Asus Xonar Essence STX - PCI-E Audiophile Soundcard
Asus's sound-cards are striking in appearance, if only for the fact that they have a fairly large EMI shield on them. The Essence STX is a decent looking card and is bound to look good in any windowed setup.
The Chime of Tiger symbol is again in evidence here with a gold symbol etched into the brushed aluminium cover on the card.
The sound card must be powered to produce any sound at all and a 4 PIN molex connection is provided for the purpose.
Outputs look sparse but provide all that an audiophile should need. Analogue RCA's sit with a 6.25mm Headphone jack (3.5mm adaptor included, see previous page). An SPDIF connection is also also included on the rear IO with a Optical Digital converter included. Input-wise on the rear IO, Asus provide a 6.25mm Mic jack which should please all those budding artists who want to plug their professional Mic into.
It's worth mentioning that solid capacitors aren't used in this card. The Auzentech X-Fi Prelude does include a multitude of solid state capacitors on-board, but these are not considered to produce excellent analogue sound, which is really what the Essence STX is about.
Now let's down to the nitty gritty...