Thanks for your help.
The lack of upper frequency control actually *is* a big deal to me and no enhancements when using two channel stereo is also a big deal.
I can clearly hear the difference when I use a different motherboard that is using built in realtek audio (Z170-A)
I think you are trying to say that it doesn't matter that the sliders don't work.
Even when I run sonic studio I can hear the difference and that the upper end is missing/muffled.
Plug in the Z170-A board or my laptop (also realtek audio) and much better upper end sound.
Paid extra for this high end board and the audio issue(s) is a setback.
At this point I'm either going to just return the board get my money back and go with a different option or bite it and buy a sound card for it.
I'm sure people are going to comment here that anyone picky about audio quality shouldn't be using the built on audio (they always do)
But I usually have satisfactory results with Realtek audio once I install the latest drivers and adjust the EQ to my preference.
This board is the only exception I have ever run into and am unable to do that and it sounds muffled out of the box.