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Looking for a new sound card...

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by Xero717, May 24, 2012.

  1. Xero717

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    Currently I'm using the onboard audio on a Maximus V Gene which is just a realtek chipset with creative software used to make it sound better.

    I'm looking for something that will make my current solution sound like a cheap pair of 10 dollar skullcandy ear buds. My budget is $250 USD or under.

    I was looking at offerings from both ASUS and HT|Omega and the HT|Omega seem to have less issues with drivers, but they are still there.

    Keep in mind though that the headphone output will need to have a decently high SNR as that's what I'll always be using, no speakers.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Kalevalen

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    I would go with ether HT OMEGA Claro Halo (non XT) or Asus Xonar Essence STX both have great built-in headphone amps, both are in your price range. If i had a choice id get the HT as i don't like Asus drivers
     
  3. Xero717

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    I saw the connector on the HT|Omega Claro Halo is PCI. Would this cut down my PCIe 3.0 x16 on the first slot to x8? The Maximus V Gene doesn't have a PCIe PLX chip to increase the lanes, and from what I've been able to gather IVB only has 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Even with the PCI-e x1 version, that'd take away quite a bit of the lanes wouldn't it? I know there's not much diference between current gen graphics cards ran at PCIe 3.0 x8 and x16. But I'd rather stay at x16 if possible, even if only for that 1.5%.
     
  4. Kalevalen

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    Looking at your board you would use the small black PCI-e that is rated at 4x and would not limit your 16x lanes but if your running two gpus your speed would be PCIe 2.0 x16 = PCIe 3.0 x8
    Since HT omega does not have a PCIe card with a built in headphone amp your limited to Asus
     
    Xero717 says thanks.
  5. Xero717

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    Did a little more research and it looks like the HT|Omega Claro Halo and the Asus Xonar Essence STX use the same C-Media CMI8788 chipset, just the Asus one is rebranded as the ASUS AV100. I guess the Asus is the only way to go for me. I hope i can disable that DirectSound3D GX 2.5 stuff, cause it looks like it causes a lot of problems in games.
     
  6. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    http://www.htomega.com/eclaro.html

     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  7. Xero717

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    I saw that one too, but it doesn't have the TI TPA6120A2 headphone amp like the Claro Halo and Xonar Essence STX, but I'm not entirely sure how needed that is.
     
  8. Kalevalen

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    Headphone output by buffer circuit, boo
     
  9. Kalevalen

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    The eClaro says it supports up to 600 ohms. FYI if you download the drivers from cmedia and set output to ASIO then you don't have to change the sample rate, saves me a lot of time.
     
  10. Jetster

    Jetster

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    For $250 you could buy a Receiver with HDMI and use your 680
     
  11. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    what kind of headphones do you have?
     
  12. LAN_deRf_HA

    LAN_deRf_HA

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    That's not a terrible idea since by not going with creative you're giving up on offloaded open al sound anyways, and the receiver could drive some nice speakers down the line. I'd look for a Denon. Their cheaper stuff has better SQ than most, in particular the headphone amp, and you can get audyssey MultEQ. Look for the AVR-1612. Fits your price range.
     
  13. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    he said he doesn't have speakers.
     
  14. LAN_deRf_HA

    LAN_deRf_HA

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    They're not a requirement for that option.
     
  15. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    headphone support is a low priority on receivers. a discrete or integrated DAC/headphone amp is going to be better.
     
  16. Kalevalen

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    SOtM dX-USB-HD DAC + SOtM tX-USBexp is a my choice
     
  17. Xero717

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  18. techguy31

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    If only you were looking for a HT Claro Plus :(.
     
  19. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    ?
     
  20. Xero717

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    Right now I'm using a pair of Sennheiser OCX 880's. They're not anything special and the inline volume adjuster definitely limits the volume, even when twisted to max. I'm actually looking at getting a new pair of in ears because my cat chewed through my Sony EX 1000 wires.... someone was very close to seeing another ebaum world's free cat sign on Interstate 81 that day...
     
  21. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    I thought you were looking for a desktop solution? why are you using IEM?
     
  22. Xero717

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    I prefer them, they're more comfortable and I can wear them for long durations. I've been using in ears for at least 5 years.
     
  23. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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