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Old 02-16-2014, 01:54 PM   #1
Sir Skully
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* Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Hey Sandog, you my friend are in for a real treat with your new
Xonar Essence STX. By the by congrats on your new Xonar Essence STX

I've been on a quest for a couple weeks for the right sound card.
Well my quest is over. I tried the Sound Blaster THX usb, good but not good
enough. Audiobox USB again good but not quite there. ASUS ROG Xonar Phoebus good in music,
again not quite there, as for gamimg the best. But
I'm more into good music. So's back went the ASUS ROG Xonar Phoebus .
I still had time to return it to Microcenter befor me 30 day return time was
up. Man my Audioengine speakers are just on fire with great sounds. The
Xonar Essence STX is just the ticket for high end PC speakers. I've turned
the Audioengines up full tilt. At full volume the sound stays clear, just great
if your ears can take it. Middle / lows all stay clear. I've not tried gaming yet.
But even if the Xonar Essence STX doesn't shine in games.
You'd have to pluck the Xonar Essence STX out of me rig over me dead dody. I almost
returned the Xonar Essence STX...couldn't get the pc to reconize the card. But decided to try one more
time, after reading your post Sandog... Man I'm going to have to
tear myself away from this great sound to go walk today...
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:47 PM   #2
Sandog
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Thanks Skully, that is the best news I've heard all week on my audio upgrade. From now on I am going to ask you to go to MicroCenter to test out hardware for me lol It is also soothing to know the RCA outs work feeding into the RCA jacks on your amplified A5+ speakers. You are using the dual RCA jack output on the Essence correct? The only other way is to use the headphone out or combine the 2 RCA's into a single 3.5mm.

The Essence came out at the end of 2009. That is when the cream of the crop PC audiophile cards started to arrivng unnoticed by me including Creatives all time best IMO, the Titanium HD. They had to reinvent their audio interfaces after MS bricked audio support in Windows 7 plus they delved into audiophile grade out. These early cards used the Texas Instruments /Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC with 127dB SNR. Those cards are so good they are still in use today. The latest high-quality audio card (ZxR) uses a Burr-Brown PCM1794 DAC. I have experience with Burr Brown as my N22 headphone amp uses a Burr-Brown Opamp. It delivers smooth clear audio, by smooth I mean not any part of the range is over zealous.

The good old Essence just came out with new Beta Windows 8.1 x64 drivers this month dated last January. Beta meaning I hope they release a set of WHQL drivers later.

I hope I get a good card i.e. has not be sold, opened, used, re-packaged, and then sold again lol. To attest to the quality of this card, it still sells for a lot of money as it did when it came out. Also, there are a lot of audiophiles who praise this card, I'm talking about pro's who have $50K tied up and not just your juvenile gamer on NE who is blown away. Also, there a couple of forum sites dedicated to the Essence where they discuss changing out the Opamps to get a different flavor to installing better capacitors all around the board. There is also a unified driver site the the Xonar cards where a programmer provides better compatible drivers than ASUS.

One thing I have read Skully is some people say using the headphone out to your speakers provides a brighter and better sound coming from the dedicated headphone amps than the DAC amps but don't try this yourself unless you study it.

Have you fooled with any of the ASUS software?

If this card sounds as good or better than the D1-DAC I am keeping it as I've said a few times before and now I am psyched even more. I have the optimum length, high-quality RCA cables to go from the Essence to my N22 (5ft Audioengine cables) and look forward to installing this card.

One more thing, The Phoebus is very modern although I would much rather have the ZxR. The Phoebus is a very good spec'd card and is better at game support than the Essence but I read some buyers sic'd the BBB on ASUS's butt over this card and ASUS did a shakeup to improve fixing and supporting returns/problems with the card. I also read early some user reviews that mentioned issues that are more hardware related than drivers. Also driver support on the Phoebus is as bad as it could get with only 2 sets available after a year. On the other hand, you have this gold Nichicon capacitor laden Essence audio card that has been around the block and then some after 3+ years making it easy to eliminate the Phoebus. Also, this will be my first ASUS sound card. I think we all know the quality ASUS hardware provides. One lesson with hardware, stay away from products that have caused you headaches in the past for they are likely to repeat (Creative).
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:59 PM   #3
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Yea I wanted to get this thread up as soon as possible. Knowing you
had the Xonar Essence coming-in. With the Xonar Essence STX if you
use a bad source of sound. You'll hear all the defects of the sound source.
I'm now listening to Swiss Jazz net radio. Its one of the best, clearest
stations, I've found on the net. That's beside my CD's... I'm really greatfull
to you for all your info on sound cards. I haven't even looked at Xonar Essence software yet.
The Xonar Essence comes with a y splitter for out,
two out, to single line in on the Audioengine amp. I'm really stoked on me
Audioengine 5+ and Xonar Essence at least so far...
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:13 PM   #4
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Here's Shoutcast net radio directory, lots of radio stations. Some not so good, and some just great... Rock Radio Stations - Free Internet Radio
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:29 PM   #5
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Wow... I'm listening to a rock station with lots of bass. The Audioengine 5+
and Xonar Essence are the cats meow, I tell ya, some of the best stereo I've
put through me ears. The bass is really great even without an added sub.
I can feel the bass, great for near-field, and accurate. Add youR Audioengine sub, wow a
system to kill over...
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:50 PM   #6
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

I find no software on the Xonar Essence STX, just out dated drivers...
If you find anything let me know/Sandog, when ya get you Xonar Essence STX in...

Here's to ya getting a great card...
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:09 PM   #7
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Sounds Great Skully congrats on your new card!
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

The software is on the original CD as well, it would be cool if ASUS has there ASUS Update as part of the CD to auto download updates. I will try and use it later.

Haven't listened to WEB radio in a while but I did notice it on the Win8 Start screen in Metro. I will have to give it a shot.

If you have CD's you like I suggest wiping them clean and ripping them with Audex at 24bit 96k/bit sampling and use FLAC for the best audio compression and for perfect bit. You will get CD audio quality music fed from your PC to your nice audio eq. Anybody can have a very high quality PC audio system if you try plus it will sound good in games.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:19 PM   #9
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

I wish I could pipe this rigs sound into ABX, believe me its that good.
Its ... ROCK music... the Audioengines Bass hits hard
enough for me @ near-field. I almost think an added sub would be to much
for me. The AMP on the Audioengine 5+ is giving a stellar performance along
with the Xonar Essence STX...
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:21 PM   #10
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Quote:
Originally Posted by fvbounty View Post
Sounds Great Skully congrats on your new card!
Thanks Ken...
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:41 PM   #11
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Skully View Post
I wish I could pipe this rigs sound into ABX, believe me its that good.
Its ... ROCK music... the Audioengines Bass hits hard
enough for me @ near-field. I almost think an add sub would be to much
for me. The AMP on the Audioengine 5+ is giving a stellar performance along
with the Xonar Essence STX...

Keep playing and break those speakers in more lol.

I know, my 4" speakers have good bass as well and I don't think they are near broken in yet. The thing with the S8 sub-woofer is everybody who owns one and already owns the A5+ says they are awesome. I agree, the bass is already there but read S8 buyer reviews and you will see it adds a different dimension. It is not just the same stuff booming out of the desktop speakers. It has a crossover and just hits the lows <180Hz whereas the A5+ woofer goes all the way up into midrange. People have the same reaction to the S8 as they do toward the A5+, they are blown away. You gotta get one Skully I just wish they made the S8 in a bamboo version and yes it has been asked of them several times before. I think they will come out with it but it will be a lot more expensive.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:49 PM   #12
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

I'll be keeping on keeping on with the music...
Yea I'll have to look into the Audioengine sub for sure...
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:06 PM   #13
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

I'll give an honest opinion when I get mine. Several people who commented on the S8 all said the same thing we say, that their bass was already good coming from the speakers. Then they got the sub and they freaked. Truth is I want a sub to fully replace the old system I had. I feel diminished selling off my good old Cambridge system with 8" sub with a 150W BASH amplifier and not replacing it. Mine won't even be in an optimum location but I don't care, I will still get to hear it and feel it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:38 PM   #14
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

FYI, here's a section of a review on the S8.

"S8 Subwoofer ($349)

Weighing close to 1000 lbs (OK, 30 lbs), yet coming in at under a foot cubed, the S8 is easily the most impressive piece of audio equipment we’ve had the pleasure to review. The design of the S8 is fairly low key, and looks pretty much like any other subwoofer you’ve seen, albeit a bit more compact. The unit itself is physically rock solid, and actually feels like a piece of quality furniture. Aside from the front facing port, design-wise there’s nothing to catch/distract the eye (desirable in a sub). In the rear, the S8 has two sets of dual line-level inputs (RCA and mini-jack) so you can have two different sources hooked up to minimize having to plug and unplug depending on what you’re listening to (similar to the N22). There’s also another power outlet for the ability to hook up an AirPort Express if you are so inclined. However, given that the placement of the sub is often not directly near the amp (where you want to feed an audio source 9 times out of 10), connecting an AirPort express would mean running the audio cable back to the N22, a potentially not-aesthetically pleasing thought. Moving an outlet to the N22 would have been a better move, although that would likely have required a larger form factor than Audioengine wanted.

Inside is an 8-inch downward-firing driver, controlled by a series of 3 knobs on the back of the unit which control phase, crossover, and volume. By playing with theses knobs you can create subtle, almost imperceptible bass, or the kind of deep , booming, “feel it in your balls” kind of bass I usually associate with the neighbor kid’s Jeep Cherokee approaching from three block away. The S8 has a wonderful, tight sound, with great response. As anyone who has ever owned a sub knows, having a dedicated sub makes all the difference in the world, although many people (my father and the neighbor kid in particular) have a tendency to over-use their bass, much the way many people tend to over-crank the contrast and saturation on their HDTVs. For those who enjoy annoying their neighbors and damaging their internal organs, the S8 will definitely meet their needs, but luckily, a nice balance is also easily achieved.



Adding the S8 to the mix

As good as the P4’s sound, and as happy as I was with their low end reproduction, their lack of “real” bass becomes apparent when you add the S8 into the mix. In fact, if the S8 has any drawbacks, it’s that they make speakers you formerly thought sounded great on their own sound like crap when you turn it off. That missing “presence” I mentioned before comes back in spades with the addition of the S8. Of course, subwoofer fans know that music isn’t the only thing that benefits from some extra-low end, and movies (especially ones with explosions like Transformers and Iron Man) were a pleasure to watch with S8 hooked up."

Link: http://audioenginefiles.com/pdfs/mac...8%20review.pdf
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:10 PM   #15
Sir Skully
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Re: * Xonar Essence STX...WOW *

Thanks for the read on the S8... interesting... your opinion will
be more interesting. I'll sure be looking forward to it...
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