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M-audio audiophile 2496 vs Asus Xonar Essence STX, best stereosound

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May 23, 2012 7:32:50 PM

Hello,

Ive got an m-audiophile 2496 (pci) and Im planning to build a new pc. The mobo i want has only pci-express, so i have to buy a new soundcard or a different mobo.

I listen stereo music though my (stereo) amplifier. I really don't want or need 7.1/5.1, just stereo,

My question is, will the soundquality be better with an Asus Xonar Essence STX (pci-e)? Anyone has one?

I would really like to know!

Thanks,

Hugo
May 23, 2012 8:06:12 PM

An other question,

If i use coaxial digital connection, does it makes a difference if i use a cheap or exspensive card? It is digital so there is one signal? I think there is no difference? Am i right?
a b Ĉ ASUS
May 23, 2012 8:55:19 PM

If you use coax/optical, you really shouldn't spend a ton on a soundcard, as the receiver at the other end matters more.
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May 24, 2012 4:34:35 PM

So there will be no difference?
July 6, 2012 10:35:22 PM

no_way_today said:
Hello,

Ive got an m-audiophile 2496 (pci) and Im planning to build a new pc. The mobo i want has only pci-express, so i have to buy a new soundcard or a different mobo.

I listen stereo music though my (stereo) amplifier. I really don't want or need 7.1/5.1, just stereo,

My question is, will the soundquality be better with an Asus Xonar Essence STX (pci-e)? Anyone has one?

I would really like to know!

Thanks,

Hugo
Either way you go Asus makes the Xonar Essence Stx for the PCi e x1 & the ST version for Pci so what ever board you buy Asus has that soundcard..The sound quality is amazing if you like loud and crystal clear this is the card...You may spent a few weeks finding the settings you like but when you have them the card is rock solid....But if your into highend music try playing Flac format with high bitrates...myself i have a list of flac music with bitrates in the 8600kbps and youll find a amazing quality pos to MP3 were the very highest bit rate is 320kbs
July 6, 2012 10:47:38 PM

no_way_today said:
An other question,

If i use coaxial digital connection, does it makes a difference if i use a cheap or exspensive card? It is digital so there is one signal? I think there is no difference? Am i right?
Man its all about the card you use if your using a coaxial digital connection on you average card your only getting the best that card has to offer..Now if you have a card that has say Dolby Digital live & DTS those features then your rocking and again most of the least expensive dont have these feature so there will be a big difference in sound quality..So just using a coaxial digital connection wont really help you less you have the better quality sound card
July 6, 2012 10:58:53 PM

gamerk316 said:
If you use coax/optical, you really shouldn't spend a ton on a soundcard, as the receiver at the other end matters more.
I dont think i agree with you theory....You need a good sound card to send a clean signal to your receiver. Try using an old cassette player on your receiver using a coax set up see what type of quality you'll have...its the quality of signal you use in order to determind the quality of sound....Your receiver is only as good as the signal you feed it so it is importand to have a good soundcard
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 7, 2012 3:38:09 AM

Quote:
I dont think i agree with you theory....You need a good sound card to send a clean signal to your receiver.


Digital is digital; its a string of zeros and ones. There is no difference when sending an unaltered digital signal to a given piece of equipment, because the conversion to analog will be done farther down the chain.

Consumer soundcards are built around their digital to analog converters, especially top tier ones like the STX. Using its digital output is a waste of cash, as the soundcard is doing nothing in that case except passing on a digital signal for some other piece of equipment to process.
July 7, 2012 4:01:32 AM

gamerk316 said:
Quote:
I dont think i agree with you theory....You need a good sound card to send a clean signal to your receiver.


Digital is digital; its a string of zeros and ones. There is no difference when sending an unaltered digital signal to a given piece of equipment, because the conversion to analog will be done farther down the chain.

Consumer soundcards are built around their digital to analog converters, especially top tier ones like the STX. Using its digital output is a waste of cash, as the soundcard is doing nothing in that case except passing on a digital signal for some other piece of equipment to process.
So your saying that Digital is Digital is the same so why do they make these cards for..They have a new technology been out for a while that improve sound quality & all the high end audiophile sound cards have it..Its called Dolby Digital Live it encodes the signal in real time so your saying Digital is Digital...No offence but you need to read up because Digital isnt just Digital anymore . I know this because iv bought many sound cards that just pushed Digital & my last two featured Dolby Digital Live one also had DTS & the difference was like day & night
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 7, 2012 4:09:40 AM

douglasw said:
So your saying that Digital is Digital is the same so why do they make these cards for..They have a new technology been out for a while that improve sound quality & all the high end audiophile sound cards have it..Its called Dolby Digital Live it encodes the signal in real time so your saying Digital is Digital...No offence but you need to read up because Digital isnt just Digital anymore . I know this because iv bought many sound cards that just pushed Digital & my last two featured Dolby Digital Live one also had DTS & the difference was like day & night


DDL and DTS is only for surround sound anyway and is compressed at that, so it's not the highest quality.

Regardless, the OP doesn't even care about surround, so DDL and DTS are pointless to even bring up here.

Pure PCM stereo digital from any source IS in fact digital any way you slice it. No difference.
July 7, 2012 4:29:02 AM

DJDeCiBeL said:
DDL and DTS is only for surround sound anyway and is compressed at that, so it's not the highest quality.

Regardless, the OP doesn't even care about surround, so DDL and DTS are pointless to even bring up here.

Pure PCM stereo digital from any source IS in fact digital any way you slice it. No difference.

Well maybe you should take it up with Asus and tell them there Sound cards are a waste of money & maybe they will agree and take there cards off the market...And you also think surround sound is pointless well that will be a shock to thousands of gamers who rely on surround sound when they go into battle...If it wasnt for surround sound they wouldnt beable to hear the enemy come up behind them...Can sure tell your not a gamer or is that a waste of time also...
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 7, 2012 4:32:10 AM

douglasw said:
Well maybe you should take it up with Asus and tell them there Sound cards are a waste of money & maybe they will agree and take there cards off the market...And you also think surround sound is pointless well that will be a shock to thousands of gamers who rely on surround sound when they go into battle...If it wasnt for surround sound they wouldnt beable to hear the enemy come up behind them...Can sure tell your not a gamer or is that a waste of time also...


I didn't say that surround sound was pointless (or that sound cards are, for some people), just that surround sound has nothing to do with what the OP wants to know.

And I have a dedicated Sound Card too, BTW. Not the best one, just a X-Fi XtremeGamer, but it still does the job quite nicely.
July 7, 2012 4:59:16 AM

DJDeCiBeL said:
I didn't say that surround sound was pointless (or that sound cards are, for some people), just that surround sound has nothing to do with what the OP wants to know.

And I have a dedicated Sound Card too, BTW. Not the best one, just a X-Fi XtremeGamer, but it still does the job quite nicely.

Yes i know the card Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro i had that card & its a very good card but it just runs digital not Digital live...But you can go on the Creative site & purchase whats called the Dolby Digital live DTS pack & its only $4.71 and it adds a setting to your control panel and its well worth the pennies you put into it to have Dolby Digital live & you will notice it will increase your sound quality by 50 percent believe me its a very big difference...Tell you what if you download the small added software thats on that page ill give you the key numbers thats good till next Aug 2013 and you tell me if theres a difference....Here these numbers are still good i have the card but not using it be my guest CTO-DL075WYMZFKW32KWN This number is good for all X-fi cards
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 7, 2012 5:05:51 AM

That's actually awesome, but unfortunately I can't use it or I would have long ago. The card I have is an oddball OEM version that doesn't have support for DDL (But still has an optical out AND in, believe it or not).

There were never any official Creative drivers for this card either (just custom ones from Dell/Alienware that won't work in Windows 7), so, for Windows 7, I have to use either PAX or Daniel_K drivers.
July 7, 2012 5:15:24 AM

DJDeCiBeL said:
That's actually awesome, but unfortunately I can't use it or I would have long ago. The card I have is an oddball OEM version that doesn't have support for DDL (But still has an optical out AND in, believe it or not).

There were never any official Creative drivers for this card either (just custom ones from Dell/Alienware that won't work in Windows 7), so, for Windows 7, I have to use either PAX or Daniel_K drivers.

Well all i know is if you have a Creative lab X-fi any of the cards i know they dont have DDl....But that Dolby Digital live DTS pack software you can get for free with the keys i sent you plus the adapter you will have DDL DTS
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 7, 2012 5:20:27 AM

It won't work with this card, trust me. Just do a search for model number SB0770 and you'll see. It's actually a pretty bad a** card minus the restricted feature set.

a b Ĉ ASUS
July 7, 2012 6:37:25 AM

douglasw said:
So your saying that Digital is Digital is the same so why do they make these cards for..They have a new technology been out for a while that improve sound quality & all the high end audiophile sound cards have it..Its called Dolby Digital Live it encodes the signal in real time so your saying Digital is Digital...No offence but you need to read up because Digital isnt just Digital anymore . I know this because iv bought many sound cards that just pushed Digital & my last two featured Dolby Digital Live one also had DTS & the difference was like day & night


You have no clue how audio is processed do you?

Audio is stored as digital for no other reason then its impossible to store a raw, analog signal. But at some point, that audio WILL be converted back to an analog signal again; thats what a soundcard is designed to do. You want the piece of equipment in the audio chain with the highest quality Digital to Analog converter (DAC) to do this conversion, and for the majority of PC users who don't happen to have a $800 receiver sitting around, thats their soundcard.

When you output using digital, you are instead relying on some OTHER piece of equipment to handle the audio conversion. For example, that Astro A40 has a dedicated module to handle this conversion. Problem is, these almost always go cheap on the various components, leading to a server loss in audio quality.

The reason Dolby/DTS came around was due to the bandwidth limitations of SPDIF; Its incapable of carrying uncompressed surround sound audio. Dolby and DTS are just REALLY compressed formats, that sacrifice audio quality for the ability to be carried digitally. On DVD's and Blu-Rays, they are used because they take up significantly less storage space then an uncompressed PCM track. At least the newest formats are lossless (they don't lose any audio quality during compression) though...

The reason soundcards offer Dolby and/or DTS encoding is because a LOT of people who buy these cards will hook then up to digital receivers, which are the only pieces of equipment out there with better DAC's. Aside from that one exception, using another piece of equipment to handle the digital to analog conversion will degrade quality, and defeats the purpose of getting a soundcard in the first place; you may as well just use the motherboard optical output in that case.

Finally, all Dolby Digital Live and DTS-Connect do is convert a raw uncompressed 5.1 track into either Dolby or DTS format. The reason this is needed is as described above: uncompressed 5.1 can't fit over SPDIF, and because some media [Read: Games] typically don't offer a Dolby/DTS track, its the only way to get surround audio if SPDIF is used. That being said, you take the same exact quality hit that exists when you use either Dolby or DTS format. Hence why going direct analog out is always preferred in this case.
July 7, 2012 12:01:20 PM

Im not interested in theory im interested in what my ears enjoy and Digital And digital Live sound way different you say a dac is a better piece of equipment all depends in the quality of the Dac my friend has a $600 dollar Dac and it doesnt even come close to what my system sounds like i have the Asus Xonar Essence Stx and for a sound system i have the Sinclair Audio S 5.1 .. i have a list of flac format music with high bitrates in the 8600 kbps and im sure you never listen to this type of music before you can say im a audiophile kinda guy....But i just bet your going to say i wasted my money...
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 7, 2012 7:59:47 PM

douglasw said:
Im not interested in theory im interested in what my ears enjoy and Digital And digital Live sound way different you say a dac is a better piece of equipment all depends in the quality of the Dac my friend has a $600 dollar Dac and it doesnt even come close to what my system sounds like i have the Asus Xonar Essence Stx and for a sound system i have the Sinclair Audio S 5.1 .. i have a list of flac format music with high bitrates in the 8600 kbps and im sure you never listen to this type of music before you can say im a audiophile kinda guy....But i just bet your going to say i wasted my money...


My entire collection is lossless flac, actually, about 10,000 tracks or so (last time I bothered to check at least). Been through 5 soundcards and about 10 headsets in the past three years.

In your case, you spent a lot of money on the STX, and it isn't even doing anything. Its just outputting over SPDIF. Thats all. Could have saved a $100 and just went with the DX in that case. The Sinclair Audio's receiver is doing all the audio processing in this case.
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