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Review and Measurements of Asus STX II PCI Sound Card

bennetng

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Such a result is very unexpected.

There are multiple RMAA results available for the card and they are usually 117db or something... Like this one: http://borisgermanov.blogspot.com/2014/04/asus-xonar-essence-stx-rmaa-tests.html

Of course, those result are not AP2 results and ASUS insist that one must use the card's own loop for the RMAA test. (By the way, same as Creative)

Is there any chance that the card detects a RMAA loop and cheat when being tested?
Read every post in the whole thread carefully. The results on the first page are affected by a driver issue that forced the card to operate in 16-bit mode.

Even on this page (7) you can see some revised measurements.

Also, just to be clear, that 117dB thing in RMAA's summary is dynamic range (DNR), not THD+N(SINAD). They are different measurement metrics.
 
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amirm

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Then it puzzles me why other's RMAA result is so different from the AP test here.
Is there a reason you can think of? AP is the standard while RMAA usually gives a result worse than actual.
There can be many reasons for different results. Ground loops and noise levels are different. Conditions of tests are different (different capture device).
 

Jimster480

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Read every post in the whole thread carefully. The results on the first page are affected by a driver issue that forced the card to operate in 16-bit mode.

Even on this page (7) you can see some revised measurements.

Also, just to be clear, that 117dB thing in RMAA's summary is dynamic range (DNR), not THD+N(SINAD). They are different measurement metrics.
That makes the most sense!

I think people forget that SINAD isn't at all like Dynamic range.
Just had someone tell me yesterday that they bought a DAC with 121 SINAD and I asked them to link to me and it claimed 121DB DNR (still a lofty claim).
 
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Although a bit late, my question would be, whether the HP Advance Setting was used for gain when measuring this device. Basically it increases the gain from <64 ohm to 600 ohms for headphones. Does this matter in the SINAD I do not know? But it powers the high impedance headphones much better. By default this card software is set to <64 and the output is weaker.

Please forgive me for my ignorance but my HD 650 do really shine with the Xonar Essence ST card. Now I am on the market for external Amp/Dac looking at the Topping NX4. But I am not sure what the sonic experience difference will really be.
 
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What a shame, too. ASUS motherboards are held in high regard as among the best of the best of motherboards due to their rock solid stability and system performance but they just cannot seem to get sound quality right. I recently had to switch from ASRock to ASUS due to RAM stability issues that a certain model of ASRock board had on multiple units I and a family member owned. Fortunately, the ASUS ITX board we purchased cleared this up and it has been a champ and a smashing success but I can’t help but notice the blurriness in the sound of the onboard audio compared to my old motherboard. This is despite the fact that the onboard audio consists of a fancy-, shmancy-looking daughter board with LED-lit audio jacks, but a prettied-up, glittery appearance is clearly where the quality ends. I can only assume it is rooted in poor measured performance which is reflective of the underlying problems in their audio engineering like the issues noted here.
 

JohnYang1997

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What a shame, too. ASUS motherboards are held in high regard as among the best of the best of motherboards due to their rock solid stability and system performance but they just cannot seem to get sound quality right. I recently had to switch from ASRock to ASUS due to RAM stability issues that a certain model of ASRock board had on multiple units I and a family member owned. Fortunately, the ASUS ITX board we purchased cleared this up and it has been a champ and a smashing success but I can’t help but notice the blurriness in the sound of the onboard audio compared to my old motherboard. This is despite the fact that the onboard audio consists of a fancy-, shmancy-looking daughter board with LED-lit audio jacks, but a prettied-up, glittery appearance is clearly where the quality ends. I can only assume it is rooted in poor measured performance which is reflective of the underlying problems in their audio engineering like the issues noted here.
But please read through the thread. This card isn't bad at all. Just too much things cramping into the driver so hard to make it perform. As a soundcard, it's a convention. In the end the design is quite ok and is good option for people who has to use internal sound card for whatever reasons.
 

M00ndancer

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I've read it, and the measured performance falls short. Respectfully, we'll have to agree to disagree here. :)
I'm with @Hifihedgehog here, the card is not good for the price. Especially since it needs special drivers to work. I own the much simpler DG that I dont use anymore. I got it because it was cheap (€35) and had a headphone amp. But know I have an external DAC/AMP instead with a much better result. So liberating to not to have to wade through driver hell.
 

JohnYang1997

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I'm with @Hifihedgehog here, the card is not good for the price. Especially since it needs special drivers to work. I own the much simpler DG that I dont use anymore. I got it because it was cheap (€35) and had a headphone amp. But know I have an external DAC/AMP instead with a much better result. So liberating to not to have to wade through driver hell.
But for the time it was released and it has headphone output. Also when someone needs internal soundcard, it's pretty good choice. It could be a bit expensive but performance itself is not bad.
 

M00ndancer

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But for the time it was released and it has headphone output. Also when someone needs internal soundcard, it's pretty good choice. It could be a bit expensive but performance itself is not bad.
It has not aged with grace. At the time is was a good choice but compared with good motherboards and external DAC/AMP it's long in the tooth. The drivers are still big pile of poo. But you wont hear that because much of the bad stuff is below -90 dB. If you own one, use it and don't worry about it until there is no driver support for it...
 

JohnYang1997

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It has not aged with grace. At the time is was a good choice but compared with good motherboards and external DAC/AMP it's long in the tooth. The drivers are still big pile of poo. But you wont hear that because much of the bad stuff is below -90 dB. If you own one, use it and don't worry about it until there is no driver support for it...
I have asus u7. It's easy to use and both dac and adc are decent. I recommended my friend stx ii according measurements from RAA, 0.0003% thd at 250mv. And it performs pretty well too. The driver isn't poo. Asioforall should never be used in the first place. And limiter and stuff are just there for being a soundcard for average consumers. They wanted the eq, they wanted the effects at least years ago. I also have focurite forte and motu 828es. U7 was just something I used for a specific mic. In the end it's decent. Not great for the standard now and price. But still decent.
 
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The drivers are still big pile of poo.
To be clear, I was a huge fan of the original STX when it came out. It actually got Creative Labs in a panic mode because they finally had a serious contender. I was huge admirer of it and what it enabled in the internal sound card era of computing. With the advent of outboard external DACs and HDMI digital audio, though, sound cards as internal expansion cards have largely become a thing of the past. Now, I don't want to speak poorly of this because this card does have many strengths that you mentioned, @JohnYang1997. It is well-documented, though, that no matter all the well-documented efforts that have been made, the STX PCIe products remain completely incompatible with all AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboards. That is my one barrier to entry that makes it an absolute no-go for a majority of users.
 

edechamps

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Linearity starts perfect but then goes nuts:

View attachment 16690

Seems that there is a limiter of sorts???
Yep, that matches my experience with ASUS audio drivers in general. I did notice a limiter being introduced behind my back in some scenarios with Xonar drivers (such as increasing the volume above a certain point - basically the driver is cheating by pretending to increase the volume beyond what the device can actually output).

In general, I feel ASUS makes good audio hardware but then completely butchers it with hilariously bad drivers that do all kinds of undesirable processing behind your back. At least that's been my experience with several Xonar cards a few years back. It's a huge shame, really.

Right now I'm using the external USB Xonar U7, but I use it with the standard Microsoft USB Audio drivers, not the ASUS drivers. There's no way I'm installing any Xonar drivers after the horrors I witnessed.
 
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I couldnt listen to the asus soundcard for longer periods.
I bought a creative ae-5 and can listen for hours without ear fatigue.
 
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To be clear, I was a huge fan of the original STX when it came out. It actually got Creative Labs in a panic mode because they finally had a serious contender. I was huge admirer of it and what it enabled in the internal sound card era of computing. With the advent of outboard external DACs and HDMI digital audio, though, sound cards as internal expansion cards have largely become a thing of the past. Now, I don't want to speak poorly of this because this card does have many strengths that you mentioned, @JohnYang1997. It is well-documented, though, that no matter all the well-documented efforts that have been made, the STX PCIe products remain completely incompatible with all AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboards. That is my one barrier to entry that makes it an absolute no-go for a majority of users.
I'm using an STX II I picked up from amazon warehousedeals, circa 180 USD. I have a 2700x x470 Taichi board. No issues using it at all. In fact, it's stuck to my 390x backplate and squished between my CPU cooler and the card. I have no issues with this card at all, none of the internal sound bleeds into it, it increased the overall volume of my machine since the internal sound card (although not bad) was about 70% quieter than this thing (and I do not have any expensive headphones to really test it out). I'm actually extremely happy with this purchase and the card itself. I had no issues starting it off on the machine either.
 

Sythrix

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I'm using an STX II I picked up from amazon warehousedeals, circa 180 USD. I have a 2700x x470 Taichi board. No issues using it at all. In fact, it's stuck to my 390x backplate and squished between my CPU cooler and the card. I have no issues with this card at all, none of the internal sound bleeds into it, it increased the overall volume of my machine since the internal sound card (although not bad) was about 70% quieter than this thing (and I do not have any expensive headphones to really test it out). I'm actually extremely happy with this purchase and the card itself. I had no issues starting it off on the machine either.
I am the one who supplied this unit that was reviewed and I believe it is defective. It will randomly cause the computer to restart when the relays click and it's been happening more frequently.

Also, the headphone amp portion was never tested. It's a decent card, but ultimately I think it's about equal to a quality motherboard or a low end external solution. The software sometimes causes crashes on my computer as well.

I'm somewhat interested in the EVGA sound card, but not unless someone measures it and not at all for the price they're asking.

What really bothers me is I had the original STX, which measures better and then "upgraded" to this one (before there were any measurements).

I'm about ready to pull this one out of my build and retire it. Glad it's working well for you.
 
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Yeah i had varying reviews with different setups all the time, I was hesitant to get it at first specially since the taichi x470 actually has decent audio already, most people told me I wouldn't notice a difference but boy they were wrong. I'm only using some crappy siberia v2 steelseries headset at the moment but the difference in my case was night and day, not only the sound was much clearer the volume boost on it is insane in comparison to what the motherboard could supply. Honestly, I wouldn't have bought it at full price since it's absurd what they are asking for some sound cards these days considering the gains are not that huge for home use at least. I am yet to test the mic input on this card since I do need an adapter. The whole issue with hearing your computer with the card is normally related with grounding issues which I'm sure everyone seems to be aware of, I'm not sure if this is specific to setup or some motherboards have their circuits better isolated, in this case ASRock takes the cake for me.
 
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I actually have used this Card (STX II) for years and I am quite happy with it. I'm a bit puzzeled why it performed so badly. Might be, that it was defective?
Is there a way to measure it without PRO Equipment at home? I could do a comparison to a MSI X570 MEG ACE...
 

JohnYang1997

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I actually have used this Card (STX II) for years and I am quite happy with it. I'm a bit puzzeled why it performed so badly. Might be, that it was defective?
Is there a way to measure it without PRO Equipment at home? I could do a comparison to a MSI X570 MEG ACE...
Please read the thread carefully. 24bit mode is pretty good.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...f-asus-stx-ii-pci-sound-card.4915/post-111244

As to measure it, you can do a loop back measurement using one of these: arta, rew, rmaa
 
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