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rlmoss's picture
Last seen: 7 years 10 months ago
Joined: Jan 19 2011 - 3:00pm
Asus Essence Audio Card & CD

I'm weighing building a desktop against the value choice Zotac Zbox 133, 134 ($400 barebone; 460 HDD +2 GB memory.) Either has blu-ray, HDMI, &c. OTOH, I can build with faster processor than Atom Ion, overall more robust and more flexible.

J. Atkinson gave so favorable a review to Asus Essence, (1/10) so I was thinking about it--cleaner less clutter than DAC, & c. But truth is that I'm not likely to make a habit of down high resolution audio files.

So either Zotac or alternate blu-ray most likely to serve as platform
for CD. If resolution on red-book is capped, does Sound Card capable of y/196 make sense.

I've sign ff, desktop time out

K.Johnson's picture
Last seen: 7 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jan 22 2011 - 3:45pm
I use an Asus Xonar Essence

I use an Asus Xonar Essence STX in the PC in my office and feed the RCA outs directly into my preamp and with FLAC, WAV (most are 16 bit/44.1) ...whatever, it sounds better than it should for that price. I use it for music and watching movies and it's the best sounding sound card I've heard. Oh, and they throw in a HP amp that isn't half bad for driving the AKG 701's and if I lower the gain via the Xonar Control Panel they play nice with my Grado 325i's as well.

I store mostly FLAC music files on my computers but truthfully it makes any audio sound very, very good. I find that this $200 sound card sounds better "to me" than stand alone DAC's I bought 5-6 years ago that cost me $1K. You're not buying an expensive, flashy case to store the electronics in and you'll be using the power supply (hopefully a good one) in your PC rather than paying for another so you safe a lot of money going with the STX.
Best of luck!

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