Today have been quite satisfied with the STX II. 8 Channels, 24bit/44.1kHz, EQ etc disabled. I've tried Dolby headphones before for gaming so that's no news, it varies quite a lot from game to game if I like it or not (It's not something I'd use on say any UE3 engine based game as that game has good natural processing as long as you stick to 5.1/7.1 speakers for example). I definitely prefer DH-1 mode since DH-2 starts to sound slightly bit too distant to me already and DH-3 is obviously too reverby and too spacious. DH-1 has a closest to natural sounding distance to stuff, especially if you're standing in front of an NPC talking for example, give it some slight bit of a EQ tweak (since DH adds a slight bass boost and slight highs cut) and results slightly improve too (bit of a bass decrease and very slight highs increase (like 1-2 steps down in the bass range) and like 1 step up at 4kHz, 2 steps up at 8kHz and 16kHz or something along those lines. Having set up like this, especially indoor voices sound particularly convincing in Skyrim, like being in the same place even it feels like.
Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 7/8/14 at 4:43pm
Yesterday I was unsure whether or not the highs were too smooth but today after having played around a little with gain settings, amp volume vs source volume, I've found that it's just fine, pretty much on the same level as the Realtek onboard source which I also found to have really good synergy with my setup. In this case I have to say the most notable difference comparing the STX II to the Realtek has to be the midrange, it offers a bit better resolution there, as for the bass and highs, I dunno, it feels actually quite neck and neck, nothing particularly standing clearly out as noticeably better (the bass on the STX II sounds like reaching/offering ever so tiny bit more very very low bass but the onboard is no slouch either and it's stepped up a bigtime since say 4-5 years time or so when onboard always had crappy bass output still. Besides I'm personally looking for punch rather than quantity bass so it's not necessarily a pro either having more, the ZxR was definitely too bloated in the deep subbass for my needs) but yea I was almost shocked the first time I auditioned this motherboard's amped output (only the frontpanel is amped to the capability of driving up to 600 ohm headphones so I can get probs with noise depending on amp volume set as you can imagine so therefore I used to keep the amp vol a bit lower and source a bit higher when using that (I'm using the fully analog amp digiZoid ZO2.1 if any1 wonders which was designed to be used out of a headphone jack). Anyway I hear a night and day difference between plugging to the onboard's frontpanel amped output compared to the rear panel which is significantly less powerful (and sounds less clear, muddier, less dynamic etc and comparing to that there would be a night and day win for STX II but from the frontpanel the difference isn't such huge like some most people have thought, it's specced as 115dB SNR which starts to be high for Realtek though).
The 4-level gain settings is a nice touch on the STX II, the normal gain <64 ohm setting works perfectly with my M-Audio Q40 with 64 ohm impedance. The 16-32 ohm gain setting is a nice touch though for IEMs or very sensitive headphones.
I checked the latency and it's not quite ideal but varies between like 25 - 52 microseconds (usually there around 50 while in use).
EDIT: slightly offtopic but interesting food for thought. Just as an example what kind of capacities the onboard solutions can have these days. If I'd have the digiZoid ZO2.1 amp volume set to max vol from the amped onboard jack I'd have to use like 7%(!) windows volume on the source, every 1% would give a very noticeable difference in volume, I'd probably already starting feeling uncomfortable at like 10-12% haha. Now with ZxR for example I was more like 9-10% for normal listening volume if amp was set to max. I haven't tested with STX II but I suppose it's more like 6% probably too at max gain so yea it's crazy what kind of power they stuff directly onto onboard solutions these days, especially in such a noisy environment and not even being able to select any gain levels, one gain level for 16 - 600 ohm, yea right!! :P