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  1. #1

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    Default Asus Xonar essence STX how many of you using it ?

    recently bought Asus Xonar essence STX sound card .... still burning in

    Its a considerable improvement over onboard card.

    Folks rave about the DAC processor on this card.... Though i havent heard any stand alone DACs i would like to know what you guys think?

  2. #2

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    I used an ST for a while. It was a definite step up from the onboard card, but I have since moved on to stand alone DACs. The ST offered great performance for the price, but like everything else in audio, there's always something better if you want to spend the money.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    there's always something better if you want to spend the money.
    \

    Amen to that.

    What is your current DAC?

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    Current permanent DAC in my main 2-channel rig is the Audio GD NFB-7. I also have an NFB-8, a W4S DAC-2, and a Parasound DAC 2000 Ultra that I've been switching in and out. In my HT rig I use the DAC in my pro/pro, a Marantz AV8003.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Audio GD NFB-7. I also have an NFB-8
    Arent they considered high end DACs? Read about these DACs but they cost little over what i have allocated for DACs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    Arent they considered high end DACs? Read about these DACs but they cost little over what i have allocated for DACs
    Depends how you define "high end". They sound good.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Depends how you define "high end". They sound good.
    Ok here comes the dumb question how much better this DAC sounds over the ST you had? not sure how long back you had it and if you can compare it

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    Ok here comes the dumb question how much better this DAC sounds over the ST you had? not sure how long back you had it and if you can compare it
    A lot better. I would say that the difference between the stock PC sound card and the ST was bigger than the difference between the ST and a "high end" DAC.

    That particular system is very revealing, so subtleties upstream are easily recognised.

    What's the rest of your system comprised of? Spending a bunch of money on a DAC may not be the best route depending on what else is going on.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    A lot better. I would say that the difference between the stock PC sound card and the ST was bigger than the difference between the ST and a "high end" DAC.

    That particular system is very revealing, so subtleties upstream are easily recognised.

    What's the rest of your system comprised of? Spending a bunch of money on a DAC may not be the best route depending on what else is going on.
    With the onkyo as the heart of the system, I don't think a dac is worth the investment at this point. No slam on the oinker, but a higher end dac will be Lost on that. Mantis seems to feel that the USB on the new sc series is pretty damn nice. That might be a better route to look at given all the variables here.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    A lot better. I would say that the difference between the stock PC sound card and the ST was bigger than the difference between the ST and a "high end" DAC.

    That particular system is very revealing, so subtleties upstream are easily recognised.

    What's the rest of your system comprised of? Spending a bunch of money on a DAC may not be the best route depending on what else is going on.
    I have upgraded my Speakers recently i will receive them tomorrow:

    Polk LSIM 707 Fronts
    LSIM 703 Surrounds
    LSIM 706c Center
    DSW Pro 660 WI (With wireless adapter) subwoofer

    Onkyo TX NR 709

    Amp Planning to buy B&K 200.5 or 7250

    Planning to get MIT Shotgun S3 cables for Fronts and center

    HTPC with Xonar card and 4TB disk with flacs, Jriver Media player with ASIO

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    new sc series is pretty damn nice. That might be a better route to look at given all the variables here.
    Not sure are you saying the DAc is worthy addition or not required?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    Not sure are you saying the DAc is worthy addition or not required?
    I don't think its a worthy addition if you're happy with the current one you have. Not saying you won't notice a difference, but with a DAC, that Onkyo will be the limiting factor. I forgot you were getting an amp to power the setup (how, I don't know?) so that makes it a little better, but it might be worth looking at a processor upgrade before looking at standalone DAC's. Take this from someone who has tried finding a DAC for 3 figures that makes enough of a difference to use over my Pioneer BDP.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    I forgot you were getting an amp to power the setup (how, I don't know?)
    I didnt get that question.
    My receiver has pre outs and i am planning to connect them to the amp.

    I am planning to update AVR... this time around i may go for a Pre pro some time end of this year
    Last edited by Sumerian; 08-25-2013 at 10:05 PM.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    My receiver has pre outs and i am planning to connect them to the amp.

    I am planning to update AVR... this time around i may go for a Pre pro some time end of this year
    If you're planning on upgrading your AVR, it's likely that the new AVR or pre/pro will have better DACs in it than the ST, so I wouldn't add an external DAC. Just put whatever money you would have put into an external DAC into a better pre/pro.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    If you're planning on upgrading your AVR, it's likely that the new AVR or pre/pro will have better DACs in it than the ST, so I wouldn't add an external DAC. Just put whatever money you would have put into an external DAC into a better pre/pro.
    Point taken thanks for the suggestion... looks like This upgrading never stops ... i thought my speakers (Sony) where the weakest link in my setup so upgraded the speakers ....now i am ending up upgrading every thing including cables

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    Point taken thanks for the suggestion... looks like This upgrading never stops ... i thought my speakers (Sony) where the weakest link in my setup so upgraded the speakers ....now i am ending upgrading every thing including cables
    lol, yes that's true, but it sounds like you're on the way to a VERY nice system! Congrats on all the new toys, especially the speakers.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    lol, yes that's true, but it sounds like you're on your way to a VERY nice system! Congrats on all the new toys, especially the speakers.
    Thanks, all these effort is to backup those speakers.... Polks Freinds and Family is to blame

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    Thanks, all these effort is to backup those speakers.... Polks Freinds and Family is to blame
    Well, nicer gear demands nicer playmates. Problem is, your always deciding what is the weak link in your system. As soon as you upgrade one thing, something else becomes the weak link.

    Just get to a point that you like what you hear and enjoy the tunes. There will always be something better to chase. Looks like your doing a fine job as is, nice system your putting together.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Well, nicer gear demands nicer playmates. Problem is, your always deciding what is the weak link in your system. As soon as you upgrade one thing, something else becomes the weak link.

    Just get to a point that you like what you hear and enjoy the tunes. There will always be something better to chase. Looks like your doing a fine job as is, nice system your putting together.

    Seeing some of the setups here i think i am still far away...

    I never knew that one can spend 10K on apair of speaker cable... thats is a used accord price

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    I didnt get that question.
    My receiver has pre outs and i am planning to connect them to the amp.

    I am planning to update AVR... this time around i may go for a Pre pro some time end of this year
    I don't know how I forgot you were getting an amp since I've been watching and commenting on your threads.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Oh Ok ....

    I have one question though...from the little information i have the receiver will not apply any equalizer to the analog inputs
    it will just transmits to the amp... so if i use a DAC and connect it via analog RCA cables then how will the receiver be a limiting factor.

    Am i wrong with my assumption? This more to get clarification than questioning

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    one the other hand looks like not many folks here care for Soundcard... its all external DAC

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    one the other hand looks like not many folks here care for Soundcard... its all external DAC
    You're processing a lot of information at one time. I'd suggest that you slow down a bit and put the system together one by one so you can get a better grasp on how all the components interact with each other. Do some research while you play around with those new speakers and get used to their sound. Throw in your favorite movies/music and really get to know the presentation. Then, if you can, find out what you like or don't like about the sound and go from there. When you add that new piece, whatever it may be, you should be able to notice the differences. Using the analog in/out with no correction still leaves the Onkyo acting as a Pre-amp. You can definitely do better than the Onkyo as a pre for music for a small investment, but it might not be worth the investment to you right now until you do the above.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Yeah i am bit my this audio bug ... its like discovering internet porn for the first time

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumerian View Post
    one the other hand looks like not many folks here care for Soundcard... its all external DAC

    .....and there's a reason for that, they usually sound better and offer a bit more connectivity.

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    I'm using the STX in my computer rig with a real nice 1959 Fisher integrated (X1000) and a pair of modified Minimus 77s. It's not the big rig, but it sounds great in the nearfield.
    Carl

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