@MaverickNemisis - My understanding is that AuzenTech is an improved version of Creative's stuff. It uses the X-FI chip and similar if not the same drivers as Creative. That's not a good thing. I'm looking for a top of the line sound card as well, but after owning an X-FI Gamer, I am NOT considering anything from or associated with Creative. The X-FI sound quality is okay, but I've had a lot of driver issues (Win XP) and I'm just not satisfied with the card, software or Creative in general. I'd only buy Creative if gaming was the primary thing I do on the PC.
Edited by goesto11 - 6/10/13 at 4:18pm
I'm on the fence b/t either an Asus Essense STX or the soon to be released PCI-E Claro. It's supposed to be a Claro Plus with a headphone amp similar to the Halo's. I'm trying to finish my new i7-930 based build so I'd like to make a decision soon on whether to wait on the Claro PCI-E or just go ahead and get the STX.
My current speakers are Klipsch Pro Media and headphones are AKG 240 Studio. Okay, not the best, but I just don't have the cash to upgrade for a while. I'll definitely get better headphones as some point and maybe speakers as well if I can find ones compatible with my space limitations.
I listen generally through the speakers but do use the headphones quite a bit as well. So whatever I get should be good at both.
I'll use this PC for just about everything, though I'm not too much of a gamer. Mostly it will be video encoding/editing/playback and to a lesser extent audio editing/playback. I'll do some audio recording as well, but I have a Presonus Firebox+Cubase for that. Eventually I hope to get all my audio & video files to external HDDs and play through my HT system via WDTV Live Media Player.
I have ZERO experience with either Asus or HT Omega products. From what I can tell, they are about equal in sound quality, though my impression is that the Claro line is a bit more well rounded (i.e. good if not great at gaming/HT/audio) and more flexible in terms of output while the STX is a bit better for audio sound quality. Other than that, the Asus does have an EMI shield which at least will protect the circuits from contact with other cables.