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Asus Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Card / Headphone Amplifier Review

Rating: 9.0.

If you use your rig to listen to music then there is a good chance you won’t be happy with the onboard sound from the motherboard. ASUS have released the STX II and STX II 7.1 to build on the huge success they experienced from the earlier Essence STX solution. Today we review their follow up sound card and headphone amplifier – the Essence STX II 7.1.
The Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Card is capable of a 124db signal to noise ratio with support for headphones up to 600 ohm impedance. The new product also includes an exclusive OP AMP swap kit to let the end user tweak the sound characteristics. The Essence STX II 7.1 also ships with a daughtercard which offers Ultra Fidelity 7.1 channel audio.

You can see the full list of specifications on this page.


  • Industry-leading 124dB SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) audio quality inherited from the revolutionary and widely-acclaimed Xonar Essence ST/STX
  • Ultra-low jitter with premium TCXO clock source
  • Clean and consistent power supply thanks to high-fidelity low-dropout (LDO) regulators and WIMA® capacitors for uncompromising sound
  • Top-notch headphone amplifier supports up to 600ohm-headphone impedance with additional gain for in-ear monitors (IEMs)
  • Exclusive op-amp swap kit includes three op-amps and tool for easy tone tuning
  • Celebrated MUSES op-amps deliver true-to-life musicality
  • Ultra-fidelity (120dB SNR) 7.1-channel output via the exclusive daughterboard

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  • Anthony

    Really nice review you obviously put a lot of time into it.., it would be nice to see the difference when you connect this card to headsets and speaker systems in the enthusiast pricing range. I’m an audiophile too but unfortunately those nice valve mono blocks and headsets are a dream.

    i found this card for 120 pounds on amazon, is it worth buying if i’m connecting it to a Corsair Vengeance 2100 Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset and my Bose ® Companion ® 3 Multimedia Speaker System 2.1?

    Many Thanks

  • Hi Anthony – without testing all the products you mention together it is difficult for me to give an answer. I did notice a marginal improvement when using my Corsair speakers over the integrated onboard sound on the ASUS Z87 motherboard. The headphone amplifier is really excellent, especially the gain options which can help drive ‘difficult’ headphones.

    The good thing is, if you bought from Amazon and ended up not feeling it improved the experience, you can always return it under Amazon’s policy, without hassle. I would be curious to hear what you thought, if you bought it.

  • Jesse

    THE SAME SHIT SOFTWARE hahah they need to change it so bad

  • twst

    Great review