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ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card

B&H # ASXESTX MFR # XONAR ESSENCE STX
ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card

ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card Angle View Side View

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Product Highlights

  • Amazing 124dB SNR
  • Integrated Headphone Amp
  • Nichicon "Fine Gold" Capacitors
  • Shielded Output Path
  • Swappable OPAmp Socket
  • Windows Compatibility
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You Pay: $179.89

Questions? Ask our experts:

The Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card from ASUS is a PCI Express sound card, intended for use with Windows PCs. The sound card is optimized for use with headphones, as it features an integrated headphone amp and an amazing 124dB SNR rating.

The card is built using hyper-grounding circuitry, which uses a multi-layer PCB to separate signal and noise, ensuring that only clean signals are sent to your components. All of the circuitry is shielded against EMI, eliminating distortion. A high-quality DAC and Nichicon "Fine Gold" capacitors combine to produce superlative audio quality.

Note: This card requires a 4-prong power adapter.

The sound card features the ancient Chime of Tiger emblem plated in gold on its EMI shield, representing one of the first audio masterpieces in human history
Thanks to the use of high-quality components and impressive design, the sound card is able to achieve an unprecedented 124dB SNR, one that is 64 times clearer than on-board audio solutions
Integrated TI TPA6120A2 headphone driver supports headphones of up to 600Ω of impedance with less than 0.001% distortion, allowing you to drive high-quality headphones without the need for additional amplification
ASUS uses a multi-layer PCB design to separate signal and noise, ensuring that only clean signals are passed to sensitive components
EMI shielding seals all analog output signals from noise, facilitating distortion-free audio output
Burr-Brown PCM 1792A Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) converts signals at a 127dB SNR
Uses state-of-the-art etched Nichicon "Fine Gold" capacitors, delivering rich bass and clear high frequencies
Swappable OPA sockets allow you to alter your sound color, without having to solder any components
UPC: 610839041190
Performance
Signal-to-Noise Ratio Output: 124dB (Front); 117dB (Headphone)
Input: 118dB
Crosstalk None
THD + Noise Output: 0.0003% (-110dB) at 1kHz (Front); 0.001% (-100dB) at 1kHz (Headphone)
Input: 0.0002% (-113dB) at 1kHz
Frequency Response < 10Hz to 90kHz
Channel Playback 2.0
Conversion Burr-Brown PCM 1792A DAC
Recording 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 96kHz, 192kHz at 16/24-bit
S/PDIF Output 1x Coaxial/Optical combo connectors
Input/Output Connectors
Audio 1x 1/8" (3.5mm) Output
1x 1/8" (3.5mm) Input
1x RCA Stereo
1x Coaxial/Optical Combo
MIDI None
General
Compliant Standards None
System Requirements Windows XP (32/64-bit), MCE 2005, Vista (32/64-bit)
PCI Express slot
Packaging Info
Package Weight 1.7 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 11.3 x 9.3 x 3.3"
ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • RCA Stereo Adapter
  • 5 x Software CD-ROMs
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Limited 1-Year North American Warranty (USA, Canada & Mexico)
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    ASUSXonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card
     
    4.7

    (based on 34 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (26)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (7)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (1)

    97%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Quality output (30)
    • Easy to install (26)
    • Easy to use (25)
    • Reliable (22)

    Cons

    • Difficult to install (5)

    Best Uses

    • Everyday (18)
    • Multimedia (18)
    • Gaming (10)
    • Music (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Power user (28), Casual user (6)
      • Primary use:
      • Personal (29), Business (4)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Sounds Great, Needs Updated Drivers

    Night and day difference compared to the on board sound on my new Z77 motherboard.

    Swappable op-amps are fun and cheap to tinker with. I've tried LME49722 and OPA1612 so far and...Read complete review

    Night and day difference compared to the on board sound on my new Z77 motherboard.

    Swappable op-amps are fun and cheap to tinker with. I've tried LME49722 and OPA1612 so far and they sound better than the stock op-amps.

    After a couple weeks of tinkering with it I finally got the drivers working correctly by installing the 3rd party UNi Xonar v1.61 drivers and then manually installing the official Asus 7.12.8.1794 driver via the Windows 7 device manager. So now I'm using the Asus driver with the UNi Xonar control panel and everything is working correctly now. I was having troubles with the relays not switching from headphones to speakers.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    Second Card Doesn't work either!

    I purchased an ASUS CM6870 from B&H in April and have been very pleased with the performance for non-audio photographer apps HOWEVER the audio has never worked properly from the very beginning. After...Read complete review

    I purchased an ASUS CM6870 from B&H in April and have been very pleased with the performance for non-audio photographer apps HOWEVER the audio has never worked properly from the very beginning. After endless hours of installing drivers and talking to their useless customer support people I decided to purchase the Xonar Essence STX since I am also an audiophile - simply put the first card did not work or the replacement - so now the PC and the card are being sent to ASUS. I have to say I am an irate customer and am very displeased on how long it is taking for this to be corrected! Their drivers haven't worked nor have the drivers recommended by other B&H reviewers.

    Reviewed by 34 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-20

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    5.0

    Professional sound for a great price!

    By Alek

    from Montreal Quebec

    About Me Power user

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Install
    • Easy To Use
    • Great Price
    • Quality Output
    • Reliable Performance

    Cons

    • No Xlr Connectors

    Best Uses

    • Audio Creation
    • Everyday use
    • Film And Tv Productions
    • Gaming
    • Graphic Design
    • Multimedia
    • Sound Design

    Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

    I bought the product to upgrade my Dell PC XPS 8700. I am more that sure that the ASUS sound card is great but I cannot upgrade it because Dell gave me wrong information when I purchased the item. Nonetheless, I am keeping it for a future computer and I will continue doing business with B&H as they are amazing with product delivery, customer service, product availability and reliability! Thank you B&H team!

    • Primary use:
    • Personal

    Share this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Full size headphones? This is the one.

    By Geo

    from Fremont, CA

    About Me Power user

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Quality Output

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Multimedia

      Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

      I replaced a dying sound card with this one. Exceptional build quality throughout, especially at the connectors. Software installation took two tries on Windows 7 but finally worked. Super clean sound, no noise at all. The 1/4" headphone jack can drive whatever you wear to full range. Overall fantastic hardware.

      The software can do many fancy things but is busy with blinky lights and knobs. Works ok.

      If you need to drive real headphones from a PC, this is it. Expensive yes, but built to last.

      • Primary use:
      • Personal

      Share this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great Sound Card

      By Sad124

      from Detroit, Michigan

      About Me Casual User

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Install

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Everyday use
        • Needledrops

        Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

        This is a great sound card. The only negative issue is the driver software is for Windows XP and Vista. Need to go online to get Windows 7 or higher. Once I got it running, it's great!

        Share this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Xonar Essence STX

        By SOULorSYS

        from Providence RI

        About Me Power user

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Install
        • Easy To Use
        • Hugely Dynamic And Accura
        • Quality Output
        • Reliable Performance
        • The Dac Capacitors And

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Everyday use
          • Gaming
          • Multimedia

          Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

          If you have high end headphones, enjoy online gaming, or watch movies at night, I cannot recommend the Essence STX highly enough. It is now my favorite soundcard and has taken the crown from my modified X-Fi XtremeMusic, so if you love sound and love headphones, do yourself a favor and get the Xonar Essence STX.

          • Primary use:
          • Personal

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Amazing SOund

          By Nate F

          from Bremerton, WA

          About Me Casual User

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Quality Output
          • Reliable Performance

          Cons

          • Difficult To Install

          Best Uses

          • Gaming

          Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

          I in tend on using this for gaming and for home theater and have found the sound quality amazing! Once the software was installed it works well. The CD that came with it only had VISA drivers which crashed multiple programs on my computer and I had to restart in safe mode uninstall them and then restart and download the latest drivers and reinstall. Games have amazing sound now.

          • Primary use:
          • Business

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Incredible!

          By DiyEyal

          from Israel

          About Me Power user

          Pros

          • Easy To Install
          • Easy To Use
          • Quality Output
          • Reliable Performance

          Cons

          • Expensive

          Best Uses

          • Audiophiles
          • Music

          Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

          I'm a bit of a freak when it's about high end sound...

          love this sound card so much!
          fantastic sound...

          • Primary use:
          • Personal

          Share this review

          (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Second Card Doesn't work either!

          By Vic

          from Charlestown, RI

          About Me Power user

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Install
          • Waiting To See Some

          Cons

          • No Customer Support
          • Unreliable Performance

          Best Uses

            Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

            I purchased an ASUS CM6870 from B&H in April and have been very pleased with the performance for non-audio photographer apps HOWEVER the audio has never worked properly from the very beginning. After endless hours of installing drivers and talking to their useless customer support people I decided to purchase the Xonar Essence STX since I am also an audiophile - simply put the first card did not work or the replacement - so now the PC and the card are being sent to ASUS. I have to say I am an irate customer and am very displeased on how long it is taking for this to be corrected! Their drivers haven't worked nor have the drivers recommended by other B&H reviewers.

            • Primary use:
            • Business

            Share this review

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            True Audiophile Audio

            By Tom B

            from Connecticut

            About Me Casual User

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Install
            • Easy To Use
            • Quality Output
            • Reliable Performance

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Everyday use

              Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

              I can hear the noise floor in the sources whereas the mother board audio was the source of the noise. If you are serious about good two channel audio, this is the card. Be sure to download the latest drivers, don't use the included disc, unless you have XP

              • Primary use:
              • Personal

              Share this review

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              So far, so good.

              By N/A

              from New Haven, CT

              About Me Casual User

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Quality Output

              Cons

              • Difficult To Install

              Best Uses

              • Everyday use
              • Music

              Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

              I purchased this card to pair up with my Corsair SP2500 speakers and they are playing together quite nicely. I love the sound and I'm pleased with the software to control effects, presets, etc.My only beef is that installation wasn't real smooth, but a few minutes with tech support and all is well (windows didn't detect the new card properly).

              • Primary use:
              • Personal

              Share this review

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Awesome Audio

              By Jim

              from NJ

              About Me Casual User

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Install
              • Easy To Use
              • Quality Output
              • Reliable Performance

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Everyday use
                • Gaming

                Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                Easy to install as long as you get drivers from ASUS website. Huge upgrade from on board audio. Recommend quality headphones or speakers to get most out of the sound card.

                • Primary use:
                • Personal

                Share this review

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                good but could be better

                By lynhnn

                from San Jose, Ca

                About Me Power user

                See all my reviews

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Quality Output

                Cons

                • Difficult To Install

                Best Uses

                • Multimedia

                Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                It is not working out of the box due to the followings: 1. 4-pin power supply. My PC does not have that extra legacy power supply to plug-in the card. For this price, ASUS should have include some extensions so I can use it. Otherwise, I have to make a trip to some computer store to buy it. Big thumb down. 2. There is no software driver for windows 7. I have to come to download it from asus and then got it working. The included CD does not have windows 7 software. 3. You can't dual output stereo 2-ch RCA and digital out. In my case, I have to select the software and check/uncheck digital output. BAD! 4. I have other high-end source player like OPPO but I didn't have time to compare them so I won't say much about sound quality. I see a big improvement over standard sound card. 5. Smart volume normalizer: this is the feature I buy into but it does not work to my expectation. I see some normalized sound level but I know it is a up-hill battle for any soundcard not just this one. May be I was expecting so much about it.

                • Primary use:
                • Personal

                Share this review

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                A real good Sound!

                By philipp

                from Los-angeles

                About Me Power user

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy To Install
                • Easy To Use
                • Quality Output
                • Reliable Performance

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Gaming
                  • Multimedia
                  • Music

                  Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                  Very easy to install, i upgraded from a Xonar DX, and one of the major strengh is the POWER delivered...simply awesome! to use with a good Headset...geez, it's a real clear good , refined and detailed sound! you will understand what audiophile means.About the games? its' surprising, and really immersive, and for the movies, its' really amazing! the bass sound deep and strong i didn't expect so much from a computer sound card, and i 'm baffled, really!

                  • Primary use:
                  • Personal

                  Share this review

                  (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Sounds Great, Needs Updated Drivers

                  By NanoSD

                  from San Diego, CA

                  About Me Power user

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Cheap
                  • Quality Output

                  Cons

                  • Old Drivers

                  Best Uses

                  • Audiophile
                  • Everyday use
                  • Gaming
                  • Multimedia

                  Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                  Night and day difference compared to the on board sound on my new Z77 motherboard.

                  Swappable op-amps are fun and cheap to tinker with. I've tried LME49722 and OPA1612 so far and they sound better than the stock op-amps.

                  After a couple weeks of tinkering with it I finally got the drivers working correctly by installing the 3rd party UNi Xonar v1.61 drivers and then manually installing the official Asus 7.12.8.1794 driver via the Windows 7 device manager. So now I'm using the Asus driver with the UNi Xonar control panel and everything is working correctly now. I was having troubles with the relays not switching from headphones to speakers.

                  • Primary use:
                  • Personal

                  Share this review

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  It Really Is The Best

                  By harmon

                  from San Antonio, TX

                  About Me Power user

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Crystal Clear Sound
                  • Easy To Install
                  • Easy To Use
                  • Quality Output

                  Cons

                  • none

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                    Had to reconfigure a PC, and was having trouble with the old SoundBlaster X-Fi card. I have never used Asus sound cards before, but since the Xonar seemed to be top rated so I decided to try it.

                    This card is truly the best sounding card that I have ever used. As soon as I installed it, I could immediately hear the difference. All of my music sounded super clear, and with a noticable increase in depth and presence.

                    If you are an audiophile, then this is the card for you.

                    • Primary use:
                    • Personal

                    Share this review

                     
                    5.0

                    Great hardware, drivers not so much...

                    By Isaiah

                    from Houston, TX

                    About Me Power user

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Install
                    • Easy To Use
                    • Quality Output
                    • Reliable Performance

                    Cons

                    • Drivers

                    Best Uses

                    • Everyday use
                    • Gaming
                    • Multimedia

                    Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                    First off, using this sound card instead of the onboard audio on my desktop was night and day. I paired this card with my Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones and M-Audio AV30 monitors. The quality of audio just blows me away.

                    The only problem I had with this product was that even with the latest drivers (for Windows 7 x64) I was getting blue screens concerning driver power management. I did find the Asus Xonar Unified Drivers that were put together by a third party and they solved all of my driver problems. (Google is your friend for this.)

                    Aside from the driver problems that I got resolved, this product is Amazing!

                    • Primary use:
                    • Personal

                    Share this review

                     
                    5.0

                    Very good sound!

                    By sniperops

                    from New Orleans

                    About Me Power user

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Crispy clear sound

                    Cons

                    • Not Windows 8 Compatible
                    • The driver is kinda old

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                      This is probably the best PCI-Express sound card you can buy on the market at this point.

                      • Primary use:
                      • Personal

                      Share this review

                       
                      5.0

                      Excellent

                      By DJams

                      from El Cerrito CA

                      About Me Power user

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy To Install
                      • Easy To Use
                      • Quality Output
                      • Reliable Performance

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Everyday use
                        • Gaming

                        Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                        Excellent card! No line buzz from speakers or headphones, the built in amp always delivers loud and clear sound. every time I listen to a song with this card.

                        • Primary use:
                        • Personal

                        Share this review

                         
                        4.0

                        Great Performance, Tricky Installation

                        By HillBob

                        from Palo Alto, CA

                        About Me Power user

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Use
                        • Quality Output

                        Cons

                        • Difficult To Install

                        Best Uses

                        • 2-channel audio system
                        • Audiophile listening
                        • Audiophile vinyl to CD
                        • Everyday use

                        Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                        I bought this card to serve as a primary music source for a vintage, high-end audio system. Once installed, it provided superb D/A, A/D performance, as shown by FFT spectral analysis for harmonic distortion, noise and digital artifacts. Sound quality through ER-4S earphones or electrostatic speakers was excellent. The Audio Center software worked well with a 2-channel audio system. This is not an appropriate product for a home theatre installation with 4+ speakers, or for a multi-track recording enthusiast.

                        Installing the card was rather tedious. It requires a 4-pin Molex power supply connection in addition to PCI-e. Software and drivers on the distribution CD(v. 6.12.8.1756)failed to work on my Win7-64 computer. After uninstalling the software, I downloaded updated software from the Asus website, then unpacked the *.rar file and installed v. 7.12.8.1794. Now everything worked as it should.

                        • Primary use:
                        • Personal
                        • Similar:
                        • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium

                        Share this review

                         
                        5.0

                        Brilliant

                        By Ian

                        from Baltimore, MD

                        About Me Power user

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Install
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Quality Output
                        • Reliable Performance

                        Cons

                        • Check your sound settings

                        Best Uses

                        • Multimedia

                        Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                        Beautiful sound, easy installation, and incredibly sturdy craftsmanship.

                        The only thing I would advise is that after you install the ASUS drivers and sound software, check to make sure that the new soundcard is your default device for audio output in the control panel and that you have the correct channels selected (headphones, speakers, etc). This is important because you may not initially get sound and it'll drive you NUTS trying to figure out why.

                        Share this review

                        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        Great But Not Perfect

                        By jayhawk

                        from Carthage, MO

                        About Me Power user

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Install
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Quality Output
                        • Reliable Performance

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Everyday use
                          • Multimedia

                          Comments about ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI Express Sound Card:

                          The card has great sound but it can caused problems with your computer. I have an ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard and after installing the Xonar sound card problems arose. Computer failed boot on startup which required the PSU to be shut off and turned back on each time the computer started, also Windows 7 failed to recover from sleep mode. Upgrading the BIOS did nothing to solve the problem. In a last ditch effort to solve the problem I moved the card to another slot and after Windows reconfigured its self everything seems to work well at this time. I have used Creative soundcards for many years and I believe that the Xonar is a better choice for sound quality but the need for more outputs is needed to really make this card the king of the hill. The price is competitive to the cards produced by Creative. Driver and software installation went smooth and like most installed devices it runs several background programs at startup and as yet haven't caused any problems and the required memory to run are reasonable. My hope is that ASUS will keep the drivers up to date as that has been a real problem with Creative, causing you to abandon a good sound card when the OS changes versions. I did my research before purchasing this card and believe it is the best as of this date. Also B&H had the best price and through in free shipping. I use the card to record through and it produces an excellent recording.

                          • Primary use:
                          • Personal

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