XRGB-mini FRAMEMEISTER HDTV Retro Console Game Upscaler
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XRGB-mini FRAMEMEISTER – HDTV Retro console game upscaler.
XRGB-mini FRAMEMEISTER – HDTV Retro console game upscaler.
What is an XRGB Mini?
An XRGB Mini is currently the latest video upscaler created by Micomsoft. There is an XRGB legacy including a 1, 2, 2+, and 3. Some of those upscalers are sought after for strengths in specific areas such as lower latency and better support at a specific video output. The XRGB Mini was released to provide a simpler yet flexible way to take multiple input formats and upscale them all to HDTV friendly sizes (480p, 720p, 1080p).
Is it only useful if I know Japanese?
NO! Luckily English firmware support has been added some time ago. You may need to set up the XRGB Mini firmware for English.
Why would I want this thing?
Have you ever hooked up your old trusty NES to the RF or Composite input on an HDTV? Does it look like crap and even exhibits noticeable lag? Then you’ve dealt with the problem the XRGB Mini is out to solve. The XRGB Mini converts legacy video formats to HD video format while minimizing lag and preserving the best picture quality possible. Most HDTV’s on the market process HD video very well as it’s their highest priority, most SD formats and inputs are supported as an after thought. The XRGB Mini puts as much thought as current manufacturers put into processing HD video into processing legacy video formats.
What’s the downside?
It does add ~1 frame of lag to the the output, not to mention you’re likely hooking this up to an HDTV which may have it’s own lag on top of that if you’re processing the image on the TV. While the XRGB Mini is here to simplify output compared to earlier versions of the XRGB line, there are still minor things to keep in mind for certain consoles, check below.
What inputs does it support?
Out of the box you will have support for:
- Composite with mono/stereo
- HDMI (2)
What is D-terminal and JP-21?!
D-terminal is a format used in Japan which luckily can be easily converted to component with an adapter. You can plug in the adapter and use it just as you would component input. JP-21 is a format which uses the same style connector as a European SCART cable. The problem however is that while the connectors are the same, the pin mappings are different. This will cause some issue if trying to mix and match Euro SCART and Japanese 21 pin connectors.
That’s great but I don’t know what an SCART cable is either!
Basically SCART and JP-21 are connectors which allow a variety of output over 1 connector. They allow you to transfer an image that’s composite, or even maps directly to RGB. As a result older consoles can provide the best image when hooked up via RGB unless they’re recent enough to support better image outputs. You either want to use all SCART or all JP-21. Go with SCART. Even though it’s not supported out of the box you can find connectors to the XRGB Mini’s port which will allow you to use SCART. Finding console SCART cables is much much easier than trying to find JP-21 cables.
What’s the best way to hook my systems up?
A lot of it varies based on how much you want to spend. You can likely plug everything in via composite, s-video or component and get a better image than an HDTV would give you stock, but let’s be honest if you’re looking to use an upscaler as nice as this one you’ll want to give it the best output your console can give!
Check out these set-ups below:
- NES/Famicom: Euro SCART
- PC Engine Duo: JP-21
- Master System: Euro SCART
- Genesis/32X/CD: Euro SCART
- SNES: Euro SCART
- Neo Geo MVS: Euro SCART
- Playstation: Euro SCART
- Saturn: Euro SCART
- N64: Euro SCART
- Dreamcast: It’s…complicated but Euro SCART
- Playstation 2: Component
- Xbox: Component
- Gamecube: Component
- Wii: Component
- Xbox 360: HDMI
- Playstation 3: HDMI
- Wii U: HDMI
System hookup notes
If you want to spend a chunk of change you can RGB mod your NES based off of the following options. Go with the NESRGB board. It seemed to have the best overall flexibility.
- PC Engine Duo
This console modded specifically to output RGB. As a result the RGB connection is non-standard and was specifically set to JP-21. If anyone has this mod done, I’d recommend you go the Euro SCART route.
- Master System
This console seems to need slightly different settings in the XRGB Mini compared to most of my consoles. It works pretty well however.
This setup is a monster…most of the people reading this know a “good” (HD graphics) Genesis from a “bad” (non HD or model 2) one. To get a good image from an unmodified Model 1 Genesis could take some time. People tend to have sync and color issues with it. When I want to use the 32X as you can imagine that complicates things. Getting the stereo sound patched up to the 32X requires a special cable. You can take the audio out from the CD after it’s mixed and plug it into that. If you don’t have a CD you can plug it right into the headphone jack instead. Then you need another Euro SCART cable to hook up from the 32X to the XRGB Mini. One thing to note is that some games won’t output right. Street Fighter II Championship Edition has issues, and playing Sonic 2 in split screen does not work sadly. This was due to the odd way in which they actually split the screen.
It’s important to note that the SNES mini/jr is not compatible natively with RGB output. A mod can be performed for that to be enabled. It’s important to note that you may notice a thick vertical line that’s slightly lighter which is just off center when hooking up the SNES with a better output. I guess you can fix most of it with by adding a capacitor, but not sure there’s much of a fool proof way other than by using a different encoder.
- Neo Geo MVS
Use an Omega which is a consolized version of an arcade MVS-1C board. The sync on a Neo Geo is not exactly in line with 60hz, it’s just a bit lower. This causes my XRGB Mini to require different sync settings than most of my other consoles as a result. Also if you desire to get scan lines you have to use a different spacing than most other consoles.
Victor Saturn hooked up via Euro SCART. Thought that some people have found issues hooking up American Saturns via SCART but I’m not sure on that one.
US N64 models do not typically support RGB. This was something that was removed from most US revisions. Early ones do support it via a mod. The mod is not for someone with shaky hands such as myself. Have a professional do it! If you want to hook it up via s-video that still looks pretty good as well.
The Dreamcast can output Composite, S-video, VGA, and I think PAL allowed SCART. No Component sadly. Looking at it the solution should be simple “Oh just use SCART” unfortunately SCART doesn’t work with all games, and VGA doesn’t work with all games. Granted it will for most, but not all. You also have the issue of getting 480p as a possibility over VGA but not SCART as the format only goes up to 480i.
- Playstation 2
Playstation 2 hooked up through component. There have been findings that the output via component on the PS2 is not very clear and is often times muddled. Some games look better over SCART and there’s a few other settings you can mess with in the system menus to try and get a better picture as well. Honestly it’s not worth the hassle and just stick with Component.
HD Video/Audio breakout box to get the dolby digital audio out of it. If you don’t care, standard component cables should do the trick just fine.
So Nintendo decided to pull a fast one on the Gamecube. Early versions of the Gamecube came with a Digital Out port. Using this port in combination with the standard A/V port (for audio) you could hook it up via D-terminal or Component. The problem isn’t so much finding a Gamecube with this port, it’s finding the component cables. Prices on them have sky rocketed to $120+. This is due to a the fact that the cable contains a special chip that’s not been reverse engineered. As a result there are no third party cables, and Nintendo stopped selling and supporting that connection a while ago. If you want to play progressive out I’d recommend the Wii personally, not sure it’s worth the price otherwise.
Have this hooked up via SCART.
Have this hooked up via component.
- Xbox 360/PS3/Wii U
Have these hooked up via HDMI.
Awesome Little retro machines.