I am a 50/50 gamer/music user. I currently have two setups
1: Sennheiser HD558 when gaming or listening to music at the desk, analog output from (now) onboard audio. This is my most common usage and I would REALLY like an upgrade here.
2: S/pdif output through videocard HDMI to receiver for decoding. Used when gaming or watching movies on the tv. I would like to switch to soundcard s/pdif if it will improve positional audio and other effects with having the extra processing.
I am debating between a Creative SB Ti-HD and an external DAC/AMP like the Modi/Magni stack. The soundcard has more features of course but more potential for EMI as it's going to be either directly above or below one of the two 7870's. Does the shielding on the TiHD help much for noise reduction? Would it be best in my topmost PCIe1x slot? I never had issues with EMI on the Asus installed bottomslot until I dropped in the second card right above it, now I'm worried it will happen again. Currently I have a two-slot videocard in both the blue and white PCIe16x slots. The Xonar DX was installed in the bottom black slot.