Thursday, November 13th 2008

ASUS Xonar Essence STX Sound Card with 124dB SNR Now Official

Aimed as the culmination of searching for the very essence of sound, the new ASUS Xonar Essence STX range of audio cards delivers the purest, cleanest audio to offer users the ultimate audio experience ever from a sound card. Equipped with carefully-selected components, and ASUS’ exclusive Hyper-grounding and EMI Shield design, the Xonar Essence STX is capable of achieving an industry-leading 124dB SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) in signal clarity. Furthermore, full-driving for any available headphone is provided through the built-in headphone amplifier—presenting unprecedented audio quality and under 0.001% of distortion to sate even the most demanding audiophile. Interestingly enough, the design for this audio card is based on a paradigm that is forty centuries old.

The Quest for True High-end Audio Starts Forty Centuries Ago
In China 4000 years ago, the ancient ancestors were also searching for instruments that were able to play "heavenly" music; not just to pay homage to the gods, but also to represent the harmony between man and nature. This process of seeking the most sublime and harmonious music between man and the environment resulted in the Tiger Chime, which not only represented the soul and quintessence of sound, but also served as the highest level of audio enjoyment. Like these ancestors, ASUS also searched for the best components and used only the finest designs to reproduce the purest of sounds. As a symbol of respect for these ancient pioneers, the Xonar Essence STX adopts a gold-plated Tiger Chime totem on the EMI shield—infusing a mix of ancient and cutting-edge technologies.

Industry-leading 124 dB SNR Delivers Pure Music for Listening Enjoyment
With the penultimate of component and design selection, the Xonar Essence STX is able to reproduce truly pure sounds, and delivers an industry-leading 124 dB SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio). This is 64 times clearer the most on-board audio solutions (85–88 SNR). It also features the ASUS exclusive Hyper-grounding circuitry design that utilizes a PCB design to separate signal and noise—ensuring that only the cleanest signals are passed on to ultra-sensitive components for decoding.

The Finest Component Selection to Deliver Crisp, Clear Audio
With a top-o-the-line Burr-Brown PCM 1792A Digital-to-Analog Convertor (DAC) to convert audio signals at 127dB signal-to-noise ratios, users will be able to enjoy minimum loss from the process of converting digital signals to analog sound. Additionally, Nichicon "Fine Gold" capacitors deliver rich bass and crystal-clear high frequencies (like the sounds from a piano or violin), allowing the Xonar Essence STX to achieve an amazing <10 Hz–90 kHz frequency response and 124dB dynamic range. Furthermore, The Xonar Essence STX’s EMI shield protects all analog outputs perfectly from any exterior electronic magnetic interference—resulting in the cleanest sound generation and delivery for the user´s enjoyment.

High Density Sound Performances with Built-in Headphone Amplifier
Most quality headphones usually require additional driving power; or else suffer from sounds that are dull and bland. The Xonar Essence STX is equipped with a built-in headphone amplifier capable of driving every available headphone with up to 600 ohms of impedance to their full extent and less than 0.001% of distortion—all without additional amplication. This ensures that only the most high density sounds can be heard from these headphones without the need to purchase an extra amplifier. Furthermore, the Xonar Essence STX also comes with the following features which include: Swappable OPamp sockets to help tune up unique sounds effortlessly, complete Dolby Home Theater technologies, and the latest DS3D GX2.5 3D gaming engine technology.

Specifications

Source: ASUS
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34 Comments on ASUS Xonar Essence STX Sound Card with 124dB SNR Now Official

#1
tigger
I'm the only one
It looks nice this card,i would'nt mind trying one.

I did have an x-fail extreme music,but i gave it to my mate after all the crap with it on vista.Now i am using my onboard sounds digital out to my sony av amp which sounds fine to me.
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#2
imperialreign
npp said:
It's very nice to see that there are still some people around who are using their brains instead of letting themself being fooled by pure PR B*S*. The fact that you've got a PCI-E interface is exactly as useless as the 124dB specs of the DAC, and all the other stuff like "Nichicon “Fine Gold” Professional audio capacitors offering rich bass and crystal clear high frequencies". I don't see how any of these could have perceptible effect on audio quality (i.e., in a blind test).

Pushing noise floors so low is completely useless, you must sit in an anechoic chamber to make any sense of it... Or else the ambient noise around will simply drown anything far above the -124dB floor. I seriously doubt this card will offer any noticeable advantages over an unexpensive x-fi, for example... Unless you've got some very unsensitive headphones or simply want to blow your head off.
you're extremelly right on this as well. There are a few of us here who'd understand this next point, but for everyone else - do you realize what kind of a upper-end speaker setup you'd need to be able to hear the difference in SNR audio qualiy between the Xonar D2 (118db SNR), and this card's 124db SNR?


As to the capacitors - well, they can have an effect on the warmth of the output quality. You'd really be surprised just how much of an influence these components have. It's more noticeable when going from cheap caps on a card, to better quality ones - e.g. removing the Jamicon caps on a X-Fi and replacing them with Elnas or BlackGates.
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#3
tigger
I'm the only one
Plus the fact that not that many people run seperate amps and descent speakers.As far as i'm concerned,most of the all in one 5.1 speakers you can buy are cack,bar maybe a few high end ones.The best way to get high quaity sound is a seperate av amp good speakers and good thick speaker wire.I'm using a sony av amp/mordaunt short ms 901signature speakers and QED special 25th anniversary silver speaker wire.I am only using my onboard sounds digital out to my amp and it sounds great.
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#4
Hayder_Master
asus become do good sound card's , so can anyone tell me about how can i count ( how much speaker watt size can i put on sound card ) . i don't know maybe it is not clear way to explain what i need but id anyone understand just know me
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#5
swaaye
Most of the high-end headphones need a amp to sound decent. It is not unheard of in any way (well, with headphone "enthusiasts" anyway). Headphone amps are pretty expensive too so this could be a real seller for some folks. It's certainly a unique feature AFAIK.

But yea these companies are really going at it hard with PR half-truths to try to differentiate their product. This card is all about what is almost certainly going to be placebo audio quality. It screams that magical pretentious audiophile quality that makes certain niches come alive.
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#6
tigger
I'm the only one
Hayder,you can put any wattage size speakers you like running from your sound card.I have 5x100 watt speakers running off mine with only a single coaxial digital cable going from my sound card to my amp.
Posted on Reply
#7
Zyrocenus
wolf2009 said:
I think you are talking about X-Fi Xtreme Audio.
Yes I was.....my bad....:twitch:

btarunr said:
Actually, with my experience with PC audio, I've seen "delays" as in latencies to lower when the CPU is directly dealing with audio, and not a part intervention where stacks are moved back and forth for the several stages of audio processing the CPU and audio processor share. With a decent DAC, there's no degradation as a result of it. When the CPU is strong enough to spend time processing audio even when it's at 100% load, it's good enough to make sure those "hiss"/"pop" things don't take place.

There is no Xtreme Music PCI-X. Creative never made a PCI-X card. That's Xtreme Audio PCI-E, which failed due to a flawed driver model among several other things that are not what's normal for CPU-accelerated audio. Notice this doesn't happen with a Xonar D2/D1, or Claro Plus+. Don't confuse integrated audio with CPU-accelerated discrete audio. In discrete audio, the various tasks are assigned to different parts of the cards (such as a host, a DAC/ADC, OPAMP, etc), where as there's a lot of consolidation with those HDA / AC'97 chips on motherboards. They'll never even come close to what a Claro / X-Meridean can ever do.
+1 on the Xtreme Music. It wasnt even a TRUE XiFi that is the top reaosn why it PHAILED in my opinion. It was basically their lowest end "XiFi" -correct me if i'm wrong but wasnt the APU a tweaked Audigy?- on the "newest" interface sound card wise. If thats not "designed for disaster" I dunno what is. And yes, I know thatonboard cant hold a candle to virtually anything available on an expansion card. Yer preachin to the recently converted man :roll:

tigger said:
It looks nice this card,i would'nt mind trying one.

I did have an x-fail extreme music,but i gave it to my mate after all the crap with it on vista.Now i am using my onboard sounds digital out to my sony av amp which sounds fine to me.
U gave yer friend a PHAIL card as a present? isnt that kinda like giving them a virus? lol:twitch:

swaaye said:
But yea these companies are really going at it hard with PR half-truths to try to differentiate their product. This card is all about what is almost certainly going to be placebo audio quality. It screams that magical pretentious audiophile quality that makes certain niches come alive.
+1 Amen to that.... The diff between this card and the Auzen Prelude are next to nill. This card touts 124 dB SNR the prelude has 123 dB. Neither of which would be dicernable even if you were in a sound room. This card seems designed to eek out the Prelude and nothing more. There is no problem with that as it is a HUGE diff between their last XONAR offering. All I'm sayin is that if you already own a Prelude this isnt REALLY an upgrade. If on the other hand yer comin from somethin a year or 2 old or onboard, fasten yer seatbelt.

Zyro
Posted on Reply
#8
tigger
I'm the only one
He is using xp,that card seems to work ok on xp.
Posted on Reply
#9
imperialreign
Zyrocenus said:
+1 on the Xtreme Music. It wasnt even a TRUE XiFi that is the top reaosn why it PHAILED in my opinion. It was basically their lowest end "XiFi" -correct me if i'm wrong but wasnt the APU a tweaked Audigy?- on the "newest" interface sound card wise. If thats not "designed for disaster" I dunno what is. And yes, I know thatonboard cant hold a candle to virtually anything available on an expansion card. Yer preachin to the recently converted man :roll:
Zyro
Well, it's very much true the Xtreme Audio was just a re-hashed Audigy 2 SE, which was itself a re-has of the Live! 24-bit card . . . and depending on specific components, we can trace this back even further . . .

Although the Xtreme Audio wasn't truly deserving of the X-Fi branding, as it didn't really support any of the marketed features of the true cards (no APU, no hardware acceleration, lack of EAX 5.0 support, no "game" mode, etc), it still is a typical, Creative "budget" card. TBH, the Xtreme Gamer is much better, and in most markets is only $20-$30 more.
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