Originally Posted by infranoia
The Sabres are a bit too clinical for me, especially in the Dragonfly, and at least for music I prefer the AKM 4490 for Delta Sigma DACs. But I imagine for sound effects and overall computer audio the Sabres might be right in their element.
Creative's Dolby / DTS pass-through works for me, where for some other cards it's not passing the bitstream for DTS / Dolby-encoded games. I haven't been able to figure out why, but for some reason Creative just works where others don't, for my multichannel setup. That's why I do digital out from their cards.
"Clinical" or not depends a lot on the rest of the circuit too and the headphones or speakers you have to go with it. I have never once heard good sound from an ES DAC that wasnt on a board that had extensive surrounding circuitry. And nothing mobile in design can have that so they never sound great.
The best audio I have ever heard was on an ES9018, and some of the worst "high end" sound I have heard was on an ES9018.