Using the ASUS Xonar Essence STX Under Linux

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When ASUS launched its first Xonar audio card in the early fall of 2007, I wasn't sure what to think. After all, ASUS wasn't known as an audio company, and for good reason... the Xonar D2 was the company's first audio card. Skepticism waned from everyone's minds soon after that launch, though, as ASUS proved that it put in the time and effort in order to deliver a quality product that rivaled the big names out there, such as Creative, Auzentech and others.

Since the initial card's launch, we've seen numerous follow-up models to suit different needs and budgets. There was the DX, a sub-$100 offering that delivered pristine audio quality, like the D2, and then there's the HDAV1.3, a card designed specifically for higher-end home theater setups. Even though ASUS proved that it was thinking outside the box, I admit I was still taken back when I saw the Essense STX at Computex 2008.

Here was a card with two 1/4" audio jacks... a rarity in the desktop space. I pretty much stumbled over my words when I asked, "You created a card for high-end headphones and microphones?", and after some discussion, it was revealed... it was indeed a card designed specifically for higher-end headphones, and also mics. As someone who uses headphones 95% of the time while on the PC, a card like this spoke to me. I wanted one.

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