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Asus Xonar STX: Audiophile Sound

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 6 comments

Asus this week unveiled its Xonar Essence STX, which is a sound card the company claims is squarely for high-end audiophiles. The new card will be available on store shelves roughly a month from today and come in the form of a PCI-express 1X slot.


Some of the defining features of the new card are:

- Burr Brown 1792A DACs
- LM4562 and JRC 2114D’s stock build opamps
- Swappable opamps
- Discrete power source motherboard bypass
- Nichicon caps
- EMI shielding
- Separate power sources for line, and headphone output

Asus claims that the card supports and outstanding signal-to-noise ratio of 124 dB, which is on par with some of the best audio equipment for the home theater market. Thanks to the Burr Brown DAC, users can expect realistic high quality performance that matches Asus’ claims. Those who are familiar with the Burr Brown name knows that the company is reputable for high quality audio electronics.

The card physically does not come with typical 3.5mm mini-jacks, and instead come with gold plated stereo RCA outputs, and a pair of larger TRS jacks found on high-end studio headphones. Asus claims that the new Xonar Essence STX is aimed at both audio purists and headphone junkies alike. Hopefully we’ll get this bad-boy in for a comparison soon.

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  • 2 Hide
    Shadow703793 , November 13, 2008 10:36 PM
    Unless you have the high end/high quality sound equipment (subs,etc) a card like this is quite un-needed. Same if you are just listening to MP3s(or any lossy compressed format). Good job on ASUS part for catering to a niche market though.
  • -1 Hide
    liemfukliang , November 14, 2008 6:14 AM
    X-Fi 2 anyone?
  • 1 Hide
    kelfen , November 14, 2008 2:44 PM
    Shadow703793Unless you have the high end/high quality sound equipment (subs,etc) a card like this is quite un-needed. Same if you are just listening to MP3s(or any lossy compressed format). Good job on ASUS part for catering to a niche market though.

    Well sound card/speakers. You are only good as your weakest link. so you hook up bad a speakers to an awsome high quality sound card vis versa uh oo...
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , November 14, 2008 3:54 PM
    ^Yup. That's my point.
  • 1 Hide
    animal_chin , November 14, 2008 6:57 PM
    liemfukliangX-Fi 2 anyone?


    I will never ever buy a Creative product. They decided to not release Vista drivers for any of their current sound card lineup. Instead they release basically the same sound card for Vista so you had to basically rebuy your sound card if you wanted to run Vista. They also banned users from their forums that wrote and released Vista drivers for their cards. They realized that sound cards were a one time purchase and did this out of greed.

    This card is obviously for a HTPC. I would consider getting this card on my next build, at which time I should have a nice receiver and a good set of speakers to plug into this thing. Hopefully I'll have a nice collection of flac by then. :D 
  • 0 Hide
    mtyermom , November 17, 2008 2:10 PM
    Any word on pricing?