Originally Posted by Guspaz
Unless I'm mistaken, Creative's sound cards won't be of much use in Vista, since it does everything in software now...
Many of the effects and extras Creative provided are done by Windows itself now, and they also got rid of DirectSound and DirectSound3D (no more hardware acceleration, and support for only stereo software mode as a fallback).
I would have been excited about this pre-vista, but now I'm not seeing the advantage of having a discrete graphics card if it's just going to be a better quality DAC with a better SnR...
Not entirely true. Read Below!!
"Similarly, Creative's audio drivers are brand new for Vista, and while we have had some difficulties with their earliest Vista drivers, the latest are pretty darn good. One sticking point is EAX hardware acceleration. Vista's audio stack is dramatically different from the one in Windows XP, and the OS itself handles most audio processing chores, including EAX functions, before handing the data off to the sound driver for final audio output. This will make for a much better experience for those using integrated audio or other host-based sound solutions, and greater stability for everyone. But for Creative, which makes the only popular sound card with hardware audio processing, it's a setback.
Fortunately, OpenAL allows audio cards to bypass nearly the whole audio stack in Vista and perform all audio operations on the sound card, so you get your high-performance-hardware 3D sound acceleration. Creative's little workaround is a program called Alchemy, which will replace the DirectSound .dll file for specific games with a new one that simply takes all the function calls and re-maps them to OpenAL commands. Just like that, you get full 3D sound acceleration in hardware. Unfortunately, it only supports the X-Fi in its current beta state, and we have a more common Audigy 2 in our test PC. "