Just received my Sound Blaster Z, initial impressions are good. Like the overclock.net thread said, SBX surround offers a good middle ground.
I have tried both TiHD with CMSS-3D and Xonar with Dolby Headphones. It used to be the choice between the "hollow" sound of Dolby Headphones and the bright sound of CMSS-3D. I chose TiHD cus I find it easier to bear.
SBX surround changes everything, no annoying hollow effects like I'm in the middle of an auditorium, and significant improvement over CMSS-3D's brightness (although a bit's still there). There is a drop in positional accuracy when compaired to CMSS-3D, but it's very small. Small enough for me to wonder if it's just because of CMSS-3D's brightness bringing out the details more.
But you can judge all these yourself by listening to youtube comparison videos.
I will carefully compare the Zero DAC vs whatever DAC chip they have on Z and do a review in case anyone's thinking about getting an external DAC for their sound card
...eventually, cus I just got mah POKEMANS!!!
...so yeah... I'll get around to it... sorry guys...
Edited by TSTY - 10/12/13 at 1:28am