I've become excited because I went ahead and installed Arch on my desktop again (last time hardware support was sketchy a few years ago) and I've been able to get everything working, including SPDIF passthrough (still ironing out the specifics).

Anyhow, I was wondering what audio backend you use and your reasons for it. I currently have gstreamer installed, however if xine or others have any benefit I would like to know.

I have an Auzentech Prelude X-Fi. I have a Denon receiver (DTS and AC3 capable) connected to full 5.1 surround system (not HTIB), so I like to make the best of it. For nights/gaming I use my headphones (Sennheiser HD-555) connected via analog 3.5mm to the front channel on the Prelude X-Fi.

My setup is as follows:
5.1 for video and flash video during the day
headphones for music and gaming, flash video at night.
Amarok for music and VLC (still searching for alternatives) for video

I will probably set up hotkeys for disabling 5.1 and/or switching to Front as preferred input (or if anyone has suggestions I'm certainly open to ideas).

Also if anyone has any good documentation on setting up SPDIF passthrough for DTS and AC3 without any conversion that would be great.

Thanks in advance.