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Composite mods - are they really needed?

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I have a 25" Panasonic CRT and I still connect my PAL 6 switch woody up via RF. I have to say the picture quality is very good indeed. I used to feed it through a Sony VCR I own so I could connect it up via composite but the Sony tuner doesn't seem to make any difference.

 

As long as I have a means to hook it up I'll retain the RF.

 

I also have a US 4 switch woody that I have had modded for composite but unfortunately I can only get a b&w picture out of it on my CRT. I got it modded because no TV I possess can tune to the low channel numbers US equipment works at (we start channel 22) and I don't think any European TV would (modern flat screen TVs I have certainly don't go that low).

 

I believe the source of the b&w problem is the CRT as I can't get a colour picture on it with my JPN N64 or Gamecube using composite or s-video. The TV only seems to play ball when I use RGB SCART.

 

I use a Harmony with my PAL woody and my large collection of PAL60 ROMs instead. I've tried a powered NTSC-to-PAL converter but that doesn't work with my JPN N64 or my modded US 2600, though it does work with the JPN Gamecube. I suspect the signal from the 2600 and N64 isn't strong enough.

 

I have tried fiddling with the colour pots on the US woody but that doesn't appear to make any difference unfortunately, but given my CRT doesn't seem to like NTSC sources that aren't connected up via RGB SCART that is no surprise.

Edited by davyK

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30Hz full screen flicker makes me want to smash my CRT. I can actually tolerate a Xenon tube stobe light tuned to the golden seziure rate (15-18Hz) better than I can 30Hz flicker.

 

Curious where you were seeing 30Hz full screen flicker that made you want to smash your TV?

Edited by Mr SQL

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I only have one composite modded console, and that's my Famicom, since the normal RF output from a Japanese console doesn't properly register on our TVs. Maybe I could have figured out a way, using that alternate channel method that people have figured out, but I didn't want to put up with the hassle. My first one conked out on me though, so I had to get another to replace it. Ugh. At least the new one looks waaaay better, cosmetically, even if it is painted...

 

For all my other consoles with RF, namely my 7800, 2600 Jr, and Tandyvision One, I leave them as-is. The picture looks decent for most games, though color bleeding seems to be a common issue -- the graphics aren't crisp or anything, but they show up surprisingly well on my HD screen for the most part. (I don't currently own a CRT.) I don't trust myself with trying to do a mod on my own, getting someone else to do it is probably going to be too pricey in postage and service to be worth it, and pre-modded consoles tend to be expensive for me in general, so it isn't something I personally consider "necessary" to play games. To get the best picture quality? If you do it right, maybe, but then again I can always use an emulator if I want a clean, pixel-perfect image, without needing to put my precious thirty-plus-year-old consoles at risk under the iron. :P

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I hear that, I can use a soldering iron well enough to do basic repairs, but as far as soldering in entirely new components......I'm not THAT good and even if I was I wouldn't do it on 30+ year old equipment for fear of borking the entire unit

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Curious where you were seeing 30Hz full screen flicker that made you want to smash your TV?

Fine if you were watching NTSC Television at 30 hz and are sensitive StarDust, but if you were playing an Atari game perhaps you should try a different composite mod.

 

There are many composite mod's, some are better than others but they generally lower the chroma saturating rich RF signal on the VCS; this can break even the most conservative use of flicker which is 30 hz on a black background according to the Atari programming manual:

 

post-30777-0-13428400-1457069323_thumb.jpg

 

(Alternating field effects are a red herring; the authors discuss dividing the Atari signal without fields).

 

Scroll down the page with the composite mod's and check out the variety in the display; very few look like RF. See any that would make you want to play SmashTV?

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I only have one composite modded console, and that's my Famicom, since the normal RF output from a Japanese console doesn't properly register on our TVs. Maybe I could have figured out a way, using that alternate channel method that people have figured out, but I didn't want to put up with the hassle. My first one conked out on me though, so I had to get another to replace it. Ugh. At least the new one looks waaaay better, cosmetically, even if it is painted...

 

For all my other consoles with RF, namely my 7800, 2600 Jr, and Tandyvision One, I leave them as-is. The picture looks decent for most games, though color bleeding seems to be a common issue -- the graphics aren't crisp or anything, but they show up surprisingly well on my HD screen for the most part. (I don't currently own a CRT.) I don't trust myself with trying to do a mod on my own, getting someone else to do it is probably going to be too pricey in postage and service to be worth it, and pre-modded consoles tend to be expensive for me in general, so it isn't something I personally consider "necessary" to play games. To get the best picture quality? If you do it right, maybe, but then again I can always use an emulator if I want a clean, pixel-perfect image, without needing to put my precious thirty-plus-year-old consoles at risk under the iron. :P

Famicom outputs JPN channel 1 (90-96Mhz) and JPN channel 2 (96-102Mhz). These channels appear as 95 and 96 on cable ready TVs. If your TV is really old school and has a manual tuner without clicks, try setting the knob slightly past channel 6 (82-88Mhz), or if it has a knob with distinct clicks, try detuning the VHF Lo band fine adjustment screws. It may be possible to retune channel six high enough to pick up the Famicom's JPN channel 1.

 

EDIT: I just noticed you said you don't own a CRT. Just tune the HDTV to CATV channel 95 or 96.

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As said by others in this thread, this is mainly a matter of personal preference.

For me, using a CRT screen is fundamental for experiencing these old consoles, but I prefer to get rid of the rf connection whenever I can. Here in Europe, almost every crt TV has composite and RGB inputs through scart. S-video is a bit uncommon (but there are external adapters which decode S-video to RGB without loss of quality). I have a 2600 modded for S-video (currently in need of servicing and probably will be upgraded to a better mod), a 7800 with composite mod and several unmodded consoles.

The 2600 had a lot of hardware revisions during its life, and aging of components due to the conditions of use and storage influences the video output as well, so you won't find 2 2600 consoles with the same video quality.
I have a 6-switch with a very clean and sharp rf ouptut, which looks very similar to the composite-modded 7800, but I also have others which are just plain terrible. The results also greatly differ depending on the specific TV set I use.
Note also that there were a 2600jr with PAL composite out and a 7800 with RGB out (albeit decoded from chroma and luma natively generated by the video chips) officially sold by Atari in France back in the day, and those are technically "unmodified" hardware.

This might sound like a dumb question but, does it impact flicker in any way?

A lot of 2600 games use flicker-- I'm not sure if it there is a difference in how it blends on RF vs. AV vs. other formats.

From my experience (I did try some test roms on different consoles), a video mod doesn't impact flicker in a relevant way. The TV settings (Contrast, Luminosity, Saturation, Sharpness) can make a huge difference, on the other hand.

 

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The A/B demo posted in another thread.

Oh, that exceeded the cut-off tolerance in the spec; rtm above.

 

As said by others in this thread, this is mainly a matter of personal preference.

 

From my experience (I did try some test roms on different consoles), a video mod doesn't impact flicker in a relevant way. The TV settings (Contrast, Luminosity, Saturation, Sharpness) can make a huge difference, on the other hand.

 

 

 

I think if you have to amplify the settings after the composite mod, but not with RF there's signal degredation.

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I like composite mods or component when.available not as much for image quality but for connections since I have multiple machines on one TV and Daisy changing rf becomes real bad real quick

 

But that's just me and I won't twist anyone's arm. I just get annoyed by people telling me how I should hook up my system and it happens on both sides of the coin

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On 3/1/2016 at 10:41 AM, Keatah said:

Aside from keeping originality intact, if I was playing on real hardware I would want it to be as the design engineer intended, RF in the case of the VCS. Any funky visuals are going to be built & programmed around that connection type. It's base stock and everyone has it.

 

Just about all my emulation stuff has some sort of CRT or NTSC effects enabled. But I hate scanlines and turn them down so they're barely visible, but still there.The plain-jane LCD look is really harsh and unpleasant. So are the rounded opengl iterpolation filters or Scale2x, hq2x, Super Eagle and the rest of those godforsaken "filters" that look like the "emboss" and "impression" feature from Photoshop. I don't know why time is wasted implementing those. They give emulation a bad rap. Blargg effects are pretty nice, however, overall.

 

Once in a while if I want to study or debug something I'll turn everything off and "enjoy" the perfectly square pixels.

I hope you don't think I was being rude for not liking emulators for "preservation." Fact is, I pretty much agree with what you say here. But for me, it's not just about preserving games, it's about preserving the experience. After decades of watching and even participating with emulators, they just aren't "there." Cool toys, yes. I still like them for that. But not quite "there" for preservation.

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I don't.

 

I kinda gave up on exact experience preservation. There's good times & memories of course, but we're not going to be kids again. And our grandparents aren't gonna be coming home from Jewel/Osco drugstore with a crinkling paper bag full of deli food and cartridges on wintry day off from school. That's all 70's and 80's stuff.

 

I also don't believe today's youth are interested in our classic games much beyond a curiosity. A curiosity which proud parents all too happily mistake for the same kind of interest they themselves had in the 70's and 80's. The times are just too different.

 

Emulators are a kind of renaissance for me. After getting rid of many classic systems and hardware (except Apple II & paraphernalia) I assumed I would never play the 70's & 80's stuff again. But thankfully its the opposite. And as a bonus includes arcade games and all kinds of enhancements afforded by a modern PC. So that's where I'm at now.

 

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I used to think emulation was about preservation. I can still remember the first time I played Yars' Revenge. It was so cool. This was back in the 90s actually. You could buy a console for five bucks and carts were 19 cents. That's why I got interested, it's what we could afford. But that game was so cool I thought we needed it on a computer because the 2600 stuff was junk. What if they all get thrown away? So for me it was about that. But once displays went to flat panels I was nothing but frustrated. Emulation was nothing like the original. It looked to me like a lost cause. Sure flat panels aren't as bad as they used to be and maybe that's a little bit encouraging, but it will never be the same... But anything is better than nothing I guess.

 

I don't know why kids are interested these days, but they seem to be. Old consoles, typewriters and fountain pens. Lady Gaga writes her songs on a typewriter. Many of the fountain pen videos on youtube seem to be by kids. I know, what a weird thing to watch. It gets better. Ink reviews! So I dunno. Maybe there's something about simplicity in an over-complicated world.

 

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The '50s were big in the '70s (Happy Days, American Graffiti, Grease, etc.).  The '70s were big in the '90s (disco makes a comeback, Grease gets a new theatrical run, That '70s Show debuts, etc.).  Current generations are always looking back, even if us older generations don't seem to think so, or are always surprised when we see it happen.  It's nothing new.

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I'll be buying a composite-modded console soon since all I have available to use for games is my HDTV, and I'd like to take advantage of the Harmony cart I used to love using a few years ago. Would also like to finally buy some homebrews, and it seems like a composite-modded system is my best way of being able to use all of this.

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