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Like its more expensive brother, this is also a well-rounded sound card with few flaws.
It offers a good performance and supports a good variety of setups right from headphones, multi channel speakers and digital speaker set ups.
Power requirements are minimal, and it doesn’t require any additional power other than what the PCI-E bus offers. Also, this card is much shorter than competing sound cards from ASUS like the Xonar DX and STX. This helps in fitting the sound card on some mATX boards. For instance, the Xonar DX doesn’t fit on my Gigabyte G31 based motherboard.
For pure SQ, you will probably be better served with a proper DAC as it does offer slightly better sound but none of these solutions offer a total package of a sound card, headphone amplifier and digital transport like the Creative Recon 3D.
Current price in India is Rs 7,200/- depending on the source which puts in the similar price bracket of the ASUS Xonar STX. I haven’t tested the STX so can’t comment on the SQ but both cards offer a high-quality headphone amplifier and newly designed APUs.
However, the STX doesn’t support multi channel speaker setups while the Creative does so the STX is purely focused on 2 channel speaker and headphone setups.
Bottom line: This is a great card without the frills and the price of its bigger brother. At its price, it offers good bang for the buck.