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ASUS PCI-Express x1 Sound Card XONAR ESSENCE STX/90-YAA0C0-0UAN00Z
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- Hi-FI headphone amplifier
- Main stereo RCA out, headphone out, SPDIF out, line in (Mic in) Other frount audio header, Aux in, S/PDIF header
- Sound noise ratio (SNR) 124
- Gx 2.5 (EAX 5.0)
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Now the cons: Installation on a modern computer with a modern OS (Windows 7, 64-bit). It's horrible. (sorry, don't know about Mac installs) If you're a computer tech, you're probably fine, but I'm just some poor schmuck who wants good music. Several forums have stated that the installation of this thing is buggy at best and forces them to return the card at worst. This is most likely due to the unit being shipped with driver 5.xxx for XP and 6.xxx for Vista. For all I know, they have a lot of those discs sitting around to put in the packaging and expect the consumer to download the latest and greatest version (currently 220.127.116.113 for Widows 7, 64-bit). We'll get to that update nightmare in a minute.
Installing the Vista version of the drivers will most likely mess your 7-64 system up. Gimped all of my software, forced me to do a System Restore just to get back to point A. You must download the current version for your OS to make sure things run smoothly and the hardware installs. This brings up another point for those of use who usually just point and click and wouldn't know a driver from a .dll file. When you download the current driver, it can't be used like it is because it's in a compressed format, kind of like a .Read more ›
If you are looking for a sound card to mate with either a good pair of headphones, or a high-end stereo system, this one is just the ticket. Or if you want to transfer your lp collection to digital format and you have a good front end setup, this is a great tool for the job. You can also use the wave input to record material streamed off the internet.
One note, and it's not a "con" but something to consider. It's *just* a sound card. Unless you're using some very high quality output devices (amp, speakers and/or headphones) you should probably spend your money on speakers/amp before you throw money down on a sound card because it will offer the least improvement for your dollar. If you've already got speakers/headphones and an amp that you're very happy with, this sound card will make a noticeable improvement in your system.
You can select the sample rate:
- 44.1 khz
- 48 khz
- 96 khz
- 192 khz
You can select the analog output. This setting specifies which of the ports to output from for stereo (Only one at a time is allowed; you'll hear clicking noises as it switches):
- Headphone (1/4" 6.3mm)
- 2 speakers
- Front Panel Headphone (connection via sound card header to your case I/O)
- Front Panel 2 Speakers
You can select the gain tuning:
- Normal Gain (0dB for < 64ohms)
- High Gain (+12dB for 64ohms to 300ohms)
- Extra High Gain (+18dB for 300ohms to 600ohms)
You can select a DSP mode which simply preset your sound card:
- DS3D GX
You can select Dolby Headphones which gives you the ability to select sound perception as if it were in a:
- Reference room
- Livelier room
- Large room
You can set your equalizer. I've found 'classical' to be the best. Changing DSP modes (since they are presets) disables the equalizer. You need to manually re-enable them.
I bought this sound card over the HT Omega for the following reasons:
- PCI-X interface instead of PCI (may be the case the sound card won't saturate either, but I just like progressive technology)
- Headphone Out and Line In are 1/4" 6.3mm (the package comes with 1 x 3.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can't beat the sound. (Tip) To change it to your front panel headphones use the ASUS Control Center that is installed with the software or download the lastest update. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
I have used SoundBlaster brand sound cards for more years than I can remember. But, for some reason I just couldn't get high quality sound from a SoundBlaster on my Home Theater... Read morePublished 21 days ago by RDSWY4
I have a Z97-G Gamming Motherboard, Windows 10 OS
The quality is better to my ears using this card. And I love the large adapter for my headphones. Read more
As long as you can a good enough amp that is transparent, a HD 650 will sound as good as it gets. Unless of course you're talking of coloring the sound, tubes, placebo, volume... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aakshey
it is good.but the clicking sound on restart is noisyPublished 2 months ago by abdulrahman ahmad akbar
I can hear footsteps in call of duty! My baby girl where have you been ;D On a serious note, music and gaming work on a ridiculous level with this sound card. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This product has several negative reviews which almost kept me from purchasing it. I am pleasantly surprised that it was one of the best parts of my recent build. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Badmojo