d2x soundcard vs stx 7.1

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Hi And thanks for reading this post.

My asus d2x sound card is six feet under and snuffed it, and i am looking at the essence stx 7.1 with daughter board as a replacement.

1. In sq terms are there any improvements between the two cards, is the difference slight or substantial.

2. I had the analogue outs of the d2x running into 3 power amps to produce 5.1 sound, can i continue to do this with the stx.

3. Most of my stuff is bluray dts hd ma 7.1 , or stereo, can the stx downmix the 7.1 into 5.1, and upmix the 2 channel stereo into 5.1

4. i heard the surround from the stx is only virtual surround, not true dedicated / discrete channels, is this correct

5. Is the stx 7.1 the way to go or are there better cards.

Many thanks in advance. John.
1. We are talking top quality converters for both cards, so differences ought to be very small. That being said, recently there was someone here who had ground loop problems with the STX + H6 daughtercard combo (while the STX on its own was fine), so YMMV. Getting the STX seems like overkill if you do not actually need the headphone output.

2. Yes, since you are buying the 7.1 version. That being said, if you need nothing else I'd just get another D2X. What's wrong with yours? There's some top quality components on there, I wouldn't expect them to be failing left and right (though obviously there'll always be a few duds).

3. About as much as the D2X - if so, the driver does it, the card itself is pretty dumb. This GX effects thingy has not proven terribly reliable, so I'd handle all of this stuff in software if need be.

4. Possibly referred to the regular version sans daughtercard, which obviously has one stereo headphone out and one stereo line-out only.

5. How long is a piece of string? You'd have to give some more details about the rest of your setup here, like what kind of amps you are using. Basically something with high dynamic range tends to be a good choice for running directly into a power amp, yes.
I am the person sgrossklass is referring to with the ground loops on my STX II + H6.

Let me answer the questions that I can:

1) I would think very subtle unless you have very high end gear
2) Yes. My setup is STX II + H6 into 3 stereo amps.
3) I don't believe it down mixes. You simply lose the channels you don't physically have. There is an option to upmix Stereo to Dolby Digital Live through an optical cable. It does not have a feature to upmix stereo to 5.1 via analog.
4) With H6 card, it definitely does discrete channels.
5) If I had to to do my multi channel pc audio again, I would not use a discrete analog sound card and go with with HDMI + a receiver. The ground loops I'm having are a nightmare and absolutely kills the sound experience. Granted, I haven't seen a case where anyone else has this problem. Also a nice receiver with the same level of DAC's can be had for similar cost. I was looking at one of the Marantz ($300-$500 USD) slim receivers or a Yamaha RX-S600 ($500 USD), both use a Burr-Brown DAC. Plus, you get all those nice DTS, Dolby, etc, features that come with a receiver.
Hi. Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

I think the power amp route is a good way to go, not hdmi, probably the ground loop problems you are having are giving a false picture of what is actually happening.

I say that because i used to have a pioneer sclx-83 home cinema amp (£2k) this won 5 stars out of 5 in all the different magazine reviews and amp of the year in what hi-fi magazine, i googled it before purchase and everyone in the forums liked it, but my power amp 5.1 set up i have now sounds much better.

There is a lot of potential in your set up if you can iron out the grounding.

For the power amps i am using 3 x quad 405-3 amps. These I purchased as a kit form, £250 per amp, once assembled the manufacturer claims they compare well against most £2k amps.

I have to agree, after a week of soldering the sound these amps produce is excellent. I don't have any £2k amps to compare against, i do have a £600 pioneer and a £800 denon, the quad totally destroyed both of these amps.

Are you sure about the stereo upmixing to 5.1, i could do that when the d2x was alive as it had dolby prologic IIx, i noticed in a google search the stxII also has that dolby, since both card use a lot of the same components i assumed it could also do the upmixing.

I am worried about purchasing the stxII as i cannot find anywhere where it says the card supports dts hd-ma 7.1 and most of my stuff is on bluray with that codec.

For playback software i have powerdvd and windvd installed on the pc, is there any way i could use these two pieces of software overcome the dts hd-ma soundcard problem.
I'd love to figure out this grounding problem without spending a lot of extra money, believe me. By itself, the STX II sounds great. Your amp equipment easily outclasses mine, so I believe you when you say it sounds better than a decent receiver.

Regarding the upmixing... I might be missing something but the only place I see any upmixing option is in the SPDIF menu:

An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.

Additionally, some reserach reveals that the STXII uses the AV100 which folks believe to be a rebadged C-Media CMI8787.
The D2X uses the AV200 which is believed to be a C-Media CMI8788.

According to C-Media's website, the difference is small:
Moreover, CMI8788 also supports Dolby Digital Live 5.1 (AC-3) and DTS Connect(DTS NEO:pC, DTS Interactive) real-time interactive content encoder... DTS Neo:pC turns any 2channel audio into 7.1 channel surround sound. DTS Interactive encodes all audio streams into DTS bit stream transmitted through S/PDIF interface.

This is also reflected in the "Special features" sections of the Asus product sites. I'm guessing you were using the DTS Neo feature? That is not available in the STX II, according to C-Media and Asus websites.

I think what you're looking for is the Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 Deluxe with an H6. It uses the same DACs as the STX II and also uses the CMI8788. Unfortunately, from my research, the HDAV 1.3 doesn't work in Windows 10 as the drivers haven't been updated (probably never will, knowing Asus)

Hope that helps.
Hi. Thanks for the reply.

The way i upmix 2-channel into 5.1 is to make sure the media player is set to two channel in the audio section of the options menu. This is possible in powerdvd but not windvd.

If the file is 2-channel, and the media player is set to 6 channel, for example, it does not upmix into 5.1.

Then i go into d2x menu and set to 5.1 in the main menu and engage dolby prologicIIx, nothing else.

There is a bug in the menu because the card remembers your last settings, so when you boot up your pc it looks as though dolby prologicIIx is engaged, but it is not because the display to the right is the wrong colour and the slider which sends the centre information to the front left and right speakers is missing.
Click on the checkbox to disengage dolby prologic IIx and click again to re-engage and the display colour changes and the slider re-appears.

You have an audio channel and analog out option in your main menu, i just get analog out, because i use windows xp as an operating system.

I've spent weeks installing diferent systems, win 7, win 10, different linux's, xp sounds the best by some margin.

Well, i took the plunge and purchased the stxII with daughter board. No grounding issues, it boots up first time and driver install went without a hitch.
It sounds so much better than the d2x.

I listened to some lossless flac files and i'm hearing all new sounds. I didn't like the centre channel on the d2x it sounded a little flat and lifeless but with the stxII it is much more detailed and lively

The kids have got back from school and they are watching a cartoon they recorded from the tv. I remember this from a week ago and through the d2x it sounded poor quality audio, through the stxII, again, i am hearing so much more detail, the stxII is getting every ounce of detail out of the recording, which the d2x could not do. I would uprate this recording from poor to reasonable quality.

The stxII wins in all areas by some margin, this is without the burn in time, wonder what it will sound like in a week.

Btw i also got a few opamps and a pair of pliers with the soundcard, two LME47920 and another one labelled muse 3, what do think about swapping these around or is it a waste of time. I saw a few 2114's on the daughter board which i have always thought as general consumer grade rather than "audiophile" so to speak.

Have you done any op amp rolling or another other mods which have proven

Many thanks. John.
Hi. Did you have any luck with the 5.1 upmixing.

Do you have any general recommendations for op amp rolling the stxII.

The problem is for every post which states they like the muse op amp, there are an equal number of posts which say they hate it.
But the Lm4562 has more positive comments overall than the muse, in fact i can't really find anyone who dislikes the Lm4562.

There was a funny post on one of the forums in which someone compared 6 different opamps on the stx, in the end he placed the Lm4562 as the overall winner and the LME49720 in second place. I didn't have the heart to tell they they are the same op amp, Lm4562 is an older name and was changed a few years later.

Many thanks. John.
My H6 is in RMA so I can't help you find a solution for upmixing on the STX II. See if the instructions at Uni Xonar help for you. I remember having some small issues using those drivers but, they're generally well regarded.

As for the op amps... it's easy enough to swap them out and pick the one that sounds best for you. It's subjective really. I couldn't tell that much of a difference although I *thought* the Muse sound a little muted on treble.
D2/D2X uses 3x NJM4580 on multichannel port though front LR is 2x NJM2114 and LM4562.Two opamps on balanced stage is OK because even order distortion is canceled latter stage and it is class A biased but third 4580 should be replaced.
The circuit is based on PCM1796's datasheet but the feedback resistor is too heavy load for 4580 which the resistor is required to achieve its high dynamic range spec.
Try and compare RMAA results of front and other channel on D2/D2X.
Daughter board of ST/STX and HDAV uses NJM2114 and LM4562 so it is OK.
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