Looking for a high quality audio solution to improve your movie-watching or digital music-listening experience? Look no further than the ASUS Xonar Essence STX. It has the capability to enhance your listening experience, perfect for any audio enthusiast.
One of the most important things to look for in a sound card is SNR, or signal-to-noise ratio, when deciding whether or not a card is high quality or not. SNR is measured in decibels, and the higher the number, the higher the quality. (That being said, it isn't the only deciding factor when choosing the best card.) Your average quality sound card has a noticeably higher quality sound at 100dB SNR (your standard integrated chipset has an SNR of roughly 88dB). The ASUS Xonar Essence STX offers a whopping SNR of 124 dB, eliminating virtually all background noise and enjoying the audio in its full glory.
THD (total Harmonic Distortion) is 0.0003% output and 0.0002% input, very low, and better than almost every card offered on the market. Frequency response is outstanding, offering a range of 10Hz to 90 kHz at 192 kHz. Further improve performance by swapping out the Op-amps. If you have never messed with sound cards before, it is recommended you leave the Op-amps as they are to protect the card from being damaged.
As for sample rates and resolutions, they are right around the average at 92 kHz at 24 bit for both S/PDIF digital output and analog recording. S/PDIF input is not offered on the ASUS Xonar Essence STX.
Features and Specifications
Put this card to use with your home audio or gaming surround sound thanks to a wide range of I/O ports. Input/output RCA port, input/output 6.3mm port, and a combo coaxial and optical S/PDIF output. An adapter is provided for those who require a 3.5mm connection, commonly used for headphones and speakers. With all of the other ports offered, however, not many enthusiasts will miss them, hence the adapter.
The Essence STX is a PCIe card rather than a PCI card. This could be an issue if you have all your PCIe slots full. Today's motherboards usually offer enough slots to add performance hardware, but remember that sound cards like the Essence STX require a lot of space to allow sufficient cooling.
It features ASUS's AV1000 processor, giving you stellar 7.1 surround sound performance. The card is also designed to accommodate karaoke, with more karaoke functions than almost all other cards. The ASUS Xonar Essence STX also offers vocal effects such as microphone echoing, as well as shift-keying. This gives you amazing control over audio tracks, for example turning down the vocal track to better hear the instruments behind it a lot better.
It supports ASIO 2.0, OpenAL for gaming, DirectSound, and Dolby Digital. Despite the inclusion of EAX and DTS support, this card will be sufficient for the majority of your audio experience. Expect to pay around $177.99 for the ASUS Xonar Essence STX, a small price to pay to give you the best sound experience out there.