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emu 0404 vs 1212m impressions

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
These cards have different sonic signatures besides qualitative differences. Is the 1212m worth the extra $ over the 0404? I don't know about this. The 0404 didn't get clobbered or anything. It would come down to a matter of system synergy and preferences.

The amp I use for this review is Ray Samuels Stealth. Headphones used are Koss Porta Pro, Sony V6, and Grado SR60 (with HP2 drivers). I also have 9 power conditioners which makes a difference as I will note later. I know the headphone selection is not matching well but I don't have any good "normal" headphones since I only use K1000.

1212m is a more refined sounding card compared to 0404. It has more detail all around but is most evident in the treble. Minor differences show up easily in my system. I don't think the difference in detail would show as easily in a system without power conditioning.

0404 is a more agressive sounding card compared to 1212m. It has more powerful attack and dynamics. This is most evident in the bass. I think this agressiveness makes the sound more sharp and thus instrument separation seems to be greater.

Without an amp, I find the 0404 more enjoyable.

With an amp, it's really a tossup because it depends on your amp if it can bring out the details of 1212m or the more "powerful" sound of the 0404.

I personally prefer the 0404. The next question is will modding the 0404 close the detail gap compared to stock 1212m. I would hope so and we'll find out. I will change the capacitors now.

Update:
modded 0404 vs. stock 1212m

The modded 0404's digital out is better than stock 1212m. This would be my recommendation for good digital out card modded or not.

How does this translate to the analog outs? The 1212m is still a bit more detailed but the 0404's smoother now. I feel that more detail isn't necessarily better unless it's refined so my preference is still with the 0404.
post #2 of 61
nice read....

so you think 1212m is worth the money??
post #3 of 61
Great post that I am always looking for.
Now, I am anxious waiting for my 0404 coming tomorrow
post #4 of 61
Thread Starter 
Either is worth the $. As for 1212m over 0404, if you're about detail, the 1212m is worth it but you should really have matching gear to really make out the differences.

New capacitors are in on the 0404. There's some improvement. I'll save impressions of this until 100+ hours.
post #5 of 61
Seems to me that the sound signature differences would be due to the different DAC chips used, the extra detail of the 1212M to it's increased power filtering. Good to hear the 0404 compares well with the 1212M. Finally there is a worthwhile step for folks between the AV710 and 1212M!
post #6 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer
Finally there is a worthwhile step for folks between the AV710 and 1212M!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lan
I personally prefer the 0404.
Doesn't sound like it's much of a downgrade, dude...
post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReDVsion
Doesn't sound like it's much of a downgrade, dude...
Well, I meant pricewise, there was no better bang for you buck than those two, now there is a new entrant into the arena. Now the question of which a person will prefer is different...
post #8 of 61
This is the second review of the 0404 that had a hard time stating the 1212m was much better. This is good news indeed! Who knew quality audio would have become so affordable. My only regret is having jumped on the RME bandwagon at the start of the year... now there's nowhere to sell it to recoop the costs.

Thanks lan.
post #9 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Distroyed
My only regret is having jumped on the RME bandwagon at the start of the year... now there's nowhere to sell it to recoop the costs.
Ebay

Well I still have my RME for a few reasons. It doesn't resample in WaveOut and DirectSound and supports 96khz in those modes. So I use it for movies and editing audio in non ASIO apps.

In a detail sense the 1212m is better and to some people that is better.
post #10 of 61
May I ask why don't you use K1000 to do the test?
It seems the headphones listed are not able to show the whole picture.
post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Distroyed
My only regret is having jumped on the RME bandwagon at the start of the year... now there's nowhere to sell it to recoop the costs.
cheer up man -i'll probably be moaning like you in a few months time about how i jumped on the E-MU bandwagon.

post #12 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LKK
May I ask why don't you use K1000 to do the test?
It seems the headphones listed are not able to show the whole picture.
There are various reasons. Since this a source test, I rather have less things in the audio chain. I use monoblocks with my K1000s and that's another amp, cables, etc. in the chain. I have 2 computers on and turning on monoblocks will make things hot. Having those 2 systems and airconditioning on is kind of too loud for K1000. So going straight from the source to headphone yields the purest signal. But this may not work for all headphone / soundcard combos so an amp is recommended.

I believe you can tell differences in sources with any headphone.
post #13 of 61
Have you finished modding the thing and comparing it again with the 1212m? I'm really very torn between getting an 0404 or an ESI Juli@ as my interface of choice. I understand the the 0404 drivers are rather fussy (some session thing whenever you change sampling rate?), while the ESI drivers are stable but rather minimalist.
post #14 of 61
How different are the optical outs of the 0404 and the 1212m?

In other words, if they're going to be used to feed an external DAC, how different would the sound be? Would it be worth spending the extra $ on the 1212m if its DAC is going to be bypassed?
post #15 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Distroyed
This is the second review of the 0404 that had a hard time stating the 1212m was much better. This is good news indeed! Who knew quality audio would have become so affordable. My only regret is having jumped on the RME bandwagon at the start of the year... now there's nowhere to sell it to recoop the costs.

Thanks lan.
Sorry to chime in, but I just laughed... you look far to much into what other people say about their new equipment vs. their old equipment. Unless you're unhappy with what you have (which on several forums are considered good) why let other people hype their new product up ? Hyping is genetic - some people need to air out sometime (psst.. HDSP9696 you know you want it.. and A900 and DT531 and CD3000 they all present a fuller bass and blacker background + depth)
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