ASUS XONAR Essence STX PCIe Audio Card

Xonar Essence STX


One thing that is immediately apparent about the Xonar Essence STX is the absence of the 1/8" jacks normally used on most cards for I/O. Instead this card features gold-plated RCA connectors for left and right line out. Gold lined 6.3MM TRS (Tip-Ring Sleeve) Headphone out and microphone/line in jacks are accompanied by a gold-plated optical RCA output jack. The analog output section of the card is encased in shielding to further isolate the signals.

The components mounted to the PCB are truly what define the audiophile classification of this card. Featuring Nichicon "Fine Gold" professional audio capacitors for warm bass and clear highs, a Burr-Brown PCM 1792A Digital-to-Analog converter rated at 127dB signal-to-noise ratio and the unique addition of swappable OPAMP sockets to customize the sound to your personal preference. In addition a built-in TI TPA6120A2 headphone amp provides the extra power to handle high-end "cans" with up to 600ohms of impedance and less than 0.001% distortion.

The Xonar essence with its advertised 124dB Signal to Noise Ratio should yield an improvement many times over the sound quality of typical (HD) on-board sound solutions that usually yield a SNR in the 83-88dB range.

The inclusion of low latency ASIO drivers gives you the added benefit of using the ASUS Xonar in audio applications such as soft-synths like Reason, Ableton Live, or Reaktor. Of course without MIDI ports you will need to use USB keyboards and controllers or add a MIDI card. 

Nichicon "Fine Gold" professional audio capacitors
 Rear of the card - SPDIF out and more of the Nichicon capacitors

Top right,  Molex power connector required for the additional headphone amp power needed

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