Now this is fun.
I connected the front-panel audio port cable to the motherboard. I went into the BIOS and enabled "OnChip Audio Controller". I installed the drivers from the mobo utility disk. I went into Device Mgr. and enabled both the RealTek Audio and the SoundBlaster Audigy devices. In the Control Panel's Sound & Audio Device Properties, I UNchecked "use only default devices", which got the rear audio ports working with my speakers again.
So what's the problem? I try to use headphones with the front audio port and the only sound that comes out is the test sound from the RealTek Audio Manager.
(mobo is abit AN52, um, what else should I note?)
Have I gotten mushy in the head? What else should I try? I feel like I'm missing something... At this point, is this a hardware or a software issue?
...treading water in the deep end....