E-MU 0404 First impression (Arcam CD73 vs E-MU 0404 USB)
Feb 22, 2008 at 9:17 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 25


Headphoneus Supremus
Jan 20, 2008
I have removed the piece of plastic rattling around inside the unit, and connected it to my computer, to my xcan and to my hd580s.

I have put on Farah - Dancing Girls. I am happy.

Feb 23, 2008 at 3:26 PM Post #6 of 25
Yes, my latest opinion is that my SA8001 beats the 0404 USB by a somewhat larger margin than when I first compared the two about 4 months ago.

That doesn't change my contention that the 0404 USB is the best value out there for someone who wants to investigate computer-based audio!
Feb 25, 2008 at 7:24 PM Post #9 of 25

Originally Posted by DefectiveAudioComponent /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I need an optical cable. Is there a limit to how long cable I can use? 3 meters? 1,5? Does it matter?

i wouldn't worry about length of the optical cable
Mar 14, 2008 at 9:39 AM Post #11 of 25
While I am still getting used to how the 0404 plays the music, I'd like to share my first impression.
The sound is rather dark, out of the XCAN.
The deep bass is only played when it is needed. This is a good thing with my HD580s, but it is also a terrific thing with my Infinity Alpha 50 loundspeakers. It is a huge contrast to the macbook pro headphone out that adds a bit of deep bass to everything.
Soundstage... I am not sure what everybody else talks about there, but the sounds seem to emerge from different places, if that's what meant by it. That can be compared to engaging the SRS iWoW sound enhancer in iTunes with it toatal collapse of the sound stage (every sound is played dead centre).
Mar 14, 2008 at 8:12 PM Post #12 of 25
I have now connected the Arcam to the 0404 with audio going through my Pioneer A449 (powered off) - XcanV3 - HD580.

I have started with Depeche Mode - Violator.
As I start the comparison I expect a dramatic difference. The 0404 is to some ears not even a decent dac, whereas the Arcam has received rave reviews (when new).

First impression: I can't hear any difference whatsoever through an A-B test.

The difference might be subtle. I have to bring a friend over to do a proper blind (deaf?) test, but I suspect I will be unable to hear any difference.


(Note: The connection from the Arcam is through one optical cable, thus the Arcam clock is used. The Arcam does not have optical in anyway.)
Mar 14, 2008 at 8:33 PM Post #14 of 25
Comparing the 0404 to the Apogee Mini DAC, I can't decipher any difference. If there is, it is subtle at best.

I would suspect that if a difference is detected it does not constitute one being better than the other but more so of which signature the listener prefers.

Although I must admit, I feel much more comfortable having a $1000 source rather than a $200 source when placebo comes into play.
Mar 14, 2008 at 8:46 PM Post #15 of 25

I can't hear any difference whatsoever through an A-B test.

Why am I not surprised.

Anyway, one thing you can do is try and focus on specific aspects of the music to tell the difference. Just listening to the track overall might not reveal subtle differences. Try and concentrate on specific frequencies, how wide it sounds, the details that are revealed such as subtle effects that have been added, are they louder on one vs the other? Listen to the vocals, how much presence does the voice have, how much decay and reverb do you observe after every word, listen to the instruments one by one, how clearly are you able to distinguish what they are playing?

Also, it would help if you listen to tracks that are considered reference material, you can look around the music sub forum to find suggestions for such tracks. These help you distinguish particular nuances better.

Hope this helps.

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