It is now possible to order the long awaited Orpheus II ISA soundcard. This is a newly produced soundcard meant to be the ultimate soundcard for vintage and retro based IBM/PC compatible computers. It is a product which couples the amazing aspects of the original Orpheus soundcard. Having great Yamaha OPL3 Frequency Modulation (FM) capabilities as well as an internal wavetable header for added MIDI music choices, or utilizing external options with its “PCMIDI/MPU-401” feature with a MIDI module (i.e. Roland SC-55). While bringing on new features such as better analog sound quality, an ability to disable PCMIDI via onboard jumpers, the ability to now use OPL3 FM in Windows 9x as well as digitally via SPDIF, and the main feature this new card. The Gravis UltraSound via the onboard AMD InterWave chip.
Utilizing real genuine hardware onboard. The Orpheus II or OrpheGUS as some have nicknamed it, gives owners the all in one experience for classic PC gaming sound. However it should be noted that the soundcard is for advanced users. While many issues and aspects of the drivers and Plug and Play (PnP) features have been flushed out. The nature of having so many features onboard presents a challenge and complexity in setup and usage not meant for beginners. Knowledge of GUS game patching as well as utilizing added RAM onboard for GUS Classic will be needed. Also knowing how to setup none PnP features like the MPU401 is recommended.
The price for this multifaceted solution is high coming in at €340 if using Friends and Family via PayPal or €370 via Goods and Services. However the team behind the Orpheus Project does offer alternative products if prices are an issue. Including the recently announced Orpheus II LT which is a Lite version of the new Orpheus II, but has it’s Gravis UltraSound capability removed for €210. It is meant to serve as the base model replacement for the original Orpheus. Lastly if one is looking for a quality soundcard with SoundBlaster compatibility and quality OPL3 FM sound. The MK8330 provides that as well as has an MPU-401 port to connect external MIDI and wavetable header for additional internal MIDI choice for €95.
In conclusion the Orpheus II represents the ultimate soundcard for classic DOS and Windows 9x era gaming. Its complex capabilities give owners an all in one modern/real hardware type solution. Especially more important if ISA slots are limited in availability on motherboards. One card provides users with Sound Blaster capability for digital sounds and music capabilities like; Yamaha OPL3 for FM based MIDI, Gravis UltraSound “GUS” sample based MIDI, Wavetable MIDI Daughterboard (i.e. X2GS) via the wavetable header, or PCMIDI/MPU-401 to connect external MIDI sound modules (i.e. Yamaha MU2000EX). Links down below as always.
Orpheus II Main Page | http://pcmidi.eu/orpheus2.html
VOGONs Forum Post | https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?p=1138385#p1138385
Orpheus II LT Main Page | http://pcmidi.eu/orpheus2LT.html
MK8330 Main Page | http://pcmidi.eu/mk8330.html
MK8330 Article & Review:
MK8330 ISA Sound Card – The “Cut Price Orpheus” – Goes On Sale