• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

E-MU 1212m Headphone Options?


Standard Member
Hi there,

Do many people own this sound card?

I've had this card about a year and only really used it for analogue output to my Marantz AV amp.

I should also mention the headphone socket on my amp is broken.

I want to get a nice headphone setup [including headphone amp], but the card does not have a phones output.

I've noticed the E-MU 1820 and 1820m have 2ch. headphone outs. Does anyone know if I can upgrade my 1212m to either of the 1820 packages? and also, is there anyway to use headphones with my current setup?

Cheers for any help chaps,


Standard Member
I found myself in a similar predicament a few weeks ago - swapped my USB Emu 0404 for my 1212m, hooked it up to my Cambridge Audio A100, and realised how bad an idea the whole operation had been when my Cardigans fetish kicked in, something I've gone to great pains to keep secret from people in this troublesome real-world place.

Anyway, to answer your question, yes, you can upgrade to the 1820 package by buying the E-Mu Audiodock, listed here for $249. Rather a steep figure, but you'll be able to get it for considerably less with a spot of Googling and lying to customs about it being a gift. Still won't be exactly cheap, though. But not to worry - there are several alternatives.

1) Connect a stereo phono to stereo 3.5mm cable to the Record Output of the amp (may also be labeled 'Tape Output', or might not be there at all), buy a 3.5mm to 3.5mm Stereo Coupler from Maplin (the gold-plated one looks like a miniature Chines finger trap and costs under £2), and into that, plug your headphones. You should find that the Line-out supplies ample power for your headphones. This is the method I use, and it's fine.

2) Failing that, if you're of a technical enough persuasion to make your own switchbox, it'd only take an hour or two to wire one up. Go to Maplin, and buy one with four inputs and eight outputs (stereo + and - input, stereo + and - output for both headphone and amp), and also buy four phono couplers, two stereo phono cable, one Stereo Phono to Stereo 3.5mm cable, and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm Stereo Coupler. Wire it so it's like this -
To Amp
Emu > 1/4" to phono cable > phono coupler > Half of phono cable > switchbox > Other half of phono cable > Phono coupler > phono cable (optional) > amp

To Headphones
Emu > 1/4" to phono cable > phono coupler > Half of phono cable > switchbox > other half of phono cable > phono to 3.5mm cable > coupler > headphones

You may need to sketch the above on paper to make it make sense. You may also want to run it past the folks at Maplins, who should be able to simplify the headphone wiring by using the three conductor trick to eliminate the need for the Phono to 3.5mm cable.

3) Third and final solution that I my sleep-deprived brain can think up at the moment is to wire the digital output of the 1212m to some sort of device that can decode digital and output to headphones. Emu's 0404USB can do this, but is more expensive than buying a Dock. The 0202USB may be able to, and should be relatively cheap, so is worth checking out. Also worth checking out would be devices dedicated to this kind of role. Headphone amps with digital inputs, I guess. Although, since line level is sufficient to drive headphones, an external DAC should be able to do the job for you, albiet without the benefit of a volume knob.

Anyway, I hope that helps. I will now get back to Google, and see if anyone's yet found a way to make the 1212m work with Sonar 7 under Vista.

The latest video from AVForums

Guardians of the Galaxy Xmas Special, Strange World, Bones and All, and Cabinet of Dr Caligari in 4K
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom