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E-MU 0202 USB audio interface review

pic pic

Features 9/10

The only thing that's really missing is phantom power. Besides that you get quite a lot. Here's a brief list of features:

  • One mic/line/hi-z combo preamp with gain control, signal/clip indicators
  • One line/hi-z combo preamp with gain control, signal/clip indicators
  • Stereo line level output
  • Direct Monitor with volume control
  • Headphone output with volume control
  • Ground lift switches for avoiding ground loop problems
  • USB powered

Sound quality 9/10

This interface plays very nicely and it's difficult to pick on its sound quality apart from the preamps which to me sound fine but also pretty sterile and lifeless. It plays music precisly in higher registers, lows are quite fine, middle frequencies seem to be less detailed.


Lowest round trip latency is 10.4ms at ASIO buffer size of 88 samples, which isn't bad at all. Increasing sample rate all the way up reduces the latency further to approx. 9.4ms. It takes audio 5.8ms to go through 0202 USB with the direct monitor switch turned on.

0202 USB drivers deliver great performance even at the lowest latency, depending however on USB controller. It was impossible to work with Transcend PDU3 USB 3.0 (PCI-E USB controller), but it worked nicely with Intel H61 chipset USB controller.

Latency results were worse on a MacBook - 12.4ms at the lowest possible CoreAudio buffer of 14 samples.

Ease of use 8/10

It's so simple to use that I would give it a 10, but unfortunately 0202 cannot playback WDM and ASIO streams at the same time. So, for instance, you can't play your guitar with Reaper while listening to music coming from Winamp or watching a movie on the internet. So any chance of jamming with some tracks is that these tracks are also in your DAW. ASIO settings come down to choosing latency and bit depth.

Direct Monitor offers digital volume control, but it's a bit quiet even at the loudest setting and may cause inconvenience.

Price 10/10

Fairly priced, it costs less than 100 euro new. It lacks the phantom power, but offers exceptional sound quality, many features and stable drivers.


pic Sound quality
pic Price
pic Features
pic Size


pic Simultaneous playback of WDM and ASIO is impossible
pic Preamps sound fine but you won't be thrilled by their sound

E-MU 0202 USB on http://www.creative.com/emu/

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Technical specification


  • Sample Rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz from internal crystal (no sample rate conversion)*
  • Bit Depth: 24-bit I/O, 32-bit processing
  • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed:
    • Full 24-bit resolution at all sample rates
    • Stereo in, stereo out at all sample rates
  • Zero-latency direct hardware monitoring (disabled at 176.4-192kHz)
  • Windows drivers: ASIO2 and WDM
  • Macintosh driver: Apple CoreAudio
  • Anti-Pop speaker protection minimizes noise during power on/off
  • Ultra-low jitter clock subsystem: < 100ps RMS

Combo Preamplifiers (2)

  • Type:
    • (1) Ultra-low noise combo preamplifier with Mic/Hi-Z/line inputs
    • (1) Combo preamplifier with Hi-Z/line balanced input
  • A/D converter: AK5385
  • Max Level: +6.5dBV bal/unbal (+8.7 dBu)
  • Frequency Response (min gain, 20Hz-20kHz): +0.0/-0.07dB
  • Dynamic Range (A-weighted, 1kHz, min gain): 113dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-weighted, min gain): 113dB
  • THD+N (1kHz at - 1dBFS, min gain): -103dB (.0007%)
  • Ultra-low noise preamplifier (Mic/Hi-Z/line inputs):
    • Input Impedance: 1.5Kohm
    • EIN (20Hz-20kHz, 150ohm, unweighted): -127dBu

Combo preamplifier with Hi-Z/line balanced input

  • Input Impedance: 1Mohm

Analog Line Outputs (2)

  • Type: Unbalanced, AC-coupled, 2-pole low-pass differential filter
  • D/A converter: CS4392
  • Max Level: 6.7 dBV (unbalanced)
  • Frequency Response (20Hz - 20kHz): 0.00/-0.01dB
  • Dynamic Range (1kHz, A-weighted): 111dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-weighted): 112dB
  • THD+N (1kHz at -1dBFS): -98dB (.0013%)
  • Stereo Crosstalk (1kHz at -1dBFS): <-120dB

Headphone Amplifier

  • Type: Class-A power amplifier
  • D/A converter: CS4392 (shared with Line Out)
  • Gain Range: 60dB
  • Maximum Output Power: 16mW
  • Output Impedance: 22ohms
  • Frequency Response (20Hz-20kHz): +0.02/-0.08dB
  • Dynamic Range (A-weighted): 110dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-weighted): 108dB
  • THD+N (1kHz, max gain): 300ohm load: -98dB (.0013%)
  • Stereo Crosstalk (1kHz at -1dBFS, 300 ohm load): <-91dB


  • Internal crystal sync at 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz

* Macintosh analog operation up to 96kHz only at this time.

Retail Box Contents

  • E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 AudioPod
  • USB cable (2 meters)
  • Quick Start installation guide
  • E-MU Software/Manual CD-ROM (Windows/Macintosh)
    • Windows XP and x64 Drivers
    • Macintosh OS X Drivers
    • Owner's Manual and Tutorials
  • Acoustica MixCraft LE CD-ROM (Windows)

Minimum System Requirements


  • Intel® or AMD® processor - 1.2 GHz or faster
  • Intel, AMD or 100% compatible motherboard & chipset
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP (SP 2 or greater) or Windows XP x64
  • 1 available (Hi-speed) USB 2.0 port**
  • 256MB System RAM
  • 950MB of free hard disk space for full installation
  • CD-ROM/CD-RW or DVD-ROM drive required for software installation
  • XVGA Video (1024 X 768)


  • Apple® Macintosh® 800 MHz G4-compatible or Intel-based processor
  • Apple Macintosh OS X (10.4.3 or greater)
  • 1 available (Hi-speed) USB 2.0 port**
  • 512MB System RAM
  • 500MB of free hard disk space for full installation
  • CD-ROM/CD-RW or DVD-ROM drive required for software installation
  • XVGA Video (1024 X 768)

** When connecting the 0202 USB to a USB 1.1 port on a Windows PC, performance will be limited to 16-bit and 44.1/48kHz recording and playback. Macintosh support limited to USB 2.0 ports only.

Source - E-MU 0202 USB product page on www.creative.com/emu

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