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Asus Xonar STX - Project

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October 4, 2010 12:38:13 AM

Hi all !

I'm having a project in mind.

Presently, I have a SupremeFX sound card sol with my Maximus Formula motherboard.

This sound card is link to a Sony stereo system (120w total, 60w per channel). The amplifier of this stereo system is playing weaker with time. It has now over 8 years of operation.

I also own a XM satellite radio receiver, the XMP3, which, I find, is not very well amplified.

I want to upgrade the whole thing.

I think that upgrading the sound card would be a good start.

So I started to compare some models. The usage in only for music, no gaming at all. The wires used are RCA to link my PC to the sound system (presently I have a mini-jack to RCA adapter). I noticed the M-Audio 2496, but it's in PCI. For future upgrade purposes, I consider that opting for a PCI-Express x1 card is more future proof.

So comes the Asus Xonar STX. Pricey, but it seems to be the best in range. And it's a long term buying. It has RCA line out and a line-in mini-jack.

I know that a good sound card is nothing if there's no speaker. That's why I plan to upgrade my stereo system with a home cinema receiver. A Pioneer VSX-520-K or a Yamaha 4063 and, eventually, two bookshelf speakers.

I would connect my satellite radio in the sound card to get a better sound. Is that a good idea ? Would the sound be amplified a little more ?

What do you think about this setup ? Is the Asus Xonar good for that ?

Thanks a lot !

Ghost26

More about : asus xonar stx project

October 4, 2010 1:58:05 AM

The Essence has a headphone amplifier.. The RCA out does not features an amplified output.. However, it has the best component usage and an awesome signal to noise ratio.. Thus, you'll have a more cleaner sound.. For an only music setup, its the best soundcard for the money..
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October 4, 2010 12:12:25 PM

Music has always been the Xonar line's best asset, and the STX is simply best in class.
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October 4, 2010 4:40:40 PM

Ghost26 said:
Hi all !

I'm having a project in mind.

Presently, I have a SupremeFX sound card sol with my Maximus Formula motherboard.

This sound card is link to a Sony stereo system (120w total, 60w per channel). The amplifier of this stereo system is playing weaker with time. It has now over 8 years of operation.

I also own a XM satellite radio receiver, the XMP3, which, I find, is not very well amplified.

I want to upgrade the whole thing.

I think that upgrading the sound card would be a good start.

So I started to compare some models. The usage in only for music, no gaming at all. The wires used are RCA to link my PC to the sound system (presently I have a mini-jack to RCA adapter). I noticed the M-Audio 2496, but it's in PCI. For future upgrade purposes, I consider that opting for a PCI-Express x1 card is more future proof.

So comes the Asus Xonar STX. Pricey, but it seems to be the best in range. And it's a long term buying. It has RCA line out and a line-in mini-jack.

I know that a good sound card is nothing if there's no speaker. That's why I plan to upgrade my stereo system with a home cinema receiver. A Pioneer VSX-520-K or a Yamaha 4063 and, eventually, two bookshelf speakers.

I would connect my satellite radio in the sound card to get a better sound. Is that a good idea ? Would the sound be amplified a little more ?

What do you think about this setup ? Is the Asus Xonar good for that ?

Thanks a lot !

Ghost26


Hello! Xonar essence is a great card especially with asio bit perfect drivers. Really good for music. If that's what you want to do then buying something like a multichannel receiver would be a waste of money as spending that amount for a stereo amplifier will give you much better sound.

You can also skip the amplifier altogether and have a look at a very good quality active monitor speaker like Dynaudio MC-15 for some serious quality. You can find many reviews of these around the Internet.

The amplification for your satellite receiver will mainly be done from your amplifier and not from the sound card which should ideally leave the signal as it is and leave that to amplifier or active speaker built-in amplifier..
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October 5, 2010 2:07:51 AM

I've taken a look to the Dynaudio MC-15. on amazon, they are sold for 1300 $ !!!! I'm only 18 years old ah ah ah ! I can't afford this setup ;) 

I'll take a look to a 100-200w stereo amplifier though. Many has told me to go through this setup instead of a home theater. The only thing is that the amplifier will manly be in operation all day long since it's connected to the computer and the radio, which not very economic on the cost of energy...

Do you have some amplifiers to recommend to me ? Maximum 250 bucks.

Thanks a lot !
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October 5, 2010 5:43:13 AM

If all you need is a good stereo amplifier, then i guess your budget allows you to get the Cambridge Audio Azur 340A.. Its an excellent product at a very decent price..
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October 5, 2010 8:35:17 AM

Ghost26 said:
I've taken a look to the Dynaudio MC-15. on amazon, they are sold for 1300 $ !!!! I'm only 18 years old ah ah ah ! I can't afford this setup ;) 

I'll take a look to a 100-200w stereo amplifier though. Many has told me to go through this setup instead of a home theater. The only thing is that the amplifier will manly be in operation all day long since it's connected to the computer and the radio, which not very economic on the cost of energy...

Do you have some amplifiers to recommend to me ? Maximum 250 bucks.

Thanks a lot !


If you don't listen to very loud level's amplifier usually consume 40-50W. It's when you really turn up the volume that consumption grows exponentially..

For 250$ have a look at CA as emperus said, as well as entry level amps from NAD, Rotel, Marantz. All have good entry level amps. You might have to go just a bit higher in price by 50$ at most but the results will be worth it especially if you have some decent speakers.

Most people recommend having a demo listen before buying audio gear so that you can hear for yourself what type of sound you prefer. But if that's not possible I recommend reading around reviews to get an idea what to expect...
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October 5, 2010 10:06:49 AM

IMO you either buy a good quality receiver or a good sound card like the Asus and active speakers.
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October 5, 2010 3:28:22 PM

Thanks Noble and Emperus for your input. I'll take a look to these amplifiers. Someone also recommended me a Yamaha AX amplifier. (Ax-397, I don't know the price of this unit though).

So, just to wrap up things, do you recommend me to only upgrade my sound card for the moment (the stage one out of three of my upgrade process) or to keep my SupremeFX card and upgrade directly my amplifier ? I think that upgrading my sound card would bring me a better sound for the moment (especially for my satellite radio) , and then, later, upgrade my amplifier when I'll be really tired of it.... How do you find this idea ?

Another question : if eventually I put four speakers to an amplifier, will the sound card be correct for this usage (since it's mainly a stereo analog sound card). I think it will be ok, but I just want to be sure...

Thank you !!! :D 
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October 5, 2010 3:58:12 PM

Ghost26 said:
Thanks Noble and Emperus for your input. I'll take a look to these amplifiers. Someone also recommended me a Yamaha AX amplifier. (Ax-397, I don't know the price of this unit though).

So, just to wrap up things, do you recommend me to only upgrade my sound card for the moment (the stage one out of three of my upgrade process) or to keep my SupremeFX card and upgrade directly my amplifier ? I think that upgrading my sound card would bring me a better sound for the moment (especially for my satellite radio) , and then, later, upgrade my amplifier when I'll be really tired of it.... How do you find this idea ?

Another question : if eventually I put four speakers to an amplifier, will the sound card be correct for this usage (since it's mainly a stereo analog sound card). I think it will be ok, but I just want to be sure...

Thank you !!! :D 


You are welcome!

Regarding your first question, I think it depends on the condition and quality of your amplifier and speakers you have at the moment. IMO the Xonar Essence, needs some decent stuff to really shine and if your amplifier or speakers are worn out or of bad quality then it is those that you would have to replace first. Generally they say that you will have as good sound as the weakest link in your chain so since we don't know about amp and speakers quality and condition I can't really say for sure..

There are many amplifiers that take 2 sets of speakers but I think you are going to have trouble finding one in the price range you are looking for. If however you did you wouldn't have any problem connecting both sets and the sound would still be stereo (2 channels) Same sound from front and rear left and another channel front right and rear right.. So still stereo sound, nothings changes...

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October 5, 2010 4:02:48 PM

IMO, right now, getting an amplifier will suit your purposes more better.. The sound card purchase can be done at a later stage when you finally get done with your speaker setup completely..
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October 5, 2010 4:33:09 PM

Ok ... Thanks for your opinion.

My current stereo system is exatly a Sony MHC-GX40 : http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Prod...

It still sounds good at low volume, but that's another story when I crank it up! ah ah ! That's why I though a better sound card would give it "more juice". From volume 20 to max (30), there is no sound difference when it is plugged into my PC (there's a bigger difference when it plays CDs).

Thank you for your answer to my second question. I understand a lot better.
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October 6, 2010 12:32:22 PM

some soundcards have gives off higher voltage at the pre out. hence this is why i think CD players and DVD players sound louder, when comparing to a cheap integrated output, on same speakers.
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December 14, 2011 7:33:07 AM

hey guys, i am trying to build a music pc with Asus Xonar essence stx sound card on a Mini ITX motherboard. I want to create as small as possible and as power efficent that is why a mini ITX. I don't want to use headphones and i want to use my present setup which consists of Bada DC222 95W amp and Jamo speakers. Do you think it is worth it when compared to something like a popcorn hour or Asus O Play players ???
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December 14, 2011 11:11:47 AM

Emperus said:
IMO, right now, getting an amplifier will suit your purposes more better.. The sound card purchase can be done at a later stage when you finally get done with your speaker setup completely..


Considering the STX has a built in amplifier that can drive up to 600 Ohms, I think the soundcard has that covered...Might even be worth using over the normal RCA outputs if the OP really wants some extra juice [just don't apply massive high gain on generic speakers, kay?]

But yeah, the Essence ST/STX are best in class, period. Pure music bliss.
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