In my case, I feel that the SXFi makes audio sound echo-y and like in a cave. I can't say I can pinpoint the issue as precisely as you, but I'd imagine I'm experiencing something similar. The audio quality drop is bad enough that whatever positional effects are lost to me. And if I hadn't experienced Out of Your Head, or even good ol Dolby Headphone before, I might have gone off thinking that this was meant to be. What's making things even worse, is I recently heard got to hear the SXFi Air C at a demo booth in my local area. I was able to try it with a few videos, including a short clip of the Avatar jungle night scene, where jaguar creatures were circling the main character. Surprisingly, the out of head effect was very good! Way better than what my own profiled SXFi amp + HD 598 was showing me. I think the vocals were still too hollow sounding than they should be, but otherwise, I would even say the positional effects are on par with OOYH. I suspect they're using the mic calibrated profile. I posted this experience over in HWZ forums and another forum-er also suggested that as a possibility: https://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/119156377-post4645.html So yes, I'm keeping the SXFi amp only in the faint hopes that Creative figures out how to provide the mic calibration service for everyone at a profitable margin. Until then, the SXFi effect with only the head mapping calibration is really a joke, although some people are fine with it. For me, thank god there's OOYH.