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ASUS Launches Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Cards
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Hilbert Hagedoorn
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Default ASUS Launches Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Cards - 03-14-2014, 08:12 | posts: 21,694 | Location: Guru3D testlab

ASUS today announced Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1, two new Hi-Fi-grade sound cards designed to delight audiophiles with 124 dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) clarity and a 600 ohm-headphone ampl...

ASUS Launches Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Cards
   
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RED_404
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Default 03-14-2014, 08:48 | posts: 26 | Location: Waverly, KS

Or never touch a sound card again. Get a good DAC and never deal with crap drivers, distorted DSPs, high CPU usage doto the crap drivers and no high DPC/kernel interrupts and better system stability.
   
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Ch0plol
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Default 03-14-2014, 08:52 | posts: 125 | Location: San Diego, CA

ASUS soundcard driver support is nonexistent. If it wasn't for the guy who makes the UNi Xonar drivers the cards would only be useful as a paperweight.
   
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HonoredShadow
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Default 03-14-2014, 08:58 | posts: 3,696 | Location: UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by RED_404 View Post
Or never touch a sound card again. Get a good DAC and never deal with crap drivers, distorted DSPs, high CPU usage doto the crap drivers and no high DPC/kernel interrupts and better system stability.
OOOh! Please tell me more! This is all very new to me. What pumps out the sound then if you have no sound card?
   
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moab600
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Default 03-14-2014, 09:45 | posts: 4,654 | Location: Israel

Looks good but they come with DHT software which i hated with my phoebus, and Asus driver support is poor to say at least.
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 10:03 | posts: 543 | Location: MK

Sound cards are ****, high latency, driver issues and the sound quality isn't better, they just have a built in amp to be louder. I don't even use my Asus any more due to so many issues I used to have with it and they never update their drivers. Rocksmith doesn't even work with it because of the latency the card generates.
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 12:24 | posts: 207 | Location: Dublin

Drivers may not be the best but I sure had fun listening to jazz through Essence STX & Sennheiser HD600. Think am gonna buy the new version and get myself HD650 as well.
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 12:56 | posts: 6,735 | Location: Tokyo, Japan

Quote:
Originally Posted by HonoredShadow View Post
OOOh! Please tell me more! This is all very new to me. What pumps out the sound then if you have no sound card?
USB DAC/amp- digital to analog converter + amplifier
Some have an amp built in. Do note that an amp isn't just for increasing volume. It also increases the quality and can change the characteristics of a headphone. So best to have a good headphone(s) first before you have a higher end amp.
Prepare your wallet...

Last edited by FULMTL; 03-14-2014 at 13:08.
   
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HonoredShadow
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Default 03-14-2014, 13:21 | posts: 3,696 | Location: UK

Thanks FULMTL. So are all sound cards rubbish then? High latency and bad drivers?
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 14:02 | posts: 88

Quote:
Originally Posted by HonoredShadow View Post
Thanks FULMTL. So are all sound cards rubbish then? High latency and bad drivers?
Ive been using creative sound cards for years now using the x-fi and it is very nice never have issues with it..even with my descent on board sound from the asus maximus formula...the sound card still produces much clearer and crisp sounds its esp noticeable in games like gw2 where lots of sounds are being created in large battles...with on board its much more mashes together and unclear....if you cant notice the difference you either cant hear or should not buy asus sound cards...... lol
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 14:12 | posts: 1,423 | Location: Japan, Soka

Never had any issues with simple Xonar DG and its night and day comparing to mobo's audio.


   
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War child
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Default 03-14-2014, 14:53 | posts: 263 | Location: Oslo

Asus own STX drivers are bad. but someone did make a 3rd party Xonar driver which is lightweight and addresses alot of issues. I use it for my current STX and its far better.
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 14:58 | posts: 466 | Location: MA, USA

Unless you wear headphones or care about analog recording quality, I really don't understand the point of modern discrete sound cards these days. SPDIF on integrated audio or HDMI audio is already good enough - get yourself a good sound receiver and you'll be all set for the years to come. Your speakers are only as good as the lowest quality part, so even if you're paying for a high-end sound card, if the speakers themselves or the transistors driving them are crap then you're still going to get bad sound.

I also think that supreme sound quality is just a placebo. People need to justify paying several hundred dollars/euros on something they're physically incapable of noticing so they just believe they notice a difference. Then again, you could say the same about people who buy the latest i7 every time a new one comes out.
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 17:40 | posts: 1,602 | Location: Temeswar, Romania

Quote:
Originally Posted by sverek View Post
Never had any issues with simple Xonar DG and its night and day comparing to mobo's audio.
Same with mine.
   
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Default 03-14-2014, 19:30 | posts: 6

Quote:
Originally Posted by RED_404 View Post
Or never touch a sound card again. Get a good DAC and never deal with crap drivers, distorted DSPs, high CPU usage doto the crap drivers and no high DPC/kernel interrupts and better system stability.
Can't agree more on that!

Get a DAC headphone amp, good 2.0 speaker and headphone and you will see the difference!

These Asus and Creative are making huge market share in PC sound sector, but their SQ are real bad and they are not cheap at all, the value you paid for could get a much better gear in DAC and speakers!
   
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sverek
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Default 03-14-2014, 20:35 | posts: 1,423 | Location: Japan, Soka

I can't believe people found to argue about something and its not "Nvidia VS Amd".

Quote:
Get a DAC headphone amp, good 2.0 speaker and headphone and you will see the difference!
Great! but how much that cost?

I got Xonar DG to drive Sennheiser 595 for $20. And it was quite an upgrade in audio quality.


   
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gapson
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Default 03-15-2014, 07:12 | posts: 6

Quote:
Originally Posted by sverek View Post
I can't believe people found to argue about something and its not "Nvidia VS Amd".


Great! but how much that cost?

I got Xonar DG to drive Sennheiser 595 for $20. And it was quite an upgrade in audio quality.

I got the Essence STX a while ago and a DAC from Audio-GD, prices between them are marginal. The SQ is much comparable and you may google it to find some discussions and impressions.
   
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leeaids
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Default 03-15-2014, 10:50 | posts: 84 | Location: England

iv been using an asus essence stx for a wile now and as i use a pair of mackie hr 824s, before the sound card i used on bord sound, i can tell you for sure a sound card makes all the diffrtence if your using decent speakers,

on bord sound is ok for day to day use but not for good much else
   
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FULMTL
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Default 03-15-2014, 12:00 | posts: 6,735 | Location: Tokyo, Japan

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag View Post
Unless you wear headphones or care about analog recording quality, I really don't understand the point of modern discrete sound cards these days. SPDIF on integrated audio or HDMI audio is already good enough - get yourself a good sound receiver and you'll be all set for the years to come. Your speakers are only as good as the lowest quality part, so even if you're paying for a high-end sound card, if the speakers themselves or the transistors driving them are crap then you're still going to get bad sound.

I also think that supreme sound quality is just a placebo. People need to justify paying several hundred dollars/euros on something they're physically incapable of noticing so they just believe they notice a difference. Then again, you could say the same about people who buy the latest i7 every time a new one comes out.

Go to a headphone store and tell me you won't notice the difference between sound quality when you have a wall like this in front of you. You can even measure the differences between a poor headphone and a quality one. You can even see a sound signature just by looking at the wave pattern. However you seem to be too ignorant to even try and you are just missing out.


Last edited by FULMTL; 03-15-2014 at 12:04.
   
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CronoGraal
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Default 03-15-2014, 12:06 | posts: 3,855 | Location: Sweden

audigy se + steelseries siberia v2. come at me.
   
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Andrew LB
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Default 03-15-2014, 13:16 | posts: 445 | Location: Peoples Republic of Kalifornia

Quote:
Originally Posted by miffywiffy View Post
Sound cards are ****, high latency, driver issues and the sound quality isn't better, they just have a built in amp to be louder.
Talk about the biggest load of crap i've read on the net in a long time. I have zero driver issues with my x-fi titanium HD, latency is normal, and the sound quality completely obliterates any onboard sound. I guess they may sound the same with a pair of $15 headphones, but if you actually had quality studio monitors or headphones like my Sennheiser HD580's, the difference is like night and day.
   
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Andrew LB
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Default 03-15-2014, 13:19 | posts: 445 | Location: Peoples Republic of Kalifornia

Quote:
Originally Posted by FULMTL View Post
Go to a headphone store and tell me you won't notice the difference between sound quality when you have a wall like this in front of you. You can even measure the differences between a poor headphone and a quality one. You can even see a sound signature just by looking at the wave pattern. However you seem to be too ignorant to even try and you are just missing out.

http://cdn.head-fi.org/7/71/711b388e...1504998_n.jpeg
OH...my...God... that is one of the most beautiful things i've ever seen. Do such places exist in the United States? Or do I have to make the Journey to Japan to experience such glory?
   
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orky87
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Default 03-15-2014, 23:03 | posts: 122 | Location: https://

Sound cards are a must for gaming that said there no point in spending 150-200 on one, fooling yourself into believing that it's a great audio solution.

With that money or for a little bit more (or less if second hand) you could invest in an external USB DAC/Amp and move it from one source to another without having to limit yourself to PCI/e only.

Sound cards get their power from PSUs which can be electrically noisy and as it sits inside your case jammed beside a GPU they are surrounded by EMI. These two valid factors don't go well with audio and are often brought up in arguments against sound cards.

Moving to external audio eliminates EMI and most USB DAC/Amp combo's also benefit from plug&play with native OS driver support.

As an example of what could be had instead of a sound card here's a list of credible combo's that will do a great job yet don't have a ridiculous Audiophile price tag attached to them;

-Leckerton Audio UHA-6S.MKII
-JDS Labs or Mayflower Electronics O2+ODAC, (UK Ver. Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2D)
-Audinst HUD-mx2 or cheaper mx1
-Yulong U100

Getting ether one of the above is all you really need to replace a sound card, I'm sure there are others to consider but the list consists of very credible audio combo's. There's not much out there that matches this level of bang for buck really.
   
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FULMTL
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Default 03-16-2014, 00:09 | posts: 6,735 | Location: Tokyo, Japan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew LB View Post
OH...my...God... that is one of the most beautiful things i've ever seen. Do such places exist in the United States? Or do I have to make the Journey to Japan to experience such glory?
The closest you can get to this is in the US is the Headroom store in Montana.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content...eadphone-store



They will most likely have headphones worth listening to and not everything in a lineup as they do in Japan. Quality vs quantity. According to the above link, he says there's about 10 headphone stores in the US.

Last edited by FULMTL; 03-16-2014 at 00:20.
   
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ASLayerAODsk
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Default 03-16-2014, 03:38 | posts: 702 | Location: Canada

I wonder how big the difference will be from the STX to the II....if any.
   
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