ASUS Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Hi-Fi-Grade Sound Cards Launched


ASUS Announces Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Hi-Fi-Grade Sound Cards with 124dB SNR and 600ohm-Headphone Amplifier

High-end cards build on capabilities of hugely popular Essence STX to deliver exceptional audio clarity drawn from long and trusted Hi-Fi development experience

Taipei, Taiwan (12th March, 2014) — ASUS today announced Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1, two new Hi-Fi-grade sound cards designed to delight audiophiles with 124dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) clarity and a 600ohm-headphone amplifier.

Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 build on the success and huge popularity of ASUS Essence STX – the world’s first consumer sound card to deliver 124db SNR audio clarity plus 600ohm headphone amp, and the long-term holder of the number-one position in Head-Fi’s Sound Cards charts, as voted by highly-satisfied users globally.

Keeping the audiophile spirit and philosophy alive, the new Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 cards both feature a remarkable 124dB SNR for line-out connections and 120dB SNR for headphone listening. Precision clock is controlled by a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) clock source, optimized power delivery is assured with low-dropout (LDO) regulators and WIMA® capacitors deliver balanced sound.

With an amplifier capable of delivering impeccable output for up to 600ohm headphones, an additional gain control for in-ear monitor (IEM) headphones, high-quality MUSES operational amplifiers (op-amps) and an included op-amp swap kit, ASUS once again demonstrates its ability to redefine the sound card market.  Essence STX II 7.1 even has the ability to output true 7.1-channel surround sound, via the included simple-to-fit daughterboard.

Commenting on the launch, Ives Chiu, ASUS Product Manager for the Audio Sector in the Multimedia Business Department, said: “Four years after the debut of Essence STX, ASUS remains committed to delivering ever better high-end sound cards to delight the most demanding audiophiles. Drawing on years of experience in developing Essence One, Essence STU and Essence III, Essence STX II delivers meticulous design, quintessential performance and profound musicality — elements that shape the spirit of the whole Essence Hi-Fi series.”

 

Legendary audio quality that just got better

Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 deliver industry-leading 124dB SNR audio clarity, a much-envied quality inherited from the revolutionary and widely-acclaimed Essence STX sound card — and up to 64 times (64X) better than typical onboard audio hardware. Headphone output reaches a fantastic 120dB.

To attain the essence of sound, ASUS engineers equipped Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 with even more Hi-Fi-quality components. These include a premium TCXO clock source that ensures ultra-low jitter, high-fidelity LDO regulators for consistent linear regulation and German-made WIMA capacitors for a more balanced sound. The profound musicality that Essence listeners expect is encapsulated by celebrated MUSES 8920 and MUSES 8820 op-amps, which deliver true-to-life tonality and spacious sound imaging.

Both Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 benefit from swappable op-amp sockets and come with a swap kit that includes three additional op-amps — two Texas Instruments LME49720s and one MUSES 8820 — that allow users to create different timbres and tonal combinations. The swap kit includes a clamp tool that makes it easy to remove the op-amp microchips.

 

True 7.1-channel surround sound that’s easy to fit and great to customize

Exclusive to Essence STX II 7.1 is a multichannel daughterboard that delivers true 7.1-channel surround with high-fidelity 120dB SNR outputs. This easy-to-fit daughterboard slides into a slot adjacent to Essence STX II 7.1, so installation couldn’t be more convenient.

Each channel is fully customizable with nine swappable op-amp sockets — giving audiophiles complete freedom to create the perfect surround-sound experience for their ears and listening environment.

 

Impeccable audio quality that’s all about the details

In their mission to create peerless sound output ASUS audio engineers study and consider all aspects of product design — attention to detail that shines through both Essence STX II and STX II 7.1.

The built-in headphone amplifier supports up to 600ohm impedance — so audiophiles can plug in the finest high-impedance headphones to enjoy the pure quality delivered by Essence STX II and STX II 7.1.

ASUS engineers have also furnished the new cards with an additional gain control designed especially for high-sensitivity IEM headphones, allowing musicians, audio purists and everyday listeners to use snug-fitting earpieces that channel audio output straight to the ear canal — isolating ambient noise for clear sound and undisturbed listening experience.

The cards also benefit from a software package that includes a full version of Dolby Home Theater, an advanced software suite that turns a PC into a dedicated home-theater center with enhanced surround sound.

 

Essence STX II 7.1

Essence STX II

Channel

7.1

Stereo

SNR (signal-to-noise ratio)

124dB (RCA out)

120dB (headphone out)

118dB (line input)

120 dB (surround out, Essence STX II 7.1 only)

124dB (RCA out)

120dB (headphone out)

118dB (line input)

THD+N (total harmonic distortion plus noise)

0.0003% (-110dB)

Frequency response

10Hz-90kHz

Sample-rate resolution

Up to 192kHz @ 16/24bit

Output impedance

100ohm (line out)

10ohm (headphone out)

Full-scale output voltage

2Vrms (line out)

7Vrms (headphone out)

Swappable op-amps

2 x MUSES 8920 (I/V slot)

1 x MUSES 8820 (LPF slot)

3 x LM4562 NA (I/V slot of daughter board)

6 x JRC 2114D (LPF slot of daughter board)

2 x MUSES 8920 (I/V slot)

1 x MUSES 8820 (LPF slot)

 

Connectivity

8 x stereo RCA out (front/side/center-subwoofer/rear)

1 x 6.3mm(1/4”) headphone out

1 x 6.3mm(1/4”) input (line-in/mic-in)

1 x S/PDIF Coaxial out

1 x Front panel audio header (HD audio/AC 97 compatible)

2 x stereo RCA out (left/right)

1 x 6.3mm(1/4”) headphone out

1 x 6.3mm(1/4”) input (line-in/mic-in)

1 x S/PDIF Coaxial out

1 x Front panel audio header (HD audio/AC 97 compatible)

Software

Dolby® Digital Live/ Dolby® Headphone/ Dolby® Virtual Speaker/Dolby® Pro-Logic II

Op-amp swap kit

2 x LME 49720

1 x MUSES 8820

1 x IC clamp

Dimensions (W x L)

168 x 107mm (main board)

111 x 102 mm (daughter board)

168 x 107mm

1    Specifications and product availability are all subject to change without notice and may differ from country to country. Actual performance may vary depending on applications, usage, environment and other factors.

Full specifications are available at www.asus.com

ABOUT ASUS ESSENCE

ASUS Essence Series is dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art products for audiophiles. The total commitment of the Essence team offers the most innovative approach to sound as complemented by industry-leading standards. The Essence Series has received more than 150 global awards and media accolades, including the CES Innovations Award (Audio Components category) and three awards from Japan’s prestigious Visual Grand Prix. The highly-regarded Essence STX occupies the number-one position in Head-Fi.org’s users in Computer Audio and Sound Cards categories and has been featured as cover story by the influential Stereophile magazine.

ABOUT ASUS

ASUS is a worldwide top-three consumer notebook vendor and maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning, motherboards. A leading enterprise in the new digital era, ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital home and office, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, displays, desktop and all-in-one PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia devices, wireless solutions, networking devices, tablets and smartphones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 4,256 awards in 2013 and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with its Eee PC™. ASUS has more than 12,500 employees around the globe with a world-class R&D team of 3,800 engineers. Company revenue for 2013 was approximately US$14 billion.

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