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Stealth3si

Newbie Q: Upgrade from Xonar DX to Omega Claro Halo or Xonar Essence S

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Which one to upgrade?

 

What I currently use is:

Headphone: Beyerdynamics DT-770 Pro-80

External headphone amp: O2 Desktop Amp

Sound Card: Asus Xonar DX

Home Theatre 5.1 System: Denon AVR 1712, Pioneer BS41, C21, BS21, SVS PC12-NSD

 

What I do is:

On Headphone: 85% PC music, 15% PC games

On Home Theatre 5.1 System: 75% movies from WDTV Live, 15% PC games, 10% music from either PC or from WDTV Live

 

What I want is:

A.) Sound card with better internal DAC

B.) The GUI software that comes with the soundcard which has equalization, bass reflex, dolby headphone, virtual 5.1

C.) Optical Out to dedicated amp/receiver for games (and music.)

D.) Stock Opamps.

 

What I know is:

HT | Omega Claro Halo and Xonar Essence ST/STX are very similar but what is the difference that gives one card an advantage over the other in terms of what I do as mentioned above.

 

I have no issues with what I have now. Recently though I had audio problems where the right channel did not function correctly but it was fixed by updating drivers. Other than that, my DX is doing fine for me. But I want to know how large (or small) the improved noticeable difference is to justify the cost. I would upgrade if there is a day and night noticeable difference with what I currently have.

 

Which is a better product that I can discern a noticeable sound difference between the HT | Omega Claro Halo or Xonar Essence ST/STX and whether the Halo or ST produces the most improvements SQ-wise according to what I do as described above.

Edited by Stealth3si

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I went from a card very similar to the Xonar DX (Auzentech X-Raider) to the Xonar Xense (essentially the Essence STX). With the Xense, I've noticed a lot more detail in my music, including songs I've heard dozens of times before. It can be something small like picking up a soft backing lyric or a bit bigger like hearing a few guitar chords I didn't know were there. I did have a headphone upgrade along with the Xense, but even on my HD-555s I was using with the Auzentech, I can still pick up new details.

 

I can't speak to the HT | Omega, but the Xense (and by extension, the STX) has a very in-depth control panel to adjust pretty much anything you want. The STX even has a built-in headphone amp, but since you already have one that's a bit moot. It has a combination coaxial/TOSLINK port for the optical out, so you'll need to use the included adapter if you connect via TOSLINK. The HT | Omega doesn't have to worry about an adapter for TOSLINK, but it does for coaxial. If using an adapter won't/doesn't bother you, then disregard that. :lol:

 

In the end, I'm partial to ASUS although I have no problem recommending HT | Omega. Both would serve your purposes well if you do decide to upgrade, however, if your Xonar DX isn't having any issues, then I don't know if you should upgrade. The major benefit would be for your headphones really, so if you use those more, then I'd say to upgrade to either the Claro Halo or Essence STX. If you use mostly optical out, well, that's more dependent on the system you're running it to than the sound card.

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My vote goes for Essence STX, It is very good listening to music and have all the features you have listed (unless I've missed one).

And as a user, I would definitely recommend the card.

 

About HT Omega, I've no idea. :-/

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^^ But not many can install them inside other sound cards.

 

DIP-8 style ones, like the LME49720NA, are pretty much plug and play provided you have a small set of pliers to take out the old ones.

 

The Essence STX has two op amps for the line out that can be swapped out once you pop off the EMI shield, plus one for the headphone out for three in total.

 

The Essence One Plus is pretty much just a DAC and headphone amp. Perfect for Stealth if he wants to replace his O2 amp, but not quite what he's looking for in terms of a sound card. A good option though.

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^^ I'm not talking about myself. For listening to music, I use Xonar STX whose TI TPA6120A2 is replaced by LME49720NA. (thanks to my uncle)

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