Definately stay away from CL, they used to be one of the best Audio companies out there (the reason their so powerful now). Makes you wonder about Nvidia, but anyway...this is about Audio not Video.
Hercules initially had some problems with their Game Theater, but were quickly resolved with steady driver updates & optimizations. The Turtle Beach Santa Cruz WinXP Drivers (as previously stated) run smoothly & work great. The only problem with most cards (besides CL) is EAX Implementation. Considering its CL's own beast of course they will make it hard for others to implement it on their chips/boards. Looking @ other companies with large numbers of patents of pretty much "industry standard technologies", you will see the same thing. But since EAX tech changes so rapidly smaller companies that can't produce updated boards quickly enough get left behind, ie. Turtle Beach.
Now, not to go off-topic but it was rumored TB was working on a new board using one of Cirrus Logic's chips w/DD Encoding
, can we say "True 5.1 AC-3", imagine an EAX process going into an AC-3 Hardware Encoder onboard then straight out to ur sound system. But since many peeps don't have the setup I have, so it probably wouldn't benefit them, but just imagine it...mmmm.
Of course the Nforce was going to have onboard DD Encoder but considering the usage of AC97 Codecs on crappy onboard chips makes life more difficult. But anyway...just is stay way from Audigy, Hercules & TB both great companies, also haven't heard many probs from Philips cards...