Asus Xonar Essence STX - PCI-E Audiophile Soundcard


Sound Quality - Conclusion

The sound quality of the Xonar Essence STX far surpasses any commercially available and viable sound card in it's price category. Barring sound cards costing £200 upwards, the Asus Xonar really is musically the best card you can get at the moment.

At face value, ~£160 seems an expensive proposition, but compare it to it's competitors and you just cannot get a card that sounds this good for music, headphone and DVD listening.

The sound from the Asus Xonar Essence STX is warm and detailed with plenty of depth and oodles of base when you need it. If you've got a set of cans that need driving but don't want to invest (considerably) in a separate Headphone Amp, then I would say you shouldn't look anywhere else.

It has to be said that the Asus Xonar Essence STX also makes your existing compressed music collection sound far superior to how you are hearing it now. The digital output is excellent and on par with the Auzentech X-Fi prelude, sure, but the analogue connections are awesome.

Add to this decent gaming performance and movie sound that is up there with the best in it's price bracket and you have a card that is hard to fault.

I am certainly giving the Asus Xonar Essence STX the prestigious OC3D Best in Class. For Asus's willingness to sacrifice as little as possible on a musically orientated sound card, I am awarding the OC3D Innovation Award too.

The Good
+ Fantastic Analogue Sound
+ Great Feature set
+ Very powerful Headphone AMP
+ Excellent Sound Clarity
+ Great Movie Experience
+ Excellent Dolby headphone Onboard

The Mediocre
* A perceived lack of connectors
* Slightly expensive
* Included extras are a little thin on the ground
* Gaming performance varies

The Bad
- Lack of DTS support?

best in class  innovation

OC3D would like to thank Asus for providing the Sample.

Like the look of a music-oriented sound card? Tell us here!

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Most Recent Comments

09-03-2009, 08:28:07

Nice review, but linky is to quad sli forum not this 'un.

Given the price, it looks like it would go great with my shure se530s, but if I'm sitting at my desk I prefer speakers.

Definitely a niche audiophile product (like high end headphones) but still a nice review guys.Quote

09-03-2009, 08:59:04

I prefer speakers too, which is why I hooked it up to my AV receiver

Great card and personally I don't see it as a niche product per se, it's got all the connections you'd need to use with a decent speaker system (inc digital out)Quote

09-03-2009, 09:26:47

I suppose I prefer a normal 7.1 wired on 3.5mm jacks rather than needing a separate amp etc.

I guess if you have higher end audio its great, but for £120 I would go for the D2X. I suppose its aimed at music listeners rather than gamers so its better in that respect. Considering my only really high quality headphones are the shures (~£250) its not worth it just for those.

Its all a matter of what you want from the card and if you want really nice sounding music and have a good av kit, this is definitely the card to go for.Quote

09-03-2009, 10:18:00

Nice review mate and yes that card does indeed rock. Had one in my system for a month or so now and I just could never go back to an X-Fi or whatever now.Quote

09-03-2009, 12:17:36

How does it compare to the normal asus cards, does anyone know?

And kempez, the forum link at the end links to quad sli review...Quote

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