I rewrote the steps into an actual guide. Crosspost from the MLE thread:
Before following this checklist, make sure your current audio device is fully configured for CMSS (Windows configure speakers wizard is done and set to a surround setup, Creative Console speakers set to headphones, CMSS-3D is enabled, Crystalizer is disabled, "Disable Sound Blaster enhancements" under the Sound Blaster tab of your default audio device's properties is unchecked). I like unchecking the sub in the Windows wizard here to create a virtual 5.0 rather than a virtual 5.1 because I think it may help tame the overbearing bass some of you were talking about on the 770 80 ohms. The Beyers are already mashing together the bass output from the other 5 virtual channels into a pair of very bass-capable headphones, do you really need a virtual sub as well? Also, as we all know, subwoofer bass position is something your brain can't pinpoint, so I don't see why you'd want lots of it in your pinpoint accurate virtual surround. I think I remember hearing a noticeable difference with this changed in my limited A-B testing with a ripped BD of Evangellion 1.11 (the last battle scene has explosions and technobabbling jumping ALL over every channel when I listen with my physical 5.1 Acoustic Research HC6, so far it's by far the best test of virtual surround I've tried yet), but I wish I had another pair of Beyers to do a real A-B and not rely on my terrible memory/imagination.
1. Right click on your volume tray in Windows 7 and select "Recording devices"
2. Select "What U Hear" and click "Properties" (cringe inducing grammar there Creative)
[Note - you do NOT have to set this as the default recording device]
3. Select the "Listen" tab and check the box marked "Listen to this device"
4. Under the drop down marked "Playback through this device:" select your desired DAC
5. Make sure "Continue running when on battery power" is selected as a software passthrough should have no effect whatsoever on your battery life
6. Select the "Levels" tab and set it to something comfortable, as the volume control for the Creative card's standard output will have no effect on the volume of the software recording device.
7. Enjoy listening to CMSS freed from the noisy and inferior hardware confines of your internal soundcard!
In other news, I've been trying to figure out whether I can use the Windows 5.1 balance setting to adjust the virtual surround. It doesn't work in the Creative headphone test, but I think that might just be a recording. If I can use that balance menu to adjust the volume of the virtual surround mix and turn up the rear speakers, that would be really nice. Don't know if that would work in combination with the Creative handoff to another DAC though, even if it did indeed work on the CMSS virtual surround in the first place.