Four years after the debut of the Essence STX sound card ASUS has updated the line with two new audio cards of the same line – the Essence STX II and the Essence STX II 7.1.
Both cards target the high-end market segment and come with high quality hardware. For example they come with an SNR of 124 dB for the line out connection, while the headphone connection comes with an SNR rated at 120 dB. There’s also a high-quality headphone amplifier which can power headphones with impedances of up to 600 Ohms.
Another peculiarity of the two cards is that they come with tulip-like plugs for the line-out connectors and 5 mm jacks for the headphone outputs instead of regular 3.5 mm jacks. All of these connectors are gold-plated. The rest of the specs include swappable OP-Amps, pre-installed MUSES 8920 and 8820 and Texas Instruments LME49720. Each channel on the 7.1 card also comes with its own swappable operational amplifier. In case you already wonder what the difference between the two cards is – well, here it is – the Essence STX II 7.1 comes with an additional expansion card that has the additional six channels needed for the 7.1 audio.
The availability and the pricing of both cards are still unknown.