ASUS Essence STX II PCI-E Sound Card Review

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Introduction

Manufacturer: ASUS
Model: Essence STX II
Price: £175 (at time of review)

When most people consider upgrading their PC systems, they generally think along the lines of graphics cards, motherboards, CPUs and even storage such as the jump from HDD to SSD.  With performance and quality being an ever bearing influence on purchases, what about sound?  I mean it is quite unheard of that gamers and the like not to use sound; some require it in competitive scenarios such as eSports or LANs.  My question is, how much quality does your on-board solution (motherboard) actually give you in comparison to the likes of dedicated sound cards such as ASUS or Creative?

Sound is a staple part of life and aside from being one of the most important senses, it allows us to jive, groove and even shuffle to music or hear the carnage created on games such as Battlefield 4.  ASUS have been a cornerstone of the most recent boom in dedicated sound cards for PCs and are currently widely available across the market.  Whatever your desire and available chipset, the XONAR range has something that should hopefully be compatible with your system and of course open up a gateway to richer sounds and punchier tones.

Today I will of course be taking a look at the latest addition to an ever-growing catalogue of sound cards, the ASUS Xonar Essence STX II PCI-E sound card.  Now this particular model is aimed at the “premium” users who don’t mind splashing the cash to get the most out of their current headset/headphones; there are cheaper alternatives but today we will see why the STX II costs considerably more than its own lower end models such as the DG/D2X.  With high fidelity audio in mind and probably more aimed at music than gaming, let’s find out what the big deal is and if ASUS have another supersonic product on their hands; if the first STX sound card was anything to go by, ASUS will do well today…

 

More about ASUS: 

ASUS takes its name from Pegasus, the winged horse in Greek mythology that symbolizes wisdom and knowledge. ASUS embodies the strength, purity, and adventurous spirit of this fantastic creature, and soars to new heights with each new product it creates.

Taiwan’s Information Technology industry has grown enormously over the last few decades and the country is now a dominant force in the global market. ASUS has long been at the forefront of this growth and while the company started life as a humble motherboard manufacturer with just a handful of employees, it is now the leading technology company in Taiwan with over 12,500 employees worldwide. ASUS makes products in almost every area of Information Technology too, including PC components, peripherals, notebooks, tablets, servers and smartphones.

 

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