MSimMakes me wonder if you was using AE-5 software properly? Headphones (7.1) enables BlasterX Acoustic Engine and EqualizerDirect HP bypasses it I wouldn't recommend AE-9 in it's current state. Creative rushed that product to the market. People are having issue with the software for it.
viki80It doesnt sound great with music. The equalizer is weak. Cant find ae9 on amazon.
HoggleCreative cards are better then on board audio but they highly process the audio. It's just not the same to have it highly processed and cleaned up as it is to have good quality audio in the first place.