iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 Audio Interface

E-MU announced the 0202 USB 2.0 Audio Interface back in 2006. It's a portable device for PC and Mac, offering 24-bit 192 kHz recording and playback, direct monitoring, and a host of professional features in a compact USB-powered enclosure.

The device is equipped with two Class-A preamplifiers for guitars, synthesizers, microphones, with individual ground lift switches for optimal audio performance. At the same time, E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 does not support phantom power supply.

The device comes with E-MU Production Tools Software Bundle for PC and Mac.

Technical characteristics of the E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 Audio Interface:

  • 24 bit 192 kHz ADC and DAC (112 dB SNR)
  • E-MU Class-A ultra-low noise Mic/Line/Hi-Z preamplifiers (-127 dB EIN) with extra 60 dB amplification
  • E-MU Class-A ultra-low noise Line/Hi-Z preamplifiers (-127 dB EIN) with extra 60 dB amplification
  • Ground lift switches for high quality/flexibility
  • Hardware zero-latency direct monitoring (mono/stereo)
  • Plug-and-play operation with hands-on control of all major functions
  • USB bus-powered
  • Cross-platform (support for Mac OS X and Windows XP/x64) and compatibility with most popular audio/sequencer applications (ASIO2, WDM, MME, Apple Core Audio, and Core MIDI, AC3, and DTS Passthru)
  • Production Tools software contains the E-MU Proteus VX audio module, as well as various programs from Cakewalk, Steinberg, Ableton, IK Multimedia, etc.

All controls are located on the front panel. Input gain controls have signal level and clip indicators. Direct Monitor level control with a Mono-Stereo switch. Headphone jack with a volume control, which also turns the device on or off.

The E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 receives its power from the USB bus only. This connector is located on the rear panel. There is also a switching panel here. There are ground lift switches located on the bottom of the unit.

The device uses the CS4392 DAC and the AKM AK5385 ADC. The same DAC is used in the E-MU 1820 and the E-MU 1616. The same ADC is used in the E-MU 0404 usb.

RMAA Measurements

Device: ASIO E-MU 0202 | USB

Input channels: 2
Output channels: 2
Input latency: 2138
Output latency: 2714
Min buffer size: 384
Max buffer size: 96000
Preferred buffer size: 1920
Granularity: 192
ASIOOutputReady - supported

Sample rate:
8000 Hz - not supported
11025 Hz - not supported
16000 Hz - not supported
22050 Hz - not supported
32000 Hz - not supported
44100 Hz - supported
48000 Hz - supported
88200 Hz - supported
96000 Hz - supported
176400 Hz - supported
192000 Hz - supported

Input channels:
channel: 0 (Analog IN A) - Int32LSB
channel: 1 (Analog IN B) - Int32LSB

Output channels:
channel: 0 (Analog OUT) - Int32LSB
channel: 1 (Analog OUT) - Int32LSB

RMAA diagnostics show that the device supports frequencies from 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz. ASIO applications will see two input/output channels associated with physical digital and analog inputs/outputs.

Analog Output

24 bit 44.1 kHz

E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 -> E-MU 1616m.

Frequency response (from 20 Hz to 20 kHz), dB
+0.02, -0.23
Very good
Noise level, dB (A)
Dynamic range, dB (A)
THD, %
Harmonic distortion + noise, dB(A)
Intermodulation distortion + noise, %
Channel crosstalk, dB
IMD at 10 kHz, %
General performance  

General performance: Excellent (details).

Analog Input

24 bit 44.1 kHz

E-MU 1616m -> E-MU 0202 USB 2.0.

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB
+0.02, -0.08
Noise level, dB (A)
Dynamic range, dB (A)
THD, %
Harmonic distortion + noise, dB(A)
Intermodulation distortion + noise, %
Channel crosstalk, dB
IMD at 10 kHz, %
General performance  

General performance: Excellent (details).

The control panel is implemented as a single small window. You can choose a sample rate and change the color palette of the panel.

When you work with the ASIO interface, the drivers automatically detect and set a necessary sampling rate. ASIO buffer size is changed easily as well, there is no need to restart programs. But you can do it only in ASIO Control Panel. The native control panel does not mention buffer sizes. Perhaps, its size is fixed for the MME interface. There is no rate automation for MME in the current drivers either.

Along with the buffer size, ASIO Control Panel allows to reduce the load on the USB bus by choosing bit capacity.

Subjective tests

In the course of our subjective tests, we connected the interface directly to the ADAM S2.5A monitors. We compared the device with the ESI Juli@ and the E-MU 1820.

The E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 Audio Interface offers a tad higher quality than these cards. The difference between these devices is not big, it's even smaller in case of the ESI Juli@. We've heard a tad higher detail level, mostly at high frequencies.

We also compared the headphone output quality of the E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 and the ESI Juli@ card with Behringer UB502. We've performed comparative audition with the Sennheiser HD 600 and Beyerdynamic DT 250 headphones. This test also reveals an advantage of the E-MU 0202 USB 2.0. At the same time, the difference is not very big - it consists in the quality of high frequencies.


In our opinion, the E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 is a very good product. Although the unit does not have phantom power supply at the microphone input, quality of the analog section puts the cheaper E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 with more interesting functions on the same level with the ESI Juli@/M-Audio Audiophile 192. Note the high quality headphone output, which is better than the one in the inexpensive audio mixer. Many users think that the E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 is a cut-down modification of the 0404 USB 2.0. Our tests show that it's not exactly true. The 0202 is a high quality product. It's a strong competitor in its price segment. We can recommend it, if you need a dual-channel solution, and if you don't plan to use an electrostatic microphone.

Grigory Liadov (grigory@ixbt.com)
August 9, 2007

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