Using the ASUS Xonar Essence STX Under Linux

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Crave high-end audio, but use Linux? The situation surrounding this has been bad in the past, but that's not so much the case now, especially where ASUS' Xonar family of cards are concerned, including the headphone-specific Essence STX. Thanks to dedicated developers, the support today is just about as good as the audio quality.

You can read the article here and discuss it here.
 
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philt

Guest
analog output selection

I just got this card working on linux and indeed it works very well; both on digital and analog outputs; it does deliver a new sound experience!

I'm using Ubuntu 9.10 (RC); the thing that puzzled me was that I could not find a way to select between the three analog outputs in the default sound control panel (pulseaudio...);

thanks to your article, I was pointed to a solution: I installed and used kmix which as pointed in the article offers a tab for selecting analog output between {speakers, headphones, FP headphones}; additionally I could also activate simultaneously iec958 and analog outputs, thing that pulseaudio volume control panel wouldnot let me do..
still a bit clumsy to have to deal with two sound control panels. if any "direct" alternative solution is possible I'll take it (pulseaudio control panel improvements?)
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Bah, I wish I could help there. I admit that I haven't touched Pulseaudio much at all outside of testing out distros that happen to use it as default. So, I'm not familiar at all with these "control panel improvements", but I'm curious enough to check those out soon. I think it's safe to jump to conclusions and assume that there is no better way to do things right now aside from using the two separate panels. You could just use Kmix exclusively to change out the audio output (I assume this isn't done too often?), and then your Pulseaudio mixer for volumes and the like.

Another option, and one I'd probably recommend more for GNOME users (since KMix requires KDE libraries) is to use "alsamixer" in the command-line. You may have to install a package for this to work (it would be alsautils), but it offers up a super-quick way to get the same thing done (screenshot below).
 

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philt

Guest
thanks for pointing out alsa mixer;
I had tried gnome-alsamixer but same as pavucontrol it would not offer options for analog output; obviously kmix is doing a better job here of propagating sound card controls to the user interface; going to the core alsautils is then the way for now on gnome..

anyway I ended up adding two personal launchers on the gnome desktop with following amixer commands
amixer -c 2 set 'Analog Output',0 Headphones
amixer -c 2 set 'Analog Output',0 Speakers
(where 2 is the asus card number on my setup)
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Hah, that's a cool trick. I'll have to keep that in mind for the future should I run into a similar issue. It's unfortunate to require the route of using two mixers, but it could be worse I guess. I believe KMix grabs it's data straight from alsamixer... while Pulseaudio must be a little lighter on what it can trigger. It might also have something to do with the fact that the driver is specific to ALSA. I'm guessing the Pulseaudio is using the card as a generic card (I might be wrong).
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
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To be honest, I didn't even realize OSS was still that relevant, so it's good to know. Once the support is added, I'll give it a shot and see how it compares with my ALSA experience.
 
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Radomir

Guest
Support Essence ST?

Hi. Thank you for your nice article. Do you know how it is with support of Essence ST card?
I have openSUSE 11.2 and Yast recognize in sound module, but no card is visible in Multimedia module of KDE 4. Thank you for reply.
Radomir
 
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Cavej03

Guest
Thanks

Thanks a lot for writting this article. I been looking at these for a while and you answered all my questions perfectly. Thanks again.
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Radomir, apologies for missing your question. As far as recent kernels are aware, the ST is indeed supported. It might not have been when you originally asked though :-(

I'm glad the article proved useful Cavej03! Enjoy the card! :D
 
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sonorejr

Guest
24/192

great article for Asus Cards on Linux!

Have you tried playback above 24/96? I can't get the card to play 24/176.4 and 24/192 content in Linux!!

sonorejr
 
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Unregistered

Guest
I'm buying one!

Crave high-end audio, but use Linux?... Essence STX. ... support today .. good as the audio quality.

You can read the article here and discuss it here.

Thanks for the review. I've added you to my RSS feeds. I will be buying one of these units for my PC to replace the terrible sound from my motherboard.
 

Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
great article for Asus Cards on Linux!

Have you tried playback above 24/96? I can't get the card to play 24/176.4 and 24/192 content in Linux!!

sonorejr

Bah, I wish I had seen this earlier. I don't think I had tried to use audio higher than 24/96 to be honest, and I'm not even sure I have content like that lingering around to test it out.

Thanks for the review. I've added you to my RSS feeds. I will be buying one of these units for my PC to replace the terrible sound from my motherboard.

You're going to love it, I assure you of that. You might want to consider the ST version of the card if you can get it for around the same price, though (has a reclocking chip that supposedly results in even cleaner audio).
 
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