So I'm pretty much down to HT Omega Claro or the X-Fi Titanium (are both of these overkill for the z5500s?). I hear that the ht is better for movies and music, but the titanium is better for gaming. Is this true? I like to game, but I also want the best quality possible for hd movies. Or maybe the xonar line? I just can't decide lol.
Both cards are good, you just need to figure out what is your priority. I do care more about how my music and video sound quality than my games.
Base on my experience, I found that C-media chip sounds warmer than Soundblaster or Realtek Chip, I don't know if others notice though.
Although X-Fi design is better than old SB Audigy, I don't know how much closer to E-Mu the sound quality is? the AES technology from creative designed for games is nice but when playing games I don't know how much advantage you get to your goal, another is what Creative called crystalizer to enhance music pleasure is a bonus.
Between the two I'd go for C-Media, also easier to connect or find the connectors if you want to use more than 5.1 system.