Originally Posted by AnteP
I somehow doubt that this soundcard has DACs on par with a modern Audigy board. (People tend to underestimate Creative to say the least.)
As for being a huge deal for some people I don't doubt it (personally I don't really agree with compressing all audio to DD5.1 but that's another story) but saturnotaku clearly stated that he meant to use it with "normal speakers" which I assume is standard stereo desktop speakers.
From that (the stereo desktop speakers) point of view there's absolutely nothing saying that this soundcard should be better than any other.
All I can say is that the others using the card already say it is on par with Soundblaster Audigy 2 cards. While it is true that certainly isn't a good for comparison's sake, we can at least estimate that you will not "miss' the Soundblaster.
As I understand it, even with the compression of DDL, a pure stereo signal is not really compressed. From what I understand about DDL, the compression only really limits audio quality when all channels are being utilized. Now, there are certainly times when gaming that that is the case, but those times are also not known for subtle signal levels, ie fragfest and yuou are the meat. Movies are still a pass-through situation.
Soundblaster has the market by the nards right now. Any competition is good and this is a big step forward. If HDA can force Creative's hand and make them come out with a DDL capable part, I am fully in support of HDA's efforts. The question will be if Creative can noticably discern themselves from the C-Media parts.
I will not argue that discrete signal input would be better than DDL, but will the difference be measurable when gaming? Many more would-be HTPC builders would rather use DDL as most home theater in a box systems do not have real estate for discrete inputs. FYI, my tuner is capable and when the time comes to build I will have to decide what is best. However, my PC is hooked up to a system with out the discrete inputs, so if I want five channels, I need DDL.