First off, I bought a "BayOne Extreme".
On paper, it looks really cool. I bought my case before the front-panel audio and front-panel USB stuff really took off, so those are some features I've always wanted. The last time I ordered something, I got 2-day air, and it took 7 days. So this time I said "screw it" and decided to go with ground delivery this time.
It took 2 days for the part to get here. Weird.
Anyhow, I tear it apart and try to install everything... but there's a snag. My motherboards USB pinouts don't match the pinouts on the BayOne, so I had to rearrange the wires to match. No big deal. Boot up, and the USB works.
Okay, next step: installing the front-panel audio connector. Well, the documentation is a little shady, but I eventually figure out what the pinouts are and match them up on my motherboard, plug everything in, boot up...
and there's no sound.
Okay, so I figured something like this would happen. The FPA connector is on the motherboard, and I figured it would only work if I use the motherboards audio. So, I figured, if this was the case, I'm sure the sound card I have must also have some pinouts for this stuff too; I saw a hell of a lot of pins on it, so some of them must be for an FPA connector.
It turns out, Creative Labs doesn't like playing along with standard connectors, and instead have opted to make their soundcards only work with their "Live Drive" (which is cool, but fucking expensive!), and they use digital signals on the pins, so you can't connect a simple analog FPA connector to it. Damnit.
So now I have this cool audio thing but I can't connect it to my sound card. I can't believe Creative Labs doesn't sell a simple front-panel audio converter, or even a simple "Live Drive Value" or something like that. It seems like there would be a great market for that kind of stuff. I'd buy one.
Anyways, I found a few Live Drive's on ebay, hopefully I'll win one for a decent price, and my quest for being able to connect my headphones to my computer will be complete! Huzzah!
(Currently, the only creative card that supports this out of the box is the $200 Audigy ZS. For the ability to plug in my headphones to the front of the case. Ridiculous.)
Newegg has it for $177. (171+shipping).
Cheaper than $200... But I still can't justify spending that kind of money just to be able to use headphones. Seriously.
Does anyone else find it funny how supposedly "inferior" products (like onboard audio) are typically more user-friendly than "high tech" products (unless you opt for the uber-high-end $200+ versions)? There's definitely something wrong here.