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ASUS Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card 24BIT Headphone AMP 124DB SNR

ASUS Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card 24BIT Headphone AMP 124DB SNR - 1
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ASUS Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card 24BIT Headphone AMP 124DB SNR - 46390_l.jpg ASUS Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card 24BIT Headphone AMP 124DB SNR - 46390_1.jpg ASUS Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card 24BIT Headphone AMP 124DB SNR - 46390_2.jpg Customer Photos (0)
Reg. Price: $219.99  CAD
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   Shipping Weight:   1.6 lbs
   Part #: Xonar Essence ST
 May We Also Suggest

Features    [ Edit | History ]

Choosing only the best components and finest design, Xonar Essence STX achieves unprecedented 124 dB SNR - 64 times clear than on-board solutions, bringing top-o-the shelf audio experience for audiophiles. Xonar Essence ST is the world's first audio card to focus on precision clock tuning to minimize audio jitter. The result is extensive musical details and lively sound image presented for revolutionary experience.

Quick Specs:
Package Contents
  • Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel Sound Card
  • 1 x S/PDIF Optical Adapters
Host Interface PCI
DAC Data Width 24 bit
Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) 124 dB 110 dB 118 dB
Sound Channels 7.1
Limited Warranty 3 Year
Form Factor Internal
System Requirements

Operating System(s) Supported:

  • Windows Vista XP(32/64bit)
  • MCE2005
Number of Headphone Ports 1
S/PDIF Out Yes
Auxiliary Audio In Yes
Number of Audio Line Out 1
Maximum Playback Sampling Rate 192 kHz
Audio Processor Model AV100
Audio Processor Manufacturer ASUS

Specifications    [ Edit | History ]
General Information  
     Brand Name: Asus
     Manufacturer: ASUS Computer International
     Manufacturer Part Number: XONAR ESSENCE ST
     Manufacturer Website Address:
     Product Line: Xonar
     Product Model: Essence ST
     Product Name: Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel Sound Card
     Product Type: Sound Board
     Auxiliary Audio In: Yes
     Number of Audio Line Out: 1
     Number of Headphone Ports: 1
     S/PDIF Out: Yes
     Package Contents:
  • Xonar Essence ST 7.1 Channel Sound Card
  • 1 x S/PDIF Optical Adapters

     System Requirements:

Operating System(s) Supported:

  • Windows Vista XP(32/64bit)
  • MCE2005

Physical Characteristics  
     Form Factor: Internal
Technical Information  
     Audio Processor Manufacturer: ASUS
     Audio Processor Model: AV100
     DAC Data Width: 24 bit
     Host Interface: PCI
     Maximum Playback Sampling Rate: 192 kHz
     Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 124 dB
110 dB
118 dB
     Sound Channels: 7.1
     Limited Warranty: 3 Year

ASUS Xonar Essence ST Customer Reviews

Product reviews on are screened for relevance and inappropriate content. Reviews may contain inaccurate information about the product. If there is a discrepancy, please use the Flag this Review link located beside each review. Reviews are not an endorsement expressed by, but opinions from customers based on their own experience with a product. We do not recommend you make purchasing decisions based on facts or opinions expressed regarding ASUS Xonar Essence ST reviews.
Experience: 2 Years
-Sound quality is very good.
-Nice to have amp directly on the sound card for headphone.
-Can switch Headphone or speaker mode with one click
-Somewhat expensive.
-Dont like Xonar essence audio center
Im satisfied with this purchase, bit still it is somewhat expensive. You will need a high quality headseat like sennheiser PC 350 to see the difference.

Experience: 1 Days
OMG why I waited this long, best sound card on the market
I have been with on board sound card for several years, OMG this card just rock, makes my APE sounds so good, I really should bought it long time ago.

Experience: 1 Months
 Verified Owner
-excellent sound quality
-headphone amp
-swappable opamps
Best PC sound card available period. I've been using Creative sound cards since the SB16 and recently replaced an X-Fi Xtrememusic with this. It's my first Xonar and it just blows away the X-Fi. It is hooked up to Logitech Z5300 speakers (front only). It is a 2.1 soundcard (through analog RCA) but it does support digital coax/optical for 7.1. Since I play all my movies on the home theatre, 2.1 is good enough for music and the headphone amp is great for gaming.

The only con is that it's expensive but it is a high quality product and it's well worth it.

Experience: 3 Weeks
 Verified Owner
Replaceable opamp for i/v and buffer
External power input
6.3mm headphone and mic jacks
RCA outs
H6 expansion board hard to find
Only one adapter included for headphone/mic jacks.
I've upgraded from an Auzen Prelude to this and am quite happy with the audio performance. The sound is very detailed with a warm signature that isn't fatiguing after extended listening.

The stock JRC's aren't the greatest opamp, with my senn PC360 the bass seems a bit overpowering. With LME49720 in their place the sound quality is much improved with better detail and tighter bass.

The only thing I don't like is the relay pop when switching between headphone and speakers, but that's a minor issue.

Experience: 2 Weeks
 Verified Owner
Sounds great
looks good in my case
I love this sound card, I am happy I went this it.

Experience: 1 Weeks
 Verified Owner
Sound Quality = Orgasm
Gave life to my DT770's
Better than STX
Had some user error problems.
For anything looking to buy an STX, do NOT. The Xonar ST actually has better sound quality due to a different way of managing the sound, Other than that they are the same card. NCIX actually has the ST for cheaper than the STX which is rare.

Anyways, about the card. Wow. I first I was underwhelmed when I was Listening for the differences, sure they were there... but NOT worth $220 to me...until a few days later. After a few days while listening to all of my Melodic Death Metal bands (Insomnium, Be'lakor, Nancial, Dark Tranquility) they sound phenomenal, I tried listening to some mainstream stuff (Lady Gaga, MGTM, Franz Ferdinand) and they seem to sound just as good.

I'm using Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro's with my soundcard and the headphones are 250 OHm, the soundcard REALLY drives these things. Without the soundcard there was no bass, no detailed sounds or anything. I'd have to have the volume in windows to 100% and VLC to 100% to even "kind of" hear the music. With the soundcard 100% in windows is ideal, and anything past 30% in VLC will cause hearing damage... lol

ALSO, these things are AMAZING FOR GAMES. I was playing Bad Company 2 and I actaully felt like I was there, it was crazy. A grenade went off near me and it felt like it shook the room around me, crazy...

FIVE STARS FROM ME, GIVE THE SOUNDCARD A FEW DAYS TO SINK IN! Also, get good headphones, listen to only 270kbps-320kbps or FLAC's for the love of god.

Experience: 3 Weeks
 Verified Owner
Amazing quality sound
can be upgraded to 7.1
built in amp
its expensive but worth every penny
requires a good set of headphones to enjoy the card the way its mean to.

nothing else, great product.
I had creative xfi elite pro and it broke on me 1 year in. creative has horrible customer service and only back up their sound cards with 1 year warranty.

i decided to go with asus this time around and I am extremely pleased with this sound card. the sound is amazing and powerful, very clear and clean.

Experience: 2 Years
 Verified Owner
-Built in dedicated headphone amp.
-Dedicated 6.30mm jack (Headphone out)
-Can set headphone impedance to match your headphones impendence.
-Can switch between my desktop computer speakers (klipsch Promedia 2.1 Speakers) and my headphones (Sennheiser 555 HD headphones) with a click of a mouse.
-Swappable OP Amps.
-24-bit D-A Converter of Digital Sources.
-Latest Drivers worked with Win 7 Home Premium 32 bit during initial install. No software/Driver issues.
-Able to price Match below $200.00
-Well made high quality Soundcard with lots of attention paid to suppress noise interference. “EMI shielding seals all analog output signals perfectly from noise, offering distortion-free audio enjoyment” , “Utilizing multi-layer PCB design to separate audio from noise” ” Draw additional power from MOLEX ensures the power-sensitive analog signals treated with the cleanest power source” “Xonar Essence STX achieves unprecedented 124 dB SNR – 64 times clear than on-board solutions, bringing top-o-the shelf audio experience for audiophiles”
-Upgradeable to a 7.1 sister card.
-Power needed from power supply to eliminate the use of the PCI slot itself to reduce interference further. So you will need a spare molex connector.
-A pop and or little click occurs when I switch between the speakers and the headphones.
-The included analog L/R to 1/8 minipulg adaptor was defective causing my left side Klipsch Promedia computer speaker not to work. Changed to a spare adapter and problem solved.
-Some lame Xear sound enhancing “environments” features that I’d never use.
-Hope the PCI standard is around for a while so I can continue to use this card in future builds.
-Placed the Asus Xnoar in the PCI slot that my old Auzentech X-Plosion was in and the card was not detected. Moved the Asus card to a different slot and problem solved.
-Despite price match price below $200.00 it’s still a little steep for a sound card for most. (Serves my needs for the price though)
Just built a new Computer Jan 23 2012 from parts off of NCIX and I'm happy to report that the new Motherboard I went with had 2 PCI slots available. (Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AMD 990X AM3+ ATX DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI SLI SATA3 USB3.0) Placed my card in the new build, installed the drivers for Windows 64bit (old computer was Windows 32bit)and I'm just as happy as the day I bought it. No issues with the 64bit drivers or the new build at all. Now I'm good for a possible 5-6 years with the new rig and sound card. Since my original review I've updated my entire music collection to FLAC, sounds sooooo good! A modest 500 gigs worth. So yes, still a fantastic card and remember to price match kids!

Not being an audiophile but having the desire to get into audiophile quality equipment and continually learning more about it lead me to this card. I’ve always wanted to get into the world of enjoying music with headphones so I needed a sound card that would accomplish this and this card delivers. I know Sound quality can be a very subjective topic but this card is the best one I’ve ever owned. I’ve noticed an increase in sound quality thru my Klipsch Promedia’s and headphone usage with FLAC files is incredible. Wow, just Wow I love this card!
I mostly listen to 60’s -70’s Classic rock era music but I’m limited to volume due to living in an apartment and wanting to enjoy my music after we get our 3.5 year old to bed. Playing FLAC files through the sound card on to my newly acquired Sennheiser 555 HD’s is pure audio bliss. As others have mentioned I’m also hearing things for the first time on music I’ve played many times before. My Pink Floyd collection never sounded better.
I’m also looking at using this soundcard to stream FLAC files to a receiver with a nice speaker set-up one day as well when we eventually move out of the apartment.
If you love music I would not hesitate to recommend this card, games not too sure as I haven’t tried it out but that was not my main objective in buying this card.
Anyhow, off to convert all of my CD’s over to FLAC from my strikingly inferior 160 bitrate MP3’s.

This review was modfied by poster @ 02-03-12 08:47 PM

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