Quality sound and sleek design meet in Asus’s Xonar Essence ST audio card that’s bound to turn heads in more than one way. The first look at the card will bring you to an etched aluminum EMI shield with an Aztec tiger design etched on it, giving it a signature look.
The Essence is designed to appeal to the audiophile community, thus boasting superior specifications that most music lovers will fall in love with at a glance, from its industry leading 124 db SNR, which is 64 times clearer than regular on-board soundcards, to its precision clock tuning for audio jitter minimization.
Popping open the box you’ll find the usual bunch of manuals a driver CD, but also two Asus Xonar Essence ST posters, a performance test report and a 6.3mm to 3.5mm gold plated adaptor. You’ll also find one RCA to 3.5mm Y cable and one S/PDIF TOSLINK optical adaptor. The PCI bracket has four connectivity options, a digital audio output, a 6.3mnm Line in/ Mic in, a 6.3mm headphone amp output and one analog stereo audio RCA output. There’s also a front panel audio header and an Aux in header available as well, if you should need them.
As sound quality goes, it’s hard to top what it’s got. With the opamp chips of the card, you can literally fine-tune the sound output to your preference, giving the card a profound flexibility that most others lack.
With an impressive overall build quality and the professional grade components present on this card, the Asus Xonar Essence ST is polished all the way down to the box it came in.