I currently use the audio panel built into the motherboard. I have a Y cable which splits into two outputs: one for my headphones and the other goes into my HT receiver. I use my headphones most of the time so one day I started noticing this crackling sound in the background at all times (listening to MP3s, playing games, etc). At first I thought it was my headphones because they're wireless. I thought they were going bad. But it sounds the same when I play any audio through my HT receiver. The sound is not clean anymore. There's a lot of "garbage" going on in the background. I'm not sure what the problem is. I removed the Y cable and connected the PC directly to the HT receiver and directly to the headphones but the sound is still bad. I don't know if the motherboard audio panel is going bad or not. Any ideas what could be going on? Also, I started doing a little research here and out in the internet for the latest sound cards and the HDA X-Plosion 7.1 looks very interesting with the DDL and DTS Connect features. For those of you who own this card, can I get some feedback on it? Thank you all in advance.