First of all, should I get the headphones and the MixAmp, or just the headset? In other words, will the MixAmp noticeably improve my sound quality or user experience, versus just a standard two-line input (headphones and mic) when used with a PC and/or PS3? I know that the MixAmp enables Dolby Surround in the headset (or at least that's what Astro's site says), but if I have a PC sound card capable of Dolby, will it matter?
Second of all, if I get the headset with the MixAmp, will I need to get a better PC sound card (I've got Realtek onboard right now) in order to fully appreciate them (i.e. does the sound card become unnecessary since the MixAmp is doing a lot of the decoding)?
And if you think I should get myself a sound card, which one would you suggest? I've looked over a few reviews so far, and I've narrowed it down to a couple. From what I can tell, the ASUS Xonar Essence STX is the best sound card out there right now for headphone users (I don't have or want speakers, so this is important), but it doesn't have EAX support on the hardware level (only emulation). Since I'm primarily interested in gaming audio (with occasional music-listening and movie-watching), would the Essence STX not be a good choice? I'm not familiar with how widely used/accepted EAX is as a format, nor how much of a difference it makes, so I don't know how much this will affect me. I don't really want to get a Creative card after they treated that Daniel_K guy like crap, but the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude was another one I was looking at due to its EAX support. My third option (I guess), would be to go with one of HT | OMEGA's cards, such as the STRIKER, since they seem to have at least some EAX support (1 and 2, but not 3,4, and 5), are well-reviewed on Newegg, and are generally cheaper than the Essence STX and the X-Fi Prelude. I'm a total noob when it comes to sound cards, though, so any help here would be very much appreciated.
So, to sum up, I'm basically just trying to figure out what the best combination of A40 headset, MixAmp, and sound card would be in order to enjoy very good audio quality on both my PC and PS3, especially in games.