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Item#: N82E16829271004

HT | OMEGA Claro Halo 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card w/ a built-in HI-FI Headphone Amplifier

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  • 24-bit 192KHz
  • PCI Interface
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You love listening to your sound on headphones, and you've got some good high-impedance units to listen with. But most computer sound boards are low-impedance outputs, aren't they?

HT Omega has created a sound board that lets you set the output impedance via jumpers all the way up to 600 ohms. Of course, that wouldn't do you much good if the sound didn't match it. How does 24 bit sound and 192 kHz sample rate sound to you? (Let's put it this way: CDs are 16 bit audio at about 44 kHz sample rate.) It also functions as a MIDI controller to your MIDI setup. Optical SPDIF input and optical SPDIF output, as well as regular Line In, Microphone In, and CD/Auxiliary In, with standard RCA connectors for output to an amplifier or receiver.

As always, look around and decide for yourself, but if you'll pardon the pun, it sounds pretty good to me.

  • newegg Dolby Digital Live The on-board Dolby Digital Live real-time content encoder generates a Dolby Digital bit stream (48kHz at 640Kbps) from any PC sound source to unleash the full surround sound potential of your home theater system. Simply connect your PC to a Dolby Digital enabled AV receiver or devices via a single cable connection and start enjoying thrilling surround sound from 3D games, DVDs, music and more.
  • newegg Dolby Headphone technology Dolby Headphone technology creates a realistic 5.1-channel surround sound from any set of headphones to bring more excitement and realism to all programs. Dolby Headphone technology also relives listener fatigue that comes with extended headphone playback by providing a spacious, natural soundfield.
  • newegg DTS Interactive DTS Interactive encodes any digital sound source into DTS Digital Surround for transport and playback through any DTS-enabled system via a signal cable connection, such as powered PC speakers, an A/V receiver or any other DTS- compatible surround decoder sound system, eliminating the hassle of multiple cables and ensuring audio signal integrity.
  • newegg Built-In Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier The HT OMEGA Claro Halo boasts a built-in 120dB headphone amplifier IC from TI to achieve the best possible listening quality with your stereo headphone.

Learn more about the HT Omega Claro Halo

Model

Brand
HT | OMEGA
Model
Claro Halo

Audio core

Audio Chipset
C-Media CMI8788
Sample Rate
192KHz
Digital Audio
24-bit

Ports

Line In
Yes
SPDIF In
High Grade Special Optical (An optional Cable (CA-1) is needed)
SPDIF Out
High Grade Special Optical (An optional Cable (CA-1) is needed)
MIC In
Yes
MIDI/Joystick
Yes
CD/Aux In
Yes

Spec

Interface
PCI
Operating Systems Supported
Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, and Windows7

Features

Features
C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788 Audio Processor
TPA6120A2 - Built in 120dB Headphone AMP IC from TI supports up to 600ohm headphone
Jumper switch to select different impedance level of headphone
24-bit/192kHz AK5385BVF ADC for line input
24-bit/192kHz AK5385BVF ADC for line input
Integrated up to 192k/24-bit S/PDIF high grade special Optical output (up to 5.1ch output)
Integrated up to 192k/24-bit S/PDIF high grade special Optical receiver
Supports onboard Coaxial or CD Digital input connector (An optional Cable (CA-1) is needed for Coaxial input connection)
Supports onboard 2pin digital output connector (An optional Cable (CA-1) is needed for Coaxial output connection)
Toshin Kogyo audio capacitor
Panasonic - Metalized Film Capacitor
Sanyo - mass storage Capacitor
Swappable OPAMP socket
Advanced Front Panel Audio support
XT (optional) connector

CLARO halo is designed to deliver the best audio quality for headphone users including high impedance headphone owners. This performance is carried out through a built-in high fidelity headphone amplifier IC. Additionally, Claro halo can deliver its incredible audio to your existing receiver/amplifier through its high class RCA connectors. Upgrade your PC to a powerful and high quality audio center which can never be matched by onboard or other inferior sound cards!

Quick Info

Warranty

  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year


Customer Reviews of the HT Omega Claro Halo

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  • N/A
  • 4/26/2014 10:08:52 AM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsGreat card, terrible software.

Pros: This card with a decent pair of cans is like ear s*x. I use AudioTechnica ATH-M50s and it's epic. The card gives your computer an audio makeover! however....

Cons: ...The supporting software is terrible, The UI is complicated and its difficult to guess which settings are right for you're setup because well,, it doesn't tell you (the instructions are ok, but while changing settings there are no indications as to what is happening). Most importantly, either the software or the card itself refuses to encode any subwoofer audio. I know my sub works, but something about the digital (optical) signal sends no sub channel, so my monitors are left high and dry. With both music and movies and on all audio settings (that I could figure out, again the software is lacking hardocre) while running audio to my receiver I have never had the sub produce any bass whatsoever. Either I'm doing something wrong (software!!!!) or something is wrong with the card. Also I've had the card for about four months now, never once has the downloaded software prompted me for an update, so I question the amount of effort this company puts into staying up on recent technologies, and improving the customer experience. Its as if their business model is set and forget. They release the product with a quickly assembled software package and forget about it forever.

Other Thoughts: Seriously, the software. Ive heard this card do its thing (mostly, remember no sub) and its an awesome piece of hardware, if they would just give some effort for the customers experience with operating it properly this would be an easy slam dunk five stars. I would have given three eggs, but for the price and with the seemingly total lack of product support or software updates i'm tempted to give just one egg, but its too good of a card for that so two it is.

1 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • ideadude
  • 3/23/2014 1:44:54 PM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsNice clean design

Pros: Great upgrade for my HTPC. On board 24-bit/192kHz DAC. Using the RCA out with Kimber Silver AG interconnects and the sound-stage now for CD, streaming music on line, and streaming TV/Movies, DVD, BRay movies are so dynamic!!
Can hear things that I could not hear before in the audio tracks.
cant wait to try the 192k/24-bit S/PDIF high grade special Optical output with glass fiber interconnect.

Better than Asus Xonar ST hi quality card from before.

Cons: HT | Omega needs to develop a card that used HDMI audio!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • P51
  • 3/15/2014 4:49:15 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsHT Omega Claro Halo

Pros: This card was extremely easy to install and the software went off without a hitch provided you install the latest drivers. I wish I had installed this card long ago. With the addition of Swan M50w speakers and Audio technical ATH A700 headphones the sound is nearly perfect.

Cons: None at all.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Saber
  • 2/10/2014 10:03:32 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsLooking into the future with yesterday's technology?

Pros: * On-board 600ohm headphone amp
* Front-panel header

Cons: * PCI connection only
* Rear-panel outputs aren't LED-coded (Personal preference)
* Analog output is limited to 2-channels without the optional daughter-card.

Other Thoughts: The Claro Halo was purchased to replace an Asus Xonar D2X that had several capacitor legs dry out and give way. While both cards are based on C-media chipsets - and thus have very similar performance - I feel that the Claro Halo is better-suited for those looking to use their computer for individual entertainment use and not as part of a home theater PC (HTPC) system. While it supports 7.1 channel output through optical, it does not support any surround-sound setup 'out-of-the-box'. The Xonar D2X had support for 7.1 analog output as well as optical in/out all on the back card.

That brings us back to the differentiating, and defining, feature of the Claro Halo, the headphone amp. Good for up to 600-ohms of impedance, the Claro Halo allows users to plug in audiophile-grade headphones without requiring an external amp (some users will want to use an amp of their choice). As I have not used external amps, I can not attest to the the relative performance of the amp, but am stating that it is a strong feature for those looking to primarily use headphones. To further emphasize the single-user focus of the Claro Halo, this card has an on-board header for front-panel connectivity - a feature sorely lacking on other cards of similar performance. This makes it very easy for people looking to use headsets to utilize the card's dedicated hardware without having to route cables around from the back of the computer.

As the Claro Halo uses a C-Media chip, the drivers and interface for the card are very similar to what other cards will have. The same options are available but presented in a different manner. Those looking for a stylized presentation such as the Xonar experience will need to look elsewhere as the control panel is packaged in a very traditional window-with-tabs layout. That said, there's no difference between the two as far as feature-set.

The biggest drawback to this card is the fact that it utilizes the PCI connection. While many off-the-shelf computers may include PCI slots, the interface itself is now qualified for induction into the Smithsonian and a relatively poor choice for product longevity, though I suppose they could release a PCI-Express version later.

In addition, the card does not focus on analog output and will require the purchase of the optional XT board to allow connectivity to an analog surround-sound system. Again, if you're not looking to use such a system, you'll be fine with the main board alone. However, if you want the full analog out package, I suggest you look at the Claro Halo XT package or look at a different card with full analog out support.

On a personal taste, I miss the LED-lighting of the outputs that the ASUS Xonar D2X had.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • opaljoe
  • 2/1/2014 11:56:15 PM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsnice for awhile

Pros: Nice for awhile, when we had a motherboard that it fit on.

Cons: Motherboard was older and had a pci slot. But when the motherboard died we couldn't use this in any other computer we have. 5 computers all atx motherboards and not one them has a pci slot. Old tech, now useless.

0 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • N/A
  • 12/31/2013 12:18:23 AM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsBest card on the market for headphones

Pros: This card really seems like it was designed from the ground up for top quality music output. The build-in headphone amp is an added bonus if you are using *real* headphones (not earbuds). I am just running the output to a small amplifier which powers a set of bookshelf speakers. This setup functions not only as the computer speakers, but they music system for the room.

Cons: Not PCI express, but regular PCI has more than enough bandwidth for audio

Other Thoughts: This card is marketed towards music listeners, not gamers. (Although it works just fine for games too) If you just want a card that adds cheesy sound processing and has LED lights and pictures of monsters all over it, there are cheaper options.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • RI
  • 11/14/2013 7:33:26 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: less than 1 day
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsSuperb sounding card

Pros: Clean and crisp throughout the whole spectrum. Still sounds great even when cranked at a very high volume. Lows are nice and tight. Everything installed with no issues. Major upgrade from onboard sound.

Cons: Can't think of any so far.

Other Thoughts: I have this card connected to my powered Event Studio Precision 8 studio monitors and all my recordings sound incredible. I just slightly boosted the lows and highs, but it is close to the flat setting. I love it, just hope it doesn't die on me. I've been wanting this card for a long time. The price dropped 45.00 so I jumped on it . I have the Sennheiser HD280 phones that do not sound great to me, but they sound better with this card. My speakers sound much better than the phones.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Snuff Daddy
  • 10/11/2013 5:35:01 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsLasted 23 months

Pros: Great sound, swappable opamps.

Advantages over the Asus Xonar Essence ST:
* no extra power connector required
* has dedicated optical port (no adapter required)
* DTS encoding sounds better than Dolby Digital Live

Cons: Died after 23 months of admittedly heavy use.

Other Thoughts: The Asus does have a longer warranty, but Asus is such a shady company, they would not honor it. Instead they sent me 2 replacement cards, both of which had the same defect. They refused to refund it.

Get the extended warranty. And pray.

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • SW
  • 6/12/2013 7:28:17 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsSuperb Card - Musical

Pros: All positve - very positive - imaging - frequency response across the entire spectrum, revealing etc. - after about 1/2 hr of break-in: NO veils - NO digital hash, none , plays loud as I can stand it and holds together - fantastic and satisfying at normal and low levels too - - I'm an audiophile, is it the best stereo I've ever heard, fraid not - - but I'm comparing an upwards of 25K reference system to what a computer can provide - I'm not a gammer so can't testify to that aspect - if you're into good recordings, good music, buy it - - it's the best preamp card I've EVER owned and I've got a heap of MAudio stuff, I also have and am still using in another computer one of the high end Xonars, those aren't junk either - all I can say about this card is that I love music through it.

Cons: No actual Cons - I'm into simple, true stereo playback - 2.1, not surround, so I can't tell you about surround performance. The interface was not a problem for this particular build - I get it that people want a an express interface - with the large graphics card I'm running, the PCI interface was actually a bonus for me, perfect location in the case.

Other Thoughts: Don't know if it's necessary - regardless, before I installed the card I shut off "audio' in the bios (P8Z77-V) and unistalled the Realtek drivers , this was one of the final touches for this build, was running Realtek onboard out of the box - anyway, I downloaded the latest drivers from Omega's site to a thumb drive, installed the card, installed the drivers (drivers want to "see" the card before they'll install) - not a single hitch - I couldn't be happier - amazing, unhi-fi, pure music presentation - just love this card.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • N/A
  • 5/11/2013 4:02:39 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggs1 Star for PCI interface instead of PCI-E

Pros: The best rated sound card on Newegg and it's amazing sound quality in both music and games.

Cons: It's PCI interface is the reason I'm not purchasing it.

Other Thoughts: Stop making high end products on a dying interface.

10 out of 109 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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Item#: N82E16829271004
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