Damn it, something's up with the Titanium HD drivers causing some nasty audio distortion out of the blue, I think.
*uninstalls Creative drivers and runs Titanium HD in driverless Windows HD audio device mode, distortion goes away*
Normally, this card works just fine...that was unexpected, to say the least. Too bad I'm stuck in old-fashioned one-dimensional stereo mode like this...but this would be a good time to evaluate a few games.
*fires up Battlefield: Bad Company 2, still finds the audio positioning as terrible as remembered, can't find an "enhanced stereo mode" option*
Yeah, I still don't get how anyone can get any semblance of directionality with that game's audio.
*fires up Battlefield 3, turns on enhanced stereo mode*
...Well, I'll be damned. A game with its own binaural mixing mode, no need for a sound card to mix it for you, and it actually doesn't suck! This whole time, I was thinking that BF3 was going to sound just as terrible as BF:BC2 (positionally speaking), and yet DICE did get their act together after all. Maybe there's hope yet for the Frostbite engine...regardless, I'll have to eat all my words on that one assumption.
I still wish they weren't trying to shove this Battlelog crap down our throats, though...
*goes back to reinstalling the Titanium HD's drivers*