Asus Essence STX or Phoebus?

Violator

Gawd
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OK I'm after a decent soundcard to replace my aging X-FI. Have read superb reviews of the STX, and some mixed reviews of the Phoebus (HOCP included).

The Phoebus is newer, with seemingly better driver support, but the STX seems to have better hardware, is it right for what I want?

It's primarily for gaming, I have a dedicated sound-system for music etc so I'm not overly bothered about that side of things. I have a set of Corsair SP2500 speakers, so 5.1/7.1 support isn't a major issue.

I'm tempted to go with the STX, but is it a 'gaming' card?. Should I go with the newer Phoebus, as it seems to be aimed more at gamers?

Budget isn't really an issue. Opinions are welcome though.
 

atarione

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I am not remotely trying to be rude... but to my mind dropping $200 on a stx to run corsair SP2500's don't make that much sense to me. at all.

if it was me I'd spend the money on new speakers (nice powered monitors) or passive bookshelf speakers (plus optional Subwoofer) and T-amp (if space constrained) or better receiver / amplifier (used..see my $25 Denon from yesterday...which by my own admission is rather sort of a unusually good deal honestly) .. but I can anyways find used receivers for fractions of their price new.. think that damn denon was like $450~ new or something.

but if you don't like used.. something like a Yammy RX-V series could be had for little monies...look for closeout's maybe we got a RX-V573 a few months ago for $299 on year end close out at fry's love that thing.. sounds very nice.

of buy the sound card and new speakers... you only live once... treat yourself :)
 

Skripka

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I haven't tried either cards, but I'd take a look at HT Omega cards as well.

http://www.htomega.com/

I am not remotely trying to be rude... but to my mind dropping $200 on a stx to run corsair SP2500's don't make that much sense to me. at all.

if it was me I'd spend the money on new speakers (nice powered monitors) or passive bookshelf speakers (plus optional Subwoofer) and T-amp (if space constrained) or better receiver / amplifier (used..see my $25 Denon from yesterday...which by my own admission is rather sort of a unusually good deal honestly) .. but I can anyways find used receivers for fractions of their price new.. think that damn denon was like $450~ new or something.

but if you don't like used.. something like a Yammy RX-V series could be had for little monies...look for closeout's maybe we got a RX-V573 a few months ago for $299 on year end close out at fry's love that thing.. sounds very nice.

of buy the sound card and new speakers... you only live once... treat yourself :)

I'd take the other side of it. For gaming, why even spend money on a nice HT system or new speakers/amp? Gaming on speakers is one of those usages that onboard and lower-end speakers really doesn't harm that much.

OP, have you compared running your current card with onboard for your usage? Have you noticed a difference? If you already have a card, I wouldn't bother getting another for a gaming setup until the current card is no longer supported.
 

Violator

Gawd
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I am not remotely trying to be rude... but to my mind dropping $200 on a stx to run corsair SP2500's don't make that much sense to me. at all.

if it was me I'd spend the money on new speakers (nice powered monitors) or passive bookshelf speakers (plus optional Subwoofer) and T-amp (if space constrained) or better receiver / amplifier (used..see my $25 Denon from yesterday...which by my own admission is rather sort of a unusually good deal honestly) .. but I can anyways find used receivers for fractions of their price new.. think that damn denon was like $450~ new or something.

but if you don't like used.. something like a Yammy RX-V series could be had for little monies...look for closeout's maybe we got a RX-V573 a few months ago for $299 on year end close out at fry's love that thing.. sounds very nice.

of buy the sound card and new speakers... you only live once... treat yourself :)

Hmm OK, the Corsair's are quite nice as far as PC speakers go. If I'd wanted to, or had the space to use 'proper' bookshelf speakers I would.

If I'm just as well sticking with the X-FI, then fine, I was of the opinion that there were better cards out there though.

I have a Yamaha RX-V673 since you mention Yammy, that's for the 'proper' sound.
 

atarione

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I'm am sorry if I sounded like i was slagging on your corsairs...didn't mean to at all sound like that

i'm just saying a STX seems like overkill for them to me....

I have some rather diminutive speakers that sound very nice (vintage used)
Teac's $5 rather unually good deal actually)
teac.jpg


and many different set's of Minimus / optimus speakers like so ($5 to $15 for the pairs used) (about $40 on ebay.. if u liked them and didn't want to scrounge garage sales / thrift stores ..etc)

like so..
minimus77.jpg


they came in black also..but damned if i ever find them in black =\

but to my ears i'd rather have the teac's or Minimus speakers and a t-amp (and maybe sub) over the corsair speakers...

the corsairs ain't bad for pc speakers ..but personally I'd rather have the other stuff I mentioned.
 

atarione

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and I am dumb ... honestly I am very fixated on the music side of this... I game on my ATH-M50's because if i use speakers my wife would kill me...

so to large extent i agree w/ Skripka now that I've read your use case more closely..

still love little t-amps and Minimus 7/77s together however sound way better than they have a right to.
 

Violator

Gawd
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I'm am sorry if I sounded like i was slagging on your corsairs...didn't mean to at all sound like that

the corsairs ain't bad for pc speakers ..but personally I'd rather have the other stuff I mentioned.

And I appreciate the opinion, but this is what I'm getting at, is the STX too much for my setup?. I love good audio, but at the same time space is a bit of a premium in the PC room.
 

atarione

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personally i say yes a STX is overkill for them corsair speakers and u should save you money...

but that is just one man's opinion and all... if you buy it from amazon you could try it ..and if it sounds better great..if you think MEH...

return it .. no big loss... just the time to send it back and maybe money to ship it back (but seems like they pick up the tab lots of time if you ask??)
 

Valaire

Gawd
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I'll just chime in and say the Phoebus was a failed card, and the STX is way overkill for those speakers, so I'd get neither. 60% of the value from an STX is that it has a headphone amp and a software switch for the two. Seeing as you have no headphones, and your speakers are mediocre at best, it is a waste of money as the STX is not cheap.

I'd stick with that X-Fi or get a Soundblaster Z if this is only for gaming. Really, until you upgrade your headphones/speakers, I don't think it's worth spending money on a new soundcard. It won't make a big difference.
 

jahara

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Soundcards aren't really necessary these days. If you want to get an upgrade consider getting something like an FiiO e10 which should give you a better DAC.
 

Valaire

Gawd
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To say that a soundcard (which is really a DAC, possibly an amp, and supporting technologies) isn't necessary and then recommending a DAC is kinda going in circles.

For a gamer, I disagree, a soundcard that supports CMSS or Dolby technology for better positional audio is preferable to not having those technologies. This is more influential for headphones (which are the most competitive option for gaming), but is also useful for stereo speakers in the worst case.
 

kazaakas

Limp Gawd
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STX indeed seems overkill for those speakers..
Unless you're going to be buying a pair of >=mid-fi headphones in the future I wouldn't bother getting an expensive sound card.
(If you're ever going to a set of significantly better speakers chances are you'd probably want to use a receiver so then it also won't make sense to buy a good sound card)

Besides, is there any reason why you want to get an asus card and not a creative card?
I might be biased because I own one, but creative has extremely good top-end cards.
 

Violator

Gawd
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Besides, is there any reason why you want to get an asus card and not a creative card?
I might be biased because I own one, but creative has extremely good top-end cards.

I've had a Creative card in one form or another for about 15 years. I'm consistently disappointed with the driver support. I figured a nice new higher-end card would be worthwhile, but going by the responses here it seems not. I guess all the reviews are wrong.
 

atarione

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the reviews aren't necessarily wrong .. saying they are good pc speakers ... they are.. but it is kinda like being the fastest economy 4 door economy car you are still slow when you compare it to a Mercedes that rolls by you (in California most likely to your right :))

the STX is a nice card...but in order for to be of much use you need to have nice >=mid fi headphones or something better than pc speakers....


but you seem happy with them and really that is all that matters, others and myself believe that however you are not really going to see much audio improvement w/ a STX and those speakers as they are going to be the weak link in the chain.
 

Violator

Gawd
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the reviews aren't necessarily wrong .. saying they are good pc speakers ... they are.. but it is kinda like being the fastest economy 4 door economy car you are still slow when you compare it to a Mercedes that rolls by you (in California most likely to your right :))

the STX is a nice card...but in order for to be of much use you need to have nice >=mid fi headphones or something better than pc speakers....


but you seem happy with them and really that is all that matters, others and myself believe that however you are not really going to see much audio improvement w/ a STX and those speakers as they are going to be the weak link in the chain.

Well a decent set of headphones were also in the plans, but for the moment, I wanted to see what difference (if any) a new card would make to my current set-up.

I think now yes the STX is probably too much for what I'm after.
 

cageymaru

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Right now the Phoebus still isn't compatible with Win 8 64, but I see that you're running Win 7 64 so you should be fine. Asus is working on Win 8 64 compatibility right now, but it seems that MS certification is hard to get. So Asus isn't immune to bad drivers. Just a heads up if you were thinking of purchasing the Phoebus.

Here is a common complaint and acknowledgement by an Asus rep. The good thing is that they are actively trying to fix the issue so the support will be there in the future.
 

cageymaru

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I m using Phoebus with win8 pro x64

And Win 8 64 is currently gimped until Asus gets certification. Did you click the link in my post above? Read post #10 and see what I'm talking about. Also read post #6 where the Asus rep confirms that it doesn't work. There isn't a workaround until we get new drivers.

If you can't even use Netflix in 5.1 mode with a Phoebus, and the sole purpose of the $200 device is to process sound, I'd say it is pretty broken. There are many other issues in games where all footsteps come out of one headphone for example. Asus is working on it, but I can't recommend it to someone as it currently is today. If they ever get it right I'll be the first to congratulate them as I love their products.
 

magictoaster

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And Win 8 64 is currently gimped until Asus gets certification. Did you click the link in my post above? Read post #10 and see what I'm talking about. Also read post #6 where the Asus rep confirms that it doesn't work. There isn't a workaround until we get new drivers.

If you can't even use Netflix in 5.1 mode with a Phoebus, and the sole purpose of the $200 device is to process sound, I'd say it is pretty broken. There are many other issues in games where all footsteps come out of one headphone for example. Asus is working on it, but I can't recommend it to someone as it currently is today. If they ever get it right I'll be the first to congratulate them as I love their products.

This, plus the fact that you have to edit the registry to correct an issue with protected audio (needed to use Xbox Music).

The hardware is great but the software is simply not up to par and you cannot get any information from the ASUS reps on the ROG forum beyond the "a new driver revision is planned".

An article on AnandTech might help understand why driver release are taking so long (even if it does not directly refers to C-Media):

"On a side note, I conversed with a member of ASUS’ audio team [...] regarding the decision to use Realtek over either Creative or anyone else. [...] One of these companies they were testing with quoted an 18 month cycle for updates and fixes, compared to a Realtek turnaround time of 4-8 weeks. [...] No-one buys a motherboard with the audio not working for their particular setup, and is then told to wait 18 months for a fix, so ASUS was not willing to put this on anyone in the motherboard segment. Something like the ASUS Xonar Essence STX is more suited for a custom build, and even then when that product was released many users had initial issues – three years on and the major issues for the majority of users are fixed.".
 
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Violator

Gawd
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Well just to update this thread, I decided to try the Asus Phoebus Solo. And I have to say it's pretty damn impressive. A noticeable upgrade from the XtremeMusic X-FI.

:)
 

Redshirt #24

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Either card would have been a generous upgrade, to be fair. That said, the trick with the Phoebus is basically to set it up and leave it alone...I haven't had any serious issues with mine, but I tend to leave it in one mode all the time.
 

cageymaru

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I'm still waiting on drivers to use the darn Phoebus in Win 8 64. I should have bought a Creative card for the superior driver team. Never thought I'd say that!
 
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