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  #101 (permalink)  
Old January 18, 2009, 10:15 AM
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@Kuben
Actually, I have the HDAV 1.3 and it has very impressive analog sound quality if this is what you are after. The HDAV 1.3 Deluxe is the analog champion for surround audio of the Xonar Line-up. Most of the bad comments have to do with HDMI and these were prior to the latest driver updates which have basically fixed all the issues people were having with the HDAV through LPCM and bit stream. Prior to these new driver the card would also downsample audio for Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD,DTS-MA etc. No more, the newest drivers allow full resolution high definition audio for BLu-ray..etc. Compared for Stereo audio though the Essence STX takes the lead. HDAV 1.3-120dB SNR and the STX-124dB.

If your going for headphone audio,the Essence STX is the way to go. If your interested in surround audio the HDAV 1.3 would be my suggestions.
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  #102 (permalink)  
Old March 1, 2009, 04:58 PM
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I just ordered an ASUS Xonar Essence STX from NCIX yesterday.

Based on the review that Alydon did @ Xonar Essence STX: Sneak Peak! - Page 51 - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio (second post from the top) I also ordered the following opamps; 2 each of LM6172IN-ND and 1 each of LT1361CN8#PBF

If you scroll ~ 3/4 down that page you'll see a photo of exactly where the opamps are located and a quick tutorial on how to change them.
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  #103 (permalink)  
Old March 1, 2009, 05:06 PM
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Opamps aren't hard to change. If your new to it though, be careful to get your orientation correct. Get used to noticing where pin 1 is on the chip and on the socket. If you insert them wrong you can.will fry the chip and potentially fry the card also.
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  #104 (permalink)  
Old March 1, 2009, 05:43 PM
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Thanks for the tip.
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  #105 (permalink)  
Old March 4, 2009, 01:24 AM
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I've been reading all of the stats and reviews out there on the Essence, and as it compares to the D2x.

For my purposes, I don't fall directly into any of Asus' primary target groups, as I'm not looking for a card for a gaming pc, and I don't only monitor via headphones or need surround. However, I am absolutely after the quality build and audiophile listening experience. Stereo is the feature I require going in and out of the card, so use of the LM's on the front stereo pair works great for me interest. Also the high quality caps can make a huge improvement.

Maybe you folks can help clarify a couple of items for me!
First, Newegg seems like they may have it in stock- do they actually have them or are they just expected from their source?

Second: some reviews and sites where it is for sale state the ADC is the Cirrus CS5361 and others state it is the CS5381 (the 81 being slightly higher spec and always the chip mentioned regarding the D2X).

Now that the Essence is added to the ASUS site, it states the chip as being the 81.

Did they start with one chip and change? It's pretty important to know which one it will arrive with if I order the card:) !

Also, as far as making use of the quality of the ADC, I've read that the (mic) input uses a not-so-great onboard mic amp. If one wishes to just use input for stereo line in, I would assume it would not have to make use of this feature, correct? I would be recording in from very high end balanced source probably via a stereo direct box to down convert from balanced to unbalanced into the trs.

Thanks for any input on these issues. Hopefully they are actually using the best ADC and there was just a typo somewhere along the line that made it's way around.
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  #106 (permalink)  
Old March 4, 2009, 03:31 AM
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That's funny because 2 days ago I received an email from that Newegg (US) that they now had these in stock but today there out of stock; as is Newegg CA?

However, NCIX has this card in stock for $192.28 (US), which in my case included fedex express saver USA shipping.

As to your other questions, I don't have a clue.
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  #107 (permalink)  
Old March 7, 2009, 07:24 AM
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Enjoying my card using sennhesier hd600.
Let my sister listen to them, and she was in heaven.
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  #108 (permalink)  
Old March 7, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Got mine late yesterday and have been playing with it for ~ 8 hours now. Right out of the box it added a much more balanced feeling to my AD700's, which don't require an amp, but a couple of posters over at Head-Fi said basically the same thing about their experiences with the two.

I changed out the stock opamps for an LT1364 and a pair of LM6172's first thing this morning. Very noticeable change across the board, with a tad more bass, which the AD700's in none amp'ed configuration seemed to be lacking . Then I tried the LT1361 and while it was an improvement over the stock opamps, it didn't match the LT1364's clarity and balance.

As you can tell I'm not an audio expert and everything I've said is my "seat of the pants" observations but when it comes right down to it, isn't that's what's important. As I'm typing this I've got The Bands Last Waltz on and it sounds great, with some small details that I can't ever remember hearing before.

FYI, my cans are hooked up to the STX's rear headphone out port, with the impedance set to match my AD700's impedance. In the main I've got the sample rate set to 192 KHz, 7.1 virtual speaker enabled and Dolby headphones enabled.

All and all I'm very pleased with this setup and consider it money very well spent.

Update:

Robscix, I forgot to thank you for the guidance in how to install the opamps because I'd hate to think what might have happened if I installed them incorrectly

After playing with the settings a little more on the audio center I'm now using a sample rate of 44.1 KHz, with Dolby Headphones enabled. I also ordered a new set of Audio Technica AD900 cans.
Can you tell I'm hooked and btw, if anyone's looking for a set of AD700's, with less then 10 hours of use please, drop me a PM.


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Last edited by Dogger1; March 9, 2009 at 02:35 AM.
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  #109 (permalink)  
Old March 9, 2009, 07:04 AM
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Yeah the 1364 is an upgraded version of the 1361. I asked Alydon why he thought they sounded better because spec wise they were inferior (he originally said he prefered the 1361) but he never asnwered it.. later he said he decided the 1364 was better after all :)
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Computer: i7 2600k @ 4.7Ghz | Asus P8P67 Evo | Corsair LP 16gb 1600CL9 | Silver Arrow | Essence STX | Crucial m4 128gb | Silverstone Raven 3|

Video: 2x R9 290 @ 1050 / 1375 | ASUS VG248QE |

Audio: STX => Audioengine A5 / audio technica AD700X
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  #110 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Wow boj, you have good tastes in HW .

How's the STX with your D2000? I just ordered the STX to replace my audigy 4 SE. What should I expect?
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