Asus Xonar Essence STX or M-Audio 192 Audiophile - diyAudio
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Old 12th March 2012, 09:18 AM   #1
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Default Asus Xonar Essence STX or M-Audio 192 Audiophile

Dear all
Please help witch card to choose??? Asus Xonar Essence STX or M-Audio 192 Audiophile???
Card will be connected to Cambridge DAC Magic via digital cable and will be used only for stereo.
My setup is: HTPC as a source, Cambridge DAC Magic (D/A converter), DIY Pass Labs Aleph P1.7 preamp, DIY Pass Labs Aleph 2, Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6 loudspeakers…
Thank’s at advance
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Old 12th March 2012, 10:06 AM   #2
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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IMO any envy24-based card with SPDIF output pulse transformer (a little black box close to the SPDIF cinch) will give you comparable performance to the Audiophile 192. Just make sure you do not need 176.4 SPDIF output, these cards have a bug and output 88.2kHz instead (unlike ESI Juli, Infrasonic Quartet, Xonar-based cards, etc.).
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Old 12th March 2012, 11:06 AM   #3
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the biggest advantage of those boards is the analogue output stage , for digital out most cheap soundboards will do (even onboard)
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Old 12th March 2012, 11:13 AM   #4
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I've tested two soundcards (Creative Audigy 2 and Creative X-Fi-cheapest)...and there is a lot of audible diffrences..
Quote:
Originally Posted by lduarte1973 View Post
the biggest advantage of those boards is the analogue output stage , for digital out most cheap soundboards will do (even onboard)
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Old 12th March 2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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I haven´t tested any of the boards but if i had to choose i would go with the asus
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Old 12th March 2012, 12:36 PM   #6
wwenze is offline wwenze  Singapore
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Yea... I've tried an Audigy and an X-Fi and both couldn't pass the DTS test (supposedly checks for bit-accurate playback) when the SPDIF out is fed back to another sound card. (X-Fi was in audio creation mode.) And in daily use both cards' SPDIF did sound slightly different compared to other cards that did pass the DTS test, with me preferring Audigy to (others) then to X-Fi.

More info on the test here:
Testing your sound card for bit-perfect output - the DTS test

So I can say with confidence that Creative cards do alter the output.

As for the rest, it depends on your needs. STX has excellent measured performance for input and output, a headphone amp, and surround sound via SPDIF, while Audiophile 192 is a pro-audio card with balanced analogue and midi I/O, excellent inputs that handle high voltages.

If only stereo digital-out is what you need, go for the Audiophile 192, the extra features of the Envy can be handy. But for an all-rounder, I'd choose STX. Try comparing the analogue outputs of the STX vs DacMagic too.

Last edited by wwenze; 12th March 2012 at 12:40 PM.
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