I need to get a soundcard for Virtual Surround in headphones, as my motherboard's ALC892 with THX ProStudio Pro Virtual Surround just doesn't work and I can't hear anything other than a slight reverb/flanging effect when playing games with it. When I test it with the Realtek Sound Manager speaker test I can hear that the side and rear speakers are coming from a different position to the front speakers but in-game (was playing Assassin's Creed III last night), not at all.
I was planning on getting the Earforce DSS processor, which needs to be given a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal and unfortunately the ALC892 doesn't support Dolby Digital Live which is needed to encode the multi-channel audio from games and send it over the optical out.
However, it may be that Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D is good enough so I want to get a card that supports that (I believe CMSS is regarded as better) but can also support DDL, so that if I'm not satisfied with those I can still get the DSS.
I was looking at the Xonar DX, which supports Dolby Headphone and DDL but uses the line/mic in to provide the optical out, which is just daft and means I wouldn't be able to use my mic whilst gaming.
The Xonar DG/DGX has a dedicated optical out but only supports Dolby Headphone, not DDL as well.
The only option I've found so far is the X-Fi Titanium but that's almost twice the cost of the Xonar DG or DGX, at £40 vs £23 and if I do decide to get the DSS as well, it starts to add up.
I'm going to buy a pair of Samson SR850 cans as well as I understand that open-backed cans work better for Virtual Surround and give a larger soundstage than closed-back (like my current Creative Fatality set). I'll need to get a clip/stick on mic for those but that's not really a problem, apart from the extra cable to manage.
So are there any other cards that would fit the bill or am I just going to have to get the X-Fi Titanium?