The card is better than I expected, it has all the features of the Xonar Essence + 7.1 analog output which IMO is very handy. Basically for ~$90 more you get a pair of PC350's that I really like and 7.1 analog output. playing BFBC2 on the PC with the PC350's beat the crap out of the 360 sound even with the same headset and it's even better using the 7.1 analog vs the HDMI on the 360 the sound is way more detailed and more immersive.
I'm thinking the Essence just has warmer acoustics that don't work well for gaming. I didn't think much about that 'wood' acoustical damper that sits on the Essence versus the metallic one that sits on the Xense...but now I'm wondering if there really is something to it...I'm gonna have to Goggle that one a bit ;-)