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Xonar hardware mods

This page is dedicated for Xonar hardware mods discussions.

If you wish to make a tutorial, I will publish it here with credits to the owner. You should submit your article at this e-mail address.

Also I will post any links that might be useful.

 

Articles and guides:

1) Xonar Essence STX Op Amp Upgrade by Adrian Tache

2) Modding Xonar cards by Con

 

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33 Comments

  1. Con    06 Jul 2013 @ 00:34   

    LM4972 is a good choice. But only replacing the final opamp will not improve dramatically the board performances. The one important mod is the clock, and another one is the power system on the board. This last one is quite complicated, but with very good results. In way, clock and power should go together. Is not big deal to have a very good clock powered by a poor quality power system. And not at all a big improvement with a good quality power running a low quality oscillator…

    A quite large information quantity about Xonar mods it may be find in this forum/thread: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/pc-based/197116-xonar-st-stx-mods-36.html

    This is may last post in this thread:

    “Well, it is a while since this my mod project were started, done and very well working.

    In the last I have changed my PC motherboard, and processor. I use now Asus Z87-Deluxe and Haswell processor. Less heat inside the enclosure, less need for ventilation, more quiet machine, and the results are just unexpected high.
    I see that with some more quality improvements for the components in this mod, the whole sound system it may bring just exceptional results, never attained before for a PC based sound system.

    I decided to start it again this project, but this time to realize a full profesjonal kit to be attached to the Xonar STX card. I just bought a new sound card which I will use to develop and realize this kit. I think this mod it will be exclusively destined to Xonar STX sound cards, as this type of sound card is most suitable for a high end PC based sound system. I`m of that concept that the music it have to come (natural way) from the front of the listener, so the stereo system is the most natural way to bring sound information to a subject. A sound scene it have to be developed based on stereo sources.

    I plan to design an extra added PCB, which it may fit the original one, and will take a smaller place inside the computer. The kit board have to be quite easy to be attached, with points to be connected to the original sound card.
    This mod will have a completely new analogue output stage, powered from a analogue PSU, and an high quality clocking system, powered from battery. Additional decoupling/filtering capacities it will be placed on this extra board too. I wish to use analogue power for whole the needed tensions on this board, but so it may be needed for an extra transformer… I will see what it may be at least the right way to be done.
    I think it will be a quite expensive result, but as known, high quality results it cost a little more…”

    Because is quite difficult to follow two forums, I suggest to those interested in this subject, to follow the discussions in the DIY Audio thread.

    Reply

  2. Razakiel    11 Jul 2013 @ 01:01   

    My STX Card has a swollen capacitor wich is used for digital. sany oscon. do you think i can change to 1800 microfarad cap instead? or should i just get a new with the same values?

    Reply

    • Razakiel    23 Jul 2013 @ 01:20   

      desolder the oscon and put in nichicon hz 1000uf 16v. and the sound is friggin amazing now and im using digital wich shouldnt need other caps acoording to a lot of people but the joke is on them.

      Reply

  3. Scotty    11 Oct 2013 @ 09:01   

    Con I have a Essence ST that I would love to have all the mods you suggest, but I just don’t have the expertise necessary to do most of them. Would you consider doing the mods on my card for a fee?

    Reply

  4. Andrew    27 Jun 2015 @ 03:44   

    I got the MUSES8920 it’s supposed to be much better in THD and overall output, the frequency response is also greater than the original Opamp… original card I had was 107db 0.0017% THD, the new opAmp is 0.00004% THD with 135db output.

    Old opAmp 5532D
    http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/ne5532.pdf

    New opAmp MUSES8920
    http://www.njr.com/semicon/PDF/MUSES8920_E.pdf

    Reply

    • Andrew    28 Jun 2015 @ 03:16   

      The sound quality is amazing btw, I ran pink noise through the sound card for 8hrs last night while I slept, tonight I will use a frequency sweeper and bring out all of those tight sounds. The best part about this setup is with GX2.5 I get very good sound precision in games, and with the OpAmp even the tiny sounds that would normally be missed creep out at you, and your left thinking… wow I couldn’t hear these details before.

      +++ MUSES8920 produces a rich vibrant sound paired with a 24bit 192khz sound card.

      Reply

      • remp    29 Jun 2015 @ 18:38   

        “I ran pink noise through the sound card for 8hrs last night while I slept, tonight I will use a frequency sweeper and bring out all of those tight sounds”

        What is this?

        Reply

        • CarvedInside    01 Aug 2015 @ 21:48   

          Response from Andrew:

          Pink noise is a full spectrum white noise, it covers more frequencies than white noise.
          The colors of sound: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_noise

          Reply

          • Milutzu    14 May 2017 @ 13:30   

            It has nothing to do with spectrum coverage, when we’re talking about white, pink, blue or violet noise we’ll keep in mind that we’re talking about the same min and max frequencies. At the same intensity (amplitude), a higher frequency wave carries more energy than a lower freq. wave, no matter the wave (blue light is more energetic than red light at the same intensity of the beam). White noise has constant intensity across the spectrum (the trimmed bandwidth in our case, trimmed by high-pass and low-pass filters). Pink noise has constant energy across the spectrum, so the intensity is lower at higher freq (keeping the light analogy, the warm colors have higher amplitude and the noise is “seen” as “redish”). Conversely, a blue noise has higher intensity at higher freq. Pink noise is supposed to sound even in our ears, so it’s considered to be best to approximate the average spectral distribution of music. White noise sounds “hissy”, and blue noise is even brighter than white noise. Notes:1. Ofc, intensity and amplitude are not the same, but I’m trying to make a point here and intensity of a wave is proportional to the square of its amplitude; 2. The context is called “noise”, which is a random generated signal; 3. For a perceptually flat noise, see gray noise; the human ear tends to be more sensitive around 2-4kHz. 4. A tsunami is (more or less) energy constant (power density), like white noise. As it approaches the shore, the speed (frecq.) will decrease therefore the wave high (amplitude) will increase. 5. For any non-english or convoluted expressions, blame my parents, they made me romanian. For any typos, blame my keyboard, I swear I didn’t touch it 🙂

            Reply

  5. SlimBo    31 Dec 2015 @ 21:18   

    hi Everybody
    i need help with my Asus Xonar DS
    i want to short some caps for better sound clarity but i don’t know which one…
    i have done it whith my X-fi and the difference it’s amazing

    i thank you for your help in advance 🙂

    sorry for my english

    Reply

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