Creative patches up EAX acceleration in Vista
Microsoft decided to partially turn its back on hardware audio acceleration in Windows Vista by making it impossible for DirectSound applications to access audio drivers or hardware directly. The move is part of a new audio architecture intended to improve the operating system's stability (among other things), but it's somewhat of a problem for Creative, since the company has been touting 3D audio acceleration as a key feature of its sound cards for years now. Games that rely on the OpenAL application programming interface (API) for hardware 3D sound work fine in Vista, but those that use DirectSound3D with EAX have no acceleration.
To remedy this situation, Creative has released a beta version of its ALchemy software. The ALchemy Project essentially translates DirectSound API calls into OpenAL calls, enabling acceleration in games that aren't supported out of the box. However, the software only supports Creative' X-Fi series cards, so Audigy users will either have to deal with software audio or upgrade. And being in beta, ALchemy only supports "a relatively small number of PC games" at the moment.