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General upscaler thread

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@jgkspsx

Wrt RetroTink 2X-Pro vs 2X-Multi note that some Genesis revisions (and even PSone) composite output have been called out:

 

https://www.retrotink.com/post/introducing-the-retrotink-2x-pro-multi-format

 

"One use case where the 2X-M shines over the current 2X-Pro for 240p sources is the handling of composite video.


In the Super Mario NES title card, the 2X-M's output is noticeably cleaner with less dot artifacts and no ghosting around sharp vertical lines. If your setup exclusively focuses on composite video, the 2X-M will generally produce better results. Due to composite artifacts, the difference between nearest neighbor and bilinear filtering is much less visible.


Our testing has also shown that the 2X-M's composite decoder is more robust and and may handle poorly behaved sources such as the Sega Genesis and earlier PSOne models, where the 2X-Pro fails to produce a correct image."

 

For composite-only the 2X-Mini seems a much better value (https://www.retrotink.com/product-page/2x-mini ) but same caveat wrt Genesis/PSOne:

 

"CAUTION: Sega Genesis and some models of PSOnes do not produce off-spec signals and may not display correctly. For Sega Genesis, we recommend using a RGB/Component cable with the RT2X-Pro or SCART. For PSOne, we recommend using a PS2 as there are no known issues."

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The catch is that I'm going to be outputting it from the 32X. It probably has the same issue but I figure it's worth a try. I definitely plan to move to all RGB within a few paychecks :)

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4 minutes ago, jgkspsx said:

The catch is that I'm going to be outputting it from the 32X. It probably has the same issue but I figure it's worth a try. I definitely plan to move to all RGB within a few paychecks :)

VA4 Mega Genesis Drive + 32X + RGB + OSSC has some problem that causes it to look strange. It's possible that this could show up on composite or whatever on other scalers/line multipliers. My VA4 Mega Drive + Super 32X has this problem, but it works fine on my VA6 (I think it's a VA6, but I forgot) and on my VA0 Mega Drive 2.

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1 hour ago, jgkspsx said:

 Interesting. It will be interesting to see how SCART to Retrotink fares.

Well, if you don't have a VA4 that you are planning to use it should be fine. I have been considering attempting to find a VA3 for this reason, as it will still have the excellent audio but also work properly on the OSSC. I found a beautiful 1988 production one in town recently, but it's probably a VA0 or a VA1 and I'm not sure about the audio on either of those motherboards. Anyway, as long as you are not planning on using a VA4 it will be fine.

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13 hours ago, phoenixdownita said:

Which one?


1) 2X-Pro + RGB2COMP

2) 2X-M + RGB2COMP

3) 2X-Scart

My plan is 2X-Pro + RGB2COMP, when finances allow :)

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On 12/2/2020 at 11:02 AM, jgkspsx said:

My plan is 2X-Pro + RGB2COMP, when finances allow :)

Just remember, this (2X-Pro but the whole line) is a line doubler as such the HDMI out it produces is non-std and so the TV you end up using decides if it likes it or not. Even when in pass-thru mode (for Component sources aka no line doubling) the TV gets a non exactly std HDMI signal (if it even can handle 240p or 480i on HDMI).

Example: finally my CD32 Scart cable arrived, and that "worked" via RGB2COMP + 2X-M on my TV unfortunately the cable/source-board is bad so it looks ugly with tons of noise, same CD32 via SVideo direct to 2X-M (no RGB2COMP) looks very good, so told I only tested with an interlaced screen at the Workbench, no games and that may not work.
I managed to recover my GX-4000 [PAL unit] and I have full Scart cable to test it via RGB2COMP + 2X-M, no dice, even with Composite direct to 2X-M still no dice, my TV simply states invalid signal (it could be the mode the C4CPC puts out the menu but that's beside the point).

 

The same exact setups above (minus CD32 Scart that I didn't have until two days ago) works perfectly on that same TV via XRGB-Mini (which is a proper upscaler with conformant HDMI out), I mean GX-4000 Scart and Composite + CD32 SVideo and Composite work fine via the Framemeister (obviously there is some stutter here and there due to difference in frequencies).

 

I don't have access to my MegaED to test my MD2 + Scart (it's also modded SVideo AND 50/60 switch so I can try a few combo) ... just to see if the TV likes that at all .... as I said this is a line doubler and not an upscaler so the out signal is bound to be non exactly 60Hz, how close it needs to be for your TV to latch on it depends on the TV.

Only thing I want to really test is make sure the RGB2COMP work as expected, we'll see when I have time to fish out some other console with Scart (I have a NeoGeoCD and a Jaguar that are "easier" to reach for which I have Scart cables) .... I'll also have to test another TV to see how the 2X-M fares there.

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I think at this point in time the RetroTINK is the most compatible solution you can find (since the Framemeister is no longer being produced).  As far as I am aware, there are a couple of specific models of TVs that don't work (at all) with the RetroTINK but in general it's the safest option out there.  The OSSC is perhaps just (or nearly) as compatible in line doubler mode, though.

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@jgkspsx

 

Managed to test Jaguar + Scart on 2X-M + RGB2COMP and no dice in that TV, tried Jaguar + SVideo direct 2X-M and again no dice (I could get sound though).

Then I tried MD2 + Scart and no go, MD2 + SVideo and no go (Invalid Signal in both cases).

 

I took the MD2 onto the other TV and  MD2 + Scart on 2X-M + RGB2COMP works with all the jailbar glory I can remember, the audio sounds off though but it may be something else entirely.

 

So yeah it really depends on the TV tolerance ... and while doing all this testing I got to remember of the pain to set this all up .... to power the 2X-M + RGB2COMP combo I use one of those double-USB chargers or I'll need no less than 3 power bricks, if we add 32X and MegaCD that'll get me to 5 bricks (I have a 3-in-1 power for the tower-of-power but it's still clunky).

 

At least I managed to see the RGB2COMP working, that counts for something.

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Geez, that is a scary number of no gos! I had a similar experience setting up my Tower of Power a couple of weeks ago. The power supplies are so big, and also, it happens, so dead... (I have a 3 in 1 on the way from France right now.)

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Hmmm. I was looking at an RGB2COMP to send into my 2X Pro, and that got me thinking... should I just get the direct SCART to HDMI? As it is, I'm eventually going to have an SCART switch, a composite switch, and an HDMI switch in the picture, so I wouldn't really be simplifying anything by sending the RGB2COMP into the 2X Pro, and it feels like it is more likely to hurt video quality than help. So many cables...

Edited by jgkspsx

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On 12/28/2020 at 6:30 PM, jgkspsx said:

Hmmm. I was looking at an RGB2COMP to send into my 2X Pro, and that got me thinking... should I just get the direct SCART to HDMI? As it is, I'm eventually going to have an SCART switch, a composite switch, and an HDMI switch in the picture, so I wouldn't really be simplifying anything by sending the RGB2COMP into the 2X Pro, and it feels like it is more likely to hurt video quality than help. So many cables...

I thought of doing the same (aka a 2X-M and a separate 2X-SCART) but then the combined cost did not really make sense to me at that time and decided the RGB2COMP to be the way to go being 30US$ cheaper than the 2X-SCART, it doesn't add any lag and any feature added to the YPbPr input of the 2X-M (or 2X-Pro in your case) would be available.

Ideally the SCART input should just have been an option all along imho in Retro Tink offerings (instead of YPbPr I offer) as so many consoles already support SCART output natively: having to go the YPbPr way first aka console-mod/transcoder makes little sense, but it is what it is and at least we have options, for sure the presence of YPbPr TV sets in the US early on "forced" the move to it in the first place.

 

Note that the 2X-SCART does not have many of the settings available in the 2X-Pro (but the 2 units are indeed closely related) given there's no need to support anything different than 240p and 480i over the RGB+Sync signals (no composite/SVideo) ... not sure if that means some other features may be impacted due to the lack of the slider switches (it has none) and one of the push buttons (it has only one vs the two of 2X-M and 2X-Pro) ... you be the judge. 

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It has the same blocky/smoothed/scanlines option that the Pro has. The other button on the Pro is to change between s-video, composite, and component, which is a moot point with this one. One slider is for comb/notch filter for composite input (also a moot point). The other is to allow 480p component video through without line doubling, also a moot point with RGB SCART. So if your console's best output is SCART, the RetroTINK 2X SCART seems like a good way to go.

 

Meanwhile I have my eyes on a local JVC TM-R14U for sale, which looks like a killer PVM. And only has BNC inputs. So now I'm looking for female SCART to BNC converters. Aaaaargh so many cables!!!!

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So here's something that might be specific to my hardware, but I'm not sure, so I will ask about it. Panzer Dragoon Zwei has a 16:9 mode and I want to use it. Unfortunately, Saturn + HD Retrovision + OSSC + Panzer Dragoon Zwei's 16:9 mode = still 4:3 for some reason. I do need to check my H. active and H. backporch settings, but I'm curious to see if anyone has gotten the 16:9 mode to work with the OSSC.

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You may want to look into your TV settings. I recently upgraded to a 4K Sony Bravia, and I was getting stretched resolutions with the OSSC until I set the TV to use 4:3. There isn't a button on the remote, and I had to dig around. Maybe you need to do the opposite.

 

I still have to fix some scaling issues. 4x line double looks okay with boarders all around, but it looks looks pretty sharp. I am going with that for now. 2x line double just gives a 480p signal in 4:3. I'd go with 5x, but the bottoms and tops are clipped. I am not using profiles, so maybe I need to do some work.

 

3x just gives me a 720p image in the middle of the screen, so it is small. It isn't scaled.

 

Now with the Game Boy Interface with my HDMI modded Gamecube... every game is in a small screen smack in the middle of the screen. The aspect ratio looks right, but I'd like to scale it some. I know I can hit the X button and use the trigger buttons to increase it to a 3x scale, but it is still small and the image losses it's crispness. I tried using the pass through with a Framemeister, but the picture quality was not so hot... looks like it has some sort of blurring filter over it.

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Actually... changing the TV setting might just stretch a 4:3 image over 16:9 rather than triggering the true 16:9 mode. That is not desirable.

 

I haven't purchased the adapter for the retrovision cables for the Saturn, so I use SCART. Maybe I will try later today to give it a go with my OSSC and see what happens.

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@Steven Pendleton @cybercylon

 

Wrt to Saturn but also PS1 games supporting 16:9, if memory serves the trick they use is to still render it at 4:3 output but "squeeze" the picture and have the TV force the widening to maintain the pixel aspect ratio.

 

Up until 720p there was no 16:9 supported proper ratio per se, 1280x720 is native 16:9, while 640x480 (aka 480p) is 4:3, so told the Sega Saturn is capable of outputting 352x240 (vs 320x240) getting the horizontal resolution a 10% boost but not a proper 16:9.

So usually what is referred to is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_widescreen and here's a list of Sega games https://segaretro.org/Anamorphic_widescreen
 

 

So in short 16:9 is a "compressed" 4:3 in which the X axis gets to show more area (with less details given the number of pixels is fixed anyway) so when stretched to 16:9 on a widescreen TV geometry is unsqueezed and you usually get to see more area to the sides (the side pillars are not black so to speak, and the top/bottom not cut out, but there's less pixel density and so a slightly less defined image).

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A firmware update has been released for the RetroTINK-2X Pro:

 

https://www.retrorgb.com/retrotink-2x-pro-firmware-v1-7.html

 

It now provides a slightly brighter image when the comb filter is set to "RETRO" mode (which is meant for use when connecting older consoles via composite cable such as the NES/Famicom).  This is especially useful if you use the scanlines option—I noticed a significant improvement in brightness with my Famicom using these settings.

Edited by newtmonkey

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On 1/11/2021 at 2:37 PM, phoenixdownita said:

@Steven Pendleton @cybercylon

 

Wrt to Saturn but also PS1 games supporting 16:9, if memory serves the trick they use is to still render it at 4:3 output but "squeeze" the picture and have the TV force the widening to maintain the pixel aspect ratio.

 

Up until 720p there was no 16:9 supported proper ratio per se, 1280x720 is native 16:9, while 640x480 (aka 480p) is 4:3, so told the Sega Saturn is capable of outputting 352x240 (vs 320x240) getting the horizontal resolution a 10% boost but not a proper 16:9.

So usually what is referred to is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_widescreen and here's a list of Sega games https://segaretro.org/Anamorphic_widescreen
 

 

So in short 16:9 is a "compressed" 4:3 in which the X axis gets to show more area (with less details given the number of pixels is fixed anyway) so when stretched to 16:9 on a widescreen TV geometry is unsqueezed and you usually get to see more area to the sides (the side pillars are not black so to speak, and the top/bottom not cut out, but there's less pixel density and so a slightly less defined image).

Is it anamorphic? I forget exactly, but I am fairly certain that Digital Foundry said that Zwei's widescreen is a true 16:9 widescreen. I'll check it again later, though.

 

In any case, I seem to have figured out how to get Saturn Dracula X's interlaced menu to display on my monitor through the OSSC. Setting the interlaced modes to passthrough instead of bob deinterlace seems to work, which is weird because setting interlaced PS2 games to bob deinterlace works fine. Now with Dracula X's interlaced menu my monitor tells me to set the display resolution to 720x480p, but it still displays the image for some reason, so I guess this means it works and I no longer have to sit awkwardly on my fake wood floor to play the game on my CRT.

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I got SCART cables for the Genesis and the Super SD System 3 and the Retrotink SCART box, and wowee does it look great. It’s what I expected, but it is amazing.

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I got sick of dealing with the imperfect Super NT video options on latest FW (in short, the scanline filter is misaligned and broken in 720p, 1080p is either too small [4X] or has stuff cut off the top and bottom [5X], 480p is completely broken with something like 10+ pixels cut from one side), so I dug my SFC out from storage and connected it to my Framemeister... and discovered something interesting.

 

I loaded up Super Mario World and was immediately met with NEON GREEN shrubs.  It looked completely wrong.  I did some research online, and it's an issue when you set HDMI_SET > COLOR_OUTPUT to "RGB."  Setting it to "AUTO" fixes the colors, but causes the image to become washed out.  I also read that turning the console on first and then turning on the Framemeister can resolve it, but I had no luck.  I ended up having to reduce my TV's brightness to get true black (changing OUTPUT_RANGE does not correct it, and my TV is set to the correct black level anyway), which is definitely not good because my TV has been carefully calibrated for "perfect" brightness/contrast, etc.

 

On a whim I decided to set the Framemeister to output DVI rather than HDMI... and it fixed everything!  I could revert my TV setting to the proper brightness and still get a proper black level and proper greens.

 

Now, one issue with DVI is that it has different output resolutions than HDMI.  They both have 480p and 1080p, but everything in between is pretty much different.  This actually opens up some interesting options.  You can set output to 960p, for instance, for a perfect 4x integer scale with some black borders around the image—similar to the 1080p 4X setting on the Analogue consoles, or the FirebrandX 1080p profiles for the FM.  There's no 720p, but you can set the output to 1280x768; this is not an integer scale of 240p, so it would require some work to get it looking nice—you could probably switch SCREEN_SET to "SMART_X2" and then play around with the aspect ratio settings to get an integer scale with black borders (similar to the Super NT 720p mode).

 

I ended up setting output to 640x480 with SCREEN_SET set to "NORMAL2". This provides a nearly perfect 4:3 aspect ratio (ever so slightly wider, but definitely closer to a 4:3 AR than just a straight integer scale).  It looks surprisingly sharp at this resolution, which I guess suggests that my TV handles 480p quite well.  Interestingly, setting the FM to DVI-480p halves its internal "delay" according to the FM status screen.  The FM has only a frame a lag at most and my TV in game mode adds another frame or two, so I doubt I would notice a difference of half a frame!  Still, I find it interesting.

Edited by newtmonkey

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More Framemeister findings after much trial and error, and some research on the shmups forum...

 

HDMI output works fine, but in order to get accurate colors and black level, you NEED to use the following settings:

[HDMI_SET]

OUTPUT_COLOR: AUTO

OUTPUT_RANGE: FULL

This sets the FM to output in YPbPr, which guarantees colors will be accurate (no neon greens).  However, due to a quirk of the FM, the TV needs to be set to LOW/LIMITED black level or everything will be washed out.

HDMI output has the following benefits/drawbacks:

 + Supports 720p

 - Aspect ratio needs to be tweaked ("standard" is often too narrow, while "normal2" is often too wide)

 - The weird color quirk noted above

 

DVI output is perhaps even more fool-proof, and offers some interesting benefits

[HDMI_SET]

OUTPUT_COLOR: AUTO

OUTPUT_RANGE: FULL

This sets the FM to output in RGB but with correct colors.  The black level setting will also be "correct" (i.e. it should be set to either high/full or low/limited on both the TV and FM).

DVI output has the following benefits/drawbacks:

 + Supports 640x480 output, which most TVs will scale to a perfect 4:3 AR if set correctly (setting this resolution also halves the internal "delay" of the FM according to the status screen, but whether this is true or not is impossible to tell as it would only be .5 frame less)

 + The HDMI output color quirk is not an issue

 - No 720p

Edited by newtmonkey

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