I just received my new sound card and I'm excited to try it out. I've hooked it up and connected my headphones into the proper jack. I try out the audio and it's bloody awful, worse than on-board audio (which is not too bad). I don't know what's wrong, this (I hope) shouldn't be happening. I installed the latest drivers and through the Creative control panel and I've setup my audio output as headphones. When I test the audio the left and right outputs don't come out of left or right, it comes out the "middle". As if there is absolutely no directional sound. I've also tried out my music and it's as if there are large chunks of sound missing. Something is really wrong with my setup or the hardware. The headphones are fine as are the drivers.
My Astro A40 headphones connect to an Astro MixAmp (amp?) which used an optical connection to connect to my motherboard. As seen in the image, I'm using the Realtek Digital Output because it provides phenomenal sound that is infinitely better than the Astro drivers. For some reason, this output even provides me with 5.1 surround sound that I don't even have to configure (it's by default).
When I connect my headphones directly to my sound card I can only use the "Speaker" output which is provided by Sound Blaster Z. This is where the issue happens; quality is a nightmare.
I appreciate any assistance.
-- Update ---
Alright, I experimented a little bit and found out something interesting. If I connect my MixAmp with the optical cable to the sound card then the audio is fine. I think this has something to do with optical input/output. Not a problem with it but how it works. Because when I connect with the optical cable I never use the "Speakers" device but the Realtek High Definition Audio (one that I like). If the sound card requires me to use my MixAmp then I see no point in having the sound card at all. The reason I got a sound card in the first place is to replace my MixAmp.