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Questioning the MiniDSP 2x4 sound quality?

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Question for you guys about the Minidsp 2x4 (Non HD) My unit was purchased in 2015 and it is the old Rev A version with 0.9vRMS.

Using this with a Windows PC based system to control two studio monitors and a sub. it is being fed by a hiFime S2 DAC. I am trying to upgrade my Creative Soundblaster AE-7 soundcard. It has rudimentary crossover and bass management. Sounds OK but can be kind of noisey and i feel there must be better options.

I have been swapping around different components and noticing that the 2x4 doesnt sound very good through the analog inputs. Horrible actually. seems like very poor dynamic range. I tried using my Creative soundcards stereo outputs into the miniDSP and it sounded lifeless and lowfi. Terrible. The sound has the same quality of my motherboards soundcard. Going from a USB DAC into the minidsp 2x4 is the same. I thought it was the cheap DAC I was using initally but trying the DSP on the soundcard showed this was not the case. i upgraded the DAC somewhat to a 9038 based unit and the minidsp is still crushing the sound.

I love the control but not the quality it is outputting overall. Would the 2x4HD or even the DDRC-24 sound better through analog inputs? (I have read the DAC on the 2x4 HD isnt very good.) Would i have to step way up to get great sound quality by purchasing the miniDSP SHD? mini militia i want the DSP control between my monitors and subs like the minidsp provides but this sound is a deal breaker.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? I noted a review here of the SHD and it seems like a great unit. That's alot of money though and i don't need streaming at all. Was also considering the emotiva PT-100 preamp and using the 2x4 off the sub outputs.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated

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