ASUS Xonar Essence STX II 7.1 Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅30-08-14

The Xonar Essence STX II 7.1 comes in as a very powerful audio unit that arguably provides the some of the highest quality audio you will get from a discrete sound card out-the-box. The daughter board expands the STX II to a top class multimedia device, allowing for 7.1 cinematic surround sound, while the included drivers and software can create an outstanding gaming experience.

The negatives are merely a matter of cosmetics, a horrible grey ribbon cable and the use of a 4 pin molex power connection are not great things to see inside a carefully laid out PC, however there are always workarounds or modding options available. It would have been nice to see premium/ high end Op-amps in use as the stock options, rather than opting for mainstream versions + extra in a kit too. Many audio enthusiasts may already own a selection of Op-amps and the price jump over their current discrete card (likely STX owners) may make it seem like they are paying a huge premium (at £215 over the current asking price of the STX at £125) for a bundle of Op-amps they may not necessarily want or need. Regardless there are many other improvements over the predecessor, and the STX II has handled all our tests exceptionally well. Considering the competitor's flagship is currently available for under £170 (I.E the Creative ZxR), some may find that the performance difference, especially when you could throw in some customisation money, may not be worth the extra cost, or upgrade (could even ring true for current STX owners). Regardless, that should not dampen the fact that the STX II comes out on top and takes the crown in this market sector. Remember, if you do not require the surround package that the daughter board provides, you can simply get the STX II alone for around £175. As a product, it is exceptional and provides a lot of agility in regards to audio output that, in time, will win the hearts of audiophiles. For these reasons it gains the double whammy of our highest accolades, the Vortez Platinum and El1te awards.

ASUS and the Xonar team have refreshed and expanded upon the formidable STX design, that will give top class sound quality in your music, movies and games.

+ Top class music performance
+ Powerful Multimedia and gaming performance
+ Customisable Op-amp sockets
+ Excellent functionality
+ Comprehensive supporting software and drivers
+ Front panel header
+ Headphone amp
+ Comprehensive bundle
+ Audio enthusiasts will like

+- Op-amp kit + tool

- Horrible grey ribbon cable for daughter board
- Molex power needed

Click here for an explanation of our awards at Thanks to ASUS for providing today’s review sample.

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