found in the left channel about 45º from the horizontal (x-axis).

It's readily apparent in this song that the X-Fi makes the sound stage wider than the STX. Snoop Dogg's voice shifts from left and right are much more noticeable with the X-Fi as well as the car horns I previously mentioned. I did feel like the STX gives a much more "upfront" presentation of the music and brings vocals closer. It does seem like the STX gives an ever-so-slight bass bump over the TiHD in this case.

Tie.

Eagles - Hotel California from the live album Hell Freezes Over (FLAC)
The live version of the song starts out much slower than the studio version and as a result you can pick out many more details and there's a lot of emphasis on the drum prior to the multitude of guitars picking up. A variety of vocals were present with the lead being Don Henley.

The cheering of the crowd is much more noticeable on the STX than on the X-Fi. However, separation between the vocals as well as the instruments isn't as strong. You could tell there were three guitars playing in the background, but it was harder to tell them apart. This was also the same with vocals. Don Henley's voice clearly stood out with the X-Fi but was blended in with the secondary vocals. It was almost as if the X-Fi and the STX did a role reversal compared to the Deadmau5 case. The STX definitely included everything more as a whole picture instead everything as a separate entity.

X-Fi

Natasha Bedingfield - Strip Me from the album Strip Me (256kbps MP3)
Bedingfield's style blends pop and elements of electronica. This song has piano, drums & cymbals, multiple vocal cues, and synthesizer. It has busy and quiet portions that makes this song extremely dynamic.

Carrie Underwood - Don't Forget to Remember Me

30 Seconds to Mars - Night of the Hunter from the album This Is War (V0 MP3)

Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture

Holst's The Seven Planets: Mars (Requested)



Gaming Performance
While these are all considered "audiophile-grade" sound cards, I'm sure plenty of us will be playing games with them. I will play about half an hour of each game on each sound card one after the other. Unless there is absolute need to test the FPS of each game, the effects on FPS are considered negligible. I will make a note if the sound card crashes the game.

Battlefield Bad Company 2
This is one game that not only takes into account how well you can spot and aim, but also get the relative position of where the enemy is. Knowing where the guy is and hearing either his screams or footsteps can help you substantially.

^youll waste your time BC 2 really.
This is from BC@ blog from one of DICE's audio programmers whos responsible for the audio in BC2

And I qoute
"Hardware Acceleration

I touched upon this briefly in the Background section, but it's worth clarifying. Hardware acceleration has been trailing the obvious development in how audio is treated in games for years, unlike graphics acceleration that instead has pushed that area continuously forward. Nowadays even GPGPUs suit the needs of contemporary audio processing better than do hardware accelerating sound cards and we're very excited about the opportunities that something like Intel's Larrabee might give us.


Also, the main benefit that hardware accelerating sound cards has provided to date has been environmental effects, such as reverberation. We believe that we get equivalent or better, more consistent, results from our software solution for a modest CPU cost by today's standards. Even the software APIs available for these cards are lacking in many areas, mainly by retaining the structure of DirectSound that even Microsoft themselves have now abandoned for game development in favor of the more up-to-date XAudio API.


There's nothing to say these APIs couldn't be updated to support the type of functionality needed for advanced audio processing, but the hardware would really need to approach a more general-purpose processor than what today's cards have and then we're back at Larrabee or simply a regular CPU with more cores."

You can read the full article here
http://blogs.battlefield.ea.com/battlefield_bad_company/archive/2010/01/22/an-audiophile-s-guide-to-bf-bc2-full.aspx##
post #63 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spooony;13393689 
^youll waste your time BC 2 really.

in that case, anyone interested in playing BC2 need not look further than their on-board sound card right? you keep saying this on a different forum, and now you're saying it here as well. while the audio may be processed via software instead of through hardware, the signal conversion (i.e. utilizing the DAC on the Titanium HD or Essence STX) can have a significant affect on the sound quality. when i stated that i noticed a big difference in BC2 going from on-board to a Titanium HD, you "lol'd" and told me i "need to stop imagining". i think you need to step back and consider how big of a role the DAC plays in audio quality (the article you linked to even discusses this).
Edited by Porter_ - 5/5/11 at 3:30pm
Peaty
(10 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-6700K @ 4.4 GHz ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero GTX 1070 SLI @ 1924/8000 MHz 16GB DDR4 3200 MHz 
Hard DriveMonitorPowerAudio
2x 850 EVO 500GB ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q AX850 Titanium HD | JDS Labs O2 | HD650 
  hide details  
Reply
Peaty
(10 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-6700K @ 4.4 GHz ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero GTX 1070 SLI @ 1924/8000 MHz 16GB DDR4 3200 MHz 
Hard DriveMonitorPowerAudio
2x 850 EVO 500GB ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q AX850 Titanium HD | JDS Labs O2 | HD650 
  hide details  
Reply
post #64 of 173
BC2 with an aftermarket sound card like the Titanium HD = epic

end of story
My System
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 4670k 4.6GHz 1.24v Asus Maximus VI Hero EVGA GTX 780 ACX x2 SLI 16gb G.Skill Trident X 2400mhz CL10 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 840 PRO 256gb Noctua NH-D15 Windows 8.1 PRO 64 Bit Dell UltraSharp U3011 30inch 2560x1600 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Seasonic X-850 80+ Gold Cooler Master HAF X Logitech G602 Corsair Vengeance MM200 
AudioAudio
Schiit Modi USB DAC External Sound Card Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 4670k 4.6GHz 1.24v Asus Maximus VI Hero EVGA GTX 780 ACX x2 SLI 16gb G.Skill Trident X 2400mhz CL10 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 840 PRO 256gb Noctua NH-D15 Windows 8.1 PRO 64 Bit Dell UltraSharp U3011 30inch 2560x1600 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Seasonic X-850 80+ Gold Cooler Master HAF X Logitech G602 Corsair Vengeance MM200 
AudioAudio
Schiit Modi USB DAC External Sound Card Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers 
  hide details  
Reply
post #65 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven88;13396701 
BC2 with an aftermarket sound card like the Titanium HD = epic

end of story

I'm running it through a forte. Great positioning, but the overall sound quality behind BC2 is meh. One of the worse sounding but nearly all the features to make a good sounding game I've ever played.

I don't know why most people like BC2's sound engine. Hopefully BF3 isn't as bad and fixes everything they went wrong with BC2's audio engine; bass and unrealistic environmental/multi-sound production.
post #66 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spooony;13393689 
^youll waste your time BC 2 really.
This is from BC@ blog from one of DICE's audio programmers whos responsible for the audio in BC2

And I qoute
"Hardware Acceleration

I touched upon this briefly in the Background section, but it's worth clarifying. Hardware acceleration has been trailing the obvious development in how audio is treated in games for years, unlike graphics acceleration that instead has pushed that area continuously forward. Nowadays even GPGPUs suit the needs of contemporary audio processing better than do hardware accelerating sound cards and we're very excited about the opportunities that something like Intel's Larrabee might give us.


Also, the main benefit that hardware accelerating sound cards has provided to date has been environmental effects, such as reverberation. We believe that we get equivalent or better, more consistent, results from our software solution for a modest CPU cost by today's standards. Even the software APIs available for these cards are lacking in many areas, mainly by retaining the structure of DirectSound that even Microsoft themselves have now abandoned for game development in favor of the more up-to-date XAudio API.


There's nothing to say these APIs couldn't be updated to support the type of functionality needed for advanced audio processing, but the hardware would really need to approach a more general-purpose processor than what today's cards have and then we're back at Larrabee or simply a regular CPU with more cores."

You can read the full article here
http://blogs.battlefield.ea.com/battlefield_bad_company/archive/2010/01/22/an-audiophile-s-guide-to-bf-bc2-full.aspx##

dunno, but bc2 sound far more better on my previous prelude then my current stx, reload sound explosion sound fake, and whole game sound like on sewer....but on prelude feels like on cinema/more real and more explosion....(wich on my prelude run on default setting, no cmss, no normalizer, no equalizer, no crystalizer)

and i guess it has something todo with x-fi's to play compressed audio on gaming....

and for bc 2 itself, i tried 3 soundcard, prelude, onboard, and now stx...it's still prelude better on bc 2...stx sound so thin and feels like on sewer on bc 2
My Rig
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4790k (@stock) Asus Maximus 7 Hero DA(palit)gtx 1080 gamerock Corsair Red Vengeance 2333mhz 2x8gb 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
samsung ssd pro 512,  Prolimatech Supermega w10 pro 64 AOC 27" I2757FH 
KeyboardPowerCaseAudio
Filco Camouflage Corsair HX850 W Bitfenix Shinobi XL ZxR, beyer dt 770pro,polk 5.1 
  hide details  
Reply
My Rig
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4790k (@stock) Asus Maximus 7 Hero DA(palit)gtx 1080 gamerock Corsair Red Vengeance 2333mhz 2x8gb 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
samsung ssd pro 512,  Prolimatech Supermega w10 pro 64 AOC 27" I2757FH 
KeyboardPowerCaseAudio
Filco Camouflage Corsair HX850 W Bitfenix Shinobi XL ZxR, beyer dt 770pro,polk 5.1 
  hide details  
Reply
post #67 of 173
Thread Starter 
Added a drivers and connectivity portion. Added Mass Effect 1 impressions.

@BC2 Discussion: That blog article was an interesting read but even though software processing is used in BC2, the fact remains that the X-Fi Titanium HD plays BETTER with the audio engine than the Essence STX does. I'm reminded of that fact every single time I try to play BC2 with the STX. I die much more using the STX without ever hearing gunshots. If I did hear gunshots, I never know where it actually came from as clearly as with the Titanium HD.
Malignance
(24 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K Asus P8Z68-V eVGA GTX670 FTW 16GB Mushkin DDR3-2100 1.5V 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
2 x 128GB Crucial M4 2 x 1TB Samsung F3 RAID0 1.5TB Seagate Asus 22X DVDRW 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Dell Ultrasharp U2410 Asus ProArt PA248Q 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rosewill RK-9000BR PCP&P Silencer MKIII 600W Lian Li PC-A05NB Logitech G500 
Mouse PadAudioAudioAudio
Rocketfish Dual Sided Asus Xonar Essence STX Infinity Primus P153 | Dayton DTA-120 Amplifier... Shure SRH840 
AudioAudioAudio
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Objective DAC Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB 
  hide details  
Reply
Malignance
(24 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K Asus P8Z68-V eVGA GTX670 FTW 16GB Mushkin DDR3-2100 1.5V 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
2 x 128GB Crucial M4 2 x 1TB Samsung F3 RAID0 1.5TB Seagate Asus 22X DVDRW 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Dell Ultrasharp U2410 Asus ProArt PA248Q 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rosewill RK-9000BR PCP&P Silencer MKIII 600W Lian Li PC-A05NB Logitech G500 
Mouse PadAudioAudioAudio
Rocketfish Dual Sided Asus Xonar Essence STX Infinity Primus P153 | Dayton DTA-120 Amplifier... Shure SRH840 
AudioAudioAudio
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Objective DAC Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB 
  hide details  
Reply
post #68 of 173
Rallymaster, have your tried BC2 using the STX with 6 channels?I just did this and it sounds much better.

Take a look at this:

http://forum.game-fi.com/index.php?topic=5.0
Custom rig
(0 items)
  
Reply
Custom rig
(0 items)
  
Reply
post #69 of 173
x-fi titanium HD + bfbc2 "War tape" sound setting + nice pair of headphones = i dont even know how to describe this, someone help me out if you tried..
post #70 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by tian105;13434674 
x-fi titanium HD + bfbc2 "War tape" sound setting + nice pair of headphones = i dont even know how to describe this, someone help me out if you tried..

let me guess, its awesome?biggrin.gif

i dont like war tape, i use the headphone setting, no echo and more natural i think.
Custom rig
(0 items)
  
Reply
Custom rig
(0 items)
  
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Cards and Computer Audio
Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › UPDATED 1/12/12: X-Fi Bites the Dust - Titanium HD vs. Essence STX Comparo