Originally Posted by zerocraft
I did end up going with the E9 amp! I don't really have much use for a portable amp right now so figured dealing with battery based stuff was not worth it. Have my USB X-fi all set up on windows so just waiting on the UPS to deliver today/tmrw. Cant wait for my first real gaming/music sound setup haha. I think I might upgrade to an internal card eventually to reduce the clutter of having the USB X-fi on my desk. Before that I want to give THX Trustudio a try though, since I dont really play many old games (which seems to be the main drawback with this over X-Fi/CMSS stuff?), I'll decide on titanium/recon3d/Z after I've given both technologies an ear.
The E9 is a solid performer for its price, however the O2 does have lower output impedance, which is preferable for lower impedance headphones.
THX TruStudio is significantly inferior to even software based CMSS-3D, nevermind hardware based CMSS-3D. And while proper audio renderers are where X-Fi cards shine, so do modern games that run awfully 2D flat audio renders benefit from X-Fi cards over newer software based Recon3D and Z series cards, mainly due to the X-Fi-specific algorithms that improve positional cue accuracy in both height and depth, something that isn't found on other Creative card series or any other manufacturer.
So, a cost effective and higher performing upgrade (over your USB X-Fi) is a base Creative X-Fi Titanium, but if you want the best gaming experience with a very high quality DAC, then the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD is the card to get.