Review: ASUS Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Card

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    Phoebus was a mishap that asus created that's why its not in the comparison. Also the same reason why it's is EOL early. It's general a big step back from the original STX and ST when asus created the Phoebus with it's badly dowe software suite. Diamond thought it be a fun idea to make a budget card using a similar chip with the same exact software suite the phoebus came with. I had to give the diamond card away as I couldn't sell it do to the phoebus style software suite. Both ZXR and STX II even the original STX/ST is the better card.


    It's down to which has the features that you want, because both have swap able op-amp's which let you change the sound signature of the cards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  2. moab600

    moab600 Ancient Guru

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    i had phoebus card like for 7 months till i replaced it with SBZ. software is poor, hardware is good, results are bad bad card.

    SBZ is way better than phoebus sound quality wise, never looked back.

    i afraid STX II would suffer same faith, bad drivers.
     
  3. kosh_neranek

    kosh_neranek Master Guru

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    Had STX I with Sennheiser HD650 for a few weeks and was very, very happy with what I heard. And now it's time to get my own. Am surely gonna order the STX II only without the 7.1 as that's irrelevant and finally get my own pair of HD650s :) Thanks Hilbert, was waiting for this review
     
  4. AcidSnow

    AcidSnow Master Guru

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    I'm never going to buy another Audio card ever again. The last one I bought was in 1999. I've been on a A/V receiver since 2007, HDMI input all the way baby :)
     

  5. Ven0m

    Ven0m Ancient Guru

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  6. lord_zed

    lord_zed Active Member

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    I would like to see how does it affect CPU load while gaming. How much cpu power does one save with 400 bucks card ??
     
  7. drac

    drac Ancient Guru

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    Nice review ROBSCIX. :) Its the best sound card I've had, got to say.

    Can't wait for the op amp guide!

    The muses are great but I'm in the process of trying a heap of op amps, that lean slightly more towards the analytical side, for gaming.

    Got 3x dual LME49990, THS4032's and a LME49710HA on the way.

    The LME49720 in the op amp swap kit are nice, they have some seriously impressive sound stage and are quite analytical, they pick up every tiny sound. Although they're a little airy (thin sounding) for my tastes.
     
  8. Ven0m

    Ven0m Ancient Guru

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    I'd rather bet that all that processing will actually increase CPU load. These aren't EAX times. People buy such cards for sound clarity and Dolby Headphone.

    I think I might be tempted to get one if I hadn't got D2X already. Perhaps, if I had a buyer for it, I might get this or read a little more about new Creative cards. External DACs with Dolby Headphone aren't cheap.
     
  9. Mr_Alexander

    Mr_Alexander Ancient Guru

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    Finally.
    Thank you very much for the review.:) Was waiting long time. Finally this car is available in North America.
    Ordered.:banana:
     
  10. Darkest

    Darkest Ancient Guru

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    I'd buy an external unit over this any day of the week, in fact I'm after a Pan AM which runs cheaper than this. Then again I don't bother with any of the features found on soundcards.
     

  11. Dubski35

    Dubski35 New Member

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    Aside from wanting to keep everything inside the case, I'm not sure why would anyone grab this sound card.

    You're better off buying an external DAC/AMP from the likes of Objective2 or Schiit. Those devices are half the price and are praised for the most accurate sound by even the most anal audiophiles.
     
  12. ASLayerAODsk

    ASLayerAODsk Master Guru

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    Essence STX specs *in case you were wondering for comparison* as taken from Asus site

    -=Essence STX=-

    Audio Interface
    PCI Express
    Audio Performance
    Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out) :
    124 dB
    Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Headphone-out) :
    117 dB
    Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) :
    118 dB
    Output THD+N at 1kHz (Front-out) :
    >0.0003 %(-110 dB)
    Output THD+N at 1kHz (Headphone-out) :
    >0.001 %(-100 dB)
    Frequency Response (-3dB, 16bit/44.1KHz input) :
    10 Hz to 90 KHz
    Output/Input Full-Scale Voltage :
    Line output (RCA, 3.5) : 2 Vrms (5.65 Vp-p)
    Chipset
    Audio Processor :ASUS AV100 High-Definition Sound Processor (Max. 192KHz/24bit)
    Digital-to-analog Converter(DAC)
    TI Bur-Brown PCM1792A
    Sample Rate and Resolution
    Analog Playback Sample Rate and Resolution :
    44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    Analog Recording Sample Rate and Resolution :
    44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    S/PDIF Digital Output :
    44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    ASIO Driver Support :
    44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    Connectivity
    Analog Output
    1 x 6.3 mm jack (1/4") Headphone out
    2 x RCA (Un-Balanced)
    Analog Input
    1 x 6.3 mm jack (1/4") (Line-in/ Mic-in combo)
    Digital
    1 x S/PDIF out (1 x Optical / Coaxial combo)
    1 x Front-Panel Header
    1 x Aux in (4-pin header)
    Special Features
    Dolby® Technologies : Dolby® Digital Live/Dolby® Headphone /Dolby® Virtual Speaker /Dolby® Pro-Logic II
    Karaoke Functions
    FlexBass™
    GX 2.5 Game Audio Engine
    VocalFX™
    Operating System
    Windows® 8
    Windows® 7
    Windows® XP
    Accessories
    S/PDIF adapter x 1
    3.5mm-to-RCA cable x 1
    6.3mm-to-3.5mm adapter x 0
    Quick start guide x 1
    Driver CD x 0



    -=Essence STX II 7.1 specs=-

    Audio Interface
    PCI Express
    Audio Performance
    Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out) :
    124 dB
    Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Headphone-out) :
    120 dB
    Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) :
    118 dB
    Output THD+N at 1kHz (Front-out) :
    >0.0003 %(-110 dB)
    Output THD+N at 1kHz (Headphone-out) :
    >0.001 %(-100 dB)
    Frequency Response (-3dB, 16bit/44.1KHz input) :
    10 Hz to 90 KHz
    Output/Input Full-Scale Voltage :
    Line output (RCA, 3.5) : 2 Vrms (5.65 Vp-p)
    Headphone output : 7 Vrms ( Vp-p)
    Chipset
    Audio Processor :ASUS AV100 High-Definition Sound Processor (Max. 192KHz/24bit)
    Digital-to-analog Converter(DAC)
    TI Bur-Brown PCM1792A
    Sample Rate and Resolution
    Analog Playback Sample Rate and Resolution :
    44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    Analog Recording Sample Rate and Resolution :
    44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    S/PDIF Digital Output :
    44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    ASIO Driver Support :
    44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
    Connectivity
    Analog Output
    1 x 6.3 mm jack (1/4") Headphone out
    8 x RCA (Un-Balanced)
    Analog Input
    1 x 6.3 mm jack (1/4") (Line-in/ Mic-in combo)
    Digital
    1 x S/PDIF out (1 x Coaxial)
    1 x Front-Panel Header
    Special Features
    Dolby® Technologies : Dolby® Digital Live/Dolby® Headphone /Dolby® Virtual Speaker /Dolby® Pro-Logic II
    Operating System
    Windows® 8.1 , 32bit/64bit
    Windows® 8 , 32bit/64bit
    Windows® 7 , 32bit/64bit
    Windows® XP , 32bit/64bit
    Accessories
    Op-amp swap kit x 1
    3.5mm-to-RCA cable x 1
    6.3mm-to-3.5mm adapter x 0
    S/PDIF adapter x 1
    Driver CD x 0
    Quick start guide x 0
    Dimensions
    168 x 107 mm ( L x W )
    Note
    Op-amp swap kit content:
    1 x Needle-nose pliers
    2 x LME49720
    1 x MUSES8820



    Im also curious as to the exact specs of the speakers that were used, as well as the cabling :) any room treatments? power filtering/conditioning of the test system? :) awesome review too :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  13. mackintosh

    mackintosh Master Guru

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    If you want to buy something new, then yes, receivers can be somewhat pricey, but you can just as well pick up a decent entry level receiver for half the price of that sound card on ebay. I just had a look and my old AVR-1911 can be had for as little as $150 these days; pair it with a pair of decent Sennheisers and you're golden. It has no problems driving my HD650s and it sounds just as good as the top of the range sound cards I used before it (I had the Auzentech Hometheater HD and the STX). I haven't had any problems with positional audio in contemporary games either. There may be issues with some legacy stuff, but really now, who still plays legacy games in 2014 other than for a once in a blue moon nostalgia trip.

    If you're going to splash $500 on a sound card, do yourself a favour and just get yourself a DAC or a receiver, it'll serve you better in the long run.
     
  14. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    I mentioned both my speakers, subwoofer and my cables.
    There is no room treatments or power filtering.

    I use Axiom Speakers and Subwoofer, JPS cables/wires and a Sony surround receiver using multi channel analog input.


    Glad you guys liked the review, this is a great sounding card.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  15. bigcid1

    bigcid1 Master Guru

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    I bought one when they first came out from amazon uk for ~$280.00 US
    (308.00 US w/shipping 4day)
    also this card is much better than the ZXR as in
    sound quality
    latency is a disaster on ZXR
    no driver issues at all
    and as far as cpu load ,I don't see any because I have a hexacore
    so,it doesn't matter
    thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014

  16. moab600

    moab600 Ancient Guru

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    Well my SBZ sound perfect with my z906, sound is best i've heard. so u saying STXII is a good upgrade over it? if so i wait till prices come down
     
  17. Darkest

    Darkest Ancient Guru

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    You'd be better off upgrading your speakers before the sound card tbh, using a card like that with Z906's is a bit of a waste. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they're bad speakers. I just wouldn't pair them with a high end source.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  18. RagDoll_Effect

    RagDoll_Effect Ancient Guru

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    Brilliant review, gotta save some cash to get one though... :(

    regards
    ,RagDoll.
     
  19. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    What is being said, is right now, your speakers are your weak point so before you consider getting a better source, you might want to get better speakers.

    Your speakers would be limiting what you are hearing right now. So you have more quality in our system but you are limiting your system with those speakers.
     
  20. finaxe

    finaxe New Member

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    Do you have a link?
     

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