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Newbie question: Upgrade from Asus Xonar DX to HT | Omega Claro Halo or Xonar Essence ST/STX?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Which one to upgrade?

What I currently use is:
Headphone: Beyerdynamics DT-770 Pro-80
External headphone amp: O2 Desktop Amp
Sound Card: Asus Xonar DX
Home Theatre 5.1 System: Denon AVR 1712, Pioneer BS41, C21, BS21, SVS PC12-NSD

What I do is:
On Headphone: 85% PC music, 15% PC games
On Home Theatre 5.1 System: 75% movies from WDTV Live, 15% PC games, 10% music from either PC or from WDTV Live

What I want is:
A.) Sound card with better internal DAC
B.) The GUI software that comes with the soundcard which has equalization, bass reflex, dolby headphone, virtual 5.1
C.) Optical Out to dedicated amp/receiver for games (and music.)
D.) Stock Opamps.

What I know is:
HT | Omega Claro Halo and Xonar Essence ST/STX are very similar but what is the difference that gives one card an advantage over the other in terms of what I do as mentioned above.

I have no issues with what I have now. Recently though I had audio problems where the right channel did not function correctly but it was fixed by updating drivers. Other than that, my DX is doing fine for me. But I want to know how large (or small) the improved noticeable difference is to justify the cost. I would upgrade if there is a day and night noticeable difference with what I currently have.

Which is a better product that I can discern a noticeable sound difference between the HT | Omega Claro Halo or Xonar Essence ST/STX and whether the Halo or ST produces the most improvements SQ-wise according to what I do as described above.
Edited by Stealth3si - 10/30/12 at 2:58pm
post #2 of 9
Giving you a free bump because I want someone to weigh in on the asus vs ht omega cards debate going on in my head. :S
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post #3 of 9
Re-bump. Wow none of the hifi dudes want to weigh in on this? frown.gif
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post #4 of 9
Sorry to have missed this.

SCREW ON BOARD DACS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You already have a dedicated amp right? So get a dedicated DAC. Schiit just come out with the modi which is a USB powered dac for 100 bucks.

And to be honest, I would sell your O2 and your sound card to try and get a nice tube or hybrid headphone amp off of ebay. You will have a much better listening experience with a tube amp than a run of the mill O2
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post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

Sorry to have missed this.
SCREW ON BOARD DACS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You already have a dedicated amp right? So get a dedicated DAC. Schiit just come out with the modi which is a USB powered dac for 100 bucks.
And to be honest, I would sell your O2 and your sound card to try and get a nice tube or hybrid headphone amp off of ebay. You will have a much better listening experience with a tube amp than a run of the mill O2

the o2 is a very good amp and more than enough for his dt770

on the sound card upgrade, the cmi8788 on the ht omega claro is the same dac on the d1/dx/stx/st. 'av100' and 'av200' are just rebranded cmi8788.
most of the value in buying an st/x or claro is that you get a soundcard without having to buy a amplifier, which you already have. its more of a sidegrade than a upgrade
and im not sure on the claro, but you have to double amp on the st/x in order to use your gaming features (dolby headphone). its lame as hell to have to switch between line out and headphone out when you got an external amp

youre much better off just getting a new pair of headphones
post #6 of 9
Get a good quality DAC. ST/STX only good if you don't have an amp.
In your case, you do.
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by e6800xe View Post

the o2 is a very good amp and more than enough for his dt770
on the sound card upgrade, the cmi8788 on the ht omega claro is the same dac on the d1/dx/stx/st. 'av100' and 'av200' are just rebranded cmi8788.
most of the value in buying an st/x or claro is that you get a soundcard without having to buy a amplifier, which you already have. its more of a sidegrade than a upgrade
and im not sure on the claro, but you have to double amp on the st/x in order to use your gaming features (dolby headphone). its lame as hell to have to switch between line out and headphone out when you got an external amp
youre much better off just getting a new pair of headphones

The O2 is good, but getting a tube amp would do a lot to make the sound a bit warmer and natural. You still have a sharpness that is noticeable with the O2 that is just territorial with solid state amps. It was just a suggestion, not a necessity.
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post #8 of 9
Short of DIY, tubeamps are useless unless you're dropping major change on them...in which case the DT770s are not going to benefit greatly from a tube amp.
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

Short of DIY, tubeamps are useless unless you're dropping major change on them...in which case the DT770s are not going to benefit greatly from a tube amp.

That is what ebay is for wink.gif

as for the DT770s not benefiting from them, I will semi take you word on that. I just went to a local head fi meet and tested out the DT880s on a basic O2 amp (when I say basic, I mean that it is the amp alone and not the dac/amp combo). Then I took it straight out and put it into a schiit Valhalla and it warmed up a lot. Now obviously the DT 770s and the 880s are two different headphones entirely, but I am not so sure it would be so different that it wouldn't get any benefit at all.
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