As you might expect, our enthusiasm for the OSSC never wanes. This amazing little box brings the best of the old school line doublers and updates them for the modern, digital era. As of today we’re pleased to announce that the OSSC 1.6 has passed its beta testing and is ready for production. As we wait impatiently for the first batch to arrive, we thought we’d bring you all up to speed on the OSSC and the changes in the 1.6 edition. Originally we planned to do this as a newsletter but we figured non-subscribers might be interested too, so we’re posting this up as an article.
OSSC – Getting up to speed
OSSC 1.6 represents a refinement of the original OSSC design and of course includes all the cool features that the previous editions had. If you’re not familiar with the OSSC, start with our initial review of the 1.3/1.4 unit and its firmware here. If you’re interested in the newer line triple, quadruple and quintuple modes, then check out our updated article here.
The 1.6 OSSC brings some small but welcome new features to the OSSC design, addressing the major criticisms of the earlier units while not radically altering the design of the finished product. 1.6 has the same form factor and for most setups it can be a drop-in replacement for the existing 1.5 model.
There are two important refinements on the unit. The first is that now, analogue to digital audio conversion and output is a standard feature. On previous models, this had to be added via an expansion board which needed to be soldered into place. This upgrade proved so popular that we’re still waiting for our subcontractor to work his way through all the back orders of audio board upgrades for the last batch of OSSCs. Not only is the addition of digital audio convenient for many people, but it will significantly reduce the cost of an audio enabled OSSC. Of course, this also means that there will not be a long wait for fitting the upgrade when the next batch arrives.
Users of the 1.5 OSSC with the audio board fitted will be aware that all analogue audio has to come in either via the SCART socket or via the 3.5mm analogue audio connector on the side of the unit. If a SCART cable is connected at the same time as a 3.5mm audio connector then the sound volume will be significantly reduced. With OSSC 1.5 and the digital audio upgrade, most users simply route all analogue audio sources through the AV1/SCART connector. Any audio signal fed into AV1 would be converted and injected into the DVI/HDMI output, regardless of which input was selected on the OSSC itself. So, for example, to connect the Dreamcast to the 1.5 OSSC, you would use a standard VGA cable for the image and a SCART to RCA break-out adapter for the audio. This situation could result in messy cable setups and was problematic when using automatic switches such as the GScart or Hydra, which don’t always recognise an audio-only signal and therefore won’t switch to that input when required.
On the 1.6 revision of the OSSC, there’s now an additional 3.5mm analogue audio connector. This connector can be used to route audio from any equipment connected to the AV3 (VGA/D-Sub15) connector. This is ideal for your Sega Dreamcast. When AV3 is selected, this audio input becomes active and the other audio inputs are disabled.
If you need to feed in audio from a component video source, you can use the other 3.5mm connector. To do this you need to change a small toggle switch next to the connector. By toggling this switch you can use this connector as an audio break out for the SCART socket or as an audio input.
Of course, any audio fed in via the SCART socket is converted and injected into the digital stream as before. Unlike the 1.5 edition, audio fed into AV1 will only be converted when the AV1 input is activated on the OSSC.
Audio quality on all the inputs is perfect. The conversion is crystal clear with no crackling and no added noise. As always, using properly shielded SCART cables is recommended, since the analogue to digital conversion process cannot filter out any noise already present on the analogue audio signal.
Finally, OSSC 1.6 will also use a standard HDMI output rather than DVI, though this can be converted to DVI easily by using any HDMI to DVI cable.
Shut up and take my money!
If you want to secure yourself an OSSC 1.6, you can now pre-order one by visiting this page.