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Asus Xonar Essence STX vs Cambridge Audio DacMagic

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello all. I'm in a quandary regarding whether I should opt for a Asus Xonar Essence STX PCIx sound card for my PC or go with a Cambridge audio DacMagic DAC. The DacMagic is around $450 and the Xonar Essence STX is around $160. Besides being cheaper the Xonar Essence STX has some pretty good specs however the DacMagic has 2 imputs and upconverts everything to 192khz 24bit. I already have a Creative Lab SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium Fatality Professional PCIx sound card in my machine but I want audiophile quality sound. The Asus Xonar Essence STX also has a headphone amp build in
Please let me know what your opinion is on this matter.

Thank You.
post #2 of 9
It is a true audiophile card. I am using it in my main system. Best part is if you decided to record vinyl you'll have a pretty good system. The snr on the card is great, and you can roll the op-amp to make it sound different.

I am using it with Jriver media center with asio drivers, you can also play with softsqueeze for amazing iOS functionality for just the price of the app
post #3 of 9
Do either of you two gentlemen have any experience with this external sound card?

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD Sound Card powered by THX TruStudio Pro
http://support.creative.com/kb/ShowA...tree=obj(26463)

I am looking at it because it has an SPDIF input that will allow me to rip some of my favorite vinyl albums to hard drive at 24 bits/96K. I will use the SPDIF output on the back of my pre/pro running to the sound card. I would then use a program like Audacity to do the heavy lifting. I don't use a desktop computer anymore so I have to use an external card and this was about the only one I found that had SPDIF input and was 24b/96k compatible.

I was wondering if you have an opinion on the sound quality and what kind of results I can expect. I have a pretty sophisticated home theater and audio setup so I want the best sound quality I can get - I really want the same sound OUT and I am get from listening to the vinyl.

Any help and/or suggestions including other product suggestions are appreciated!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have the Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-fi Titanium Professional Champion Series PCIx sound card with the external I/O Drive, which is ok for gaming which is is designed for. If your looking for a audiophile quality sound card you might want to look at these 2 http://us.store.creative.com/Creativ...B0041OUA38.htm and this one http://usa.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio...r_Essence_STX/
post #5 of 9
I have this sound card in my custom gaming rig and I love it. I run some Sennheiser 595s through it. I noticed a HUGE improvement in sound quality over anything I have used before.

I use this setup for games and music and I can honestly say it is a very good combination. I hear things in my music I never noticed before.

You can actually get the headphones off Amazon for $140. Best deal I can think of for quality headphones.
post #6 of 9
Thanks guys but I am limited to an EXTERNAL sound card or similar device because of the laptop issue......

I also found an M-Audio product which is about double the cost of the Creative product which may be better sound quality. Since I'll be new to ripping vinyl, I am just not sure what level of device I will need to get the best sound reproduction. Both are 24B/96K with similar Signal to Noise ratios but from what I have read about other Creative sound cards in the forums, I am wondering if the sound quality would be up to my liking. Anything from M-Audio is likely to be better than Creative especially since I don't need a 'sound card' per se.........Just need a way to get the digital signal into the computer and save it in WAV format. Probably can't go wrong with the M-Audio especially since it comes with a lite version of ProTools.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyJ View Post

Thanks guys but I am limited to an EXTERNAL sound card or similar device because of the laptop issue......

I also found an M-Audio product which is about double the cost of the Creative product which may be better sound quality. Since I'll be new to ripping vinyl, I am just not sure what level of device I will need to get the best sound reproduction. Both are 24B/96K with similar Signal to Noise ratios but from what I have read about other Creative sound cards in the forums, I am wondering if the sound quality would be up to my liking. Anything from M-Audio is likely to be better than Creative especially since I don't need a 'sound card' per se.........Just need a way to get the digital signal into the computer and save it in WAV format. Probably can't go wrong with the M-Audio especially since it comes with a lite version of ProTools.


I was just wondering ( then the wondering it stop when I read your post) if these especially the Asus would fit a lap top, I guess not



Djoel
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel View Post

I was just wondering ( then the wondering it stop when I read your post) if these especially the Asus would fit a lap top, I guess not



Djoel

The Creative is an external one - the one I noted in my first post - works via USB and it is a sound card.

The M-audio product I found that also works via USB is this one:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackPro.html

I'm not sure it is classified as a sound card per se, but for my purposes I think it might work. I am probably going to order it from Amazon and try it out and post results when I get time.

I guess it depends on what you are looking for. In my case, I am trying to achieve the best possible sound quality when I rip some of my fav vinyl albums. Don't need a sound card since I don't need to actually PLAY them on my computer as I will be doing most of the playing on my dedicated home AV rig; But I do need a digital INPUT so that I can get it into the computer and manipulate, save and rip as required. There is a built-in sound card on the laptop but the quality is questionable and there is no digital input either.

I think the difference between mixing products and sound cards may be a bit blurry - if not to others then definitely to me.
post #9 of 9
Another +1 for the Asus STX. I have been very happy with it.
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