On the machine with the EWS64, which is a two-channel card, the "Wave Play #1" device is not "emulated", but the "Wave Play #2" is. On the VMware machine, the AudioPCI device is not "emulated". What's the meaning of that emulation anyway? I didn't find a reference in the manual.
To answer the DirectSound question: At first I thought it would, but testing on the VMware machine (the EWS64 one is at our college radio station's studio, and I'm at home right now), Windows Media Player gives error 80040256 when trying to open a file.
I've found a knowledge base article at Microsoft referencing this error. It says, if everything else looks ok (as it does - Windows start sound and system sounds - probably played through waveOut - play without problems!), one should try to put down hardware acceleration. I've tried that, but it didn't work, as the slider was back at 100% each time I went back to control panel.
So finally, I ran dxDiag. On the "Sound" page, having set hardware acceleration to 1/4 or above, I get error 0x88780032. With hardware acceleration turned off, DirectSound works fine.
This is what dxDiag reports about my sound card:
Description: Creative Sound Blaster AudioPCI
Default Sound Playback: Yes
Default Voice Playback: No
Hardware ID: PCI\VEN_1274&DEV_1371&SUBSYS_13711274&REV_02\BUS_00&DEV_12&FUNC_00
Manufacturer ID: 1
Product ID: 100
Driver Name: sbpci.sys
Driver Version: 5.12.0001.4046 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
Date and Size: 12/1/2000 14:15:32, 437390 bytes
Other Files: sbpci.sys
Driver Provider: Creative Technology Ltd.
HW Accel Level: Full
Cap Flags: 0x0
Min/Max Sample Rate: 0, 0
Static/Strm HW Mix Bufs: 0, 0
Static/Strm HW 3D Bufs: 0, 0
HW Memory: 0
Voice Management: No
EAX(tm) 2.0 Listen/Src: No, No
I3DL2(tm) Listen/Src: No, No
Sensaura(tm) ZoomFX(tm): No
Sound Test Result: Not run
Looks like it's a driver problem and not closely related to BASS. I must admit that the VMware virtual machine is not the best platform to test on, so I will investigate further on the other machines.