Package, Accessories and Specifications
Flipping the box cover back, I found a detailed description of the design and key features of the sound card that I saw lying below the transparent window. The description makes a particular mention of the PCM1792A digital-to-analog converter and the TPA6120A2 headphones amplifier, independent power supply of the analog circuits, meticulous screening of the outputs, multi-layer PCB design called Hyper-grounding, replaceable operation amplifiers and special Nichicon “Fine Gold” capacitors.
The box is actually a fount of wisdom about the product it contains: the back panel is occupied by a table that lists the key product features in as many as 12 languages. The side panels describe the card’s technical parameters, box contents, and system requirements. The spread shows a photo of the card with the functions of all of its connectors indicated. The box gives you the complete lowdown on the device, actually. The included brochure is just a multilingual installation guide and offers little info besides what you can read from the box, yet I learned from it that the microphone input had a high-quality pre-amplifier. A more detailed user manual can be found on the included disc or at the manufacturer’s website.
The pretty booklet designed with a hard cover and decorated with gold lace offers a report about the test of the line output and line input of an early sample of the card that was carried out on the 6th of October on a professional Audio Precision testbed. I won’t dwell upon the results here. As you can guess, the results would not be published with such pomposity if they were not exceptional. The same numbers can be seen in the product specs, actually.
As opposed to the Xonar D2/D2X, the manufacturer has not included any cables for connecting the card to an amplifier or receiver. There are only three adapters: a Y-shaped adapter from RCA connectors to a mini-jack, a headphones adapter and an optical cable adapter. This is quite enough, actually, yet I guess a high-quality RCA-RCA cable would be quite appropriate.
Besides, the box contains a small poster that narrates about a 4000-year-old search for perfection and the realization of ancient wisdom in combination with cutting-edge technologies that endows the Xonar Essence STX with the highest sound quality a sound card may have. Here is this quality expressed in numbers.
Indeed, the specifications are unprecedented for sound cards, and even professional external audio interfaces may be inferior to the Xonar Essence STX. I will certainly check if the card meets its specifications, but the next section is about its hardware.