Hissing Sound with 0404 USB and T-Amp
Mar 12, 2008 at 4:52 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11


New Head-Fier
Mar 7, 2007
Hi Everyone,

I think this is similar to the other thread about hissing but different device. Also, I tried a couple different sources as well.

This was my setup - desktop->trends ta-10->insignia bookshelf. I just bought a 0404 usb to place between desktop ->trends.

Now, whenever I turn the volume up (varying whats maxed and not) I get an ever-present hissing sound. This happens on MP3s, high-res FLAC, and even on CDs (Coldplay-Parachutes/Radiohead Kid-A).

Does anyone know how to fix this? Is it that there isn't enough power going in/out my amp and its hissing because I am turning it up? Or is it the cable (I am using a generic 1/8th to RCA)? I never had this problem before the 0404 usb. Thanks.
Mar 12, 2008 at 7:34 AM Post #3 of 11
Sorry I should have been more clear. Right now, I am using a generic 1/8th mini-to-RCA cable going out of the 0404 USB's rear output (I believe it is the line out) into the RCA inputs of the Trends Ta-10.1.

Its the same cable I used from my on board Realtek HD main output mini jack to the Trends before the 0404 USB.

Not sure where I got the cable from, just found it lying around the house. Probably a Big-Box/Radio shack since I've had it for a while.
Mar 12, 2008 at 2:08 PM Post #5 of 11
I get hissing when I use interconnects that aren't well shielded. Blue Jeans Cables offers excellent cables (with great shielding) at very low prices. I've been extremely satisfied with every purchase I've made from them. Perhaps more importantly, I've always experienced vanishingly low noise floors when using their cables.

Sometimes a mediocre source can contribute to noise, too. But you may not have that problem.
Mar 12, 2008 at 3:27 PM Post #6 of 11
First, the Main Output level control on the top of 0404 USB should be turned all the way up to the +0dB mark. That puts the output from the 0404 USB at 2.0 Vrms for a 0 dBFS digital signal, the de facto standard for consumer audio, same as you would get out of a typical CD player's RCA outputs.

Every device has a noise floor, and if you don't max out the level from the 0404 USB, you would be amplifying the 0404 USB's noise floor along with the music more than necessary with the Trends.

Secondly, if you plug headphones into the 0404 USB's front panel headphone jack, and turn up the volume all the way with nothing playing, do you hear the hissing?

Thirdly, what player software are you using, and how is it configured to drive the 0404 USB?
Mar 12, 2008 at 6:34 PM Post #7 of 11
I have everything turned up except for the Trends. I am using Foobar and have this issue with DS, ASIO, and KS. I haven't tried the headphone out yet (have to go purchase a 1/4th-1/8th adapter), but will later today.

So Balisarda you are saying that, were I to order the BJC cable this could potentially remove my issues? I'm curious as to why I wouldn't have experienced this beforehand with the same cable?
Mar 12, 2008 at 10:13 PM Post #8 of 11
It seems unlikely the problem is the cable if you were using the same cable from the computer and didn't have hissing. Unless it's picking up noise from the different location. But that seems unlikely. In my experience, hiss is usually caused by an impedance mismatch. Cable shielding problems result in other kinds of noise. Is it hiss (like air pressure sounding noise) or a hum? If you're getting a hum that varies with volume level, you may have a ground loop. Do you have a three prong plug on the power supply of the trends? Trying to help diagnose a problem over the internet is difficult, but more information might help us come up with ideas. You should not be getting any such noise.

By the way, I have a pair of those speakers, and don't like them at all. I hope yours sound better than mine do.
Mar 14, 2008 at 4:41 AM Post #9 of 11
It's probably the combination of several of different factors. A cable upgrade couldn't hurt at this point; I've had stock cables cause hum due to poor shielding/construction before.

Quick question... Is all of your equipment plugged into the same wall outlet / circuit?
Mar 14, 2008 at 9:07 PM Post #10 of 11
Is it a constant hiss or does it scale with the volume of the Trends? I think you should try adjusting the volume from each of the 3 different points in the audio chain while keeping the others maxed to figure out which component contributes the most to the noise. It's probably the 0404 since you didn't have the hiss before. You might have to replace/repair whatever piece is causing the problem. I would hold off on a cable upgrade until you figure out the cause.
Mar 25, 2008 at 12:12 AM Post #11 of 11
Hey thanks for all the responses and sorry for the late reply, I was out of town on work stuff. Heres what I've tested.

1) I've tested plugged into 3 different outlets
2) Tried both line out to amp/speakers and headphone out to headphones. both have the issue, which eliminates the amp/speakers as the issue
3) Tried different USB port and USB cable (highly doubt it would make a difference, but wanted to be thorough)

I think something must be wrong with the 0404, I've contacted emu and they sent me a generic response saying use Vista drivers (which I already was doing). Looks like I'll be returning it.

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