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Creative's E-MU 0404: Pro Sound Quality on the Cheap

Test Configuration And Audio Measurements

Our test configuration remains identical. On the other hand, we should stress the fact that the possibilities of an application like PatchMix have nothing in common with the Windows Playback Control or even those that ship with mass-market sound cards. Depending on how you use it, you can improve or worsen the results you get depending on how well you adapt to operating conditions and the signals being processed.

We used two modes for our benchmarks: CD (16 bits/44.1 kHz) and 24 bits/48 kHz. The 0404 can only operate at 96 kHz in ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) mode, and the test software we used won't handle that mode. But don't worry; performance (aside from bandwidth, obviously) is on the same order when going from 48 to 96 kHz !

Components
ProcessorPentium 4 2.4 GHz
Memory1 GB DDR
Graphics CardNVIDIA geForce Ti 4200
Hard Drive80 GB 7200
Optical ReaderDVD LG16/48X
DirectX Version9.0
Sound System
SpeakersCreative Gigaworks S750, Logitech Z2200
VideoPowerDVD, WindDVD
Measurements
Right Audio MarkAnalyser 5.3, Right Mark3Dsound 1.01
Audio Winbench 99
DAAS measurement system
Audio measurement system Neutrik 3337

Unlike E-MU's other cards, the 0404 is only intended to operate to consumer standards, with a nominal value of -10 dBV (approximately 0.315 V). Saturation, on input as well as output, comes in at a little above 6 dBV, or 2 V. These are common values for consumer equipment and thus should pose no problems for the majority of users. Some special or professional equipment might, however, saturate the input, and there's nothing that can be done about it. The output level should be enough to "attack" all normal equipment.

Input and Output
Normal level-10 dBV
Maximum output level2.08V/+6.3 dBV
Input saturation2.13V/+6.5 dBV