Purtle
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Purtle
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Joined: 12:42 AM - Oct 11, 2010

4:32 PM - Dec 19, 2015 #31

I already have CRT because its needed for competitive smash (64 and melee!) so I probably won't be trying to get something like this for quite a while.

I quite like my CRT, and there's always people giving away free ones on craigslist!
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kartmaster
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Joined: 2:56 PM - Oct 27, 2013

6:09 PM - Dec 19, 2015 #32

It's a bit apples and oranges to me. The important thing to me is that it makes playing original N64 on modern HD TVs a much more enjoyable experience.

I hope I can always keep a CRT around for my retro consoles, but I understand that for some that's more of a burden than a joy. This is a pretty fantastic alternative for those folks.

In the distant future when functioning CRT sets could become quite rare, this mod may be the only feasible way to enjoy the original hardware. I see some value in that.
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italia64
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Joined: 2:54 AM - Jun 20, 2012

3:07 AM - Dec 20, 2015 #33

I agree Kartmaster.

I'm waiting the day where the CRT quality will be reached and maybe overtaked in new TVs.
It will be a great day for me :-P





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Cabanon
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Joined: 11:57 PM - May 08, 2011

2:49 PM - Dec 20, 2015 #34

I'll have to ditch my n64 and show you close pictures of mk64 on my modern HDTV setup. it's quite remarkable and I don't see the point of going downstairs to play it on a tiny stupid CRT.

I have to take it out anyway to get back my Frappe Snowland SC
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italia64
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Joined: 2:54 AM - Jun 20, 2012

3:20 PM - Dec 20, 2015 #35

Yes I don't say the on HDTV N64 sucks even with HDMI output.
It's surely a good compromise, especially if someone don't want a 100lbs Trinitron in the living room.

So yes, everyone can skip my advice.

But I'm a N64 gamer and lover, so not only I love to play N64 games and knowing their development story, etc. But I love to examine the graphics too.

This is almost impossible to do it properly with HDTV. For example, compare Resident Evil 2 on N64 and PS1 on CRT.
N64 version is easily recognizable as the superior one, even a kid can see it (in fact I was a kid when I compared them for the first time hehe).
But on HDTV them look the same game (aside the FMVs which are considerably better on the PS1 version even on HDTV).

Or try World Driver Championship, Perfect Dark and Turok 2 with HDMI output. Yes impressive games, maybe a bit of wow factor too, but nothing transcendental.
Well, try them on a 29" Trinitron with RGB and you won't believe to your eyes.

There is an Italian group where we share our opinions about graphics set-ups, etc.
Everyone who tried tue combo N64+RGB+Trinitron is absolutely persuaded about the unmatchable result, impossible to compare (so far, but in future things fortunately will change) with the best HDMI set-ups.

Please try All Star Baseball 2000 on CRT and after try it on HDTV. It's another game, believe me.

By the way, the difference changes game by game. 2D graphics and blurry graphics games are good on HDMI.

But please, check the difference of stuff like JFG, Perfect Dark, World Driver Championship, Turok 2, Conker, Tooie, etc.
These games on CRT look better than a lot of Dreamcast games, I'm not exaggerating.





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Cabanon
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Joined: 11:57 PM - May 08, 2011

3:52 AM - Dec 21, 2015 #36

maybe, I don't have half these games so cant really tell. im not using upscaler anyway, I simply plug the Video jack in my tv and the audio jacks in my amplifier. this way I get full surround sound and video without any kind of lag or very very little. it's a very fantastic combo and I'd be eager to test the hdmi just to see if it's worth it and what amount of lag is it gonna add.

however, im not gonna get one anytime soon, so i'll probably never see the differences.
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andyk2003
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andyk2003
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Joined: 5:04 PM - May 16, 2013

12:04 AM - Dec 22, 2015 #37

Hi everyone - I've just spent some time with the mod & just had to quickly chime in :)


It's surprising good actually - I didn't expect it to be as good as it is. The choice of modes is excellent and really varied. On the one end of the spectrum, you have the de-blur option - the image is line doubled and rendered in super sharp pixels. Some people seem to like this, but it's definitely not for me. The image is very pixellated - graphics in the distance degenerate into indecipherable clumps of pixels. In fact I avoid all the sharp pixel and direct modes as I've always disliked line doubling with the N64. It's all a matter of personal taste of course, but to me this isn't how Nintendo intended their games to be experienced. I think they wanted their hardware anti-aliasing to counter heavy pixellation and when it wasn't overdone and used well it could look amazing on the right display.


At the other end, you have the retro mode, with dynamic scan lines, bloom etc. This is better, but a touch soft to my liking - I adjust from the individual settings instead (no overscan, HV bloom etc). I keep Hybrid scanlines though - in brighter areas, the scanlines bloom and blend like a real CRT although the effect is a little overdone, as if the CRT had the contrast set too high. It'd be nice to have a setting to reduce the effect a little - but the overall effect is nonetheless really nice as long as I'm sitting far enough from the TV (about 10-12 feet from a 46" screen). Any closer and the flaws in the image start becoming more apparent.


Similar to the Framemeister scanlines, there's the option of 'simple scanlines' with varying intensity settings (but no blooming) - but I preferred hybrid. The hybrid mode combined with gamma boost gives a very CRT-like image. For me, It's not quite as nice as a good CRT with RGB though - but close - much closer than I thought it would be. To me, the CRT + RGB connection just handles the image a touch better . A little more forgiving, smoother, less pixellated, but still very clean and without any lost detail - combined with that lovely, unique punchy glow of real CRT phosphors. I think the effect is a slightly more pleasing and cohesive image, although I expect the difference won't be much (or any) of an issue to a lot of people. This will be improved upon in the future when we finally get true hardware dynamic phosphor emulation in 4K OLED. It's also worth mentioning that I'm using a plasma which tends to be a little more forgiving than LCD for SD material. I don't think it would be a factor but I don't have an LCD to test it on.


All in all, the mod definitely looks quite a lot better on my HDTV than a direct RGB connection. The cost is high but I think it's really worth it for dedicated N64 players who don't want a CRT. The 16ms lag didn't bother me, but then again, my TV has low lag. Hope this is useful!
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Cabanon
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Joined: 11:57 PM - May 08, 2011

1:18 AM - Dec 22, 2015 #38

thanks for the lag time. 16ms seems small or high depending who you are, but for MK64 this will be very hard to be competitive with that when you're playing by hundreds of seconds or less.

thanks for the review !
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kartmaster
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Joined: 2:56 PM - Oct 27, 2013

2:19 AM - Dec 22, 2015 #39

Thanks for the feedback! This mod is going on my wishlist.
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andyk2003
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andyk2003
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Joined: 5:04 PM - May 16, 2013

8:28 AM - Dec 22, 2015 #40

No worries :)

I forgot to mention that there is one mode that has virtually no lag whatsoever - direct mode. It's just a simple line doubler and doesn't do any extra image processing - but still looks very good (much better than an RGB connection on my plasma). The lag is extremely low - less than 100 nanoseconds, close to a CRT. This mode outputs in 480p/576p.

The upshot is that even on a fast HDTV, in this mode the mod should be quite a bit faster (relatively) than just using a standard AV connection as the TV now has one less job to do - the process of linedoubling a 240p image to 480p before it gets upscaled. The mod does this practically instantly, something most HDTVs can't do.
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