As I am typing, I am at home eating green tea ice cream
anyway, A week with out my computer/headphone set up is a pain, I literally have no entertainment at all.
suddenly start to wonder, what M-Audio card did you got, just check the web, and they indeed are balance audiophile card. plus, how do they sound compare to x-fi
Did you know that some M-Audio cards come with Blackgates? Yeah kinda surprising. I have the M-Audio Audiophile 192 (of the Delta series) that I got in a trade with hydrocity here. They use the AKM DAC which is very good. I actually never heard this card, since I use its digital out to my external DAC (Zhaolu 2.5). My Zhaolu doesn't use opamps but discrete Z-transistors. The sound is very different from opamps, like comparing vacuum tubes to solid state. My current system sounds warm and intimate, and altogether pretty unique. In contrast, the modded X-Fi is like an oversamplist's dream with my K701.
The Audiophile192 has a ton of features though. You can even get 4 of them and use them all at once, like for surround sound or as speaker crossovers.