Good soundcard to drive the JVC HA-RX900 & AV-40?

reg411

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
107
Hi all,

I'm planning to get the following audio setup this summer and need help deciding the soundcard.

2.1 Speaker setup: M-AUDIO AV40 + TSC ASW-8 Sub
Headphones: JVC HA-RX900
Soundcard: Asus Xonar STX / DX / Prelude / Forte / Striker or something else?

Usage will be ~40% gaming / ~40% Blu-ray or DVD Movies / ~20% lossy music- Trance/House MP3 or youtube.

The pricey STX seems to be one of the best cards available, but would I really notice a difference compared to the other cards with my intended use? My budget is $150, but willing to go higher IF the STX can significantly improve game/movie sounds. I sometimes listen to music but never lossless.

Also, in the long run I am interested in piecing together a 5.1 system (primarily for movies), I'm not sure if the STX is the best choice for it. It seems brilliant for music though.


Thanks
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
908
As far as driving goes, the AV-40's and the sub are powered and the RX900 is not demanding so that won't be an issue.
 

Odin75

Gawd
Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Messages
739
Well, do you prefer PCI or PCI-e? Do you have room for any?
If you use the headphones relatively often and game more than watch movies, then maybe the X-Fi Forte is for you. The Forte has a headphone amp. Is within your budget also, so that's great.
If headphones is not use too often, and movies and music take a little bit more priority, then maybe the Xonar D2 or D2X (pci-e version) is for you. Some reviews say the Xonar D2 performs better than the X-Fi based cards, but that's at the expense of EAX 5.0. This is is a bit more pricey tho.

Some claim EAX is dying, and less and less games support it. If this turns out true, then probably the Xonar D2 would be a better choice. you get EAX 2.0 tho, so it's not THAT bad.

One thing I'm going to jump on before you make any decision. How do you plan to eventually have 5.1 surround sound? Do you plan to have more and more powered speakers, or do you plan to have a different set of speakers for when that happens. Think about this for 2 reasons.
1) If you get more AV-40s, to create 5.1, you are gonna run in problems finding a center channel. Remember timbre match. Also, powered center channels are almost non-exist. You can always get another AV-40 and turns it on it's side tho, but I don't see how that's gonna work well since your center channel should be your most important channel.

2)If you do decide to use a different set of speakers, then think about how are you gonna connect them. Sound cards don't provide enough power to drive normal speakers, so you are gonna need an amplifier (receiver). If so, are you gonna run analog or digital? And if digital, are you gonna go HDMI or is SPDIF enough?

So yeah. Few things to think about.
 

Filburt

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
119
For 2 channel performance: STX
For multi-channel performance: D2X

The STX uses the top-of-the-line PCM1792 and offers socketed I/V and analog filter ICs, so it's customizable and you can put in higher specification chips to improve performance. The D2X lacks overt customizability but you can desolder the existing chips and replace with better ones if you have the skill, and the PCM1796 is still a much higher performance dac than what is seen outside of Asus' product line. The D2X is also more home theatre-friendly as it has easy access to digital output on the back.
 

Adreneline

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
Messages
363
Xonar DX is great, I use them to run a JVC HA-RX700 and AV40.

I have listened to the D2X side by side to the DX, not much differences warrant the price, besides the extra inputs/outputs and features which you may not need.

They are great - so surely the STX would be a good choice.
 

Filburt

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
119
How does the M-Audio 2496 compare with the STX for music?

Inferior. The M-Audio card is a basic Envy24-based design with the midrange AK4528 CODEC (e.g. it's a dac and an adc) on it, and then generic cheap op-amps buffering it. There really isn't anything higher end than the STX in terms of constituent parts, and the design itself is pretty solid. The board design may not be quite as over the top as what Onkyo does, but they use a better d/a converter and you get more control over the sound due to having access to both i/v and lpf. I know some people really dig the WM8740 but I guess I prefer a reasonably well set up PCM1792 to it.
 

rls669

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
462
Hmmm, read a few reviews of the STX and it seems impressive, but only has one rca output. Is it possible to use the headphone jack and rca outputs simultaneously? I'm currently running an old amp with no sub output and have my powered sub hooked up to another output on my onboard.
 

Filburt

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
119
Hmmm, read a few reviews of the STX and it seems impressive, but only has one rca output. Is it possible to use the headphone jack and rca outputs simultaneously? I'm currently running an old amp with no sub output and have my powered sub hooked up to another output on my onboard.

It should work fine if you do that. If you need multiple outputs, get the D2X *shrug*. The STX is geared towards a 2-channel stereo setup as it's mostly music oriented. The D2X is more multi-channel oriented, but doesn't offer the same degree of customisability or performance (though it's still high, and can be modified if you can solder/desolder).
 

rls669

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
462
Sounds good. I don't care about surround sound but I do love my sub. If my amp wasn't 20 years old it would have a sub output, but it's a good little amp and I don't see any need to change it if a workaround is available.
 
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