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HT Omega "Claro Halo" Headphone Only soundcard - Page 3

post #31 of 368
I hope somene can help me with this. I currently have a Sound Blaster Audigy 2. And really hate it.

My system consists of a Portal Audio Panache, Vienna Acoustic Bach, and Sennheiser HD600.

I was about to pull the trigger on the HT Omega Claro Plus+ a few weeks ago, but have been too busy to actually do it.

Now I see they have some new cards. If I am using just 2 channel, what card offers better musical sound quality? I dont care about driving my headphones, since my Panache does that spectacularly.

I am mainly wondering about the OPamp quality difference between the claro plus and Halo.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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post #32 of 368
I'm in the same boat. I currently have X-fi and want to upgrade to something that is awesome with headphones yet able to keep that nice gaming side going. I heard the X2D sonar is very good on both music and gaming. Any thoughts on how claro halo compares to the sonar?
post #33 of 368
Let me present a "logical" argument. Just remember that it doesn't have to be correct.

The HT Claro line is considered to be excellent. With the Claro Halo, instead of using one of the regular opamp outputs, they have specifically used a opamp designed to drive headphones. Basically you have a HT Claro card with a dedicated headphone amp.

Unless there is something seriously wrong with the Claro Halo, you have a card that is at least as good as the regular Claro. If you are primarily focused on the 2 channel headphone use, I'd get the Claro Halo. If you already have a headphone amp, I'd just get the regular Claro and feed it into the amp.
post #34 of 368
On paper, Claro Halo should at least as good, if not better than the X2D. They both uses the same C-Media chip, but Halo has two features that the X2D don't have, RCA output and changeable OPAMP. Additionally, Halo is cheaper than X2D.
post #35 of 368
sorry i haven't posted the rightmark test results yet, i don't have the wire to do a loopback for the test and i'm having trouble getting both cards in at the same time. but right now i'll post the halo test results even though they make no sense to me : ]. i ran the tests with these options: directsound, external loopback, speakers (Claro halo) at 24-bit. tested in 44.1kHz, 96kHz, and 192kHz.

note: Noise level and crosstalk are missing because they are seriously wrong because I am not setting up the test correctly

44 kHz
Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.01, -0.01 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 102.6 Excellent
THD, % 0.0007 Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -96.7 Excellent
IMD + Noise, % 0.0022 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0022 Excellent
General performance Excellent

96 kHz
Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.10, -0.09 Very good
Dynamic range, dB (A) 102.7 Excellent
THD, % 0.0020 Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -69.4Average
IMD + Noise, % 0.040 Good
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.032 Good
General performance Very good

192 kHz
Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.10, -0.09 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 102.6 Excellent
THD, % 0.0019 Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -85.6 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0034 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0075 Excellent
General performance Excellent
post #36 of 368
Those numbers look a bit strange to say the least.
You really need a cable...
post #37 of 368
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnieD View Post
OK I have had a chance to spend many hours with the Halo and just want to follow up with my findings.

I only have Sennheiser HD595's so all my listening has been done on those. Also I do not own any external Headphone Amps to compare; my reference point is my SB X-FI.

Simply put I have never heard sound this good from a PC. My HD595s hardly sound like the same headphones vs the X-FI. I always thought the 595s were a little thin in the bass department before I heard them on a true headphone amp. The 595s sound very full now in the lower end compared to before. The midrange is also much clearer. I hear things in recordings I didn't even know were there. The treble has also improved and I notice cymbals sound so natural you feel like you're in the room with them. Everthing about the sound is natural. Overal imo the 595s sound very balanced and neutral with the Halo.

I hope this info has provided useful to anyone interested in the HALO. If anyone has questions about the card, I will try my best to answer what I know.
as much as i appreciate your impressions, it, unfortunately doesn't tell me much. when i compared them, the X-Fi was greatly outclassed by the claro+ and had a LOT more volume than the X-Fi as well. what i'd like to see is a comparison between the claro halo and the claro+.
post #38 of 368
As I see from this link HT Omega
the Claro + uses the high end AD8620BR, for front channel, so, for purely speaker use the Claro+ should be better than any Omega card, even the new ones.
post #39 of 368
for whatever reason looping optical input and output causes distortion and clipping and the test results are all screwed up, so i'll stop being cheap and get the stupid analog cable lol.
post #40 of 368
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
for whatever reason looping optical input and output causes distortion and clipping and the test results are all screwed up, so i'll stop being cheap and get the stupid analog cable lol.
If possible, could you do the test with and without headphones connected? Many devices test well when unloaded, but change when loaded with headphones. A LOT of devices change when you use low impedance headphones. Your A8s are 19 ohms and if you RMAA the analog section with those connected that will give us a great idea of how good the headphone amp really is.

Thanks.
post #41 of 368
I listen to music at about 5% of total volume, and to do the test properly I have to do 95% of total volume which would probably damage the headphones. RMAA requires playback/recording volume adjustments so that the left and right channels are at -1dB. it's due either to HT Omega making their sound cards having extremely high volume at low volume setting or to RMAA always requiring such high volume (I think the first is most likely).

But if you think it's safe I'll do the test with my headphones after I test the cards with an analog loopback.
post #42 of 368
radioshack only has 1 male to male 3.5mm cable and it costs 14 bucks. you guys know if the rca cable that came with halo can be used to loopback? otherwise i'll order from newegg
post #43 of 368
I connected the RCA plugs with the RCA adapter into line-in and did a bunch of tests with MME and directsound which give pretty much identical results consistently except directsound has much better frequency response.

Also do you know if the RCA loopback is good enough or a male to male stereo cable would give more accurate results? I'll test out the claro+ in the same way later today. tell me if you think i should do some other tests because I will be giving the claro+ to my sister soon.

here's the MME test results (i was off from required -1dB by 0.2 dB on the right channel, i don't know how this affects score)

Testing device Wave mapper
Sampling mode 24-bit, 44 kHz
Interface MME
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.03, -0.04 Excellent
Noise level, dB (A) -96.2 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 96.5 Excellent
THD, % 0.0031 Very good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -86.1 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0062 Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -97.3 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.027 Good
General performance Excellent

Sampling mode 24-bit, 96 kHz
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.17, -0.18 Very good
Noise level, dB (A) -97.1 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 96.6 Excellent
THD, % 0.0043 Very good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -67.1 Average
IMD + Noise, % 0.035 Good
Stereo crosstalk, dB -96.6 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.069 Good
General performance Very good

Sampling mode 24-bit, 192 kHz
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.15, -0.20 Very good
Noise level, dB (A) -96.8 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 96.6 Excellent
THD, % 0.0041 Very good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -84.0 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0070 Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -92.1 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.043 Good
General performance Very good

edit: adding new numbers, i got a loopback cable finally i'll just show the 192, the new test results are pretty much the same except for worse crosstalk.

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.22, -0.20 Good
Noise level, dB (A) -95.6 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 95.5 Excellent
THD, % 0.0018 Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -83.2 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0059 Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -77.5 Very good
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.033 Good
General performance Very good

i've been trying to reproduce some of the old results but no luck and now a new problem has come up, the right channel is always 0.2 dB off from the left channel.
post #44 of 368
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
I listen to music at about 5% of total volume, and to do the test properly I have to do 95% of total volume which would probably damage the headphones. RMAA requires playback/recording volume adjustments so that the left and right channels are at -1dB. it's due either to HT Omega making their sound cards having extremely high volume at low volume setting or to RMAA always requiring such high volume (I think the first is most likely).

But if you think it's safe I'll do the test with my headphones after I test the cards with an analog loopback.
Have you increased the stereo line in volume? I'm a little surprised you need the headphone out all the way up at 95 percent. Even with my motherboards onboard sound (I just tested it) I only need to set both the stereo out and stereo in to 30 percent for RMAA to say the volume levels are good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Also do you know if the RCA loopback is good enough or a male to male stereo cable would give more accurate results? I'll test out the claro+ in the same way later today. tell me if you think i should do some other tests because I will be giving the claro+ to my sister soon.
Just to clarify, were you setting it to 95% on the RCA outs or the headphone out? Can you even set the RCA out volume?

Since we are looking for the performance of the headphone out, you should get a male to male and run it from the headphone out to the Line in. Then we can get a better idea of about the quality of the headphone out. I believe Target also sells a male to male for a cheaper price, but don't quote me on it.

I'm not sure if you should connect your headphones to the headphone out at 95% volume. If you can get RMAA to work at lower levels by increasing the volume of the line in, then it should be fine (but listen first to see how loud it is first.).
post #45 of 368
Just another thing. You may know this already.

To do an RMAA with a headphone attached, you will have to get a stereo Y cable that allows you to split the output of the headphone out on the sound card. The male part of the Y cable goes into the headphone out. Then the male to male cable goes into one of the female ends of the Y cable. The headphone goes into the other female end.
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