ASTRO A50's and ASUS Xonar Essence STX?

Hi guys,

Ive just purchased a pair of ASTRO A50's and am obviously need to get a sound card also. (Currently using onboard of a ASUS rampage formula iv)

I've looked around the internet a bit, seems to me that the ASUS Xonar Essence STX is most likely to be my best choice. (meaning best bang for buck under $200 AUD)

Will the STX allow me to use my 7.1 ASTRO A50's to their maximum capability?

Is there anything Im missing, or maybe any other suggestions?

it's quite a costly investment for something I know little about, any help would be greatly appreciated!!


ASUS Xonar Essence STX
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  1. Why? If you use the A50's, you are going to connect via optical. That means the soundcard isn't going to DO anything; the A50's control unit is going to handle the conversion to analog, and will be the device that drives audio quality, not the soundcard.
  2. I came across a thread that had a guy saying his Astro A40's sounded excellent on Xbox and PS3 but crap on PC, he said it was because of the onboard sound card he used...

    So are you saying that Astro A40 and Astro A50 actually bypasses all internal sound cards and uses it's own one in the amp?
  3. The primary driver of audio quality is the conversion from digital to analog. When you connect to any device using a digital connection, that device, not the soundcard, is handling the conversion to analog.

    You still go through the soundcard driver layer, so you'll get any benifits of audio encoding (DDL/DTS-C), environmental effects, and the like. But you'll take a massive hit in quality due to the analog conversion being done by the A50's mixamp, and not the soundcard.
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