Help with Asus Xonar Essence STX

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by Flisan, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Well i ended up with a used Asus Xonar Essence STX. Maybe not the best choice on a gaming rig, but it was cheap and and don't use anything else but my headphones.

    One problem though. I don't have any 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter which is needed for the headphone plugin, and i don't think i can get hold of any before this weekend.

    So my question. What is the different between using the Front R/L out port with the 3.5mm to RCA cable and only using the headphone out port?
     
  2. Corvus.Corax

    Corvus.Corax Member

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    STX treats the RCA out as a speaker output and it is not amplified. If you listen to a stereo source (music) there won't be a big difference compared to the HP out.
    If you plan on playing games, the biggest problem is that you won't be able to use Dolby Headphone with the front out, it can only be applied to the HP out.
    One way to go around this would be plugging in the front panel header, but the front out tends to get some unwanted noise/hissing from EMI, at least in my case. But it is really the only way the use DH until you get the adapter.
     
  3. Tacoboy

    Tacoboy Master Guru

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    The front headphone port (3.5mm) works the same as the back panel 1/4" jack, both can drive up to 600-Ohm headphones and both can use the Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound feature. The disadvantage of the "front panel" jack is it might (will) pick up electrical noise from inside the computer case. I had no problem using the front panel jack.
    Also make sure you have disabled the motherboard's on-board audio, in the BIOS.
    Might also try the Unified Xonar drivers.
     
  4. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    I never thought about the front panel output. Thanks guys, that's the perfect temporary solution.

    I've come across the word Unified Xonar drivers time to time. I guess that it is a pimped up driver? Like the Omega drivers for graphic cards?
     

  5. Tacoboy

    Tacoboy Master Guru

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    I'll let you decide for yourself.
    http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/
     
  6. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Wow, that opened up a new world to me. Did not know that Asus had that much problems with their drivers.

    So in my case, when i'm only gonna use headset on a game rig. Is it the smartest choice to choose C-Media Audio Panel?
     
  7. Corvus.Corax

    Corvus.Corax Member

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    If you don't want/need to use Asus' GX functions, the C-Media panel might be an option.

    The downside with UniXonar drivers is that it doesn't have built in options for choosing gain for the HP out. You have to download a separate package for that.

    To be honest I have never had any problems with Asus own drivers, actually using them at the moment with my STX. The only feature I found different from C-Media is the lack of upmixing, but since I only have 2.0 stereo speakers + headphones, it's not a biggie for me.
     
  8. gridiron whirlw

    gridiron whirlw Ancient Guru

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    Asus drivers have always been rock solid for me.

    Matter of fact, way better than all the creative cards that I have had.

    The STX has been the best soundcard that I have ever owned, by far.
     
  9. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Thanks guys.
    I chose Normal for now just to see what feature this card has.

    With Dolby headphone/7.1 Virtual speaker ON it gave me like 40 more in latency when playing BF4.
    I was not impressed though with the Virtual surround in BF4. Sounds like i was playing in a jar.

    Here some question though about all the settings.
    *I chose Normal just to see all the feature, but i can't find any setting regarding "HP ohm switch" I don't even know what it is, but i guess it has something to do with the amplifier?
    *I guess i have to enable Surround in-game if i have enabled "Dolby headphone/7.1 Virtual speaker" in Xonar Audio Center, but what happens if a game doesn't have surround? Sound like crap?
    *There are three options you can choose between. Game, Music, Movie. What exactly changes when i choose let say Game? I can't see any option changing except my own settings disappear.

    I appreciate all the help i can get, and i will try out the Asus driver tomorrow
     
  10. Corvus.Corax

    Corvus.Corax Member

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    I'd say try having only DH on, 7.1 virtual speaker can make some games sound pretty awful, whereas some games may benefit from it. I think BF4 might be a case of the former.

    You can also tweak the proximity of sound with DH. Click they grey field where you have the text Dolby Headphone. It'll switch the config window to DH controls. If you tick the DH setting on (without DSP effects), DH will use the DH3 setting as default (large room). DH1 is reference room and DH2 livelier room. Experiment with those. Personally, for most games DH2 sounds best.

    The HP ohm switch can be found by clicking the hammer icon right of the analog out drop box. It has 3 gain settings: normal (0 db), high (+12 db) and extra high (+18 db). 0 db is the default setting and for regular gaming headsets, that is most likely the best choice.

    The usual route for using virtual surround goes like this: set audio channels to 6 (or 8, experiment with this) and analog out to headphones & enable DH. 6 (=5.1) channels seem to work with most games, some UE3 games seem to work best with 8 (=7.1) channels.

    Configure the game to use the same set-up as the channel set-up above, if it is available in the settings. In BF2BC 5.1 was home theatre, if i recall right. Some games might even have some kind of HRTF built in, if you choose the "headphone" setting, so don't use that. Having two HRTF routines working simultaneously isn't going to work too well.

    As for the DSP settings, I'm only sure about two of those: game enables DH with DH2 preset (when headphone output is active) and HF (HiFi) bypasses all DSP effects. Music and Movie might enable DH too, not sure about that.

    As a final note, I usually set the sampling rate to 44.1 khz, since most game audio is sampled at that rate. I think Asus drivers default at 96 khz. Hope this info helped you out.
     

  11. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Thanks for the info mate.
    Alot cleared my mind, byt there's some hmmm.
    Here's a screenshot.

    [​IMG]

    EDIT 2: Never mind. It was me who screwed up.
    Found it, and thanks for all the info. It's time to install some games and try the card out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  12. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Sorry to bump up a old thread, but i've noticed some problems with my card.
    As for now, i only play BF4, and time to time my sound goes wierd almost like it is mono. All bas is gone and everything sounds completely wrong.

    It stays like that for a minute or so, sometimes longer, to go back as "normal" again.

    I've tried both UNi and Asus drivers with no luck. So is my card defect or is it maybe running to hot?
     
  13. Corvus.Corax

    Corvus.Corax Member

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    Did the problem occur after a patch for the game? I'd suggest you try other games too. That way you can find out if the problem originates from the game itself (BF4) or if the card is causing the anomaly.
     
  14. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Good point there :)
    Be back later with some answers.

    EDIT: Just a thought. What do you gain from switching the opamps? I've seen alot of users done this already, but no explanation what it does.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  15. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Hmm, i listening on music for the first time with my STX and the same problem accour. But this time the "normal" sound did not come back untill i rebooted the computer.

    EDIT: Another problem i've noticed is that if i listening to any music or play a game and at the same time change any settings in the Asus control panel, all sounds disappear untill i restart the game/music.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014

  16. heymian

    heymian Master Guru

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    I play BF4 all the time and never had sound problems (crosses fingers) with my Xonar ST. Doubt it's heat cause I used my ST for years right under my video card in my old computer.

    First off, you don't want to use ASUS drivers. UniXonar drivers are better. Better functionality, uses less resources and less DPC latency.

    Now that you know that, you want to do a clean install. This will eliminate the possibility of corrupted driver bits causing problems. Leftover files and registry entries from driver installs can cause all kinds of weird sound issues.

    So first, if you haven't already, disable Onboard sound in your BIOS. Then uninstall any and all sound drivers and linked programs from Windows. Then follow step one of this trouble shooting guide:

    http://maxedtech.com/uni-xonar-faq-troubleshooting-guide/#respond

    I would recommend Driver Sweeper, you can still find it floating around. Version 2.4.0 and up. Might be hosted on guru3d. Driver Fusion is full of bloat and will do the same thing as Sweeper. If you want to be extra squeaky clean, download and install CCleaner and run a registry scan. You should have CCleaner on your computer anyways, it's a solid program.

    After doing all that, go ahead and reinstall the latest UniXonar drivers. Here's a tip though. Instead of changing settings in your Xonar Audio Center, I'd recommend giving XonarSwitch a try:

    http://maxedtech.com/xonarswitch-beta-testing/

    Here's the sound settings I recommend for BF4. You can of course use whatever you want:

    Xonar Settings: 48KHz sample rate, Audio Channels: 6, Dolby Headphone: On (DH-2 preset). Virtual Speaker Shifter: Always OFF

    Windows Settings: Sample rate 16-bit/48KHz (DVD quality)

    In-Game settings: Hi-Fi, Surround

    If your still having sound problems, it's your call. ASUS RMA, for me, was a terrible experience. Their level 1 tech support agents are slow and dumb and don't listen. I also got sent out a replacement card that was in terrible shape. Rust all over the bracket (wtf how?) and most of all, it didn't work. It was only after I complained enough and got bumped to level 2 support, things got better. Level 2 support is totally different, they are friendly, speak fluent English, and want to help. The lady I talked to even said level 1 support was bad and that she would review phone logs. I even heard there was level 3 support... Anyways, this was all a couple years ago, I don't know if they've gotten better or worse. What I'm trying to say is, if you decide to RMA, if at all possible, asked to be escalated to level 2 support.

    I would at least wait til the incoming BF4 patch is released. There is one coming out soon to fix all the crash problems (hopefully).
     
  17. heymian

    heymian Master Guru

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    If you have a small screw driver, you can take the sheild off the PCB (some leave it off) and check the OPAMPS. Make sure they are fully seated. I remember when I got my ST and switched OPAMPS for the first time, one was halfway out of the socket. This was shipped like that. The pins were bent too.
     
  18. Flisan

    Flisan Active Member

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    Thanks heymian.
    I edited my post right after yours.
    Hmm, i listening on music for the first time with my STX and the same problem accour. But this time the "normal" sound did not come back untill i rebooted the computer.
    Another problem i've noticed is that if i listening to any music or play a game and at the same time change any settings in the Asus control panel, all sounds disappear untill i restart the game/music.


    Anyway. I followed a "complete driver sweep" guide when i installed my Uni drivers, and as always i used Driver Sweeper.

    One thing that differs from your settings is that i used 44.1KHz
    Will give 48 a try

    Oh! Wll give it a try right after dinner. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  19. heymian

    heymian Master Guru

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    You only need to use 48KHz for BF4. That's just an educated guess too. A while back, the sound technician for DICE released a blog for BC2 stating you should use 48KHz. I had assumed it would be the same for BF4 since it's still Frostbite. Important thing is, Windows sample rate will override your Xonar sample rate. So you have to set it in Windows too, then change it back everytime. Unless you don't care about upsampling, just leave it at 48KHz.

    Really though, sounds like you have some other issue going on. If you did indeed do a clean install and you're having sound issues in Windows too, could possibly be hardware failure. Try testing the card in another machine if possible.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  20. Corvus.Corax

    Corvus.Corax Member

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    You asked about the op amps. You can fine tune the sound signature with them. At the moment I'm using OPA2134s in my I/V stage, and I like the way they sound with my AKG 601s. The overall sound is a bit softer and the bass is slightly more pronounced. The difference isn't night & day, but you'll notice a difference.
     

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