Asus Xonar Essence STX vs Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Titanium HD

Not being that impressed by the sound quality of the onboard Realtek sollution on my Rampage IV extreme, I'm in the market for a new sound card.


My main use for it is playing back music, as that is what I do most of the day while I work.  Followed by gaming and movies.


I use either a Luxman L-308 or a Marantz 1152 to amplify my sources over either 2 Monitor Audio BX2 bronze or B&W DM2's.  I only have stereo, so I only need and want stereo.  For this reason I narrowed down my options to these 2 cards.

With ASUS I'm a bit skeptical ... I've owned a xonar D2 before and had nothing but driver issues.  On the other hand I know the hardware they supply is solid, just don't want another round of driver headaches.

With Creative I'm in the same boat more or less, driver issues, low quality products in the last years (the cards I played around with anyway).

My first choise would have been M-Audio,  but the only card they have is PCI and this board no longer sports PCI slots.

What do you guys recommend getting in my situation?  Would it be worth looking into a DAC?

Look at asus essence one muses edition. You'll be better with that for stereo.