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Prism Sound Orpheus
4.25 4.25 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

Firewire interface offering 8 channels of ADDA conversion, 10 channels of digital I/O, 4 mic preamps, monitor control, midi I/O and 2 headphone amps.

12th January 2012

Prism Sound Orpheus by creative.control

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Prism Sound Orpheus

The Prism Sound Orpheus is a 1U 19", firewire interface, offering a wealth of features. Prism Sound, based in Cambridge, UK, have a reputation of offering very high end analogue to digital and digital to analogue conversion and their units are used in some of the worlds biggest studios.

The Orpheus is an all in one solution for any smaller studio as it effectively replaces the functionality and need of a mixing desk when tracking, offering near zero latency monitoring, headphone amps and monitor control, as long as you have some monitors you can easily hook it up to your DAW and start making serious music.

The Orpheus is a goldmine of functionality, it's main selling point being the 8 channels of high end AD-DA conversion, but it also has MIDI I/O, headphone amps and a global volume control (for use with main monitors).

The first four channels have mic preamps before the conversion, these are very usable and are great for all round tracking. I use them specifically for toms and overheads when recording drums, I've also found they work well for vocals.

The only drawback with the preamps is they start at +10db of gain, so for some sources you need external microphone pads (like the Shure AS15) or you can start running into clipping very quickly.

Each preamp has a phantom power switch (48 volts), High Pass Filter (rolling off anything below 80hz), phase reverse and "overkillers" (Prism's proprietary limiter, stopping any clipping/overs occuring), the 3rd and 4th preamps also have an "MS matrix" for mid side mic'ing techniques.

The remaining 4 channels of conversion also have "overkillers", which are handy when tracking particularly hot sources, although I've found them to very slightly degrade high end frequencies on some sources (vocals in particular).

The unit also hosts 2 jack inputs for the first 2 channels which automatically switch over to being instrument inputs, so you can plug in keyboards, bass guitars etc.

The Orpheus also accepts incoming digital signals from another converter, by way of 2 SPDIF or AES and 8 channels of optical (lightpipe). The Orpheus also allows you to output digital signals and you can send the Analogue signals to the digital outputs.

The unit's functions are controlled via the extensive control panel software, with virtual faders for all analogue and the two SPDIF/AES digital I/O, (it does not offer faders for the optical I/O, but does have meters for incoming levels).

The Control Panel software is very in depth, offering lots of different "tabs" for input control and each set of outputs (AO 1+2, AO 3+4 etc) and headphone outputs, so you can be very flexible when setting up monitor mixes etc. The software can be a little confusing at times, but after using it for a few sessions it becomes second nature.

As you can expect from Prism Sound's prestigious reputation, the sound of this unit is excellent. The conversion is very clean, with an extremely low noise floor and wide dynamic range.

The headphone amps are great for mixing, although don't have much in the way of volume for tracking. I use one output for monitoring in the control room and take the other output and hook it up to another headphone amp for more volume for tracking in the live room.

You can daisy chain multiple Orpheus units together for further channels.

On a separate note, I'd like to mention that Prism Sound's customer service is excellent! I had a couple of minor problems with my unit, but they were solved over a telephone conversation with Prism, who answered immediately and were very supportive.

To summarise, this is a high end solution to anyone building a small or mid sized studio, although it may seem an expensive unit at first glace it offers incredible value for money given it's functionality and quality. It's basically a studio in a box!

12th February 2012

Prism Sound Orpheus by mahasandi

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Prism Sound Orpheus

I have owned and used many convertors.
I feel over the years designs really have improved.
and any of the current high end convertors sound excellent in a way that was not my feeling in previous years.

And while many of the ad/da chips used are the same just like any audio peice its how its put together that brings out magic or not.

In this case I do feel the sound quality is such that I don't mind recording digitally at all.I feel this particular convertor is actually magical in its ability to capture sound.
The transient response is phenomenal and I have not encountered better.
Detail that seems to never end no noise except what you put in very black in the background.
The balanced feel of frequencies throughout the spectrum is rich vibrant and ultra smooth and the sense of depth is by far the most astounding I have heard.

I have owned and used apogee ad1000 ad8000 and lavry blue
and many others.
None of them have the euphonic detail of this design.
To feel totally comfortable with digital recording is newer for me and its only been from these convertors.

The preamps are excellent quick detailed utility clean pre's that are actually musical or nice sounding. I have lots of out board pre's and have no problem using the onboard pre's , and for certian apps they really shine.

I feel that padding your inputs on loud sources can help with these pre's.For quiet sources they have plently of clean gain.

The hi-z inputs are great for bass and gtr direct.

The headphone amp is excellent and the 2 outs allow me to use one as an extra summing out to my console.

The midi works and I use it no problems.

I use the aes/spdif adapter to connect a reverb unit and no problems there.

The software is good and easy to use though it would be nice if they made a vst version to control within host.

All in all the Orpheus is the end of the rainbow for recording convertors for me.I feel no need to look further. I can do what I want with them in a way that just sounds amazing.
Totally reccommended.

21st February 2012

Prism Sound Orpheus by mahasandi

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Prism Sound Orpheus

These are the best convertors I have used.
I have owned the apogee ad-100- ad-8000 metric halo 2882 and Lavry Blue.

I prefer this unit just in terms of ad/da alone compared to Lavry blue , not to mention all the extra's.

The sound is more detailed then any ad /da I have used and the transient response is crazy.
Very vivid low noise incredible depth.
So I sound like a fanboy I know, but you see I actually did not really like digital unitl this unit.

I think in general conversion has had a big break trough in the last few years, but this box is loaded with features.

The preamps are great very quick and clean. They do start @10db and I agree they can use padding on louder sources.

The overkillers are handy but if Im confident about my levels tracking I leave them off.

The hi-z direct input brings a bass or guitar in very cleanly and is a great front panel feature.

The midi interface I use and works with no problems.
I also use the aes/ebu to sp/dif adaptor included and have no problems
with connecting a device this way.

The software interface is good.
One gripe is that if you plug an xlr into ch 1-4 it is seen automatically as a mic signal and if you use trs automatically a line.
While this is generally convenient I have encountered situations where this was a problem.
I wish you could switch the lin/mic status in software.

The firewire connection on my mac works great no issues.

The 2 headphone outs are a nice plus. the headphone amps sound good and drive most phones fine.
I use one set of outputs as an extra stereo channel out for summing otb.
The headphone DA is identical to the other DA's in the unit.
I wish you could assign different sources to each headphone amp bu they derive source from the same buss.

This convertor has a balance throughout the spectrum that is quite stunning
I find listening to the Orpheus euphonic.
I never had this experience with digital before to this degree.
Now I don't use high sample rates so my comments are referring to 24/44.
Compared to the Lavry Blue which I like, the Prism seems to have such a different sound its hard to believe as both units are very flat, I guess it just goes to show signal path and total circuit design is not experientially encompassed by standard specifications.
My feeling of increased depth detail transient response and a very YMMV situation but to me the most pleasant ad/da I have worked with.

1st October 2013

Prism Sound Orpheus by M_Music

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Prism Sound Orpheus

No words! I'm happy forever!

Before there were; RME FireFace 800 and RME FireFace 400 and Apogee Duet. Also a very good interface.

Prism Orpheus.
I use already 4 th year.
Good clean sound volume.
OWK too cool.
Thanks For Quality .

14th September 2014

Prism Sound Orpheus by missioncontrol

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Prism Sound Orpheus

Upgraded from a Lynx Aurora 16 (which i think sounds great too) and felt like the Prism was a huge step forward for me and my recordings.

The sound of the d/a is very "3d". Excellent stereo image, dynamic range, and accurate response across the spectrum of frequencies.

The a/d is great too. More transparent then my Lynx. No distortion at all. The Overkillers in the circuit are worth their weight in gold. They make it easy to dial in a sweet spot especially for mastering that is nice and loud without clipping.

I really like the pres. I have used them alongside all the usual suspects, Neve, API, shadow hills, chandler, manley. They stack up, believe it or not. They don't have the vibe of class A gear, but they still sound great. Again, very clean. Great for things like overheads or hi hat. Also think they sound great on toms.

Only downside is the firewire. It's obviously outdated. I use a thunderbolt converter, which works OK but sometimes i have problems with the computer not immediately recognizing the unit, or sometimes I get weird errors when tracking. Most of the time it works fine though, so I gave ease of use a 3/5.


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