PC Soundcard experiences with Tripath amp


I just thought I'd share my experiences with building a Tripath system for my home PC.

I have a pair of tangband W3-871S and used John 'Zaph' Kutke's monitor design, which sits either side of my LCD screen. These drivers run almost full range, I have an active filter -12db/oct below 100hz. For a subwoofer I use a peerless 8" woofer in a 12" x 15" x 17" enclosure downfiring, and it too has an active filter matched to the W3-871S high pass and that uses the linkwitz transform to force the driver to deliver down to 35hz in this small enclosure. All the active filters use OPA2134 op amps and metallized polyester caps when needed in the signal path.

For the amplifier I have 2 tripath amps, 41hz "amp1" kits. The first one drives the monitor speakers @ 30w per channel and the second one runs in bridge mode for the subwoofer @ 150w (linkwitz transform requires a lot of power).

Anyway, onto the topic. Recently I have been playing around with different soundcards with this setup to see how the soundcard affects the sound quality. I have ripped 500 of my CDs into lossless format and use foobar as the player using ASIO. The three soundcards I tried were:
1) Audigy 2 ZS (using 2 x upsampling to stop the Audigy 44.1Khz to 48Khz resampling). This was my default soundcard for a couple of years and although it sounded OK initially, in comparison to the other sound cards it has weak bass and has a recessed sound.
2) M-Audio Delta 410. I'll be using this card for a whole of home audio setup. It has significantly better bass than the Audigy 2 ZS and slightly better soundstage and resolution.
3) M-Audio Revolution 7.1. This is the card in my home theatre PC and it produces a sound similar to the 410 but with a more forward sound and a slightly improved the soundstage
4) EMU 0404. This card has been getting rave reviews over at head-fi.org for headphone listening, and as its relatively cheap I thought I'd buy it to give it a try. I wasn't expecting much difference from the M-Audio cards but was pleasantly surprised that the bass was firmer and fuller, and the amount of detail in the sound increased. I also took the opportunity to remove the on board caps and output buffer, which added to the soundstage and surprisingly improved the "speed" (attack) response of the system and produced a clear, smooth treble response.

I'm now very happy with this setup, which gives a huge soundstage, high resolution, solid bass and the ability to resolve individual instruments in a complex passage (Tripath is famous for this). It is also very forgiving of poorer recordings, which is different to my main (and more expensive) setup which shows every flaw in a recording. So this little system has finally hit the
synergy of all its components, something I've found very hard to find when building / setting up a hifi system. Now to stop fiddling with it an enjoy the music :)

If you are looking for a soundcard for a PC based system, I'd recommend looking into the EMU 0404 & modding it, it certainly bests the M-Audio cards at least for this setup.

Next project for this setup is to add microprocessor control for mute & volume through a USB connection to the PC and writing a small amplifier management application on the PC to mute the amp when the PC shuts down & adjust the volume in software using a LM1972 volume chip. (did I say something before about stopping fiddling :rolleyes: )


Its for near field listening in my bedroom. The speakers are either side of my PC monitor so I'm physically only 2 feet away from the speakers. Makes for an almost headphone experience, however it does a reasonable job filling the room with sound. The tangbands being 3" drivers can't go too loud, but are loud enough especially for near field listening. The tripath amp is only good for 30W but this is heaps.

I have proven with this setup that it is possible to get audiophile performance out of a PC speaker setup (very rare to find). I spend much more time on the PC than listening to music in my media room, so I thought it makes sense to build a top notch system for the PC.

The main disadvantage with the setup is that I can't get the subwoofer to perfectly integrate with the tangbands, 100hz is a little high for a sub crossover and the tangbands react faster than the subwoofer. Its not bad, just not perfect.



Disabled Account
2004-02-13 3:35 pm

I took a look at RME and Lynx two, Lynx in particular seems like a choice card, but they're both well out of the price range.

I also found Gina3G as the next underdog which seemed like a decent unit, and "Juli" from ESI looks hard to beat for what it gives you in a cheap card, I think a very likely contender for the 0404.

I just picked up an EMU 1820M, I think it will give my amps an ideal source given their specs are nearly equilavent or better then they are. I'll let you know what I think when I hear it Vs my audigy 1 platinum pro.

I'm also expecting a good level of difficulty in actually getting it to work at all.


A couple of tips if you are looking to extract audiophile quality out of a PC:
- Use a quality drive (eg. Plextor) to rip your CDs with software like exact audio copy that can compensate for disk errors better than any high end transport (due to multiple re-reads).
- Covert wav files to a lossless format like WMA lossless or FLAC.
- Use a quality player like foobar or Winamp setup to send the audio directly to the audio card (bypassing the windows mixer) using kernel streaming or ASIO
- Dont use any software processing and leave the windows/device volume at 100%
- Use any of the cards you have identified below.
- Tweak the audio card by removing any on board coupling caps (ensure your amp has DC input protection) and replacing the output opamp with a better device.

You might just be pleasantly surprised with the quality! If you are having problems getting it to work, post to this thread as I'm sure we can get you working.

sound card question

What DAC’s and opamps are used on the EMU 1820? How are the opamps powered? I haven’t messed with any of this yet but am planning on doing a worthy system. I plan on a series of sound card mods/upgrades to try. I don’t have much of a budget but that has never stopped me before. Thanks, in advance,


Disabled Account
2004-02-13 3:35 pm
Budget? lol....... aaaaah if only you knew, I'll be laughing about that for hours!

I had my reasons I swear lol, I just see no point in doing anything half "way".


Let's look at it from my point of view. Say you go buy a receiver (ick) in a store you get a few toys you'll never use, some DSP effects, probably full surround sound, junk performance, quality.. etc. For this you pay how much? Can we agree on ~$1000 give or take?

It's been a long time since I've bothered to look I'd imagine it's more now and that's just for the cheap stuff.

So I'm thinking I'm going all out building amp only to plug it intoooo... eeewwwww (yup, that's the technical term).

Some nice info here:

Op amps used in it are JRC2068, supposedly closely related to burr browns OPA2134. An obvious area for improvement sure, will I? Yeah but not for awhile! I haven't looked at the specs but I'd assume replacing the op amp for a better one would be the surest cure for the only quip about the card and that's that the frequency response starts to drop off a little early. A wider bandwidth op amp just might be the only cure required here. What do you think?

The downside to modding this is obvious... alllllll those channels. $$$

The upside .... could be fun for a tweaker, use different op amps on every channel and you can have some serious A/B/C/D etc fun.

Some nice pics of the guts of the it here:


BTW I've seen some Rightmark loopback tests that...... well..some are more believable than others.



http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/creative/emu1820/e-mu-1820-spdifout-2444.shtml (spdif out?? .... seems like a pointless test to me?)

Anyway you can keep looking and keep finding... biggest problem I've seen users have with this card is a lack of driver support for certain features (shocking I know, being creative and all), and possible problems with old hacked up VIA chipsets like mine! Didn't know that when you offered to help me did ya Deandob? lol.

It's also said to be a bit of a learning curve to just get it to play sound given the new "pro" type software.... I taught myself linux somewhat.. I figure I have a 10% chance.

So this card is supposed to be the best thing going, it looks like it could be, to EMU's defence they actually aren't creative so we can hope driver issues will at least be solved in good time, and overall the support should be alot different.

It also seems to have an edge cost wise over the closest competition which are the much more expensive pro cards that it likely stands a very good chance of out doing.

If you really want to give this a go/home theatre/pro audio style I'd give this card a serious look.

I found the best place to buy it from is right from the manufacturer, and if you're poor like me, you'll be clicking on the "deals and bargains" link to order the factory recertified "B" stock for a few bucks less, comes with the same warranty.

A few key differences between cards:

BB PCM1804

AKM AK5394

How they're powered? No idea. This is all internet information here.. card isn't in yet.

Also the 1820M comes with a daughter card which I believe is an external clock to push it up to 192Khz @24bits, without it, it can only do 96khz which I understand is still very high quality audio and leaves little to be desired.

I just thought it was a great source that will allow me a balanced signal path from start to finish and totally DC coupled, on all eight channels. :eek:

I don't want the source as the limiting factor of the amplifiers. This way if I make a tweak to an amp hopefully it's the tweak that I'm hearing and not something else, and I expect to hear the amps full potential.

So for what I paid, I got good dollar value out of it considering the alternative (which it isn't) of buying commercial junk for even more money. The featurs I got and at the apparent quality of it, seems to leave one with no other real alternative, I think a sound card is the only way to go.

Also, even with my flawed Audigy 1 platinum pro gamer type card, the sound was improved enough my pioneer 1 bit cd player (more cheap stuff..... ~$450) that the only time I've powered it up since I got that over two years ago was to take CD's out of it.

This will be a new leap for me and I'm getting anxious for the experience.

Looking forward to seeing others go the same route too.


PS: If you call EMU.... they're "going" to try really hard to sell you their software packages with the card.... just tell them you don't want it for composing or mastering. Once they stop sputtering tell them it's for testing amplifiers with and you'll be able to get off the phone.
sound ideas!

Thanks for all the input and links. My idea is basically the same, to not buy an expensive single use front end that I can’t afford anyway. In fact I might even get the company to spring for it by claiming it’s a piece of test equipment and I do plan on using it as a poor mans analyzer. Wonder what the software will cost?
The main thing is to build a reference front end out of it to use to evaluate amp changes. It will be possible to generate and use short clips that are particularly difficult to reproduce. It should be a useful tool.
The BB1804 I know about but what is the story on the AK5394? Is it any good? I will probably use the LM6172’s as they are way better than their price would lead you to believe and you do need a few. One just has to do a good job bypassing the suckers or they will ring and sound hard as nails. If the card has DC coupling they must be using a – voltage generator of some kind, that will need some looking into as will all the decoupling caps. All in all, an interesting project.
The only catch is it all is computer based with all that that implies. Right now I am really down on them as I just spent untold hours trying to solve a host of problems. The major one ended up the easiest to solve, just dumped all the Norton trash! Hard to believe those people actually expect that stuff to run. The other real aggravation was very long boot up, Microsoft to the rescue! Loaded up bootvis and found all the problems. Now boot in 25 sec, with all the kaka I have this is really excellent.
Like the Chinese philosopher said “may you live in interesting times” well here we are! The only unknown is if it was a blessing or a curse.

Ps. Seen this? http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep04/articles/emu0404.htm
Hi Roger,

Thanks for appreciating my spastic posting.

Already I find myself looking forward to your sound card tweak thread:)

I think I'd be all too tempted to put a mix of different high end op amps on the board, spread out amongst the channels. I don't really know why....?

I think it will make a great poor man's analyzer as well.

I remember the PCM1804 from when I had a "thing" about switching DSD directly to the load in open loop.... :xeye: gotta start somewhere..

I don't know a single thing about the AK5394, other than maybe


The difference in performance seems evident though.

You bring up a very good point about it being computer based.
I dont' think it will be much of a problem for me, though I've needed a new computer for awhile. I'm hoping the card will work OK with it, it very likely won't.

I've always considered Norton a virus in itself, considering the hit on stability, performance (even when it does work OK), and good luck trying to revert back to a prior state without it.

Actually I've learnt I cant' afford the performance hit AV causes at all. So I instead learnt what not to click on, do a "wash" every so often, if it ever starts acting odd I can do an online virus scan easily.

The selling point for that is it doesn't seem to provide good protection anyway, even when fully and regularly updated.... it also doesn't stop people clicking on things they shouldn't which infects them anyway, really it's nothing more than a false sense of security which I find both dangerous and ignorant. Most times when people bring me a sick computer to fix, it's loaded with all kinds of virus' and trojans, and I still have to wait for norton to load so I can disable it and start debugging.

I'll even go so far as to mention the reduced system security because of unpatched exploits in their own software, which they've been putting a few fixes out for recently. These are of course "take over your system" type exploits, not just BSOD ones.

I've had my fair share of computer issues and it was sink or swim, learn it or run from it. I figure it seemed obvious in life I'd be forced to use them again and again (I was a "gear-head" u know) so I figured I best master it before it masters me. Haven't met the one to beat me yet.

Seems like you're trying real hard to avoid the inevitable need to format huh? After about a year (windows xp half life).... it starts to suffer even under the best of hands.

Alot of people still use system restore, not realizing they're backing up all their problems.

I've grown to loath formatting myself, and will suffer weeks with a very poorly running computer just to stretch it a bit further as I tweak this and delete that..

Always kicking myself for not having made a good disc image the last time I had everything nice and fresh on it.

Certainly if you want such a computer to run a home entertainment system/theatre/automation.... such an image disc would be very nice to have, it would be nice regardless of what you're using it for...... I reaaaally hate formatting.

Interestingly, windows XP, while far from ideal, is more than stable enough to play DVD's all evening or all week long without complaining.

Linux is just not a requirement.

Still, a small dedicated unit would be the ideal, I think a properly managed PC would do just fine. (Don't have a 100% PCU load from spyware etc.)

So yeah even on that end of things it's come a long way!

I'm not sure what you mean when you say voltage generator of some kind, but the specs of the card say that the six balanced inputs are servo controlled, seems all it would need for that is a ground reference?

Oh... it's a curse that we brought upon ourselves in order to make life more relaxing and comfortable?

Look.... what was it.... the seventies? Mankind went to the moon!!! Then mankind invented the internet and they all got hooked and didn't do a noteworthy thing since. That's what they'd have you believe anyway, truth is only 10% got hooked, the rest were too busy rebooting.


Now that I'm enjoying the audiophile sounds from my PC in my study, the next project is to concentrate on selecting & modifying a top of the range audio card for the main system in my home theater (using a PC as a video/audio source) and to build an accompanying DIY amplifier (using UCD modules).

So your posts in this thread are timely - last night I was investigating the best DACs for the available soundcards. The Lynx Two card is recognised as the highest quality soundcard but with a price to match. The EMU 1820M looks to be the best contender, similar performance to the Lynx, more options at a cheaper price. Having the DACs outside the PC has got to be a bonus from a noise perspective & easier to mod.

From reading the specs, the CS4398 in the 1820M is one of the best converters around! I have not found a soundcard with a better chip. Ideas for hacking this card:
- remove all coupling caps (checking for DC offset interstage)
- Replace the output opamps with AD8620, the same opamp used in the UCD modules
- Replace the power supply on the extension board with a better regulated power supply using low noise parts
- Upgrade the supply bypass caps with panasonic FC
- add shielding to the case.

Has anyone found a schematic for the 1820M?

The only problem I have with the 1820M card is that it does not have the games audio acceleration of a consumer card, as I want to do games in the home theatre but would prefer to have single source input to the UCD amplifier, rather than bothering to organise switching (balanced) multichannel inputs. Anyway, I have some platform code for microchip microcontrollers that will allow the PC to control amp volume, input etc. via USB.

Chris, your post implies that you have the 1820M, it would be interesting to hear your impressions trying different tweaks. Also, it sounds like you need a computer upgrade - the hardware costs are cheap now, the effort to configure & move your data is where the (time) cost will be. My offer to help was more on the software side, I work in the software industry although I have formal EE degree software is my area.

Software guy huh? Great maybe you can tell me how Esupport bunged up my new bios? lol

One thing I know is they set the "read only" flag and it's never comming off again, also erased the chip ID so it can't be reprogrammed.. son's of..instead of sending me a replacement chip they wanted my only motherboard for who knows how long, I just took my money back and kept the buggy computer.

AAAAAlllll because I needed a 200GB hard drive. :confused:

I also found the 1820M as the best. It seems users are reporting it easily outperforms a lynx two, and as you say, it's actually cheaper, just can't go wrong.

I've ordered it but not yet recieved it.

Are you assuming it's using coupling caps or do you know something I don't? It's supposed to have DC coupled servo controlled inputs and its' a little foggy as to the outputs but I dont' think they'd have gone to the extent of servo controlled inputs only to turn around and AC couple the outputs. Hopefully nothing critical is AC coupled in between.

If the given op amps are indeed kin to an opa2134, also as the modules come with, I dont' think I'll be hard pressed to mod it for a long time to come. It seems to me as though there's already a good deal of quality built into the card, it just shoulnd't require much tweaking. However the early dip in the frequency response may warrant some better op amps eventually. I'll have a pair of opa2134's off the UCD modules when I replace them though, might put them on the card and see if I can measure a difference in frequency response with them.

I'd sure hope they've already used a good PSU design and low noise parts where required.... they're getting those specs somehow after all.

Would the case not be a shield in itself?

Just look at the noise floor of this thing... at some point modding =kicking the dead horse, no? I think my time will be best spent using the card to mod the amp with anyway.

A schematic?? I don't imagine we'll ever see one of those.

I figure the sound card will have it's own volume and planned on using that as the main one, that's another nice aspect of it, no need for a pre amp at all.

I take it what you want to do is transmit the surround info digitally. That will make your amp a bit more expensive right?

I dont' think I'll have 8 powered channels for a loooooong time, will only be using it in stereo for awhile so it's not much of a concern. Supposedly it still sounds alright playing games though.

One last thing I'd like to point out about all the cards mentioned thus far, supposedly EMU are the only guys that still do hardware acceleration? As per their litterature anyway.

I won't miss not having EAX, of all the games I've played I can count the # of them it sounded good with on a single finger, and I don't play that one anymore.

I'll be glad to let you all know what I think of the cards drivers once I stuff it in here. I'll be real ticked off if you need the rest of their software to access any features of it.


PS: I'm sure there must be some universtal home theatre/automation like software out there that would work for it? Say with a remote control? If not that'd be a good project.

I'm sure your right - the specs on this puppy are so good that there is little room to tweak - shielding, good power supply etc would need to be in place already.

Regarding coupling caps, it is possible to have decent specs and use AC coupling and have the caps muddy the sound. I dont have one to check, but I know the cheaper 0404 does use coupling caps.

As I'm building a UCD multichannel amp to mate with the soundcard, I will be connecting 6 of the balanced analog outputs to the amp. I have not figured out how to do DTS/DD decoding DIY (licensing stops this) and anyway its possible to do the decoding in software.

There is no integrated home theater receiver DIY project for a PC, and it is an obvious market, although some of the HTPC software like Microsoft's Windows Media Center are making headway. I want the amp control done in software on the PC (eg. so that a PC remote can be used) and with software like Media Centre the PC starts to become an integrated home theater solution.

Let us know how you go with the 1820M, and how it stacks up to "real" audiophile solutions.


Wonder why they chose 0404 for their designation, reminds me of a dead link. It was the 0404 I was thinking about as having a DC/DC converter to generate a – voltage for the opamps. This would be necessary for direct coupling. If they are cap coupled they probably use a single 12V supply and can’t be connected direct. This rules them out for me. I have worked with DVD players that use this configuration and there is very little you can do for them, basically just replace the chips.
I guess the 1820M is the only way to go even if you only are going to use 2 channels. The balanced outputs are a nice + for connecting directly to the UcD’s. With the main circuits all external there is a world of possibilities open. I would look into using Oscon’s for decoupling the DAC’s because of their superior HF ESR.
Chris, I switched over to a virus scanner called Avast and it works the way they should. Very low overhead and only an occasional update flag. You don’t even know it’s there and it don’t crash every day or so. Best of all it is freeware! I am also using windows firewall so feel pretty secure.
I have my main OS on a 30 G HD and have a 250 G for all my data stuff. The cash is on the beginning of the large drive and this was a worth while improvement in system response. I also have 2 60 G drives that I can switch around in a USB2 case for complete backup. I used Western Digital’s copy program to make a complete and bootable copy of the OS on one of the drives and do a complete data backup on the other. I don’t do movie back ups that way but burn them to CD directly for a hard copy. I have spent so much time collecting and organizing music I sure would hate to loose it all in a HD crash.
I am not looking forward to learning all the ins and outs of the various audio programs necessary to take advantage of the 1820. I will rely on you and Dean to get me up to speed. A new thread probably should be started to cover sound cards for dummy’s.
Hi there,

Yeah I don't think the 0404, while a semi decent card, is much of a contender. Juli is much cheaper (I think) and looks like it will out perform it easily, for the same level of options. I alllllmost went for that one, really hard to beat the price on it for what it is. The problem is that for not all that much more you have the 1820M.. it's a hard one to resist.

I lost everything I had last winter due to a faulty drive from Fujistu which was the loser of a class action lawsuit over using sub standard parts from...... cirrus logic was it? They used a new process.. you've got a smart setup there.

My only real concern with the card at this point is that I"ve read reports of people having serious issues getting them to work with old VIA chipsets. Due to my buggy and obviously "sold untested" bios from esupport, I'm also forced to use ... shall we say, less than optimal drivers for the chipset.

I'll first see if I have problems with it, and if so, I think I'll be able to trade my audigy for a different board. One way or the other it will be made to work.

Even with a good AV program and .... software firewall... you've endowed yourself with a false sense of security. Say you click on the wrong thing or visite the wrong website and install yourself a trojan, first job of a good trojan or virus is to disable all the AVI and firewall programs, you wouldn't even notice it happened).

Routers with NAT ability are pretty cheap these days.. It's all I use and haven't had a problem in a long time. Plus it keeps all those nosy packets from hitting your ports at all.. keeps things going smoothly.

We all have our own philosophies when it comes to such things though. Mine works for me so far.

I have also heard good things about the AV program you're using, it seems like the big name ones are a little crooked though huh?

We'll see how I do figuring out the card's drivers..... I'll be sure to keep you posted on it.

AV and stuff

Thanks again, appreciate the info/dialog.
Don’t short chance Avast, it is quite comprehensive and even has things like p-p protection. It has flagged me on some email that had some suspicious scripting in it. (I use HTML protocol) It turned out to be spyware. All in all I think it offers more protection than Norton even when Norton was running and not stalled. I don’t know how good the windows firewall is or if I need to worry about that though. The only other thing is the hijackers and spyware stuff. I use various programs to clean them out regularly. I also do a regular hijack this scan and keep that clean as well.
Regular maintenance does work. I ran my system for over 2 years before a disk problem forced me to reformat a new drive and rebuild the system. Knowing what I do now about fixing and cleaning the system and the registry in particular I would think 2-3 years between rebuilds is a reasonable goal. With most of the XP problems solved the audio now runs very well and doesn’t stutter when I do other tasks. I think it will be solid enough to base a quality system on. I will do other optimizations to further improve throughput. Quality wide bandwidth audio does hog the resources and requires priority. A hardware accelerator or fast computer with a lot of memory may be necessary to do it justice. Does the 1820 have a hardware accelerator? I don’t recall seeing anything about it.
Got to get busy and earn a living, more later.
Hi Roger,



No wait... there's more :)

Say windows-washer ~once a week, that typically leaves _nothing_ for spybot to ever find... pretty easy for me.

Once in a blue moon I'll fire up a registry editor called "Regcleaner" and remove some stail junk.

I think if you try pushing XP to 2 or 3 years you're def. pushing towards the "end life". Let us not forget that while it is much better than the 9X junk it still is windows.. I've seen it up and die for no reason at all, endless reboot loops that had nothing to do with a virus... oh yeah, it's microsoft!

All the same I'm sure we're in total agreement, it's more than good enough as the base of a home entertainment system.

Then again... I remember my days with a soundblaster 16, the improvement in sound just from using it under linux was astounding, I think mostly because of their software.

I may have to try that again.

Another forum poster has his down to a one remote system, and I think runs linux.. we'll have to get him in here to help us out.

I thought I mentioned it in a previous post but just in case I forgot to, apparently EMU is one of the only ones making use of hardware acceleration anymore.

This appears in many reviews, but stems from creative's website:

"E-DSP 32-bit Multi-effects Processor offers you over 16 simultaneous hardware-accelerated studio-grade effects with no CPU overhead -"

Supposedly with 500 presets.

I looked at everything out there I could find and the more I looked the less choice I had.

BTW that's how I buy my hardware, research the hell out of it, compare it to everything else in it's class and beyond, then I hit the forums to see what kind of problems people have had with it, if they found a cure, if they got any support, if 100X report the same problem...

I'm not worried about anyone posting here at all, we'll be fine, but I hope no one reads this thinking they can take their "JUST ONE DOLLAR A DAYYYY" type of computer and make a decent system with it.

All I can tell you is, mine plays movies without stuttering...... much. :)

Oh yeah, I might even give those modded sonic impacts a go just to fill out the other six channels, in a very cheap yet pleasing way. This can only be reasonably done with class d:)

FYI - A potentially serious problem with using the 1820M for home theater use is that the WDM drivers only support stereo out, so you cannot use this card with typical home theater software for multichannel output.

E-MU are considering writing multichannel WDM drivers in the future. Note that most other pro cards (RME, Lynx) support multichannel WDM.


Yeh, EMU is in Iraq looking for it right now. Word has it they intend on supporting it in a future driver release, which is why I dont' really care, it'll be a long time before I have more than a few channels to worry about, maybe. Really it's a bit of a stain on an otherwise "perfect" card.

It seems ASIO does the 8 channels and is the better option not passing through windows mixers or something? Windows mixers.... that can't be audiophile!

Supposedly EMU is eventually going to support it in WMD, however it seems what we'd really need is home theatre software that supports ASIO?

Seems like there's nothing in linux either. Maybe it would be a good winamp plug in.