...And I have been out of the loop for a VERY long time regarding sound cards. I could salvage a turtle beach santa cruz out of my old dell, but can anyone say "long in tooth"?
Anyway, I have some swan 2.0 speakers (d1080's mk II) and some beyerdynamic dt770 pro headphones (latest version), and I was wondering what is a good gaming and music sound card? Maybe something that will encode games live to dolby digital or dts should I find myself the owner of some normal home theater speakers? Thanks!
edit: also, didnt creative FINALLY let someone else use a recent version of EAX?
1) If you want a card that is great at gaming (10/10) and really good at music (8/10), then get a Creative X-Fi. That card is intended for gaming, and can do things like EAX sound processing and a 5.1-to-headphones surround downmixing. Great stuff.
Other manufacturers did get the rights to use EAX. Some of them use an actual X-Fi chip. Some of them use EAX emulation. In either case, I would just stick with an original Creative Labs X-Fi product.
2) If you are focused on music, you can always get a card that focuses on music. A cheap option is the Chaintech AV-710. For something a little higher-end, you might want to check out an EMU 0404, or go even further to get an external USB-based DAC for even better sound. This route will give you superior music reproduction (10/10) due to the higher-quality DAC and capacitors, but will lack a lot of the EAX sound processing effects that you want if you're a serious gamer (5/10).