Asus Xonar Essence STX II

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CaterhamKev
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Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by CaterhamKev » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:13 pm

I am in the process of building a music “server” based on an old PC I have and an Asus Xonar Essence STX II sound card.
So far I have bolted the card into the PC after disabling the onboard sound functions of the motherboard in the BIOS.

It sounds pretty good to my ears, with a very small difference between it and a Caiman SEG with super cap upgrade running off a long dog audio linear PSU. Either the Asus contains a very good DAC, or my ears need a good clean.

The initial idea was to get a server up and running on the cheap, that sounds good with my DAC. I was researching SPDIF bridges on the internet when I found the Asus sound card at a good price, so decided to give it a go.

I still have a few tweaks to do such as trying passive cooling of the video card and CPU if I can find suitable parts at a suitable price to try and reduce any internal “noise” created by the fans.

Am I wasting my time by trying to do this? I am pretty happy with the sound of the Asus DAC fed using the analogue outputs directly into my pre-amp. It is very enjoyable, and the convenience of accessing my music library and streaming on the same source is appealing.

I am sure I could improve the sound quality further, but at greater expenditure.

If I have missed anything glaringly obviously, please let me know as I am a novice at this computer audio malarkey.

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terrybooth
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Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by terrybooth » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:45 pm

Nope. In essence you are building what used to be called the NVA TFS. That used to have an external NVA power supply (one feed for PC the other for the soundboard).

However, you will get as good a sound cheaper by going down the Raspberry Pi route plus you will get a better UI,
Pioneer PL71/DL103/ Phono2/HiFiPi/P90SA/TIS/CubixPro two-up

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slinger
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Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by slinger » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:45 pm

I'm guessing you don't need super-duper graphics, so would you be better off removing the video card and using the mobo's onboard graphics? It would knock one (or two, depending on the card) fan(s) out of the equation.

I believe the Doc has praised ASUS Xonar in the past, by the way.
Amps - NVA P50, A30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

CaterhamKev
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:09 am
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Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by CaterhamKev » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:03 pm

Thanks for the responses.
I am running Logitech Media Server, using iPeng on my tablet to control the music side of things.

Unfortunately I don’t have onboard graphics, so I will see if I can find a cheap passive card at some point.
At the moment I am quite pleased that my €130 gamble is paying off.

I have read That I could fit Burson opamps to improve the sound further, but I don’t think I have the space for them without changing the case or the motherboard. I am going to leave things alone for a while and let it settle down.

I had thought about getting a Pi, such as a Digione player, but I am unable to trial one before buying.

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terrybooth
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Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by terrybooth » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:25 pm

Getting used to what you've got is definitely a good idea
Pioneer PL71/DL103/ Phono2/HiFiPi/P90SA/TIS/CubixPro two-up

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slinger
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Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by slinger » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:31 pm

I've just had a quick look on eBay, and you'll be able to pick up a graphics card that should do the job for under a fiver.
Amps - NVA P50, A30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

CaterhamKev
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:09 am
Great Britain

Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by CaterhamKev » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:40 pm

Superb. I shall be buying one soon.

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Fretless
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Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by Fretless » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:15 pm

This thread may be of interest

https://www.hifisubjectivist.org/viewtopic.php?t=47318

Johan had done some serious investigations into optimal SQ from a PC.
The software he had is called Bug Head Emperor.
Main: NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube3
Digits: RPi 2B/Allo DigiOne/Volumio/Tomanek ULPS/AQ Jitterbug
DAC: Metrum Acoustics Musette CD Transport: Cambridge CXC
Headphones: AQ NightHawk & NightOwl Amp: Schiit Magni-3
DAC: Cambridge DacMagic Plus + Sbooster LPSU

CaterhamKev
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:09 am
Great Britain

Re: Asus Xonar Essence STX II

Unread post by CaterhamKev » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:15 pm

I changed the Opamps out for some Burson Audio Supreme Sound and I am impressed with the sound quality and musicality of the PC now. It feeds my system direct, and sound really good and engaging.

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