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Auzentech X-Fi Prelude

Marantz offers at HiFiMART.com

marsilians

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Folks

I have an option to pick up a 6 month old Auzentech X-Fi Prelude card for my desktop for 6.5K. This would be replacing my onboard Realtek sound card. My main application will be 2.0 channel listening for now and maybe 2.1 down the road.

Genres are jazz, classical, classic rock, and some pop through an m-audio AV30 speaker set or I could set up a pair of Audio Engine 5 set. I may use an AKG 501 headphone with this but I dont expect wonders obviously.

Questions : Would the Auzen be a decent fit for my application? How does it compare with Emu 0404 or 1212m or the Xonar Essence?

Thx for your responses
 

moserw

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On specs the Asus Xonar Essence STX is way ahead of the pack. The Asus will handle 192KHz/24bit while the Auzen X-FI Prelude does 96KHz/24-bit which is pretty limiting if you consider the future, HD music rips coming in, HD d/l beginning, or even CD rips going higher than 96KHz. The future needs to be considered since a soundcard will last a long time (I've had SMPS, Mobo, RAM, HDD, LAN card - all of them fail/fry, but not a single soundcard till now).

The cost is a bit high too IMHO. A new Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 card retails for around average $200 and can be found for $20-30 less too. A new Asus Essence will cost around 8-9K. Also, based on your requirement the Asus will serve you better since its the only one offering RCA x 2 analog outputs (open to correction here, but I remember reading this in an online forum/review). Also, since headphone usage is an option the Asus Essence STX wins hands down.

Finally, as an Essence STX owner/user I can assure you personally that you will not be disappointed (not that Auzentech is bad, I've used them previously and extensively too for gaming).

I can say this...
Music (especially quality music) - Asus Essence STX.
Music, movies, gaming and other stuff - Auzentech.

In lieu of the Auzentech, the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro is another good card and can be considered too since it does 192KHz/24bit.
 

moserw

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@marsilians - Should I be celebrating you too are moving to a PC/HDD based transport/system? Just kidding buddy...
 

bazee

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Getting Xonar D2X for 7.5k.... is it a good deal?

D2X is better than Essence except for amplifer/headphone part .. correct me.

regards
 

marsilians

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@marsilians - Should I be celebrating you too are moving to a PC/HDD based transport/system? Just kidding buddy...

I would like to down the road but I still will hold onto my music system as it currently offers better quality + I am OK without the flexibility of having PC based music that you can stream and what not. I don't have the patience for the upfront time to rip my music and all that.

I have a desktop in my study and want to make it a half decent system to listen to music and thats the whole reason for looking into this option.

So Auzen is out I guess.
 

moserw

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Getting Xonar D2X for 7.5k.... is it a good deal?

D2X is better than Essence except for amplifer/headphone part .. correct me.

regards

The price seems right/on par. Now coming to the performance part. With digital out other cards will perform/compare favorably with the Essence STX. With analog outs the Essence STX simply kicks ***. Now I've not seen the other Asus cards since I was so sold on the Essence STX that I went for it, but I think its the only one with analog RCA x 2 output (most if not all cards give one 3.5 mm stereo jack output). I will wait for other Asus card owners to correct me if I'm wrong here about the RCA x 2 output part.

But if only the Essence STX is with RCA x 2 output and that's where it scores really big for music and if you're looking for great music from the PC then the Essence makes more sense.

Of course all this is from an Essence owner (who could be biased since he's hearing music like he's never heard it before), but it seems no one has done a head to head comparison between the Asus cards. I've compared the Essence to other cards and on digital output it's more or less the same, but with analog output it's another story altogether. No card has even come close to it...
 

marsilians

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Getting Xonar D2X for 7.5k.... is it a good deal?

D2X is better than Essence except for amplifer/headphone part .. correct me.

regards

I did some bit of listening to the 2 systems along with Creative X-Fi. I am new to this whole high end sound card business so these are experiences from a novice.

For about 2 hours of auditioning for flac, mp3, ogg, CDs and movies and games(I am not a games person), here is what I give for the ratings.

Creative is out and out a terrible sounding card. Sorry C owners, its just fell on its face for all the tests.

For games, movies etc. D2X > Essence
For speakers based audio Essence > D2X
For headphones based audio Essence > D2X

So I have decided to go with the Essence as music is my primary goal. Thinking ~10K is a decent price to grab one up.
 

moserw

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Poor Creative, but to be honest Creative does make some entry level soundcards (my first one cost me Rs. 1500 for a 5.1 and it's still lying around after so many years).

Hope you checked the Essence with analog output, it scores really big with analog output rather than digital output.

I did some bit of listening to the 2 systems along with Creative X-Fi. I am new to this whole high end sound card business so these are experiences from a novice.

For about 2 hours of auditioning for flac, mp3, ogg, CDs and movies and games(I am not a games person), here is what I give for the ratings.

Creative is out and out a terrible sounding card. Sorry C owners, its just fell on its face for all the tests.

For games, movies etc. D2X > Essence
For speakers based audio Essence > D2X
For headphones based audio Essence > D2X

So I have decided to go with the Essence as music is my primary goal. Thinking ~10K is a decent price to grab one up.
 

bazee

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I did some bit of listening to the 2 systems along

For games, movies etc. D2X > Essence
For speakers based audio Essence > D2X
For headphones based audio Essence > D2X

So I have decided to go with the Essence as music is my primary goal. Thinking ~10K is a decent price to grab one up.


Yes marsillians and moserw.......
for 2ch setup .. essence is best.

But if you use the HTPC for 5.1ch ..DVD-A,DTS-CD, or even movies, you can go for D2X... i think with optical conniction ??

Quote :
Xonar Essence is Basically For 2.1 Speakers & Headphones with Built in Amplifiers.

Whereas Xonar D2X is a Flagship card from Asus Built for 5.1 or 7.1 Speakers

Xonar Essence is built with AV100 Chip (Used in Xonar DX) Whereas Xonar D2X has AV200 Chip.
 
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moserw

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Very true and something I've been saying all along.

Coming to the chip is there any difference between the both of them? The fact is Asus is not making the chips. They are sourcing it from C-Media and renaming them and using them. The same chip is found in other h/w too from HT Omega Claro, Auzentech, etc. There is no AV100 chip as a matter of fact. Asus renamed it the AV100 sourcing it from C-Media. I would like to know if there is any or how much difference is there between both the chips.

Yes marsillians and moserw.......
for 2ch setup .. essence is best.

But if you use the HTPC for 5.1ch ..DVD-A,DTS-CD, or even movies, you can go for D2X... i think with optical conniction ??

Quote :
Xonar Essence is Basically For 2.1 Speakers & Headphones with Built in Amplifiers.

Whereas Xonar D2X is a Flagship card from Asus Built for 5.1 or 7.1 Speakers

Xonar Essence is built with AV100 Chip (Used in Xonar DX) Whereas Xonar D2X has AV200 Chip.
 

suprateep

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Yes marsillians and moserw.......
for 2ch setup .. essence is best.

But if you use the HTPC for 5.1ch ..DVD-A,DTS-CD, or even movies, you can go for D2X... i think with optical conniction ??

Quote :
Xonar Essence is Basically For 2.1 Speakers & Headphones with Built in Amplifiers.

Whereas Xonar D2X is a Flagship card from Asus Built for 5.1 or 7.1 Speakers

Xonar Essence is built with AV100 Chip (Used in Xonar DX) Whereas Xonar D2X has AV200 Chip.

My take is if someone is using an optical connection for 5.1 why not use onboard digital out connection (optical/digital) found in many integrated mobos. I use the optical out on Asus M3n78EM on my HTPC to connect to the onkyo 606 (it can do 24/48/92/192) to get DTS 5.1 and below (does not work with 192 - only 5.1/2.0 works, cannot enable 5 channel stereo, neo etc in 192). Optical does not undergo any signal noise unlike analog. The analog on the realtek drivers are average or below but the optical one shines through.

For 2 channel stereo though the Essence is hard to beat.

BTW i also use the nvidia driver to connect to my panny pv8. Passes crystal clear digital audio and video. Good for my wife who is not comfortabel with te avr. Prefers the HTPC - foobar - pv8 option. Just had to increase the font size in xp so as the text is visible better at a distance of 8-11 ft.
 

moserw

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@bazee - Check this link for the differences between the DX and D2X chips. All are same except for digital-to-analog converter, SNR, and no DTS in DX. All other specs are the same.
 

bazee

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Does it mean D2X is not a wise investment?? DX is around 4k.

how to get pure 5.1 from STX?

Also, if optical out is used in either, does it defeat the purpose of the card.......
 
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bazee

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My take is if someone is using an optical
For 2 channel stereo though the Essence is hard to beat.

Prefers the HTPC - foobar - pv8 option. Just had to increase the font size in xp so as the text is visible better at a distance of 8-11 ft.

what video connection did u make betwn the htpc and AVR?

i think we have the analog,DCI, etc options..
 

moserw

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Does it mean D2X is not a wise investment?? DX is around 4k.

how to get pure 5.1 from STX?

Also, if optical out is used in either, does it defeat the purpose of the card.......

I would say digital output would pass through 5.1 but I've not tested it out. Optical out would defeat the purpose of the card since it would bypass the DAC of the Asus.

I'm not saying D2X is not a wise investment. Check the difference between both and take a call if the additional thousands are worth it. I myself went with the Essence STX even though it was expensive, but I was sold on its specs.
 

bazee

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Posting pics of outputs of Essence and D2X......

they confirm that Essence is true stereo card.

This is D2X :-

imageview.php



This is Essence :-

imageview.php


The Essence has R and L out, Headphone out(amp) and optical out.
 

suprateep

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what video connection did u make betwn the htpc and AVR?

i think we have the analog,DCI, etc options..

My htpc is hooked up to my panny pv8 via hdmi (passes video and audio signal to the TV for easy movie viewing preferred by my wife).
HTPC is hooked up via spdif optical to the AVR - it passes DTS/AC3 to the AVR directly via front end software such as media player classic or XBMC
 

psychotropic

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have you compared the video quality to some of the better DVD players?

My htpc is hooked up to my panny pv8 via hdmi (passes video and audio signal to the TV for easy movie viewing preferred by my wife).
HTPC is hooked up via spdif optical to the AVR - it passes DTS/AC3 to the AVR directly via front end software such as media player classic or XBMC
 

iaudio

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My htpc is hooked up to my panny pv8 via hdmi (passes video and audio signal to the TV for easy movie viewing preferred by my wife).
HTPC is hooked up via spdif optical to the AVR - it passes DTS/AC3 to the AVR directly via front end software such as media player classic or XBMC

I guess the opticals the only route for people like me with hdmi pass thru!
And I can get good stereo music if i can lay my hands on the stx. lets see.
Suprateeep, on second thoughts, which processor would you have gone for?
and like Psycho asked, hows the video compared to good dvdps?
 

suprateep

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I guess the opticals the only route for people like me with hdmi pass thru!
And I can get good stereo music if i can lay my hands on the stx. lets see.
Suprateeep, on second thoughts, which processor would you have gone for?
and like Psycho asked, hows the video compared to good dvdps?

I had auditioned DV9 once with my RDB CD and though it was not a side by side comparison with a HTPC - i think a HTPC with ffdshow deinterlacing, sharpening and PQ tuning surpasses any DVD player anyday (the convenience is not there as everynow and then i tend to fiddle with the settings to find a better PQ:p)

BTW i would suggest an e-series AMD processor (x2/X3) for HTPC use. I have a amd 7750 - i spent 3 whole days and nights surfign the net to ultimately find a solution called k10stat which can lower the voltage of the proccy and the north bridge for my Asus M3N78EM + AMD 7750 black combo - meaning less sound while watching movies. Problem is the default fan that comes with the proccy is really bad for such a processor. Actually the black edition 7750 is good for overclocking so people get a better fan anyway. I stayed away from the fan for the time being and lowered the speeds down to half at 1.37Mhz for normal use - implying less to no sound while movies/ no sound during music.

For the Asus M3N78EM which was the best mobo for 8 channle LPCM via HDMI and 5.1 via spdif - i felt the best bet was the 7750 black thta would play future HD 1080p rips as well. Or else a lower 6000X2 would do too for normal HTPC use and very low fan noise. The 7750 is good buyt tends to make a whirring sound(bad proccy fan at higher temp) - initially the board and proccy ran hot at 45-55C at idle and loads (normal for AMD and Indian weather conditions) but with K10stat (AMD software) - the temp are down to 34-43C at idle and loads resp (measured last night with Windows XP + Asus PC Probe)
 
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