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Posts by NamelessPFG

There is no reason to buy Creative cards predating the X-Fi line unless you have very particular reasons.   -kX Project drivers (Live!/Audigy series only, not meant for gaming due to broken EAX) -DOS games (Now we're getting into the really old ISA stuff like the SB16 and AWE32 that won't even fit in modern computers.)   Other than those, just get a proper X-Fi card with the EMU20k1/20k2 and be done with it.
The X-Fi Bravura is to be avoided, as it lacks the actual X-Fi DSP that all the other Auzentech X-Fi cards have. That makes it a glorified XtremeAudio at best.   The X-Fi Forte that I had was fairly reliable and didn't need the grounding trick, but I found that my card was a bit different than most. Came with a factory-installed HSF, among other things. I suspect that Auzentech released a later batch down the road that fixed the early engineering flaws.
Since I got a PS3 recently, I decided to pick up Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown while it was on sale and try getting into that, skill gap be damned (since the only people who really play VF here in the West are dedicated fans who mop the floor with everyone else).   I'm gradually getting used to its input demands, but I'm really wishing my TvC sticks were modded with MC Cthulhu boards or something that'll let me use 'em on the PS3 right about now.   As for...
  That was a joke reply, as I'm sure you've noticed by now...though Stax actually does make portable electrostatic IEM systems in the form of the S-001 and the new S-002. I'm going to have to try one of those at some point, though the S-002 is way out of my price range.   Alternatively, you could try a full-size headphone and an SRD-P loaded with batteries, but at that point, you're seriously compromising portability due to how big the SRD-P is compared to the amp...
I would have suggested the X-Fi Titanium HD, but your insistence on a built-in headphone amp does put a damper on that.   The thing is, if you get one of the new Sound Core3D-based cards, not only will you be giving up hardware DirectSound3D and OpenAL acceleration, among other things, but you'll also be trading CMSS-3D Headphone for SBX Pro Surround, which if it's just THX TruStudio Surround rebranded, will sound noticeably worse IMO.
  Oh, don't get me wrong, Dolby Headphone is good at what it does-virtual 5.1/7.1.   It's just that I just happen to like a lot of the PC games from the time when hardware sound acceleration was common (Thief, Unreal Tournament, and Battlefield 1942 are amongst my favorites), and those tend to sound best on X-Fi cards.   In addition, those games can usually provide proper 3D sound like real life, something more than just a simulated home theater speaker system, due to the...
  CMSS-3D Headphone is used in its place for X-Fi cards.   For software-mixed games, it performs about equally, just with a tonal shift in the opposite direction (bit more treble and a bit less bass, nothing an EQ couldn't fix).   For DirectSound3D and OpenAL games, it's far superior to my ears since it's presenting a native 3D binaural mix of sorts, instead of a virtual 7.1 speaker system. Dolby Headphone can't take advantage of the 3D positional audio those APIs offer.
  Looks like an XtremeMusic, the baseline of the original X-Fi card lineup.   I'd definitely consider it as a true X-Fi card option (it has the EMU20k1), though $50 seems a bit on the high side given what I've seen them sell for on eBay.
  Glad they gave you a good deal on the SA-31, though as usual with these kind of transactions, shipping really cuts into your wallet, especially with something as heavy as an amplifier.   calpis claimed holding first, so I'll let him do it. Besides, it sounds like he might actually be the HE-400 buyer in the end!   I'll be surprised if you actually do settle on audio equipment this time, though. I thought for sure you'd call it off at the D7000...then the HE-400...and...
There are several options for proper X-Fi cards on the older PCI interface.   Chief among them is the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude, if you can find one.   Other than that, there's a boatload of Creative X-Fi PCI cards floating around on eBay and elsewhere, and pretty much any one that does NOT say "XtremeAudio" and has a heatsink on it is viable, though they won't have the analog output quality of the Prelude. But you could probably score one for $20-40 shipped, with a...
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