|as far as CMSS, honestly I've never played with headphone mode (didn't evnenknow the x-fi could do such a thing, I just ignore CMSS entirely since all of the previous creative boards its just like a crappier version of Pro Logic (2.0/2.1 -> 5.1/7.1 (which sounds like crap even on Dolby systems)), the headphone mode may or may not sound better, but my question is, why aren't you using EAX acceleration for positional audio, and setting it to stereo? (thats just what I've found to work the best, I'll have to play around with CMSS Headphone realizing its a feature on X-Fi that I did miss)|
CMSS3D isnt just a spatializer though it does that when used on stereo normal source like music. As far as I have understood, what it does is hijact the hardware 3D acceleration with positional information and try to "binauralise" it though it isnt perfect. So for some folk it works, for others not so well. IIRC it isnt even Creative's own invention, but comes from other soundcard company that they bought which utilised this technology on their cards for surround sound without relying on multiple speakers? It is completely different from old CMSS which is just a spatializer. To use normal CMSS3D (which doesnt work well with with headphones cuz its for normal stereo speakers), you have to set your settings in Audio Console to Speakers, and for CMSS3D Headphone set for headphones (which again doesnt work well with speakers).
And again, EAX does not do 3D audio, (thought it does help) it processes enviromental effects, how sound reflects on different enviroments like echoes etc... and CMSS3D and EAX work together with each other perfectly.