Last CES, ASUS showed the Xonar Essence One Muses Edition. This external soundcard is developed for the high-end market and features six Muses 01 Op-Amps. The manufacturer now debuts the Xonar Essence STU, which should be interesting for users of a laptop of compact (Mini-ITX) system.
The Xonar Essence STU is based on the Xonar Essence ST(X), but is external instead. ASUS has used Texas Instruments' PCM1792A DAC and TPA6120A2 amplifier, as well as the WIMA FKP2 and Nichicon Finegold capacitors.
The soundcard connects through USB, after which the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier should provide a signal-to-noise ratio of 120 dB. The amplifier has an impedance of up to 600 Ohms. The Texas Instruments NS-LME49720 and NS-LM4562NA Op-Amps chips are replaceable, allowing audio enthusiasts to substitute them for higher quality versions.
ASUS has not yet mentioned a price for its new external soundcard.