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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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  • Overview
  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

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

Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information
  • Warranty
  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year
  • Read full details
Anonymous
Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
Verified Owner
3/ 5
Shop around 7/11/2018 8:48:46 AM

Pros: We'll see

Cons: Manufacture website sells same product for $80.00 less!

Overall Review: Vendor doesn't respond to inquiry in a timely manner. Shipped standard usps. Shop around.

0 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Anonymous
Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
Verified Owner
5/ 5
Sounds good. 12/30/2015 2:56:22 PM

Pros: Good headphone output and RCA stereo. I don't have any need or desire for more than a good pair of stereo speakers/phones.

I stuck some active monitor speakers into the RCA and it's awesome and perfect for what I need.

Cons: It's a bit dated with the pci connection, but who cares - It plugged right into my new asus z97 board.

It might be overly loud in the high mids, or it might just be a truer reproduction than what I have had in the past. I write and record songs as a hobby and once I get some of that going I'll be able to tell between source and output to a high degree. I might play around with opamps, though i have no idea what they even are as of now.

Overall Review: I didn't want to spend money on a bunch of useless 7.1 nonsense (IMO). I wanted a good headphone amp and RCA outs with sound above the consumer level and that is exactly what I got. It makes the asus on-board junk sound like a cellphone in comparison.

Happy with this one.

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
Wonderful card, works great in Linux 3/26/2015 5:33:45 AM

Pros: Optical outs, linux support via snd_oxygen driver, pristine sound. Plug and play, even in linux.

Cons: No software control panel in linux

Overall Review: While in Linux one doesn't get the control panel or any other niceties, you don't really need them. Pulse Audio and your favorite mixer can do mostly the same.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
Pci board not hard to find 3/10/2015 3:57:11 PM

Pros: Easy to install, excellent sound, works with analog and digital connections. You are best using the optical connection to a receiver though

Cons: None

Overall Review: For those having trouble with finding a motherboard with a pci slot, might I suggest the gigabyte ud5h. I have this card installed in it and have no trouble what so ever running it while it sits next to a nvidia 980.

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
Verified Owner
2/ 5
Great card, terrible software. 4/26/2014 10:08:52 AM

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.

Overall Review: 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.

5 out of 16 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
Nice clean design 3/23/2014 1:44:54 PM

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!

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
HT Omega Claro Halo 3/15/2014 4:49:15 PM

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.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Anonymous
Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
Verified Owner
4/ 5
Looking into the future with yesterday's technology? 2/10/2014 10:03:32 PM

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.

Overall Review: 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.

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful. Did you?
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