Brothers in Gaming and Tech
Some people love their music. I’m a big fan of clarity, though I’m no audiophile – I know that my music should be ripped from the CD in high quality and to not use crappy headphones (Apple, beats), but if there’s a decent way to improve the quality of my music I’m all ears. For the audio enthusiasts among us, ASUS have something for you: the next in the line of Xonar Essence products comes the Xonar Essence STU. This is a USB driven DAC (digital-to-analog converter) which takes the digital signal from the computer and converts it into an analog signal for your ears.
The secret sauce is always going to be in this conversion of 0 and 1 in a computer to an audio signal. ASUS have had the Xonar Essence ST/STX line of PCIe cards available for a while, but the goal of the STU is to put it on your desk via a USB port. The STU main points are in the 120 dB Signal to Noise DAC, along with a low (0.0004%) THD+N (Harmonic Distortion). This is through design – using good components, making sure there is no cross talk (where electronic lines cross), and restricting the analog and digital components on the PCB.
The STU won’t make crappy music sound better, but it aims to make lossless saved (FLAC/ALAC) music sound closer to how it was meant to be. Along with the spec list, ASUS offer the STU with swappable op-amps, a selectable DC Servo headphone output and a volume bypass to act as a pre-amp. The STU will have an MSRP of $400 for release in North America in the next couple of weeks, other markets to follow.