I guess it was too long to read . But I did figure something out.
The problem wasn't that I was splitting the output of the front, it was that I set the speaker config to 2 speakers. On the way home from work yesterday i goofed with it and put it back to 4 speakers, and POW! back to life.
I guess that 4/4.1 moe enables the CMSS or something. I hate that I have to rely on the all this pre-processing.
I'm gonna give Turtle Beach Roadie a whirl and see if it has better results.
Let me know what you guys think.