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General upscaler thread

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Cute 2X Mini ... for what I had to do it could have been a better option for me but given I bought a 2X-M ...

 

I just realized I really have no vintage consoles (anything pre Dreamcast) with Component cables and neither I want to buy such cables (they are not exactly cheap) but I do have Scart cables for a bunch of them (SMS, Genesis, Saturn, AES, NGCD, Jaguar and can easily find it even for PS2 but no need as I do have component cables for it, unfortunately my GC has no digital-out but SVideo works great on it).

 

In light of so many Scart enabled consoles I was torn between the RetroTink-2X Scart and a cheaper RetroTink RGB2Comp so I went for the second given I already have a RetroTink-2X-Multi (and the latest firmware enables pseudo-444 on 480p as well as pass-thru 720p and somewhat a 1080i ["ish" https://www.retrotink.com/post/retrotink-2x-pro-multiformat-firmware-page ] to really cover all component cable consoles I have from PS2, to XBOX to Wii).

With a little bit of luck I may be able to sit the RGB2Comp just in front of the 2X-M, from the pictures it appears the connectors are reversed on purpose  (meaning RLYPbPr on 2X-M match PrPbYLR on RGB2Comp) and if the holes line up I can just use cheap male RCA couplers and "mate" the 2 RetroTink in an unholy orgy of retrogoodness, at worst instead I need a 5 RCA cable between the 2 ... we shall see.

 

36c4ce_c559910818774e0fbaa249a36e57c91e~36c4ce_db9419b643a14b19818dd27011846f36~

 

 

 

I am not sure it was the right choice yet, at 30US$ more the RetroTink-2X Scart seems a solid solution for Scart enabled consoles, at the same time if it works I may get the best of both worlds and save me 30US$.

 

 

I find it hard to understand why the RetroTink-2X Pro or 2X-M don't have direct support for Scart .... component cables for old consoles are actually much rarer than Scart due to EU that mandated it over there! Anyways .... at 200US$ total for 2X-M + RGB2Comp it ain't exactly cheap!!!

 

 

Wrt to the 2X-mini it may work wonders for the plug-n-play novelties of yesteryears that were composite through and through ... if one likes them that is, I have a small collection around (about 7 or 8 of them total) and they do work fine on the 2X-M, but at basically half the price the 2X-mini seems to be the perfect choice for most composite/SVideo consoles (the site does call out Genesis and some PSOne as having non-std composite and can make the RetroTink-2X take a hike with them so caveat emptor).

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I mentioned uploading these quite a while ago but got sidetracked with work... but here are some off-screen screenshots taken of the Sega Saturn upscaled to 720p through the Framemeister, connected to a 4K TV.  The Saturn is connected to the Framemeister using an SCART RGB cable.

 

The Framemeister is basically set to the default values for everything, with some tweaks in the color settings.

 

ASL.jpg

Assault Suit Leynos 2.  This is a bit of a 2D tour-de-force with tons of sprites scaling in and out all over the place (though not in this screenshot sadly!).

 

TSS.jpg

Twinkle Star Sprites.  This shot is a bit dark because I took it during the day.  I was just going through my collection game by game and liked the title screen here in particular.  One thing the Saturn has over the Playstation is nice solid colors; this is because the majority of PSX games use hardware dithering (even 2D games for some reason), which is especially noticeable on flat screens (or even when using RGB on a CRT!).

 

CB.jpg

Cotton Boomerang.  This shot is also a bit dark because I took it during the day.  Very fun hori shooter with some fantastic 2D art.

 

Note that the aspect ratio is slightly wide in my photos because of how I had to crop the images.  Also, the images are overall sort of saturated just due to taking photos off the screen.

 

The Framemeister really works wonders with consoles that support RGB natively.  One great thing about it is how easy it is to use, as the default settings are (mostly) fine for the most typical use scenario (240p games).  The only settings that one really needs to pay attention to are "IMAGE_MODE" (480i="NATURAL", 240P="PICTURE") and "AUTO_SCALER" (480i="VIDEO", 240P="GAME").

 

One very nice feature of the Framemeister is how it "just works" when it comes to scaling—you never have to worry about issues caused by uneven scaling.  This means you can either tweak the image to be pixel perfect (with black borders on all edges), or can just use the default settings and let the Framemeister fill the display with no messy scaling artifacts.  It even has an option that automatically stretches the image horizontally ("SCREEN_SET" - NORMAL2) for an aspect ratio much closer to that which you would see on a CRT.

 

The only setting that is somewhat annoying is "A/D_SET".  I've found that the automatic setting hardly ever works right at all (it typically sets it WAY TOO HIGH).  Setting A/D too low will result in a "weak" washed out image, while too high of a setting will oversaturate the image and crush color detail.  The only way to set it reliably is to bring up a calibration pattern.  This pattern can luckily be found in the 240p test suite that's available for many (but not all) consoles.  The Saturn, sadly, does not have a port of the test suite, but this was one of the few consoles in my experience where the auto A/D setting seems to have worked decently enough.

Edited by newtmonkey
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Next up, some Dreamcast shots.  The DC supports both 480i/480p and 240p and the image quality over RGB is pretty much perfect for both.

Again, these are taken directly off the screen of a 4K TV using a cellphone camera, so they don't 100% represent how everything looks in person.  However, you can get an idea of how nicely the FM handles both 240p and 480i (especially with the DC which offers truly excellent image quality).

 

The settings for the following shots are:

[480i] SCART RGB -> Framemeister 1080p

[240p] SCART RGB -> Framemeister 720p

 

So why am I sticking with 480i?  First, I don't have a DC VGA box that works.  Second, the FM is notoriously poor at handling 480p, but notoriously good at deinterlacing 480i.

 

SA.jpg

Sonic Adventure

(I like how scanlines look in 480i games, but I understand most people prefer them turned off, since scanlines really aren't that noticeable on a real CRT at 480i.)

 

You generally want to upscale 480i/480p sources to 1080p to get a nice integer scale with black borders around the image (i.e. 960p).  With the FM, you want to set the "SCREEN_SET" setting to "SMARTx2" to ensure the image is scaled correctly (as detailed here: http://junkerhq.net/xrgb/index.php?title=Dreamcast).

 

Now some 240p games:

LB.jpg

Last Blade

 

GB.jpg

Gunbird 2

 

Configuring the FM for 240p on the DC is simple; like usual, just use the default settings and ensure that "IMAGE_MODE" is set to "PICTURE" and "AUTO_SCALER" is set to "GAME".  You can set "SCREEN_SET" to "NORMAL2" (as in the photos above) if you prefer a proper CRT-like aspect ratio (like me) over a pixel-perfect scale.  Whether you scale 240p to 1080p or 720p is a personal preference, but 720p ensures that scanlines will look correct and imo provides a more "CRT-like" look.  On a 4K TV, it also provides a full-screen image as it's integer scaling all the way from the console to the TV (240->720->2160).

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Received my RGB2COMP from RetroTink and the RCA females line up perfectly, so ordered 5 RCA M-M coupler for 6US$ to "mate" it with the 2X-M and "add" Scart support to it ... but yeah at a combined price of 200US$ is not cheap.

 

Hopefully it works out well.

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So I got Akumajou Dracula X for the Saturn today and my monitor HATES the interlaced menu + OSSC combination so much that it refuses to display the menu at all. This is not a problem with the interlaced main menu in Thunder Force V, which displays just fine through the OSSC (although it does display in 16:9, which is obviously not correct, but it's just the main menu, so it's not a problem, really), so it seems it's something to do with Dracula X's menu. I'll either have to play this game on my CRT, never open the menu, or maybe pass the signal through the OSSC and into the Framemeister. How annoying.

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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If you have an Xbox One, passing the signal through that might help as I am sure the Framemeister will probably introduce some lag (though I can't seem to find any solid numbers when it is just passing though a digital signal).

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They mated:

 

RetroTink-Mating.thumb.jpg.0657916479e667bec30173be2451511a.jpg

 

Scart goes in, HDMI comes out, the bottom of the 2 plastic enclosures are perfectly aligned, they thought this one through!!!

I ordered an Amiga Scart cable for my CD32, let's see how this turns out.

My other consoles + Scart cables are a little harder to reach due to covid wfh arrangements, they were in tupperware that now forms the "legs" of my "desk" (5 per side) .... I really want 2020 to end.

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I finally tried my Japanese PS3 today, and I am happy to say that it runs absolutely silently and is in excellent condition, so I really don't have a need for my Japanese PS2 anymore at all since I can play my Japanese PS2 games on the Japanese PS3 with its wonderful deinterlacing. I'm not getting rid of the Framemeister, as it's generally extremely useful, especially since it's the only way I can use my MSX2+ and Dreamcast on my monitor at this time.

 

Still, I am somewhat curious about the current best option for interlaced games, as it's still useful information to have.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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Does anyone have any decent custom scanline setting suggestions for the OSSC? I haven't been able to find something that is satisfying. Although I usually use 3x, any multiplication is fine except for 5x since that mode doesn't work on my monitor.

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I haven't posted in here for a while, but I am having an annoying issue with my RetroTink 2X Pro. For some reason, my Sega Genesises (Genesii?) are not outputting sound through the 2X Pro via composite A/V cables. I have tried my Model 1, Model 2 by itself, and my Model 2 with the Sega CD attached. I have tried different cables as well, but to no avail. Other consoles, like my NES via component, work fine. I also updated the firmware, but that didn't help. Not sure what else to do here. 

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On 11/18/2020 at 6:55 PM, Silverfleet said:

I haven't posted in here for a while, but I am having an annoying issue with my RetroTink 2X Pro. For some reason, my Sega Genesises (Genesii?) are not outputting sound through the 2X Pro via composite A/V cables. I have tried my Model 1, Model 2 by itself, and my Model 2 with the Sega CD attached. I have tried different cables as well, but to no avail. Other consoles, like my NES via component, work fine. I also updated the firmware, but that didn't help. Not sure what else to do here. 

Have you tried on the Genesis 2 swapping Red and White audio cables? In many cheap cables they were inverted.

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On 9/24/2020 at 1:26 AM, phoenixdownita said:

Cute 2X Mini ... for what I had to do it could have been a better option for me but given I bought a 2X-M ...

 

I just realized I really have no vintage consoles (anything pre Dreamcast) with Component cables and neither I want to buy such cables (they are not exactly cheap) but I do have Scart cables for a bunch of them (SMS, Genesis, Saturn, AES, NGCD, Jaguar and can easily find it even for PS2 but no need as I do have component cables for it, unfortunately my GC has no digital-out but SVideo works great on it).

 

In light of so many Scart enabled consoles I was torn between the RetroTink-2X Scart and a cheaper RetroTink RGB2Comp so I went for the second given I already have a RetroTink-2X-Multi (and the latest firmware enables pseudo-444 on 480p as well as pass-thru 720p and somewhat a 1080i ["ish" https://www.retrotink.com/post/retrotink-2x-pro-multiformat-firmware-page ] to really cover all component cable consoles I have from PS2, to XBOX to Wii).

With a little bit of luck I may be able to sit the RGB2Comp just in front of the 2X-M, from the pictures it appears the connectors are reversed on purpose  (meaning RLYPbPr on 2X-M match PrPbYLR on RGB2Comp) and if the holes line up I can just use cheap male RCA couplers and "mate" the 2 RetroTink in an unholy orgy of retrogoodness, at worst instead I need a 5 RCA cable between the 2 ... we shall see.

 

36c4ce_c559910818774e0fbaa249a36e57c91e~36c4ce_db9419b643a14b19818dd27011846f36~

 

Continuing a discussion from a post I made before I found this:

 

 

Would an OSSC + Koryuu Transcoder do the job as well or better? With Black Friday specials at Video Game Perfection (https://videogameperfection.com/products/koryuu-transcoder/), that combo appears to be price-competitive with the RetroTINK 2XPro+Transcoder combo.

Edited by jgkspsx

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I guess for now I'm going with a RetroTINK 2X Pro and just sticking with the composite cables I already have. Some future paycheck will get me to true RGB bliss, I suppose :)

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Any word on release timing for the OSSC Pro?  From what I understand(?), it will let me rotate for shmups, and adjust sync if my picky capture devices need a little help. Hopefully it will have a better time with games that change resolution than my framemeister does too.  Those gran turismo blind starts are annoying.  Do OSSC's save profiles?

 

I also haven't been fully following, but is there anything out there outputting 4k? I haven't made the jump to a 4k projector yet, but have been considering it for years.  Even though 4k should integer scale from 720p or 1080p, I get the feeling most tv manufacturers don't care, so I'd rather have a box that outputs 4k.

 

Since it seems like picture time, here's an old shot of my first day with the framemeister.  I got over the scanline phase pretty quickly.

 

post-17659-0-02696000-1396120860.thumb.jpg.84051425e88427f56b4d2131e20b92bb.jpg

 

2471455_Annotation2020-11-27123253.thumb.png.75bfdbf9fb76b9f4cbe5cd215d229a2c.png

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There is a recent article about the OSSC pro at retroRGB:

 

https://www.retrorgb.com/ossc-pro-development-progress.html

 

You may know much of the information already. With that price rage ($350-$550), it is geared towards power users. I am not inclined to consider it now since I already have a Framemeister and an OSSC. I don't see the need for another upscaler. Oh.. it may be better, but like anything, there will be some growing pains.

 

As for the OSSC and profiles, there is an article at retroRGB that discusses setting it up, but I have not tried it: https://www.retrorgb.com/ossc.html

 

It is not as straightforward as downloading a profile, placing it on an SD card, and having the Framemeister read it.

 

4k? I don't know. My guess is one could set the Framemeister or the OSSC to output to 720p (or whatever line double that is for the OSSC) and let the TV handle from there. Maybe that is not the best thing to do, but my understanding is that it is the conversion from analog to digital that is the sore spot, and once it is digital, most recent TVs are pretty decent at taking it from there (setting aside that the OSSC does not always play well with some TVs).

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9 hours ago, jgkspsx said:

I guess for now I'm going with a RetroTINK 2X Pro and just sticking with the composite cables I already have. Some future paycheck will get me to true RGB bliss, I suppose :)

The 2X Pro is a very nice device, and I think you'll be pleased with it (especially compared to your current solution).

I think it's a great all-around device and because it supports everything from composite to component, you can use it with nearly any console out of the box (excluding RF-only consoles of course).

 

It also has a very decent comb filter for composite video sources, so you might be surprised at how decent these sources can look.

 

When you want to upgrade your cables, I'd recommend the HD Retovision line of component video cables, which you may already be aware of:

https://www.hdretrovision.com/genesis

 

They are pricey, but since the SSDS3 uses a Megadrive 2 mini-DIN (I think), you could get by with just a single cable for your Genesis 2 and SSDS3.

 

[EDIT] Actually, the RGB2COMP you posted above might be a better solution, since it costs just as much as a single HD Retovision Genesis cable, and would eliminate the need to buy separate component cables for any other consoles you might want to use.

Edited by newtmonkey
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5 minutes ago, newtmonkey said:

They are pricey, but since the SSDS3 uses a Megadrive 2 mini-DIN (I think), you could get by with just a single cable for your Genesis 2 and SSDS3.

It does use the same port, so it works on both the SSDS3 and the Genesis 2/MD2/Nomad/32X. Also worth getting the HD Retrovision converter cables for it for appropriate systems. I think they even hinted at making another small run of the now discontinued Neo Geo adaptor, which is absolutely worth getting if you have a Neo Geo or even if you think you might be interested in getting a Neo Geo in the future.

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Castlemania games has many of the HD retrovision products in stock, including that Neo Geo adapter (https://castlemaniagames.com/collections/hd-retrovision/products/hd-retrovision-neo-geo). Worth checking out if one is interested in that route since they can go out of stock for extended periods of time.

 

For all I know, that could be the last run for the Neo Geo adapter. I thought about picking one when that announcement is made, but I don't think I'll ever get a Neo Geo. I never had one, and it seems to be a rabbit hole that can be more expensive than PC Engine land.

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Yeah, I love the Samurai Shodown and Fatal Fury games, but I'm resigned and contented to experience the Neo Geo library through emulation. Unless I suddenly become a fighting game connoisseur. Then again, that happened to me with shmups in the last two years, a decade or two too late for it to be a good idea...

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I wanted to post some more input on the RetroTink 2X Pro.
GCDtXJP.jpg

I've been playing a lot of Genesis and NES on it lately, and I'm really happy with it. So far, I've been using regular Composite A/V into the RetroTink connected to my 2010 Panasonic Viera 1080p plasma TV. The NES looks fantastic and has zero lag whatsoever. Image with my OG A/V cables is great (Yes, I'm on a Mega Man kick right now, and all images are on Normal mode):

NTxgGAz.jpg
U6BppBD.jpg
GzksgCI.jpg
WpaiMHh.jpg

Genesis, as I said before, has issues passing sound through to my TV. Both my Model 1 and Model 2 with the Sega CD attached have the same problem. I remedied this by bypassing the TV and hooking up a set of 2.1 PC speakers that I've had kicking around, and this works great! That signature FM soundchip sounds killer with a little bass behind it. Anyway, here's some shots of some games on my Model 1:
NgSMy3M.jpg
This is Normal mode. It's the best looking IMHO, but it's a little muddy.

gYWxHvi.jpg 
This is with Smooth mode. It's significantly different, but still muddy. It does look like something "retro" on a modern console. One thing that doesn't translate is that there some flashing artifacts on static images (like when the screen is paused) in this mode. I like this one on some games. 

Mw9LMfT.jpg 

I'm not a scan lines guy, but this is Scan Line mode. I'd rather go plug in my CRT and get the real deal. Biggest issue is that the RetroTink dulls the image and cuts the brightness. Doesn't do it for me. 

Overall, I am very pleased. I've also tested SNES and N64, but don't have any pics. The SNES looks great as well. The N64 was tested with a S-Video cable, and it still looks muddy, but it's a N64, so that's expected. 😄

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@Silverfleet

 

Nice picks and thanks for your thoughts.  I really do like how the NES/Famicom looks on the RetroTINK through composite, as the comb filter really cleans the image up (especially on the "RETRO" comb mode, which I think was implemented specifically for the NES)... I even prefer to use the RetroTINK over the Framemeister for composite sources.

 

I'm not sure why it's giving you trouble with your Genesis.  The only thing I can think of that might be a factor is that the Genesis only outputs mono from the rear port, and that third-party Genesis AV cables are often wired incorrectly (either red and white swapped or just wired for mono only on just a single cable even though they have L/R audio cables).


Have you tried contacting the developer, Mike Chi?  He seems pretty approachable and might have some advice.

Edited by newtmonkey

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20 minutes ago, newtmonkey said:

@Silverfleet

 

Nice picks and thanks for your thoughts.  I really do like how the NES/Famicom looks on the RetroTINK through composite, as the comb filter really cleans the image up (especially on the "RETRO" comb mode, which I think was implemented specifically for the NES)... I even prefer to use the RetroTINK over the Framemeister for composite sources.

 

I'm not sure why it's giving you trouble with your Genesis.  Have you tried contacting the developer, Mike Chi?  He seems pretty approachable and might have some advice.

I'm really impressed with the NES! It looks incredible on every game I've played, and there's ZERO lag. I've played twitchy games on it that rely on perfect controller input and hey play as well as a CRT. I'm fine with the Genesis output for now. My cables aren't the best for either the Model 1 or 2, so it's to be expected. I'll be upgrading those at some point. 

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@Silverfleet

 

As for the Genesis audio, the only thing I can think of that might be a factor is that nearly all third-party Genesis AV cables are wired incorrectly (more info: https://forums.terraonion.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=9). You might want to try plugging just the red and then just the white cable into each of the L/R audio IN ports on the RetroTINK to test, though it would probably be best to just replace the cable with something better like you said!

Edited by newtmonkey

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10 minutes ago, newtmonkey said:

@Silverfleet

 

As for the Genesis audio, the only thing I can think of that might be a factor is that nearly all third-party Genesis AV cables are wired incorrectly (more info: https://forums.terraonion.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=9). You might want to try plugging just the red and then just the white cable into each of the L/R audio IN ports on the RetroTINK to test, though it would probably be best to just replace the cable with something better like you said!

I tried that on the aftermarket Model 2 cables, and that didn't work. Sound output from the Sega CD itself also does not work. My OEM Sega Model 1 cable also doesn't work. I've read that some TV's can't interpret the sound pass-through to HDMI for some consoles, especially the Genesis. It's all good, since I have an external speaker system that sounds much better than the TV anyway. 

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