A little history 1st:
I have never heard as good a sound on a PC as I had in 2001 with a SB Live 5.1 and Cambridge SoundWorks Desktop Theater 5.1 DTT2200 Speakers.
Audigy 2 was close.
Audigy 2ZS was a buggy POS.
X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion was just ok.
X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty was just ok and only bought it due to I had to as no longer having PCI slots in new Mobo.
Now my dilemma, I have removed my ZxR, I tested for a couple of weeks with different 2.0/2.1/5/1 speakers, even bought Corsairs SP2500's.
I am not happy with the sound be it audio, movies or games.
Its lacking something I cannot explain but see a few others have same issues on the WWW but 99% think its great.
The gaming profile for FPS is really low volume so I have to tweak it for each game instead of a simple game mode like X-Fi's have which sounds fine in all games.
Also I am not sure if I have became a artificial sound junkie but I prefer CMSS-3D and EAX to upmix stereo to 5.1 but after 2+weeks I should be over it.
I spent months reading this forum on the Z Series and a few other sites including some HIFI sites and went against my better judgment in buying a Z Series after saying I would not last year (never say never).
I assumed the software would be up to scratch by now but its poor and rehashed old drivers are a joke.
I wonder if it is the software side letting the card down as nearly every EQ sounds nearly the same apart from the good Classical EQ (picked up by more than 1 review site).
I want to like the card and expected it to blow me away sound wise even if not the best speakers in the world at my end but enough to make me buy better ones but those Corsairs get great reviews.
I wonder if I am making a mistake and better drivers will come out but I cannot see Creative making a better software package.
I have a 7-8 days before I cannot return this card so...