Are you a troll or something?
There will never be a full coverage of all these things because they can be explained in a single post of like 2 lines.
Not today, I'm not. I did, however, get those vibes from reading your post, which is why I replied the way I did. And if it's all so easy to explain, why does everyone seem to have their own take on it?
Okay, first thing, I'm getting mixed signals here. First you say sound cards are useless, then you name a use for them. What exactly are you stating they're useless for, in the first line?
And I'm also not so sure about SBX being better than CMSS-3D. The only way for me to properly judge is to personally get both side by and side run 'em through fairly comprehensive tests, but the sparse audio comparisons available on YT SEEMED to show CMSS-3D was a bit more accurate directionally, although distance/imaging seemed nonexistent. SBX was more Dolby Headphone-ish in that it was somewhat more...muddled, I guess. Not in the sound quality sense: They all sound like crap. But more in terms of the positioning. I found I preferred SBX at 30% to 100% in one test, with CMSS-3D seeming slightly more accurate than SBX at 30% but with both being pretty close. Yeah, it's subjective, I know. It's why I wish there were more comprehensive comparisons that also are regularly updated. Maybe someone here could do that?
This seems to be the general consensus. It's worth noting, however, that the list doesn't include the other options. Some people are okay with shelling out 200-300 or more for good headphones. Hell, even headsets: Look at the Psyko 5.1s. I've heard of people experimenting with gaming on HD800s before, albeit with usually sub-optimal results compared to much cheaper alternatives. But first things first: Where do the vaunted Beyerdynamic DT 880s fit into this hierarchy? Is it reasonably common so you can conclusively say they're better or worse, or is it too subjective to be sure? And of course: Are there better headphones still than the 880s and AD700(Xe)s for positional audio? Price is a factor but I want to also cover the high-end options, for those who may not be content with the cheaper ones.
I'm well aware it does not enhance your skills, merely enhance your awareness of the playing field. I play competitively and have for years.
It's actually a lot more than a "slight advantage." To the people with the right ears and setup, it's like a legitimate wallhack and playing without it is like being crippled. I'm one of those people, and there are many others out there who also benefit from it a lot.
If it's not rocket science, it's still made more complex than figuring out how to put Lego blocks together. I build computers and comparing components isn't NEARLY as unclear as comparing audio. Either it's more complicated overall, or perhaps simple answers are obscured under mountains of opinion and irrelevant information. This thread's purpose is to try and cut through the latter, for the benefit of those who don't have years of research and experience with high-end audio setups.