and a big thanx to "cruiseoveride," whose comment nudged me in the right direction. I dumped my "X-FI," (it was one of those dodgy re-branded Audigy's anyhow. Creative are Creeps for that move. NO MORE card from them) and went with a new Xonar DX.
I love it . Sounds better in Windows 7 (beta drivers work AOK) and via VLC, I can access some really nice sound enhancements to movies and music.
Blissed Geek in Audio paradise, signing out. :-)