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HT Omega > 
Item#: N82E16829271005

HT | OMEGA Claro Halo XT PCI Interface Sound Card w/ a built-in HI-FI Headphone Amplifier

  • 24-bit 192KHz
  • PCI Interface
  • Up to 7.1ch analog outputs
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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? Encoding of Dolby Digital Live, DTS Interactive and others takes a load off your cpu. 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 Dolby Pro Logic IIx Dolby Pro Logic IIx transforms any native stereo source or 5.1-channel signal into a 6.1- or 7.1- channel output, revealing the hidden magic in your existing entertainment collection.
  • 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 XT boasts a built-in 120dB headphone amplifier IC from TI to achieve the best possible listening quality with your stereo headphone.
  • newegg Bundled XT Card Connect the bundled XT card to your Claro Halo XT via XT connector, so you get additional audio ports to support up to 7.1-channel speaker systems.

Learn more about the HT Omega Claro Halo XT

Model

Brand
HT | OMEGA
Model
Claro Halo XT

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
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.
High Quality RCA connectors for each analog outputs.
24-bit/192kHz AK4396VF (120dB-part spec.) DAC
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)
Standard 10pin Front Panel Audio supports: connectivity for stereo audio output and a microphone input from PC case

Toshin Kogyo audio capacitor
Panasonic - Metalized Film Capacitor
Sanyo - mass storage Capacitor
Swappable OPAMP socket for Front Channel
Advanced Front Panel Audio support
XT connector: Claro halo XT is a bundled Claro halo with an addition of "XT card". The XT card extends the analog outputs to 7.1 ch. Connect the XT card to this connector.

CLARO halo XT 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 XT can deliver its incredible audio to your existing receiver/amplifier through its high class RCA connectors up to 7.1ch. 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 XT

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  • Matthew T.
  • 3/18/2014 9:14:54 PM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggssuch nice sound

Pros: The quality of the audio output from this card blows the doors off of the Realtek onboard sound chips appearing on so many motherboards nowadays. Paired this card with a Sennheiser 150 Ohm headset and I'm in heaven. When gaming I can hear even the smallest nuances around my character in clear detail, it's incredible!

The driver install provides an app that has more DSP, mixer and configuration options than I will ever use.

Cons: None.

Other Thoughts: This is a PCI card, so be sure you have a PCI (not a PCI-E) slot available.

The capacitors are rather tall and can possibly make contact with a card installed below it, especially if the card below it has chips on its backside.

Be sure to properly set the jumpers for the impedance level of your headset. Anything over 35 Ohms and HT Omega says to set the jumpers to "High".

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

  • Craig K.
  • 3/16/2014 7:36:46 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsWhat an amazing card!!!

Pros: I have owned one of these Claro Halo XTs for some time now. I bought my first one just because I needed a sound card in one of my older computers that had an onboard broken 1/8 jack. This sound card is unbelievable, the sound really is just a little bit shy of amazing. The second one I just purchased for my ASUS x79 Black which IMO has an overrated onboard sound card. This required me to use a PCIe to PCI Bridge.

Cons: My only complaint is this higher end Claro does not have a natively supported PCIe verison. They do make the “eClaro” but it is no Claro Halo XT in quality or function. To fix this PCI issue you must use a PCIE bridge device, most of these devices however use a PLX 8112 which to the best of my knowledge it is not compatible with the Claro Halo XT. The only PCIe to PCI Bridge that I have found that works perfectly uses a Genesys Logic GL9701 bridge chip.

Other Thoughts: Lastly these cards can be upgraded with a wide variety of op-amps, the best one I have found is the famous Texas Instruments OPA627SM but when using these you will need some type of TO-99 to dual DIP8 above board. Also be aware there are many fake, counterfeit, or blown op-amps on the market. Good rule of thumb is if it price sounds too good to be true it probably is. There really are only two authorized dealers of the OPA627SM to the general public and they are not cheap.

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  • Richard R.
  • 1/29/2014 10:05:16 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsBest sound quality for PC directly to analog speakers. Better off with cheaper options for anything else.

Pros: Best sound quality over analog speakers and headphones. Customer service was great.

Cons: Old PCI architecture which is being phased out. Makes it not future proof. PCI Express native architecture would be preferable.

Expensive for how old the chipset is. Remember your paying for the o-amps and capacitors not the technology. You can get a card with same feature set otherwise (besides o-amps for analog speaker output) for under $20 if not already on your motherboard.

Drivers don't downmix multichannel sound automatically. You need to manually reselect the number of channels when switching between sources.

No live monitoring of what's being recorded. There is a noticeable delay even with the fastest AISO 1ms settings. This is true of virtually all newer soundcards on windows Vista and later. For live recording monitoring without lag you need to use either an older operating system and soundcard (I use windows xp plus a 10+ year old soundblaster live 24 bit) or on newer setups use an external mixer for direct monitoring before it goes through the computer.

Other Thoughts: If you don't mind spending a premium for the best sound quality output directly from your PC to analog speakers, then this is a solid choice. Expensive considering it's lack of flexibility/features and ancient architecture, but there just isn't much else available in this category. The PC sound card market has been stagnant for some time now.

For any uses otherwise (besides pc to analog speakers) there are much cheaper options available. For instance, the ASUS Xonar DG has all the same features (based off same chipset in fact) sans o-amps for the speaker outputs for under $20. It even has a headphone amp. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132020 Be aware though that you need to install 3rd party drivers/utilities to get the most out of the Xonar card.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Jordan A.
  • 7/30/2013 5:57:38 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: less than 1 day
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsWOW.

Pros: Listening to audio is definitely different. Music and speech feel more lifelike, more vivid and full than listening through onboard audio.

Cons: ...The quality of the audio is so high that I can actually hear things I... don't really want to hear.

For instance, while listening to an audio demo by Dolby, I can actually hear the sound of a woman's mouth opening and closing as she speaks (it sounds like she has a dry mouth, or really thick saliva haha).

Eerie, but it's what I paid for!

Other Thoughts: This pairs magnificently well with V-Moda M-100 headphones.

BTW, why would you spend the same amount of money on the version of this card that doesn't come with the XT daughtercard? They're both $200 on Newegg.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Nhia V.
  • 6/21/2013 8:51:25 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsGreat

Pros: Great sounds very clear and great quality.

Cons: My old Logitech speakers won't really plug in without going through a lot of hassles. other than that I was going to upgrade anyways to a 7.2 home theater set up along with karaoke system.

Other Thoughts: they should of sold the midi extension here, but it's okay because i already bought one somewhere anyways. other than that they were right HT Omega claro Halo does sound great. I'm using a bose pair of speakers and it already sounds great.

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  • Jason C.
  • 5/28/2013 10:10:03 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsHeadphone output won't downmix automatically

Pros: Sound quality, built-in headphone amplifier

Cons: Driver functionality, front-panel headphone jack will mute back-panel outputs, but it won't downmix to 2 channels, so all you hear on movie soundtracks are the left/right music and effects. Dialog is absent, because it's not taking the center channel and downmixing to the 2-channel headphone output. The only way to get downmixing to work is to open the configuration application, set your output to "headphone" or 2-channel. Then when you want to listen to the back-panel 7.1 channel outputs, you have to go back into the configuration application and reset the output to 6 or 8-channel output.

Other Thoughts: I would have thought since the front-panel audio headphone jack is detected, and mutes the back-panel outputs, that it would automatically switch to 2-channel mode, but it doesn't. You have to do it manually in the configuration application, which doesn't work well for an HTPC.

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Lowell P.
  • 3/7/2013 2:52:22 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsWonderful Card

Pros: Excellent overall quality
Clearly made by people who understand true audio quality, geared for stereo
No frills and no flashy nonsense
interchangeable amps (Havent tried yet but I love the option)

Cons: Price for some but its worth the money if you have a system to match it
Software is a bit dusty but not worth taking an egg at all

Other Thoughts: This wont make your little logitech speakers or your turtlebeaches sound good, this is for high quality receivers and amplifiers. I currently have 2 Polk Rti A7s and a Polk DSW Pro 660wi running through a Yamaha R-S700 receiver and the sound quality is like no other, absolutely incredible. If you want high fidelity quality from your computer this is the way to go. Its like ive never listened to music before this.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Patrick B.
  • 10/30/2012 3:53:35 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsUpdate continued

Pros: As it pertains to sound quality; everything

Cons: Add in card for the other 5 channels does not have nuts to secure jacks like the left and right channel on the main card; be careful.

Other Thoughts: I have owned this card for over a year now and I have acquired better equipment such as an Onkyo 5009 receiver, Polk RTi A9 fronts, CSi A6 center, Infinity Entra Bass, Oppo 95 disc player. My original equipment was good, this is better. I have run comparisons between the sound card and the oppo 95. The oppo's analog with SACD is great but you cant play SACD on a computer. Blue Ray DTS HD and Dolby HD are incredible on the Oppo. Mp3 through the sound card is superior to the Oppo. Blue ray sound through the sound card is extremely good but the Oppo has an edge. In the final analysis, a 250 dollar runs head to head with a 1000 dollar disc player! In the case of CD and Mp3, the sound card is superior! One must understand that different platforms have their own strengths as weaknesses. If you have to pick, I'd go with the sound card as it offers more versatility and better value for what it does. The card does a very good job with every format have tried so far. In the last week I added Windows 8. The card seems to like that OS better than Win7. I am trying to not like Windows 8 but I simply cant. I am dual booting between 7 and 8 and there is a difference. HT Omega's customer service is second to none. I had the drivers before I had the OS; Jason is knowledgeable and very quick to respond.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Patrick B.
  • 10/5/2012 6:05:04 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsMore than a year later

Pros: I've had this card for more than a year, I have replaced my AVR (Onkyo 708) with an Onkyo 5009. I purchased Polk RTi A9 fronts with a CSi A6 center and an Infinity Entra Sub. I aslo now have an Oppo 95 (up from a Samsung C6500 BDP)). The Bose 701's are now being used as rears. This sound card seems to have improved as I upgrade. Guess where the bottle necks were. This and Windows Media Center do as good a job with downloaded CD's or MP3's (256Kbs) as does the Oppo 95 or the 5009. Blu Ray audio such as DTS Master or Dolby HD do sound better on the Oppo 95 than the Halo card, however, the sound is very decent.

Cons: There is nothing bad about this card

Other Thoughts: A diamond can only shine as brightly as the light its reflecting. Don't judge this card based on the sound it produces on a lesser quality system.

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

  • Kathy F.
  • 9/18/2012 9:13:34 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsFinally, a card that just works

Pros: Backstory:
For many years I was a user and consumer of Creative Audio Products, then finally one day I just said enough, - I basically gave up on consumer pc audio and was about to move to a professional RayDAT when I saw this product and decided to give it a shot.

Unboxing/Install: Out of the box you are greeted with simple packaging and the card with its expansion in sealed anti static plastic. From there you open it and install it into the PCI slot,the expansion plugs into the bottom of the card with a cable. Then once that happens you get to open the manual and be greeted for once with instructions that make sense. For the drivers you have to navigate to there site as the disk drivers provided are out of date, no problem as the card is clearly listed and the package downloads and installs with out incident on windows 7 X64.

Cons: 1. Out Of Date Drivers on Disk
2. While I don't mind PCI- some new motherboards are starting to phase it out completely, be sure to check you have a slot for the card and a room for the expansion in your case

Other Thoughts: Some have complained about this device being PCI- If your not processing banks of 7.1 for studio use the card system will provide plenty of signal processing for analog or digital for your receiver or general use music processing deck.

If you are wanting direct drive this card can do that but remember is not a receiver don't plan on direct driving anything more than a really nice pair of 5.1 headphones or 2 channel desk speakers.

For my setup this card feeds digital output to a Onkyo receiver that powers 5.1,
Use is for gaming and general AV stuff

This card is one of last cards of its class before you start getting into items like RayDAT and HDSPe for any one not wanting to drop $1000 and cant stand Creative any longer HT Omega is the way to go.

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