it's probably not the chain. i have never liked the way SRAM cassettes feel with regard to shifting. not sure exactly what it is that makes them feel "less smooth" than shimano, but they do. we use SRAM chains almost exclusively on 9 speed-equipped bikes, and will probably use their 10 speed chains in favor of the shimano 10 speed chains when they come out.
SRAM PC89, hollow pin, hollow link. cleanest shifting chain i have ever used. though i would recommend using a shimano cassette. i was amazed at the difference between the shifting with a pc59 chain, running on a mid-range sram cassette versus the PC89 paired with an XT cassette on my MTB. the PC970 chain will also shift swimmingly.