In your article in the May 2009 Stereophile reviewing the Bel Canto USB Link 24/96, you mentioned the E-MU 0404 as a viable alternative. My desire is to get as high a quality of sound as possible out of a PC dedicated as a music server and connect it to my Anthem D2 via an S/PDIF connection, using the DAC in the Anthem which can handle up to 96/24. I have been looking for good alternatives for this that are not price prohibitive and the E-MU 0404 seemed like a good option. I consider myself experienced with PCs (but am a total MIDI neophyte), so your warning about installing an extra driver program was not worrisome.
My PC is Windows XP, 32 bit, service pack 3. I started with a sound card (Dynex DX-SC51) that was working fine, but I could not hear a difference between hi-rez music and regular ripped CDs.
I purchased an E-MU 0404 USB 2 and have installed it, using USB 2.0 to the E-MU and an optical connection to my Anthem D2. I went into Control Panel --> Sound and set all audio outputs to E-MU supplied alternatives. I am unable to get any sound out of either ITunes or MediaMonkey. I did go into MediaMonkey and supply it with an ASIO DLL add-on from otachan and placed this file in the MediaMonkey output plug-ins. In configuring the plug-in, I used the defaults. I was unsuccessful in getting any sound output.
I found a posting on the E-MU web site saying that I would have to plug patch cables from the analog outputs to the analog inputs in order to get audio out of the S/PDIF, but this defeats the entire purpose (http://126.96.36.199/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE/,/?St=69,E=00000000001868...(2114),VARSET=centric:1004,Kb=creative_emu).
You said you were successful in using the E-MU 0404. Can you suggest anything I have missed in setting this up?
In the end I am looking for the best way to get hi-rez sound out of a regular PC (not laptop) and into the DAC in my Anthem D2. I am willing to use either iTunes or MediaMonkey. Alternative suggestions are welcome here as most articles concentrate on using external DACS.