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ASUS Xonar Essence ST 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Audio Card

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
| 19 answered questions

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  • The ASUS Xonar Essence ST is a PCI audio card is the world’s first audio card to focus on precision clock tuning to minimize audio jitter. The result is extensive musical details and lively sound image that presents a revolutionary experience.
  • Equipping the Xonar Essence ST with the best components and the finest design, the ST delivers a top-of-the-line audio experience with a 124 dB SNR rating.
  • With a built-in headphone amp that can power headphones up to 600 ohms and 6.3 mm headphone jacks, the STX makes a perfect pair with high-end headphones.
1 used from $2,370.55 1 refurbished from $2,738.78

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Technical Details

  • Brand Name: Asus
  • Model Number: XONAR_ESSENCEST

Product Description

Xonar Essence ST - World's first Precision Clock Tuning for Revolutionary PC Hi-Fi audio

Product Information

Product Dimensions 11.3 x 9.3 x 3.1 inches
Item Weight 1.6 pounds
Shipping Weight 1.7 pounds
ASIN B002UVME88
Item model number XONAR_ESSENCEST
Customer Reviews
4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #128 in Electronics > Computers & Accessories > Computer Components > Internal Sound Cards
Date first available at Amazon.com October 30, 2009

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here

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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I've had this card for over a year and I'm very happy with the quality of audio reproduction. I use it primarily for headphone playback (Sennheiser 595, 120 Ohm version) of my compressed lossless audio music collection (FLAC, created with EAC) on a Windows 7 x64 desktop.

In order to get the best performance out of the card I suggest the following settings for headphone playback:

--Install the latest driver from the Asus website (currently "Beta Version 7.0.8.1821", for Win 7 x64). In the Asus control panel select: "2 Channel", "PCM 192 kHz" and "Headphone". Also, click the "HF" button in the DSP section which puts the card in Hi-Fi mode and disables all sound effects.

--From the Windows control panel open the 'Sound' panel. In the 'Playback' tab you should have 'Speakers (ASUS Xonar Essence ST Audio Device)' as the default device. Right-click 'Speakers' and select 'Properties'. In the 'Speakers Properties' panel that opens select the 'Advanced' tab. Select '24 bit, 192000 Hz (Studio Quality)' from the drop-down menu in 'Default Format', and make sure both boxes are checked in the 'Exclusive mode' section and click 'Apply'.

--Install the free and excellent foobar2000 player with the WASAPI output support component which allows exclusive control of the audio driver, bypassing the mixing/resampling layers of DirectSound (DS). To do so, after you install foobar, go to the 'Components' section of the foobar preferences and click 'Get more components'. In the webpage that opens find 'WASAPI output support', download and double-click the module installer and then click 'Apply' in the foobar 'Components' window. It will restart foobar and if everything goes well you should see 'foo_out_wasapi' in the list of modules.
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Verified Purchase
I am writing this review to let you know that this Asus Xonar Essence ST audio card sounds better than another version STX which is designed for PCIE. I purchased two versions and auditioned them carefully. Both sound far superior to Creative Elite Pro, Fatal1ty professional and HT Omega Claro Plus that I have listened before. But vocals of STX sound nasal and rugh compared to ST. ST sounds more natural and refined with much deeper and more realistic bass sound reproduction. The Stereophile magazine reviewer said ST and STX appear to be identical, but they "indeed" sound different. They are not merely designed for different interfaces. No wonder ST is priced higher. I decided to keep ST and return STX for refund.

My speaker system is Creative GigaWorks T3. It sounds excellent with ST and STX. Today I will receive Razer Mako. Can't wait to see how it will play with ST.
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Verified Purchase
This is amazing. It delivers. Everything I'd hoped for and more. How great is that?

I replaced a good sound card (HT Omega Striker) because I was missing the fuller sound I used to get with the Claro Halo. The Halo is a great card but it's not as good as the ST. The ST turned my $300 Logitech THX stereo speakers into beautiful, layered, room filling sound.

I've read many reviews where people are extolling its virtues but you have to hear it for yourself. It's spectacular. Under cons people often say the price. Au contraire. For under $500 (speakers plus the ST) I've turned my computer into a high end stereo. Like I said you've really got to experience it to believe it.

The installation was no big deal though you do have to hook it up to your power source. I downloaded the Win 7 driver from their web site. Good to go.

I don't use head phones or play video games. For what I wanted, great sound and great music from around the world, this is the promised land. I couldn't be happier with it.
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Verified Purchase
I have this card running LME49720HA and LME49710HA op amps connected to M-audio speakers with thick gold plated RCA cables. With the stock opamps this card is good. With the LME's this card sounds simply amazing.

My power supply is an Antec with very low electrical noise and a large RF choke filter on the card's power cable also. My UPS/power strip is also noise filtered.

I can hear an ocean of sound, from the deep dark depths to the rippling, curling, crashing tips of the waves of audio coming forth. No static hiss at all unless it was in the track itself. So clear that when you watch a movie you swear you can hear the director breathing behind the camera.

The stock JRC opamps are bassier, good for music. They lack the razor sharp sound of the LME's though in the high-end and mid-range.
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Verified Purchase
It sounds fantastic, BUT I ended up returning it as it picked up too much noise in my computer. Everytime I moved the mouse or loaded other programs or web pages I would get a static sound from the card. I didn't expect this to be a problem, as my older Echo Mia was fine in my computer build. (And it wasn't shielded as nicely as the Asus). Wish it would have worked for me.
6 Comments 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Verified Purchase
I have this paired with an H6 expansion card in my HTPC. I use this mainly for Netflix and music listening. Most of my music is in Flac format or streamed through Pandora One. This replaced an aging Rotel RTC 965 preamp which sounded pretty good. But this card brings out detail and clarity like my old MSB Link DAC. This card has a bit more clarity and detail though. Watching Metallica Live Pour Une Nuit on Blu Ray is an absolutely fun experience ( I have seen them live in San Francisco and Fresno) that puts you right in the show. For me sound is more important than picture and that was the only unknown variable when putting together a HTPC. Excellent, highly recommended part for audio dorks like me who want all the devices in one box.

Used with Harman Kardon Signature 2.1 amplifier
Ed Frias Modified BIC DV62si and DV62Clrs- All with NHT 6ohm silk tweeters
NHT SW2p Sub enclosure with Infinity 4 ohm (same FS) 10" and KG5150 amp
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