Welcome to the Orpheus Sound Card homepage.
Currently this page serves as a quick setup guide , it will eventually be updated and become fully functional.
Orpheus is a PC ISA 16bit soundcard , aimed for DOS usage.
Please keep in mind that this is still and ISA soundcard based
around a 1997 audio controller working inside systems up to 30
years old and playing DOS games that
have low bitrate and compressed samples to accomodate the hardware limitations of the time.
More info and development log can be found on the official VOGONS thread HERE
Videos about the Oprheus Soundcard
RMC - The Cave : Orpheus I + Dreamblaster X2 - A new ISA Sound Card for Retro PC Gamers
LGR : Testing the New Orpheus Sound Blaster-compatible ISA Card
pc-sound-legacy : The Orpheus 1 SoundCard playing Descent Track 18 FM music (Yamaha OPL3) , "1869 - Hart am Wind" FM music
||PCMIDI Resources Control (only installed when
PCMIDI is onboard)
P - jumper closed = port 330 , open = port 300
3,5,7,2 = select *one* IRQ for use
defaults shown: port 330 and IRQ2 selected
|| MIDI Signals Control to allow a dual-mpu
If PCMIDI is installed and you also activate CS4237 MPU device you can select which MPU device controls each port. Move jumper to I (for PCMIDI) or CS (for CS4237) for each jumper
WTC= Wavetable Connector
JYC = Joystick Connector
MOC = MIDI Out Connector
defaults shown: all ports controlled by PCMIDI MPU , if there is no PCMIDI installed on board the jumper block has no use
PCMIDI MPU interface info:
If you want to find out more about the PCMIDI part then please visit the PCMIDI Homepage
This is a driver software developed specifically for the Orpheus Sound Card by VOGONS user 640K!enough
It is INI driven like the official Crystal driver , so you have to edit said INI file to change resource and mixer settings.
Usage is pretty straight forward: edit ORPHEUS.INI if needed and lauch ORPHEUS.BAT , that's it!
|If you want to use it through AUTOEXEC.BAT
remember to use the CALL command to run ORPHEUS.BAT , for example
if you have OPRHINIT inistalled in C:\ORPHEUS then use this command
in AUTOEXEC.BAT :
|You can have multiple INI files and use them with the /F: switch , for example: ORPHINIT /F:DMA0.INI|
to edit your ORPHEUS.INI if you want to enable CS-MPU device.
Default is CS-MPU disabled since the vast majority of sold cards have PCMIDI MPU onboard.
Without CS-MPU device enabled then the wavetable header and MIDI OUT jacks won't function.
The lines that need chaging are these:
MPUBase=disabled (change to 330 for example)
MPUIRQ=disabled (change to 9 for example)
Added preliminary support for the non-Plug-and-Play mode of the CS4237 (SLAM/hostload init). This solves some of the boot delays with certain machines, among other things.
(contact keropi or ask for details if you are experiencing delays or other oddities at boot when Orpheus is installed)
Improved portability and safety of some Plug and Play routines.
Corrected a bug that caused the PnP RDP to be changed unnecessarily under certain conditions. This could lead to problems with other software.
Implemented improved error-checking of BIOS Plug and Play structures.
FINAL 0.53b version HERE
BETA 0.53b version HERE
0.52b version HERE
For more information and bug reports please visit the offficial VOGONS release thread HERE.
a. for an Orpheus soundcard with PCMIDI installed add these lines to AUTOEXEC.BAT (assuming UNISOUND is located in C:\UNISOUND directory)
SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 T4
C:\UNISOUND\UNISOUND.COM /VC80 /VL80 /VF60
with these settings SoundBlaster is configured at port 220 , IRQ 7 , DMA 1
b. for an Orpheus soundcard with CS4237 MPU add these
lines to AUTOEXEC.BAT
SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 H3 P330 T4
C:\UNISOUND\UNISOUND.COM /XOM1 /VC80 /VL80 /VF60
with these settings SoundBlaster is configured at port 220 , IRQ 7 , DMA 1 , HIGH DMA 3 and CS4237 MPU is using port 330
Official Crystal DOS drivers:
Important notice: these drivers are completely unoptimized for Orpheus, they are
only useful in case something does not work with current DOS init programs so
you can at least use the card in some problematic scenario.
Specific Orpheus support , coding and testing based on feedback are still undergoing.
HERE you can download a copy of the official Crystal DOS drivers.
There is an ORPHEUS.TXT with installation info inside the archive - basically all you have to
do is extract the files to a directory, edit CWDAUDIO.INI in case you want to use different
resources and chose if you want to have the CS4237 MPU device enabled or disabled.
Then add the lines described in ORPHEUS.TXT in your config/autoexec and reboot!
Those drivers DO NOT offer a way to activate s/pdif output under DOS.
Although Orpheus is designed as a DOS sound card windows drivers do exist - but sadly due to it's closed-source nature some limitations are in effect...
EEPROM restore/config tool:
Use FLASH.COM to restore the card's eeprom settings and disable or enable CSMPU device at ports 300 or 330.
Remember to power cycle the system once you write new eeprom data to the card.
Special firmware for systems with early PnP BIOSes and boot issues
This is a special Orpheus firmware for systems with early BIOS
PnP implementations that take a long time
to boot or don't boot at all when the Orpheus soundcard is installed in the system. This firmware should be
used with Orphinit 0.54ß and newer versions. Once the card is flashed with this firmware then please edit
ORPHEUS.INI to enable/disable devices and allocate resources according to your setup needs.
The end result is the same as with the "normal" firmware, the only difference is the intiliazation process.
You can revert the card back to stock using the normal flasher above.
Duke Nukem II : CS4237 chip does not support all ADPCM sample compression modes the game uses. Please use
AdLib sound effects for the game OR the ADPCM FIX from K1n9_Duk3 posted on VOGONS forum HERE.
Tyrian and Tyrian 2000 : On most systems the game only works with WSS and DMA0 selected. You can easily change
resources on the fly by modifying the BLASTER variable and running UniSound to re-init the card or use ORPHINIT with an
INI file that specifies DMA0 to be used. This just seems to be the game's sound driver incompatibility with the CS4237.
Sierra games with 32bit engines like Police Quest IV, Quest for Glory IV, Gabriel Knight, etc that have WSS as an option
in their setup will have to be played with Sound Blaster option since the Sierra WSS driver is incompatible with the CS-4237 chip.
There are WSS driver updates for 16bit game engine HERE and 32bit game engine HERE but they are hardcoded to IRQ7/DMA1
and have the potential/ability to mess with mixer settings and s/pdif output registers.
There are now some fixed 16bit and 32bit Sierra WSS drivers HERE and HERE thanks to 640k!enough , this is still a WIP
but they have the advantage of adding WSS support in Sierra games that never supported tha standard initially. Please refer to the
discussion in the thread for further info. These drivers will help all 423x cards not just Orpheus.
DELL Optiplex socket5 4xxx / 5xxx systems:
update August 2021: a new version of Orphinit with a special firmware will be released to address these problematic systems, stay tuned!
using Orpheus with those systems cause them to freeze on boot.
There is a chance if left in this state for several minutes the system will record the Orpheus PnP data and subsequent boots will
be fine and normal. But there is a chance the system will never recover and will stay in this halted state.
It is not known at the moment what causes this, the prevailing theory is that the PnP portion of these specific era Optiplex systems
have issues with the CS4237 chip's PnP initiliazation. A BIOS update *might* help but not quaranteed:
go to DELL Support Page
click "Browse All Products"
select "Desktops & All-in-ones"
select "Retired Models"
select "Older Models"
and if you are lucky you might see your system listed and gain access to downloads.
Again, no guarantees this will help... if we find such a system we will investigate further.
How to order it:
10 May 2022:
There is currently a new batch being produced - ETA is 2 weeks for cards to begin shipping.
This will be the last batch for a while while we search for more components that are needed,
sadly the chip shortage does not make things easy ...
Prices are updated for 2022, everything is now more expensive and more annoying to get...
There are 2 flavors of the card - prices listed include registered airmail shipping:
Orheus soundcard : retired due to low demand
Orpheus soundcard with PCMIDI installed: 195eur
Orpheus soundcard with PCMIDI installed and Dreamblaster X2GS latest daughterboard: 255eur
Please fill this order form HERE - treat it as a non-paying pre-order , once a card is ready for you we will contact you about
payment info. Be careful to enter your email correctly so we can contact you back!
Be advised that these are the only email addresses that will contact you about a purchase (either Edro or Leo depending on availability) :
Important: please know we do the best we can to ship cards as soon as possible - previously we had covid restrictions and now we face
the aftermath: parts having higher prices (yes! even old parts - it's almost scalping) and several new parts that are needed have long
wait times for delivery.
The receipt of the Orpheus card is overwhelming and we thank everyone for it! It looks like we are heading for a 8th batch!
Rest assured we are doing our best with the means we have !
Just contact us!
We'll be happy to help and resolve any issue you might have!
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