Everyone’s expectations when it comes to onboard audio are a little different. For some you just want basic audio that will put sound out of your 10-dollar speakers. Others spend a LOT of money to have their PC’s compete with a concert for performance. For me my expectations fall somewhere in the middle. I have what I would consider a fairly high-end set of PC speakers but they are still PC speakers, not anything studio quality. I listen to my music on my speakers when working, watch tv on them at night but then use my headset for gaming. When going into testing the X99 Deluxe I run through a few of the normal tasks that I would do and compare it to previous experiences. I was happy with the sound quality of the Realtek sound card. I wouldn’t consider it a replacement for a sound card if you have high expectations, but it performed worlds above what I would consider basic audio. Feature wise this has similar features to Asus’s gaming motherboards short of the isolated PCB and the headphone amplifier. Considering this board is just as likely to be used in a high-end work PC as it would be for gaming I won’t fault them for not including those features.