RGB Video & XRGB-Mini Framemeister :: RGB101  / MY LIFE IN GAMING
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RGB Video & XRGB-Mini Framemeister :: RGB101 / MY LIFE IN GAMING

August 26, 2019


– So, I’m sure you’re used to seeing videos and live streams of emulated games on the Internet. You see Mega Man looking this sharp, and you don’t really think twice about it? of course it’s emulated, right? Most NES systems output composite video at best, and in some cases, for those that remember it, RF only. Nintendo’s Virtual Console is pretty nice-looking, though. In fact, I thought for the longest time it was the be all, end all way of playing classic games from an official source. Well, check this out, what you’re seeing here is actually running on real NES hardware. In this episode, we’re gonna be talking about getting the best picture out of your retro consoles with a format called RGB, and the journey of discovery we took to find it. (Theme Music) – Back before we started the My Life in Gaming channel, Coury and I were working together to research how to get the best picture from our retro game consoles, and how to improve the quality of our streams and recordings. Even though I’ve always been a video guy, I started to feel like there was this insurmountable wall of technical information, but we slowly broke through over time, and are really pleased with where we’ve ended up. But everyone’s starting point is different, so let’s quickly go over the basics issues that retro gamers face with today’s display technology. If you’ve ever taken the red, white, and yellow RCA cables that came packaged with your Super Nintendo, and heck, pretty much every console up through the PS3 and Wii? and plugged them into your HDTV… you’ll be familiar with this dirty smeary image? it’s called composite video, which means all of the picture information is being pumped through a single cable, the yellow one. The game’s still fun, but there’s that nagging feeling that it’d sure be nice if it looked better. Now, if you’ve never tried S-Video, it’s pretty great. The connector itself is an awful design, but unlike composite video, it carries the image over two wires internally, which gets rid of most of the color distortion and crawly edges, and many older consoles support it. It’s a big first step toward improving the picture quality, but stay with us here? you can do so much more than that. If you know anything about video resolutions and interlaced versus progressive images, you’ll probably know that standard definition is often referred to as 480i. But actually, up until the Dreamcast, almost all console games output an even lower resolution? 240p. This is why games are so famous for that chunky pixel look, but HDTVs have to process the image in order to fill that huge expanse of pixels? and frankly, TV manufacturers just don’t really care how accurately vintage game images are processed, with the built-in scalers and deinterlacers for standard definition giving preference to improving 480i video content at the expense of 240p content, and some TVs can’t even process 240p at all. Not to mention, depending on the TV and its processing modes, all of this can and will introduce varying degrees of input lag. With every advance that television technology makes, modern displays continue to become more and more unfriendly toward retro consoles. To make matters worse, better-quality analog connections have been getting phased out of newer TV models and audio receivers, and in the case of S-Video, it’s been gone for years. This means that fans of retro games are slowly getting left behind, especially those of us who enjoy playing physical copies of games on original hardware. It’s a pretty crappy situation, but if you know what to look for, there’s some excellent solutions out there that can make your consoles look even better than they did back in the day. – So, we started throwing ideas around to put together the ultimate technical setup for retro gaming. After some light searching, I discovered that external upscalers do exist. I first bought this piece of equipment? it didn’t cost a lot of money, and it scales 240p to 1080p with ease, but it certainly doesn’t look that great, and there was some input lag too. Some time later, we stumbled upon a website that had us drooling over a little box called the XRGB-mini, better known as the Framemeister. This amazing piece of hardware is sold in Japan by a company called Micomsoft. Reports of virtually no lag, and pristine picture quality, scaled to HD over HDMI, had us both wishing we had the guts to spend $350, without first seeing how it performs in person. But the Framemeister seemed like the smart choice for our setups, so I decided to take the plunge. Needless to say, I was immediately blown away. It wasn’t long before Try followed after hearing my glowing praise. It’s obvious that the Framemeister is designed by engineers who know exactly what retro pixels should look like. Unlike the scaler built into your TV, the Framemeister actually recognizes 240p signals as progressive rather than interlaced. It has an insane amount of tweaks to get your games looking better than you ever knew they could look, and spits it back out to your TV in HD, over HDMI, with so little lag that most people won’t even know it’s there. It even has an option to introduce scanlines to the image to make it look like a CRT television! – Let’s take a closer look at the Framemeister’s inputs. In the front, you’ve got the familiar red, white and yellow RCA composite inputs, with S-video right next to it. On the backside, you’re probably unfamiliar with the D-Terminal input. This is a connector common in Japan, but for our purposes, we use a component video adapter in this port, for systems that support component video, like the GameCube, Xbox and PS2, which look great with a few settings tweaks. Now, maybe you’ll be happy with simply plugging in S-video cables and calling it a day. I love S-Video, so at first, that’s kinda what I thought I was gonna be doing. Either way, you’re gonna be getting some super sharp pixels and a really crisp image compared to what you could ever hope see with your HDTV’s built-in scaler. But let’s take a look around the front again. The Framemeister can accept a signal called RGB. This is an incredibly high level of video quality that most people don’t even know their retro consoles can produce? many systems have it already built in, and it can be implemented into others with modding. RGB gives you an image that makes PS1 games look even better than they do on PS3? and Super Nintendo games through RGB are actually slightly sharper than they are on Wii U? believe it or not, almost every retro console is capable of producing an image that is superior to the emulated methods that the virtual console type services provide on modern hardware. – RGB carries the red, green and blue parts of the image separately. You might think this sounds close to what a component cable does, and that’s maybe half right, but don’t mistake them as being the same type of signal. So what kind of cable do you use for RGB? For our purposes, we’re using SCART cables. Taking a closer look, you can see that it has this funny looking 21 pin connector that, if you live in North America, you’ve probably never seen. Sadly, almost no consumer electronics in North America ever had a SCART style RGB interface, but it was very prominent throughout Europe. Now, if you’re into the idea of having a CRT in your gaming setup instead of an upscaler like the Framemeister, you can hunt down a SCART to component box if your TV supports component. Another option would be obtaining a production level monitor that’s for sale off of, say, Craigslist or something, but the connectors are likely BNC instead of SCART. Even though SCART connections are uncommon in our part of the world, you might be surprised to learn that the North American versions of many consoles are already wired up inside to output RGB. Systems like the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Sega Saturn, PS1, and PS2 all have this readily available if you have the correct cable to access it. There are some other considerations though, like with the Dreamcast, you’ll get the best picture with VGA, and for the PS2, you can get progressive scan in some games if you use component cables instead of a SCART cable. By far the best source we’ve found for high quality SCART cables has been an eBay seller who goes by Retro_Console_Accessories. We’ve also grabbed a few from a UK website called retrogamingcables.com. – It sounds dumb to admit it, but even though I’d had some interest in the Sega Genesis, adding another system to my setup that wasn’t capable of anything better than composite video was a bit of a barrier for me. When I learned that I could get RGB out of the Genesis without any modifications, it didn’t take long for me to decide to buy one, and I have no regrets. Not only did I finally get to play Contra Hard Corps, but playing it with pixels so sharp they’ll cut your eyes was well worth the wait. The Genesis might even have the sharpest presentation of any system that natively outputs RGB. Other systems may require some modification. I’m obviously a huge fan of the NES, but I was always bummed that there was nothing I could do to make it look any better. The Framemeister helps, but even it can’t work miracles if the source video is no better than composite. What people used to do was take the Picture Processing Unit, or PPU, out of a PlayChoice 10 arcade board, and replace the NES PPU to get RGB? but the parts are rare and expensive, and because the PlayChoice 10 actually uses a different color palette than the NES, the results weren’t necessarily that great, or so I’ve heard. Much more recently, a guy in Australia named Tim Worthington has developed a new board called the NES RGB, which costs about $90, way less than a PlayChoice 10 PPU. These sell out fast whenever he puts them up on his website, so you’ll want to start paying attention if you want to grab one. I don’t have any experience with soldering, so I hired a modder to install the NES RGB in my model 2 Famicom. There were a few bumps along the road, but it was well worth it. I now play almost all of my NES games through an NES to Famicom cart converter, so I can play games from both North America and Japan on my modded system. – I was so impressed with Try’s results that I went ahead and bought a model 2 NES that had already been modded with the NES RGB board to replace my composite modded NES 101 unit. (crashing sound) As you can see here, the RF only output on the back of my top loader has been replaced with an AV multi out like you generally saw on the SNES, N64 and Gamecube. The results are crazy! I’d always been a middle of the road NES fan, I had a lot of games I liked, but it was, admittedly, never much of a priority for me. Utilizing this mod has absolutely changed my level of interest in the system. Seeing the games looking this amazing was definitely a game changer for me. You might have heard about the custom aluminum NES and Famicom system called the Analogue Nt. This unit uses real NES processing chips inside, and it supports RGB output via a custom HDMI adapter. I’m sure it’s a great option for some people, but it’s $500, and it’s probably more cost-effective to start putting together all of the pieces to RGB mod for an NES or a Famicom like Try did, or just buy one pre-modded, like I did. – Yeah, I was interested in it, but for me personally, it would kind of bother me to play on something that didn’t look like an NES or a Famicom on the outside. I also got my N64 modded for RGB, which is a very simple and inexpensive mod. Normally it’s only possible on relatively early N64 systems, but it’s my understanding that French modders have more recently developed a method for modding RGB into any N64? as you might expect, the results aren’t exactly revelatory in the case of a console that primarily displays early 3D graphics at a low resolution, but the image is slightly sharper than S-video, and textures do have more contrast and depth. – Almost all of the footage that has been recorded for every episode of My Life in Gaming since the beginning has been captured on real consoles upscaled through the Framemeister. Check it out: here’s a few more side-by-side comparisons in action. (energetic chiptune music)

Only registered users can comment.

  1. So here is a strange issue… why the heck is my Analogue Interactive CMVS more noisy (wavy noisy) then my standard RGB modded CMVS? Both using scart into XRGB mini. What gives?

  2. And then there is us pal users that have to worry about 50/60hz differences in older games. It just becomes 10 times more messy.

  3. a few days ago i got my framemeister along with all my hq scart cables and switcher and everything and just wanted to say tyvm for this extremely informative series of videos. i love my setup right now a lot and id never be able to comprehend a lot of it without these videos.

  4. I have the Framemeister and its garbage compared to the HDRetroVision component cables. check them out

  5. so what is the best option if you don't have the money for framemeister, are in eu so therefore no s-video and are too lazy to mod your n64?

  6. Amazing, seriously amazing work guys.Have 1 question: does all this work with clone nes,supernes,famicom, sega consoles? or only works with original hardware?

  7. ¿Are you sure that the SCART connector doesn't show 480p? I think that it supports 576p and 480p signal too. 8:28

  8. you should make a video about s-video, not alot of peoples talk about it and to be honest, i would like to know cause i want so much better quality out of my crt tv which only have composite and s-video input

  9. For your Genesis, what version of the Genesis did you use in your setup and what cable did you use… as you mentioned without modification needed.

  10. Hey looking for an answer I hope someone here can provide. Just got my framemeister, upgraded it's firmware tonight and added a couple of Firebrand X's profiles. When I was done I held the power button to put it in standby. Is the Standby light supposed to pulse all the time?

  11. Hi. What I can do on the Framemeister to unvoid the Chrono Cross resolution switch problem? I got black screen everytime when I enter the menu.

  12. Say it AIN'T SO?! Are they really discontinuing the Framemeister?! Any insights are VERY appreciated! Luv the channel! <3

  13. well there is solution for low latency gameplay on the cheap
    get a cheap hdmi pc monitor (they have generally way lower latency than a tv)
    and take a cheap scart to hdmi converter or a composite to hdmi converter.
    enjoy!
    (i know it is not as good as a crt but it does the job better than modern tv at low prices)

  14. As you introduce more signals into the chain, it creates more artifacts. I don't like the frameister for this reason. For my gaming i run RGB output to RGB INPUT on a 20 inch Sony pvm. If you a really into retro gaming this is the only acceptable setup. I'm 50 years old so I only use original systems. And have been gaming for over 40 years.

  15. I want to know if I set it to 1080p and upscale the already upscaled to 4k with my onkyo receiver how much delay would it cause. at the moment im doing it and don't really notice anything but im the type of guy who doesn't notice these types of things. What do you have to say about this? sadly I only have s-video cables for the nintendo systems but you guys did say in one of your video's that it's only a bit of a difference anyways.
    I would like to know where you got that shelf?

  16. I've got a question. I'm looking for a solid option to capture my Dreamcast. I currently use an Elgato HD which isn't too happy with the 640×480 the Dreamcast is pumping out via VGA. So I was wondering if the Framemeister is able to take that 640×480 signal via HDMI and boost it up to 720p or even 1080p. I'm unsure if all the scaling, sharpening and all the other options the Framemeister has only works for the SCART, D Link and RCA. So again, do these features work with the HDMI input as well and is this a viable option for the Dreamcast? I already own a VGA to HDMI converter but again Elgato hates anything that isn't 720.

  17. What an amazing channel guys thank you! By the way can you all guys how to get the 100 percent of grafics from my y2 System (kof 2002um) if it's running it on a neo geo multi slot cabinet?

  18. Im from Portugal Pal version so if i have RGB Scart i dont need the Framemeister for good picture on HDTV ? i have rgb scart on Gamecube for gameboy player and i think i am gonna get the ps2 rgb scart cable sync on luma to play ps1 and ps2 games i dont like the ps3 to mutch on that job of ps1 games looks to blurry but for suikoden it was the only option but i find out that vita gives a really good job on suikoden 1 and 2 🙂 !!! i was going to get the cheap hd converter but with this cables i dont know if i need it !!

  19. the thing is, we have just forgotten what the picture is supposed to look like. Obviously its only the few now who actually play on their t.v living rooms most of us are trying to get the look on our modern asus 144hz 1ms 1080p monitors now, let alone the 4k guys.I have looked into it and basically its not worth the effort unless u have the systems i only have my ps2 left and i haven't used it in over 7 years now that i can emulate up to wiiU now . however the only thing I truly miss is my amiga1200 that was with the proper 'AGA' amiga monitor and it was incredible and only 16bit. .
    the other one is SONY PVM 8042-Q: IS IT TRULY WORTH IT? this is the monitor u need for all other consoles up to ps2 at a stretch

  20. Hey guys! Quick question. I didn‘t quite understand what cable to use for the PS2 in combination with the Framemeister. Do you recommend RGB SCART or component? I live in Europe and own a PS2 slim PAL system and a Framemeister. Also, I love your videos. I‘ve learned so much from your channel and I‘m starting to lecture people about video signals and cables – Mostly nobody cares about it as much as I do! All the best from Austria!

  21. I want to see a cheaper device with native Euro Scart socket, native Component input and Optical/Coaxial in and out that will also digitalize an analogue sound signal.

  22. Yes, FUCK the Fraudmeister!!! >:  D
    For that kinda money, you can prolly get a 50" 4K TV with Smart features, internet connectivity, and plenty of inputs for all of your current-gen systems!
    If ya happen to own alot of older consoles, then just throw in a A/V selector switch and you're all good to go.
    As technology improves, those internal scalers on the newer TVs will just keep gettin' better and better and BETTER.
    You'll be way better off with a new TV instead cuz you'll be sure to get ALOT more use out of it.
    If you don't know how to spend your money wisely then you're just throwing it away, sucker!
    Pandong/Doolong all the way… >;  D
    Can't go wrong 'n saves the day!

  23. SO i was looking at the TCL tv. It looks like it doesn't have vga input(not even component thou the framemister has it, it's just ok with it like you guys described in the other episodes). I am wondering what should i do now. Should i just get a c-sync scart cable so i can play Bangai-O in better quality then s-video. The box I have now is the one with s-video and vga(for some reason vga has this yellow tint when booting up the logo but the tv i have now is alot less tint after that i don't notice much didn't really pay attention, other connections even s-video with the same box is pure white.IDK if it is a defective box, it's to late to complain now i had it for many years now.) .
    I think there is a hdmi box made by akura or something by doing a quick search with google. Im going to look at reviews thou. it's $85 us with shipping thou i live in Canada and will be more expensive cause of the exchange rate here.
    Just waiting on RGB dreamcast edition or you guys waiting on something that will come out soon.
    P.S. I love this channel alot. I want everything you talked about it's draining me.

  24. видео хороше класс поняно теперь что приставка это улутшател изображения для консоле денги будут я тоже заказу Framemeister я узна про нее от суда Pixel_Devil Cтримы видео https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0vTeKT3T48

  25. NES Toploader: $100
    NES Toploader RGB Mod by RetroFixes: $200
    Framemeister: $388
    Total: $688

    And you complain that the NT Mini is $450???

  26. I just made a BIG mistake… I orderd the JP21 Scart Adapter version of the famemeister on Solaris Japan. I live in Sweden. Do I need to send back the framemeister or do I only need to buy a new EuroSCART adapter calble and it will work fine?

    I have asked the Solaris Japan support but they dont work until tomorrow so I ask you guys to calm my nerves lol.

  27. I just ordered a framemeister from Solaris. Really excited to get it. Do I need to buy a new power supply or any adapter to be able to plug it in?

  28. Finally got my XRGB Mini ! My SNES looks great on this thru the Svideo port ( at least until the SCART cables arrive ) , but my Genesis 32X has this weird flashing picture going on / REALLY noisy image and the colors are bad using the COMPOSITE port ( again waiting for the SCART cables ) …. Is this a sync issue or something cause the SNES works fine into the yellow COMPOSITE port so its not broken unit or anything

    the Genesis works fine on my TVs composite port so i know the system works perfect also but im stumped , please help !

    thanks so much guys !

  29. I must have something wrong with me, because i hate what this thing does to games. I actually like the slight blurring of the pixels in old games because it makes everything look smoother….what everyone seems to consider the holy grail of resolution looks terrible to me…it removes all blurring totally which makes everything look extremely jagged and over pixelated. It takes images that look smooth and seamless….and makes them look like lego characters. I have no idea why people are spending so much money to achieve this effect.

  30. What exactly do I need to buy to give my PS2 and N64 the best picture? Which Framemeister do I get and what cables will I need? I recently bought the HDMI cable for Gamecube, will Frammeister upscale that even more if I plug HDMI in to it or is that even possible?

  31. This is still a great, informative video all these years later, but I have to ask: have you guys ever considered remaking this video to encompass the advancements the retro gaming scene has seen since 2014 (such as the OSSC)?

  32. This was very interesting. Thanks to you guys, I'm thinking about getting the Framemeister, since I think it'll be the best answer to my current setup.

    Ya'see, I currently own, play, and take care of 8 consoles. Three of them (the XBox 360 slime, Wii-U and PS4) run through an HDMI switcher (which mine currently only supports three inputs), while another three run through a composite switcher (the N64, XBox and Gamecube). The SNES hooks up directly to the TV via coax, while the last console (the Nintendo Switch) connects to the TV directly via HDMI.

    For awhile, I thought that this was as good as it was gonna get. I know of a retro gaming store not terribly far from where I live that do mods for older consoles, but I didn't feel like modding every single composite and coax console I own to HDMI. I felt like that would have been a hassle, as well as expensive. However, thanks to this Framemeister, I'm thinking about running the composite switcher into it first, then having the Meister run into the tv via HDMI. I think that should work perfectly.

  33. They mentioned that VGA cables are best for the Dreamcast but the framemeister doesn’t seem to have VGA capability.

  34. It's really interesting and I like how old consoles can look better, but I find the super sharp pixels quite distracting and I think the image looks really bad, super sharp but bad. These games were designed for CRT screens, and the blurriness they produced actually create a really nice effect of distance. Take this Sonic comparison at 12:56 as an example and puse the video, although comsposite has image artifacts and the color is kinda messed up the image is actually better looking, Sonic details, although blurred, look better, his eyes look more organic and separated from his face, you feel like you could grab that hedgehog, even his feet look with motion blur and the coin looks like a shiny coin, not like a pixelated banana, in the RGB imageit's hard to distiguish his gloves, even the background doesn't look like mountain rocks but just a wall with different shades of brown, not to mention that the sprites stand up and it's visually more comfortable than trying to distinguish pixels above pixels. Blurriness was actually a trick to hide the console limitations, shadows look like shadows, not like perfect chess grids that appear with a HD upscaler. That's only my opinion, I guess it's a matter of preference but I would like filters and other stuff instead of a distracting pixel perfect image.

  35. Hello. I am having screen issues when using a scart cable with the super nintendo. I get sound but no image. Screen stays blue. Is there a specific type of cable I should be using?

  36. I want to play PS2 and Gamecube on my 4k. What is the best combination of cables with the Framemeister for me to use?

  37. would it be a good idea putting the akura box for the dreamcast to a framemeister? I havn't watched this in a long time but i remember you guys saying that the hdmi isn't that grate. is that current i don't have the time to go throu watching this again. Im guessing the 3d games won't be that much dif. at least i can put smoothing. but will benefit for 2d games. Or should i wait for hdretrovision?

  38. So is the ridiculously overpriced Framemeister actually useful when you are playing on a CRT? Like, does it even output analogue signal? And is the higher resolution video even useful for a CRT?

  39. I have two questions:
    1. Can you use normal PAL consoles for this setup?
    2. Can you just use the official RGB Gamecube cable for this setup?

    Hope you‘ll answer, it was a really good video!

  40. Can you guys recommend a mod for my NES side loader to go to from composite to RGB? Further more you said you bought one pre modded but then showed the back of your top loader with the multiout as an example. How can they mod a north america version cause the shell is different then the one you showed for nes. I wonder if it can be modded if its not a top loader?

  41. Wait. Composite Mod!? You spend actual, real, spendable money modding an NES to run composite!? COMPOSITE!? Are you mad!?

  42. Awesome video!! But there's something it's still not clear for me. Can I use the same framemeister with cables scart for a Sega Genesis 3, a PS2 and a pirate famicom? Or Will I have to buy different cables for each one?

  43. I still don't understand how you hook the SCART cables up? what box are you guys using. the framemeister doesn't even have that connection.

  44. I bought the different side of the scart cable to fit through the one that came with my framemeister. but it doens't work. it fits but it still won't work. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I just hope they didn't deliver me a shit cable.

  45. bah! way too much for me ill just stick to my crt besides not like i want a shitload of 90s console in my loungeroom anyway…

  46. Should I bother buying a Framemeister only to get better resolution for exclusively Downloadable PS4 retro 8-bit and 16-bit games?

  47. is the Framemeister ONLY for gaming? or can it be used for anything with a composite/s-video uses? i was wondering if i could use a vcr that outputs composite to the Framemeister so that the vhs tapes could look better on HDTVs

  48. For some reason it appears that i have no audio output on the framemeister at all, i use my ps2 and xbox hooked up to it via official component cables. I tried messing around with the audio settings but nothing worked.

  49. This is cool but Virtual Console should've been sharper in the first place, regardless. Same goes for PS1 on PS3.

  50. i have to wonder why frame meister didn't come out with a 8 in 1 out solution where it did composite/component/s-video in with hdmi output

  51. 1:51 evidence that "scanlines" back then as all the people try to make you believe existed is bullshit!

    They had those checkered lines, but definitely NOT every second line, horizontally was significantly darker!

  52. North America never saw Scart? They have problems because they were using 480i? Well we never had those problems here in Europe 😂 Scart was the standard and the red-white-yellow RCA connector was like synonymous with Scart to us, because we used RCA to Scart adapters all the time.

  53. How do you guys get the framemeister to properly crop overscan? Or is it because of the RGB mod? My famicom displays too wide and too tall and I get artifacts on the edges that are distracting. I end up using one of the 'retro mode' settings and while it helps a lot it doesn't completely hide it. My famicom is A/V modded. It's connected via composite and outputting @720p with scan lies and honestly looks surprisingly good on my 55" LCD TV aside from the overscan. Enabling zoom does weird things to integer scan lines. I just haven't found a good setting yet.

  54. Good morning, I have a sega saturn japanese victor, I am trying to buy a solaris framemeister and the official JP21 RGB cable from Japan (hss-0109) for use on my modern TV. However, television does not have a good sound. That's why I bought a high quality sound system, is it possible to connect this sound system to the framemeister? So that the image comes out on the TV with the JP21 RGB cable and the sound is output through the sound system using another cable. Is this possible? What options do I have for the image to be output on a TV (using JP21 RGB) and the sound output through a sound system? If possible, what cables would you need? Thanks for your comments. regards

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