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ASUS Launches Xonar Essence STU: A USB DAC

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.

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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.

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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.

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This entry was posted on 2013/10/21 by in Audio and tagged , .

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