AV Peripherals and Systems Guide
ASUS Xonar Essence STU USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Launched
ASUS has announced the Xonar Essence STU USB external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier.
Offering USB connectivity and accessible external controls, the Xonar Essence STU provides clear sound with a 120dB signal to noise ratio (SNR), strong 600ohm headphone amplifier, asynchronous USB audio and swappable Op-Amps for DIY sound modification. Precision clock tuning technology further enhances audio fidelity, making Xonar Essence STU a great choice for discerning music lovers who need a quality DAC and headphone amplifier to drive the full capabilities of high-end headphones.
The Xonar Essence STU utilizes audio components such as the Texas Instruments PCM1792A DAC and TPA6120A2 headphone amplifier, which supports up to 600ohm impedance. Also included are audiophile-approved WIMA FKP2 and Nichicon Finegold capacitors for balanced and rich sound.
As an external device, it offers readily-accessible controls without having to go into software menus. Customers can switch between low and high gain settings, accommodating better listening experiences across a wide range of headphones, from in-ear headsets (typically 16ohm-32ohm) to premium full-size headphones (up to 600ohm). Dual volume controls help users change speaker and headphone sound levels simultaneously, similar to features offered by dedicated audio decks.
Texas Instruments NS-LME49720 and NS-LM4562NA Op-Amps (or operational amplifiers) deliver acoustics fine-tuned by audio engineers to support livelier and more detailed spacious sound. Xonar Essence STU has room for three swappable Op-Amps, which can be replaced by users to adjust tonal performance based on personal taste. This open-ended and customizable design is inherited from previous Xonar Essence audio products.
Additional advanced features are a jumper switch that re-routes sound via Xonar Essence STU, allowing it to be used as a pre-amplifier in conjunction with a dedicated power amplifier. Customers can opt to adjust master volume directly on the power amplifier without having to reach Xonar Essence STU controls. Also, a selectable DC servo headphone output can be activated to minimize pop noise which may occur when powering on.
With the ability to be placed either horizontally or vertically with a bundled stand, the Xonar Essence STU is now retailing at Cybermind Computer House Pte Ltd or Ban Leong Technologies Online Store for S$599.