Well, when the X-Fi prelude comes out, it will be the most perfect sound card i could ask for. It's pretty much an X-Fi with better DACs and opamps and DDL.
Freakin' win-win. No feature left out there. I'm not really sure what the BEST soundcard is though. Right now if I could have any card (other than the X-Fi Prelude) it would probably be either the X-Meridian or the Bluegears B-Inspirer.
I've got the X-Fi XtremeMusic in my office rig; my gaming/digital media (movies, music, etc.) rig has the HT Omega Claro in it.
In terms of sound fidelity, clarity, and quality, I think it's a ton better than the X-Fi. My music (which runs the gamut from Classical to Jazz to Rock to Folk) simply sounds better than even the X-Fi, which is a very good card. In games, the HT Omega Claro loses out a little bit. I have to admit that the X-Fi has better positional audio properties, but my favorite rig is not just for games. There have also been absolutely NO driver/software-based issues with the HT Omega Claro, whereas with the X-Fi, sometimes it doesn't play nice with some other things installed in a system.
It's pricey, but it's definitely worth it, in my opinion.
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