Philips NMS 1205
This page was last modified 14:48, 28 February 2023 by Gdx. Based on work by Enribar and Mars2000you and others.




The Philips NMS 1205 Music Module is an incomplete MSX-AUDIO although being a very extended sound module available on the MSX. It features a lot of connections, like a MIDI interface, audio in and audio out and a built-in microphone for easy recording.

The Music Module also has 32kB Sample RAM that allows you to record sampled instruments. Although many sounds (or voices) are included in the ROM, additional sounds are provided on tape as samples.

The NMS 1160 keyboard can be connected as a controller and to record your note input.

Brand Philips (Manufacturer: Richard Watts Computers Ltd and Music Sales Ltd.)
Model NMS 1205
Year 1987
Region Europe
Launch price BE: Bfr 12000
DE: 248 DM
DE: 646 DM with NMS 1160
NL: ƒ399
Package content NMS 1205 Music Module
Sound Effects audio tape
Music Book
User's Guide
Emulation Emulated by OpenMSX (including MIDI in/out)


The cartridge has a built-in program called Music-BOX that will automatically start unless ESC is pressed on startup. The software can be started from MSX-BASIC with CALL MUSICBOX or _MUSICBOX


  • On the Philips NMS 8220 pressing ESC on startup to skip the integrated Designer firmware will also prevent the Music-BOX software from starting at the same time. In this case, start it from MSX-BASIC with CALL MUSICBOX.
  • Upgraded versions made by the MSX scene inverse the procedure as you need then to press the ESC key while booting to launch the firmware.

This firmware allows users to create their own songs, play along with the preset rhythms and play with echo and pitch effects using the microphone in real time.



Philips NMS 1205 full set
Philips NMS 1205 cartridge
Philips NMS 1205 cartridge
NMS 1205 cassette (box)
Philips NMS 1205 underside
Philips NMS 1205 left side
Philips NMS 1205 cassette
Philips NMS 1205 right side
Philips NMS 1205 box
Philips NMS 1205 book and manual
Philips NMS 1205 label
Philips NMS 1205 PCB
NMS 1205 PCB with 256kB Sample RAM upgrade
Philips NMS 1205 PCB
with Supersoniqs upgrade


Music-BOX - Melody (F1)
Music-BOX - Sounds Menu (F2)
Music-BOX - Drums (F3)
Music-BOX - Volume Control (F4)
Music-BOX - Sound Sampler (F6)
Music-BOX - Special Effects (F7)
Music-BOX - External (F8)
Music-BOX - Tape Operations (F9)
Music-BOX - Disk Operations (F9)


By comparison with the full MSX-AUDIO Panasonic FS-CA1 cartridge and the 'basic' MSX-AUDIO Toshiba HX-MU900 cartridge, the NMS 1205 is an intermediate MSX-AUDIO cartridge including exclusive features:

  • Yamaha Y8950 soundchip with 9 channels of FM synthesis
  • 4-bit ADPCM channel, with max 16Khz resolution
  • 32kB Sample RAM for the ADPCM unit (can be extended to 256kB)
  • 32kB ROM with firmware
  • exclusive MIDI interface
  • exclusive built-in microphone (mono)
  • exclusive slider to adjust volume of samples (on left side)

It can be upgraded to a full MSX-AUDIO. (See links below)


  • On left side:
    • 1 RCA external microphone connector (mono)
    • 1 audio-in RCA connector (mono, to sample from a "line"-source)
    • proprietary connector for music keyboard NMS 1160
  • On right side:
    • MIDI IN/OUT/THRU connectors
    • 2 RCA mono Audio-out connectors

When an external microphone or line is connected the internal microphone is automatically disabled.


  • Replace R41 with a 27K resistor to increase the output volume to the same level as MSX-MUSIC.
  • Lift or cut one pin of R39 (10K, Brown Black orange). That will stop the audio from reaching the MSX slot. The audio will now only be routed to the two (mono) connectors at the right side of the cartridge. This comes in handy when playing Moonblaster stereo songs.
  • Can be modified with a switch, so two Music Modules can be addressed at the same time. This is useful for XelaSoft's Super Music Editor, the Amiga MOD player/editor and the MSX-AUDIO BIOS itself.
  • Can be expanded with the Supersoniqs board containing 256kB sample RAM, MSX-AUDIO BASIC 1.2 and modified Philips ROM.