4 Asus Xonar STU
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ASUS Xonar Essence STU USB DAC Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Specifications and Product Pictures
  3. Installation and Initial Impressions
  4. Sound quality
  5. Conclusion
  6. View All

While I was very impressed with the lower end sibling, (Xonar U7), I was less impressed with the ASUS Xonar Essence STU. The mediocre bass was a rather glaring fault considering the U7 faced so such issues.

That said the DAC has a good build, good amount of tweaks available and swappable OPAMPs is always a plus. Also the treble and detailing is a level above the U7 or even Creative ZX and Recon 3D sound cards.

It would be great if ASUS can bundle few OPAMPS to let users get a feel of OPAMP swapping in future.

Creative and ASUS have been making a lot of PC gaming audio cards for many years now. ASUS created a stir in the discrete desktop sound card market when they launched the STX and then the ST sound cards that were made more for music lovers than hard-core gamers. They featured (at that time) unheard of features in sound cards like featuring a built powerful headphone amp and offering swappable OPAMPs. However, these cards require either a PCI port (STX only) or a PCI-E port (ST only) to work. So using these cards on say laptops or on some mATX motherboards…

Review Overview

Build Quality - 9.5
Connectivity Options - 7
Software Bundle - 3
Audio Quality - 9
Value for Money - 6

6.9

BBQ Score

Summary : While the STU has a great build quality and has decent features and connectivity options the lack of any software is a bit stark considering its lower priced sibling comes with a decent Dolby software. And lastly the mediocre bass performance can't be overlooked considering its retail price.

The STU costs $399 on Newegg and about $406 on Amazon US. For that price I am a little hesitant to wholeheartedly recommend it. Its still a good quality product that’s well made but ASUS’s own U7 DAC has better bass performance and costs far less than the STU. Its the mediocre bass performance that’s holding back my recommendation of a value for money product.

India U.S. U.K.
$405.73 £303.23

For those who want a USB sound card that’s sounds not too far off from the STU and has 5.1 channel support to boot I would wholeheartedly recommend the Xonar U7 to anyone for the following price:

India U.S. U.K.
$184.99 £72.70

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