Summary: First of all I will point this out, when this sound card was released there was nothing like it at a similar price point (let's say <$250) which for it's time meant that it truly made some other products obsolete, especially once you changed the op-amps for ones that were neutral or close to neutral in the sound frequencies. Now with that out of the way let's jump to today and ask is this card worth it?
Summary: I hate to write a review like this but this has to be the most problematic computer part I have ever bought. I couldn't figure out what was randomly crashing my computer for nearly a week. The drivers wont install correctly and once I finally get the files to install off the CD my computer dies as if it just contracted full blown AIDS. It wont open programs or even shut down. I can't even open the control panel to uninstall the software, even after removing the card.
Summary: As others have said, the program that comes with it is a disaster, you may spend days trying to figure out what configuration works to actually get any sound. Once it works, it's nice quality.
NOTE: That this is the STX "1" AND not the STX "2"
D. Marcel, Amazon
17 September 2014
Summary: NOTE: That this is the STX "1" AND not the STX "2" Its a little confusing when the title has no separators ( - ) as upon quick review of title one sees "STX 2" I thought i was getting the newer revised card at an excellent price lol. the proper revised Asus Essence card is WORDED as "STX II" NOTE: I have not tested so cannot comment on the quality of sound.
Superb for music playback, but pretty awful for recording
10 March 2014
Summary: I bought this card when I first built my latest PC, but I ended up returning it. If all you want is a great quality 2 channel sound card for music playback in this price range, then I can highly recommend this card. The sound quality is absolutely superb for the money. Music playback is only one side of the story though, as I also wanted to use this card for recording. For that purpose, I found it to be awful.
Summary: This card is great for sound quality, but lacks analog outs for surround sound, and there is no EAX support. Good for audiophile music and movies, but don't use this for gaming and definitely not audio production. The fact that it's advertised as a PCIe card when it's in fact a native PCI card with a bridge chip is just downright deceptive on ASUS's part. Buy the PCI version "Xonar Essence ST" instead.
Pros: Great audio clarity, and selectable ohm setting for built-in headphone amp
Cons: -Requires a 4 pin molex power connector.
-Useless gimmicky EMI sheild, A clean power supply makes this feature redundant.
-Not a true PCIe card, it's actually a PCI card with a PCIe bridge chip.
-Slow ASIO 2.0 drivers. You're lucky to get 30 or 40ms latency. Forget about 6ms.
-Card is too pricey for it's lack of features.
-Surround sound only available via digital out.
Summary: This card delivers in all respects. I've always considered a decent sound card to be a 'must' in order to appreciate my music collection. I've previously been using an M-AUDIO 2496. However, the lack of a PCI slot on my new PC has meant that this had to be replaced. Unfortunately, the STX seems to suffer from a software issue where, upon start-up, the card is not recognised by the computer.
Summary: I had the Xonar Essence ST delivered, despite having ordered the STX. Luckily connectivity wasn't a problem for me and I just went with it. Great card... I can't add more to the existing reviews other then to verify it is great.
Excerpt: звук действительно неестественный, долго слушать даже через foobar с ресэмплингом файлы flac через ASIO неприятно. Как будто робот поет, а не человек. Мой советский магнитофон Яуза 221 после капремонта и настройки звучит на хороших кассетах с винила записанных гораздо приятнее, чем это изделие. Наушники Sennh HD280pro. Драйвера последние. После очередного обновления лицензионной Win 7 64 и установки фильтра на шнур доп.
Pros: красивый внешний вид
Cons: звук чуть лучше чем у встроенных карт. Щелчки с интервалом несколько секунд (после перезагрузки исчезают). Примитивные драйвера.