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E-MU 0204 USB 2.0
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Average Customer Review:
( 29 customer reviews )
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8 of 9 found the following review helpful:
Amateur radio SDR inputJan 04, 2012
By Amazon Customer
I recently purchased this item as part of a SDR (software defined radio) installation in my ham shack. I have just started completing the installation of this and two other components. The only thing I have noticed so far is when the pc is restarted the Emu-0204 creates a huge buzz in my speaker system which I have to unplug the USB cable from the Emu-0204 and re-seat to stop. I have been listening to some music through the system and am very impressed with the sound quality vs on-board sound card.
The product, from my point of view, is as advertised and I would recommend this anyone else needing the high quality and sampling rate (192khz).
James Douglass ACØE
Garden City, Kansas
17 of 22 found the following review helpful:
Creative messed this one up: Defective Firmware and Drivers. See comment sectionSep 15, 2011
Original title: Not the bargain it looks to be, unless you think BSOD is fun
No digital ins/outs.
Outputs are unbalanced TS jacks, even though internally there is the circuitry for balanced outs. WTF?
The inputs are not a matched pair and produce slightly out-of-sync, out-of-phase low-end compared to prior Emu interfaces.
Headphone jack may be Class A circuitry, but is somewhat limited voltage (i.e. volume, common with Class A) and is inherently loaded to 22 ohms, which means your headphones need to be over 176 ohms to be driven well (22 ohms X 8 for proper electrical-mechanical damping). I'm still finding it sufficiently low to drive the 100 ohm ER4S pretty well. The 22 ohms is probably a necessity for the circuit design so that the headphone jack can perform as a line out nearly as well as the rear outs do. But this means it's really not suitable for headphones under 100 ohms, as they will come off sounding thinner, edgier, and not particularly dynamic as they should. The Fiio E7 does a much better job with those types of headphones. To be fair to Emu/Creative, the Fiio E7's headphone amp doesn't sound nearly as open or tuneful as the 0204's jack with the ER4S. Oddly, though I can't explain why, the Fiio's line-in actually sounds better to me run from the Emu headphone jack.
The big hang-up here is the ASIO playback in 24-bit has drop-outs, tics, and glitches in the included Mixcraft 4 LE and Winamp with the ASIO plug-in. What exactly is the point of ASIO if you must put the latency at max, and even then there are occasional problems? Bit-perfect is great, but a digital audio signal is not actually bit-perfect if there are split-second drop-outs... by definition.
How many people would buy this expecting ASIO perfection? And inferior recording performance over older models? And no digital or MIDI ins & outs?
Yes, the DAC does sound very nice on it, but it's based on prior Emu designs that did not have these problems. It just doesn't make sense to me.
By the way, I'm using Windows 7 64bit, not this Mac Lion OS people are complaining about. You have my condolences on your purchase. Emu's assimilation into Creative is complete, I guess. Based on my experience with the 1212m, I was very hopeful. The 0204 works "well enough" in non-ASIO modes, the DAC is excellent, the headphone jack does sound good with the right headphones, but it's otherwise a very sad state for the Emu line.
Perhaps if you have a very fast computer or one with no other processes running in the background you won't have problems? I guess that's not me, but my computer specifications are much higher than the minimum hardware on the box. Recommended only for hifi use with reservations, but for pro and live use the 0204 is not up to snuff with these drivers.
Edit: Creative did help me improve the 0204's ASIO performance slightly by suggesting I put it on a USB port that does not share IRQs with anything else and to also turn off all legacy USB 1 slots in Device Manager. I have one port on my laptop on the left side that allows that. The port on the right shares the DVD and the hard drives with it, so that's out of the question. I also increased RAM to 4GB and swapped my Celeron 900 CPU for a Core2Duo. The biggest improvement I got, though, was a random discovery of having the battery disconnected. Yes, you have to be AC-powered (obviously) to do this, but it drastically improved DPC latency. Still, you can't do ANYTHING else if you want it to be glitch free. You might even want to turn off your WIFI reception (that little key on my keyboard) to improve it even more. No internet. No outside applications. So it's still not quite ready for live use, but it's getting a little better at least for 20ms latency settings. I have no problems with 4 other interfaces, though, at 5-10ms latency. So it's clearly a driver issue.
And I misspoke previously, Kernel and WASAPI theoretically provide identical performance in both bit-perfect-ness, latency, and asynchronous anti-jitter characteristics compared to ASIO. It's just that ASIO has the widest support with pro apps and is usually the most stable. I don't see a whole lot of stability difference between the three on applications that support them.
Edit again: Turn off all visual themes, desktop composition, and app 2D resizing for whatever program you're using with ASIO in Windows 7. You may want to create a new Windows user profile from scratch and set the entire OS for performance. These have been the biggest stability improvements yet. I still am stuck using a rather laggy 30ms latency and making sure everything I'm using is streaming from the internal hybrid hard drive (rather than an external USB one), but it's becoming useable within limitations. Apparently the newer Emu drivers (unlike the old 1212m ones) are a sort of "wrapper", not a true ASIO driver. That might explain some of these issues that I didn't have with other ASIO on the same laptop... and the reason the 0204 often doesn't seem to be using exclusive mode. Also, don't expect it to play well with other sound cards.
5 of 6 found the following review helpful:
What you get depends on what your expecations areJun 25, 2011
By Stephen Lerch
In my case, the use for this particular device is as a relatively cheap DAC for audio fed from my PC using USB 2.0 to my home receiver. I am not using it for recording anything, though everything I read on-line tells me this is a great device for such a use at this price.
I purchased this to be my headphone amp and more importantly, my DAC for audio from my PC. For both applications from a Windows 7 Pro 64 bit I couldn't be happier!
First, the manual. It's utilitarian but gets the job done. They also do a decent job of making you aware that you need to leave the device unplugged for up to 30 seconds when you unplug it from your PC, or you run the risk of it having to run in USB 1.0 mode which is far from ideal. It walks you through setup and installation in fairly short order. Make sure you install the drivers before plugging the device in.
Configuration, once it is installed is fairly simple and straight forward. You open the E-MU USB Audio Application using the icon on your desktop (assuming you put one on the desktop). It will detect your device and when it does you just have to choose the sampling rate you want sent to your external device. Very simple.
It also uses asynchronous USB for timing. This is unusual in a device this inexpensive and actually gives you a more accurate upsampling then a straight synchronous USB connection. Given the price, most people did NOT expect asynchronous capability from this little box as it is usually reserved for DACs 3x or more expensive.
So... will this make your music sound amazing? It depends. If the DAC on your other device (home theater receiver, etc) is better, then no. But what most receivers don't do is up sample. Couple this upsampling AND what is regarded as a high quality DAC, and what you send to your receiver will be exactly what you have coming from your PC. Upsampling a 44.1 CD to 192 KHz will just guarantee that you are hearing everything in the original recording and not really do much to make it richer. The DAC can have this ability but again, only if it is better than the DAC on your normal device. And in my case, it definitely is.
What about the headphone amp capability? In a word, amazing. The sound from J River Media Player with straight headphones is darn good for sure. Add on an efficient headphone amp and your music will be make music that much richer.
If you can use the device on your system (I believe the Mac drivers are available from E-Mu's site now), at $150 or so, it is definitely worth it. Even as just a headphone amp you may find value in it.
4 of 4 found the following review helpful:
WorksApr 09, 2013
I am using this for ameature radio SDR with KX3. it seems to work fine and has a low noise floor.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Great for SDR useMay 27, 2013
By Robert Begg
Chose this product due to the sampling rate of 192khz for SDR use. It works very well for this use.
Also wanted an external sound card so fits this as well.
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