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This may be a dumb question, but its been bugging me.

Say I have a USB headset and Soundblaster X-Fi (I don't, but pretending is fun). Since the headset is not plugged into the card itself, is the X-Fi actually doing the work? I noticed in some options I can set the mixer to the headset. Where is that actual sound processing occuring, the X-fi card or my CPU?
 

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The usb headset has it's own sound card in it. When it's plugged in, the system sees your computer as having 2 sound cards. since your settings are for your x-fi card, it will stay that way. but if you change your settings to have voice go to the headset, then everytime you plug the headset in, those settings will go into effect.

So, what that means is, if you are listen to sounds thru the usb headset, it's using the usb headsets soundcard, not your x-fi.
obviously any sounds you hear out of your speakers that are plugged into your x-fi, comes from the x-fi.

does that clear it up for you?

Just so you know, I do own some usb headsets and a sound card (not an x-fi though)
 

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yeah usb headsets have their own DAC/sound processing and bypass the sound card completely. there is no point to spending money on a good sound card and a usb headset
 
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