OSSC + N64 = Better with Passthrough?

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  • #23325
    Massimo
    Participant

    Hi guys,
    I RGB + Csync modded a Famicom AV (NESRGB), Super Famicom Jr. and a N64 (CPU-03) which I play in a Samsung 50″ 4K LCD TV through a 1.6 OSSC fw 0.81: fortunately my TV can read perfectly x3, x4 and x5 but, while my Famicom AV and Super Famicom Jr. look incredible at x5 + 256×240 optimized, my N64 at x5 + generic 4:3 looks afwul!

    I tried some configuration found in this forum, but none of them looked good to me when, by chance, I tried “passthrough” + generic 4:3 and BOOM… my TV recognized 720x240p and my N64 looked awesome (for a LCD TV).

    Now I can perfectly read letters and numbers with smoothed edges (with x2, x3, x4 and x5 letters and numbers are way blockier) and the dithering effect (which I hate) is almost gone… I don’t know why but using VERTICAL scanlines improves every game.

    But… how is possibile that my N64 looks better with passthrough than e.g. x5? VERTICAL scanlines?? I think I’m not considering something or I’m doing something wrong when using x5 (or other LineX) since, for me, passthrough + generic 4:3 + vertical scanlines 50% is almost comparable at my Sony Trinitron CRT.

    Thanks for your help and thumbs up for OSSC and this great forum,
    Massimo

    #23326
    nmalinoski
    Participant

    It might have something to do with the horizontal blur applied to most N64 games. I imagine vertical scanlines help because they help break up the blur. You didn’t say which RGB mod you have in your N64, but, if you have boards by Tim Worthington or borti, you should be able to flash a firmware that has VI De-blur functionality; that should help clear up the image. (If you have an UltraHDMI, you can enable it in the menu.)

    Your TV’s scaler is an actual scaler, not a line multiplier like the OSSC; so, while the OSSC is designed to simply multiply the size of a given pixel by 2/3/4/5x, which results in the blockiness but has no perceivable lag, your TV’s scaler is designed to enlarge the image to fit its panel while smoothing out those rough edges, because most people who need that scaling are using it for video content and 3D gaming, where simple line-doubling doesn’t make sense.

    #23327
    Massimo
    Participant

    I’m sure vertical scanlines help de-blurring the image, it’s so strange to me that verticals are way better than horizontals which should be more “natural” and more CRT-esque!

    My N64 is a CPU-03 model so I RGB modded it with a simple THS amp and a wire to output Csync: I’ve never tried a VI de-blur functionality, but gameshark / ips AA removing feature is not for me since I really don’t like the increased dithering effect.

    By the way, is VI de-blur feature worth the upgrade to UltraHDMI or N64A board? Does it help reducing dithering?

    I know OSSC is a (wonderful) line multiplier but I can’t understand why my Famicom AV or SF Jr. in passthrough are horrible and perfect at x5 where my N64 is perfect in passthrough and horrible at x5… moreover my N64 is better and has less input lag in OSSC passthrough than directly SCART connected to my Samsung TV.

    I’d like to know how do you set your OSSC when used with your N64!

    Thanks,
    Massimo

    #23330
    nmalinoski
    Participant

    It might be that the difference in video outcome between your AV Famicom/SF Jr and your N64 is that the NES/SNES hardware has sync jitter, and your TV is processing it differently to accommodate the off-spec video; where, as I understand it, the N64 doesn’t have this problem. Or not; I don’t really know. 😛

    Games look better to me with the de-blur enabled on my UltraHDMI; everything looks clean and crisp. Personally, I haven’t noticed any dithering; I thought that was primarily an issue with PS1 games, but I may just simply have not played any N64 games with severe dithering.

    I’m not sure anyone is building borti’s N64 Advanced RGB boards; I wasn’t able to find one when I was looking before I decided on an UltraHDMI; just Tim Worthington’s board, which I believe is also capable of de-blur using borti’s firmware, but you should verify this before purchasing.

    Personally, I prefer the UltraHDMI, because it’s entirely digital video and digital audio, so no analogue noise floor buzzing when you’ve got the volume up; has no perceivable lag; and it’s my opinion that HDMI mods like these are more future-proof than RGB mods, because RGB still requires analogue AV equipment, which is getting rarer and more expensive as time goes on. As a bonus for you, the UltraHDMI won’t interfere with your existing RGB amp, so you can have both installed and just use the RGB output on CRT displays, where it’ll look much better compared to your flat-panel.

    I no longer use my N64 with my OSSC, because it has an UltraHDMI. Before I installed the mod, I had it hooked up to a Kramer FC-4044 with a [crappy] S-Video cable, which got me YPbPr component output, and then that would ultimately end up going into my OSSC. My current TV doesn’t like anything more than line2x, so I would simply leave it at that, and I’d use the OSSC to add relatively faint horizontal scanlines.

    Now, with the UltraHDMI, I skip the OSSC and go straight into my home theater receiver. I let it scale to 1080p, and I’ll generally leave scanlines off, because my TV has a 1366×768 panel, and downscaled 1080p with scanlines looks like garbage, and 1080p without scanlines looks better to me than 480p with. Plus, now that my N64 has HDMI, it’s plug-and-play with modern TVs; I’ve taken it to friends’ houses for multiplayer and not had to worry about bringing any of the analogue AV equipment I used to need for it.

    #23360
    noodohs
    Participant

    It looks better with the TV scaling because the N64 looks horrible and blocking. What you are seeing with the OSSC is more accurate to what the N64 is actually outputting. Some people like that, others (like yourself) find it to look quite horrible. Nearly all early 3D systems look pretty bad when scaled this way. The TV, as mentioned above, has a proper scaler that can interpolate the pixels instead of just doubling/tripling/etc them. This allows it to make the image look smoother and less blocky, but at the cost of additional input lag.

    This is easy to replicate in Photoshop, as shown in this image: http://www.chrismadden.co.uk/inkline-press/create/create3/figs/6-18.html. Nearest neighbor is the rough equivalent of what the OSSC does. It provides very sharp lines, but a blocky image overall. The others look somewhat blurry up close, but when you back out, what you actually see are smoother lines.

    #23368
    Massimo
    Participant

    N64 games have an INSANE amount of dithering: almost every light effect is made using dithering, and I think it’s impossible that you haven’t noticed it! The problem is that N64 was made to be displayed in CRT TVs which mask dithering very well creating beautiful transparencies and color depth, but with LCDs you can clearly see the crosshatch.

    OSSC does the “nearest neighbor” work which is perfect with Famicom / Super Famicom but the image I get from my N64 looks more similar to “bicubic” and for me it’s quite difficult reading letters and numbers (e.g. “e” letters become “?”) as well as enjoy the game in general.

    So, noone uses OSSC with N64 who can recommend me some settings to try?

    #23370
    nmalinoski
    Participant

    N64 games have an INSANE amount of dithering: almost every light effect is made using dithering, and I think it’s impossible that you haven’t noticed it!

    Either it’s because I’m normally sitting 11 or 12 feet away from a 32″ panel that isn’t native 720p nor 1080p, or it’s because the dithering doesn’t bother me. 😛 When I get around to upgrading to one of those 55″ 6-series TCL TVs, I’ll probably notice then.

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