ASUS has announced a pair of sound cards that PC audiophiles will be giving serious consideration to when making their upgrade decisions.

The Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 will be replacing last year’s Essence STX sound card model.

According to the press release issued by ASUS, both cards are Hi-Fi grade and both add 124 dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) clarity and feature a 600 ohm-headphone amplifier. ASUS has stated that these are the first consumer level sound cards to offer both features on one card.

The Essence STX II 7.1 adds a daughterboard (an additional soundcard that won’t work without the main card) which enables a true 7.1 surround sound experience to the Essence STX II.

Both cards also come with the full version of Dolby Home Theater software, which is an advanced suite meant to turn your PC into a  enhanced surround sound media center.

Both cards also support 120 dB SNR for headphone output and a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) clock source to control the precision clock. Optimized power delivery is allegedly assured with low-dropout (LDO) regulators and WIMA® capacitors will be delivering balanced sound. The cards also host swappable op-amp sockets to allow for the customization of an audiophile’s listening experience with additional timbres and tones.

Pricing has not been released to the public as of this date, but the previous model, the Essence STX, retails for around $189 on Amazon, indicating that the STX II should retail for around $200 while the STX II 7.1 will fetch a premium because of the daughterboard.

Given that ASUS will be bringing 124 dB SNR and a 600 ohm headphone amplifier to consumers for the first time, will you be looking to purchase this sound card?