Some issues with RT2X and N64(PAL)

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  • #23651
    zeus
    Participant

    Hi,

    unfortunately i have some curious issues with my RetroTink 2x.
    First of all i want to point out that i think this is a very cool little device, offering a valuable option beside ossc and framemeister, and i am pretty sure, that it will work out as desired for most of the people.

    with that out of the way, now to the issues i have. i tested with an N64 (Pal) with “Pokemon Snap” as Game. i have also to point out, that some of the issues i have might be caused by the composite/s-video cable i use for the n64, because it does not use the n64’s composite pins, but is merging chroma and luma from the s-video signal with a ceramic capacitor (which is fine in general, but may lead to what i will describe as “brightness increase). i measured around 100pF on that cable for that capacitor (usually you would use something around 470pF, but my value might not be correct at all, because i would have to rip the cable apart to measure at the cap itself).

    1) brightness increase
    What i mean with “brightness increase” is when you have both – s-video and composite – plugged in, the brightness will subjectively around doubled and is totally overbrighted, but as i explained, i guess this one is induced by the cable i tested with. interestingly enough, this produces a coloured image (instead of bacl/white as expected) when the input is set to component.

    2) Audio muting
    when everything is on, and i decide to reset (or turning off and on again, does not matter) the n64 e.G. to change the game, and turning it back on, the sound is muted. it also does not matter which source is selected, or if smoothing is on. Changing the Source to anything else brings back the sound and it will be there until you reset the console again.

    3) Checkboard pattern
    When on S-Video or Component (not on Composite) you will see a very clear “checkboard pattern”, best noticeable on bigger areas of the same colour. It is not that easy to describe just by words, but i linked some images here (hopefully this post will not be considered as spam of this…
    -> https://imgur.com/a/ac0PzlQ
    (bare with me, images are from a smartphone, i did not had my DLSR on hand. kinda hard to focus to a screen on short distance then…)

    4) Wobbly Lines
    very similar to the audio problem are wobbly lines, which sometimes occur after turning the system on (regardless of retrotinks settings). it looks like every 2 lines or so are jumping from left to right by 1 or 2 pixels, which create a wobbly image like on a bad VHS-Tape. Changing the input makes this effect dissappear. This is not so noteable from a normal viewing distance of a 40″ flatscreen, but very noticeable from below 1m distance or so. activating the smoothing makes this particular effect even worse by one order of magnitude! comparing images of that can also be seen in the linked images above.

    beside this, my image is clearly different when comparing composite and s-video. not only by the level of noise composite usually has (this is not so bad here at all), but for the colour and sharpness (and the checkboard pattern as described above). the color is much more vibrant on s-video (see pictures i linked) and in comparison to that very flat on composite, as if the colour-space is reduced for that. also s-video has razor-sharp edges (which i really like) and composite is quite softened (which does also look very good in this case). i found this quite awkward when you think about that s-video and composite are basically the same signal just transported over a different amount of wires, and is basically for reducing all that nasty composite-noise. at least the colour-flatness might be explainable with my videocable as well, expecially when the capacity is really just around 100nF as desribed. this might indeed corrupt the chroma-part of the composite signal in that manner.

    Rest of the Setup:
    on twitter i have read from a post of some guy, that he came across the issue, that the retrotink 2x may not like some TVs, resulting to strange effects, while it is fine on others. The TV i use is a 2008-ish samsung LE40B55 (40″ LCD-TV). The only other device i had on Hand to test was an older Computer Monitor (22″ Samsung 2032BW), which only offers DVI as digital input. Unfortunately when using a DVI to HDMI-Cable, i was not able to get an image at all, regardless of the Mode RetroTink was set to. Every other test was performed in the Default Line-Doubling-Mode. Transcode-Mode makes my TV to show “unsopported video mode”. All of the described appears when the RT2X is directly attached to my TV as well when beeing passed through my Pioneer VSX-922k HDMI-AV-Receiver. Also the TV is set to “gaming mode” to bypass every image “adjustment” made by the TV as Post-Processing. Until now, i did not have any issues with my TV. Other Retro-Stuff like the HiDef-NES which i also have does run without a flaw.

    Does everyone have came accross similar issues or can tell me how to work around these? …or if i even might have received a faulty unit (which – to be honest – i dont think is the case)?

    tl;dr: some courious annoying audio issues and checkboard patterns. does anyone have seen this before?

    greetings from Germany,
    -zeus

    #23665
    nmalinoski
    Participant

    i have also to point out, that some of the issues i have might be caused by the composite/s-video cable i use for the n64, because it does not use the n64’s composite pins, but is merging chroma and luma from the s-video signal with a ceramic capacitor (which is fine in general, but may lead to what i will describe as “brightness increase). i measured around 100pF on that cable for that capacitor (usually you would use something around 470pF, but my value might not be correct at all, because i would have to rip the cable apart to measure at the cap itself).

    I recommend getting a new cable. Get one of these; thefoo.83 is a reputable seller, and his cables have been recommended on the shmups forums.

    Generally, only the cheap, crappy S-Video cables also include composite video, and I’ve encountered cables that don’t actually run luma or chroma to the S-Video connector, just composite video on the luma pin, which defeats the entire purpose of using S-Video in the first place.

    As for all those components, what’s the point? N64s for all regions have discrete pins for all of luma, chroma, and CVBS, so merging luma and chroma to produce a composite video signal is pointless.

    1) brightness increase
    What i mean with “brightness increase” is when you have both – s-video and composite – plugged in, the brightness will subjectively around doubled and is totally overbrighted, but as i explained, i guess this one is induced by the cable i tested with. interestingly enough, this produces a coloured image (instead of bacl/white as expected) when the input is set to component.

    Don’t do that. The RT2X was not designed with input switching, and composite and luma (from both S-Video and YPbPr component) are bridged, so you are indeed simultaneously feeding both composite and luma into the RT2X. Again, don’t do that.

    2) Audio muting
    when everything is on, and i decide to reset (or turning off and on again, does not matter) the n64 e.G. to change the game, and turning it back on, the sound is muted. it also does not matter which source is selected, or if smoothing is on. Changing the Source to anything else brings back the sound and it will be there until you reset the console again.

    I’m not sure exactly which device is at fault here. Do you have a different HDMI display that you can try this procedure on? If it doesn’t happen on the other display, it might be your TV. I am, of course, assuming you’re using a direct connection; if you have any other HDMI equipment in your chain, like an AV receiver or an HDMI switch, you should eliminate those as possible culprits as well.

    3) Checkboard pattern
    When on S-Video or Component (not on Composite) you will see a very clear “checkboard pattern”, best noticeable on bigger areas of the same colour. It is not that easy to describe just by words, but i linked some images here (hopefully this post will not be considered as spam of this…

    I blame these problems on your cable. Checkerboard patterns are caused by a combination of poor shielding (or none at all) and signal leakage from having the composite video run unshielded alongside luma or RGB lines. Luma generally won’t interfere with anything, but composite video definitely will; this is why you see artifacting with S-Video but not composite. I’m not sure how you’re testing YPbPr component or with which device (The N64 doesn’t output YPbPr, and you didn’t mention any mods or other analogue consoles), but that may also be due to a poorly-shielded or unshielded component cable receiving interference from another source.

    4) Wobbly Lines
    very similar to the audio problem are wobbly lines, which sometimes occur after turning the system on (regardless of retrotinks settings). it looks like every 2 lines or so are jumping from left to right by 1 or 2 pixels, which create a wobbly image like on a bad VHS-Tape. Changing the input makes this effect dissappear. This is not so noteable from a normal viewing distance of a 40″ flatscreen, but very noticeable from below 1m distance or so. activating the smoothing makes this particular effect even worse by one order of magnitude! comparing images of that can also be seen in the linked images above.

    Going by the images linked, I’d say the wobbliness is dot crawl, which is not uncommon with composite video. Composite is just that bad, and those extra components in your cable probably aren’t helping any.

    [things about differences in analog video formats]

    Yup. If you want more info, check out MLiG’s RGB Master Class video series on YouTube. RGB 103 specifically deals with the differences between video formats. It also addresses the checkerboard pattern issue.

    on twitter i have read from a post of some guy, that he came across the issue, that the retrotink 2x may not like some TVs, resulting to strange effects, while it is fine on others. The TV i use is a 2008-ish samsung LE40B55 (40″ LCD-TV). The only other device i had on Hand to test was an older Computer Monitor (22″ Samsung 2032BW), which only offers DVI as digital input. Unfortunately when using a DVI to HDMI-Cable, i was not able to get an image at all, regardless of the Mode RetroTink was set to. Every other test was performed in the Default Line-Doubling-Mode. Transcode-Mode makes my TV to show “unsopported video mode”. All of the described appears when the RT2X is directly attached to my TV as well when beeing passed through my Pioneer VSX-922k HDMI-AV-Receiver. Also the TV is set to “gaming mode” to bypass every image “adjustment” made by the TV as Post-Processing. Until now, i did not have any issues with my TV. Other Retro-Stuff like the HiDef-NES which i also have does run without a flaw.

    Yes, it’s possible that you’ll run into compatibility issues with the RT2X. A lot of old consoles won’t output at exactly 50Hz or 60Hz, and some displays have lower tolerance for slightly-off refresh rates than others. It’s possible your monitor is one of these picky displays, and I expect the reason that your TV complains about the non-line-doubled mode on the RT2X is because it doesn’t support 240p over HDMI, which is fairly common and the entire reason for having the line-double modes in the first place.

    The RT2X does have sync regeneration, but that just covers for slightly-off-cadence sync signals, like those from the NES and SNES; it has no capability to normalize output to 50Hz or 60Hz, which requires a proper scaler that can perform framerate conversion, like the UltraHDMI does for the N64.

    The the case of your NES, keep in mind that the Hi-Def NES works without issue is because it slightly underclocks (and thus slows down) the NES so that it outputs a perfect 60Hz signal (does it do 50Hz on PAL systems?), specifically to avoid compatibility problems. Normally, the NES, at least in NTSC regions, outputs at 60.08Hz, which can be enough to be rejected by some displays.

    #39140
    marcusfrewinridley
    Participant

    I also get a checkerboard pattern like this. (Retrotink 2x pro) I would blame my S-Video cable but it works fine straight into the tv and fine straight into my CRT too. Also my wii through component into the Retrotink is fine too. What could be going on?

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