Here’s an overview of the RAD2x Nintendo Multi-Out HDMI adapter. It works on all consoles that came with that port, across all regions! More info on the RAD2x itself, as well as the other individual versions are available below.
Here’s everything we talked about in the order it was mentioned:
Mini HDMI to HDMI Cable: https://amzn.to/2UfCZwG
Mini HDMI to HDMI Adapter: https://amzn.to/2v0jn55
1CHIP SNES: https://www.retrorgb.com/snes1chip.html
Easy SNES Mini & N64 RGB Mods: https://www.voultar.com/
NES RGB Info: https://www.retrorgb.com/nesrgb.html
N64 RGB Info: https://www.retrorgb.com/n64rgbcompatible.html
RetroTINK2x Pro: http://bit.ly/tink2xpro
RetroTINK 2x Classic: http://bit.ly/retrotink2x
SNES Shielded S-Video Cable: http://bit.ly/snessvideo
Carby GameCube HDMI Adapter: https://amzn.to/2U2xGk2
HDMI to Component Converter: https://amzn.to/2zjWsVe
Game Boy Interface Software: https://www.retrorgb.com/gameboyinterface.html
All equipment used to shoot this video can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/shop/retrorgb
When the Super Famicom was released in November of 1990, it introduced the first “multi-out” to ever ship with a Nintendo console. That multi-out port supplied composite video, S-Video and RGB, all from that one proprietary connector.
The multi-out was next used in 1993 for the re-release of the Famicom, which was referred to as the “AV Famicom”, specifically because of the addition of that port. This port only supplied composite video, as S-Video and RGB weren’t supported from NES consoles.
The multi-out was next seen in 1996 with Nintendo 64 consoles, but RGB was omitted from all of them, with some PAL consoles lacking S-Video as well.
The final use of this multi-out was the 2001 Game Cube’s analog output port, which offered composite video and S-Video in NTSC regions and Composite and RGB in PAL regions.
So, what do all of these multi-outs have in common? Two things. First, they all work with the same composite video cable. Next…they all work with the RAD2x HDMI cable!
At the moment, the RAD2x cables are the only plug & play solution for classic game consoles that treat the image correctly. Now I have a whole other detailed video that shows exactly why these statements are true, but I wanted to have a separate video dedicated to its use just with Nintendo Multi-out consoles, cause I think there’s a ton of advantages that this one cable can provide across a bunch of different systems.
So, let’s start with the first Nintendo console to ship with this multi-out: The Super Nintendo!
To use a RAD2x with any of the Super Nintendo models, simply plug it in and plug in an HDMI cable to the other end.
I like to use cables that are MiniHDMI on one end and regular HDMI on the other, but if you’d like to use cables you already have, you can get adapters for just a few dollars. You can see as we power it on, the LED light on the RAD2x turns red, then scans for a signal. Once it finds the RGB signal, the light turns purple and the HDMI signal is sent to the TV.
That’s it! Just plug it in and get a great quality signal!
As a note, all footage in this video is taken with a Panasonic GH5 camera, positioned in front of my LG 4K TV. I think this is the most fair way to show how the RAD2x actually looks on an average TV, as opposed to digital captures that would have to be scaled into this video. Anyway, back to the SNES examples…
One thing to note, is later models of the Super Nintendo and Super Famicom that are nicknamed the “1CHIP’s” output a much sharper picture. Just to be clear, you’d see this difference on every device, not just the RAD2x. I think the original Super Nintendo looks fine, but if you’re chasing the sharpest pixels, try to find the later model 1CHIP’s.
Now let’s take a look at the Super Nintendo Mini, which is the same as the Super Famicom Junior in Japan. These consoles shipped from the factory only outputting composite video and not S-Video or RGB. You can see as we boot the console, the RAD2x scans the signal and automatically detects that only composite video is present. The LED light now turns yellow and the RAD2x becomes a composite to HDMI cable.
The picture isn’t as good as when using RGB, but I really like that the RAD2x still acts as a plug and play device and just works.
Luckily, there’s a really easy mod you can perform that re-enables RGB output on the SNES Mini. Just drop the RGB board over the AV pins, solder the connections and bring the RGBs signals from the points on the motherboard to the new mod board.
Now the SNES Mini can output a signal that’s considered some of the best quality RGB you can get from an original console!
I really like how people starting out can just buy a RAD2x and start using it right away on all models of the SNES…and if they have a mini, it’ll still work with no fuss and no input button to mess with. Then if they decide if they’d like to upgrade to RGB, the RAD2x will just automatically boot in that mode, with no changes necessary. At the moment, no other HDMI cable on the market can even come close to doing that!
The AV Famicom was the only 8-bit Nintendo console to ever ship with a multi-out, but since the chips that generate the signal on all of those consoles only output composite video, that’s the only signal you’ll be able to get, unless you’ve modded your NES. Once again, we see the RAD2x boot into composite mode, represented by the yellow LED light.
The signal isn’t terrible and about what you’d expect from a TV that processes composite video correctly. I still think it’s an upgrade over going direct, as most TV’s process 240p over composite as 480i, causing a flicker and 480i processing will almost always add lag.
Honestly, this mode doesn’t look too bad, especially considering that many people are used to the soft look of NES games anyway. I bet many people will find this a good enough solution without modding their console at all…
…but if you’d like the best picture possible, you can install a NESRGB kit for the highest quality video signal and better color palettes. It’s not an easy install, but one that’s definitely worth it for people chasing the best signal.
As a note, as long as the install is done correctly, you can even use a Nintendo mult-out on any NESRGB installation and the RAD2x will be compatible. Once again, make sure you know what you’re doing though, as a bad installation could be disastrous.
N64 consoles all came with a Nintendo multi-out connector, but none of them had RGB enabled. I’m not sure if this was a cost-saving technique on the part of Nintendo, or if it was the fact that the composite video of N64’s actually looks great, especially when you consider that Nintendo was counting on the blending of those low-res 3D graphics. Now, every model of N64 can be modded for RGB and some can even be done with a very cheap mod.
For those N64’s, all that’s required is soldering a chip over some pins and soldering a few wires. Later model N64’s, like the “Funtastic” ones require a much more difficult installation though, that usually requires a professional installer.
Once again, the RAD2x will work with a completely unmodified N64 in composite video mode, and it actually looks pretty good! I think it’s because the 3D graphics blend together nicely with the blurring of composite video, where 2D graphics from the eight and sixteen bit Nintendo consoles lose sharpness when using composite on a flat-panel. Also, there isn’t as much color interference as with other consoles, since the N64 just doesn’t have the high frequency luma that causes luma-chroma cross talk that something like a SNES has.
Of course, with an RGB mod, you can get the sharpest image and best colors possible from an N64. Once again, the RAD2x will automatically detect if your N64 is RGB modded when it boots and you’ll see the LED glow purple.
I think the coolest thing about using a RAD2x with the N64 is a smoothing filter that helps reduce the blocky look of the 3D graphics. I didn’t show this fitler before, as I don’t think it makes 2D games look good, but in my opinion, it really helps the N64’s 3D graphics. Also, while the filter works great with composite video, when you combine it with an RGB mod, you get the advantage of the high quality colors and sharpness of RGB, with the blockly look smoothed out.
I definitely need to take a moment to discuss S-Video output, as there were a ton of comments on the original RAD2x video, asking why the RAD2x doesn’t support it. Respectfully, I think a lot of those commenters just didn’t understand how S-Video applies to the N64, or to the overall use case of the RAD2x. So, please allow me a moment to explain!
First and most importantly, there isn’t a huge difference in quality between composite video and S-Video on the N64. Overall, bright screens look pretty similar and while you can see some differences in dark screens, it isn’t as drastic as with other consoles. Also, while NTSC N64’s offer S-Video output, not all PAL revisions do. As a result, if the RAD2x added S-Video support, not only would there be a cost added to include components for the extra signal, but it might cause compatibility issues with those specific PAL consoles…and both defeat the purpose of a universal plug and play device.
I think the RAD2x is the perfect balance of simplicity, while still offering RGB support, but if you really need S-Video, just make sure to use the best and most cost-effective solution out there:
The RetroTINK2x and some shielded S-Video cables!
There’s other scalers out there that work great as well, but with the N64, the smoothing filter these products offer is much more beneficial than which signal you’re using. In fact, if you already own a RetroTINK, I’d still recommend just using the cables your N64 came with to save money, but at least all options are there. Please note that cheap, unshielded S-Video cables look just like composite, so you’ll need to spend extra money on good ones to make a difference.
Speaking of money, the total cost of an RGB mod and the RAD2x might be cheaper than any S-Video solution currently available, depending on which mod your console is compatible with. I just suggest stepping back and deciding what’s the best solution overall for your setup.
Before I get into talking about GameCube support, I just want to point out that with the RAD2x, GameCube support should really just be considered a “bonus” and in most cases not a focus. See, most models of the GameCube shipped with a digital out port, that allows you to plug in an adapter that gets all the resolutions the GameCube supports, digitally.
My favorite of those devices is the Carby from Insurrection Industries. This device gets you HDMI out and supports 480p games, which have graphics that look really great on flat-panel TV’s!
You can even combine this with a cheap, zero lag HDMI to component converter and for around $100 total, you now have a solution that supports all resolutions on both analog and digital devices!
There’s still a few scenarios in which the RAD2x might be a great choice for the GameCube though, so let’s check em out!
If you own a PAL GameCube, those models all support RGB output, which means if your favorite games are 240p or 480i, you’ll be able to take advantage of it’s deinterlacing and line doubling. That means any non-480p game will essentially look like a GCVideo solution like the Carby.
Also, the Game Boy Interface software looks great with the RAD2x on PAL GameCube’s! Check out the GBi section of the website for more info, but if your main use of the GameCube is for Game Boy Advance games and your PAL GameCube doesn’t have a digital-out port, the RAD2x might be the perfect solution.
Speaking of homebrew software, if you boot with Swiss, you can try forcing games to run in 240p instead of 480i. I know it seems weird to lower a game’s resolution, but forcing a progressive scan signal might be a better look for certain games…especially if you’re stuck with a GameCube without the digital port and don’t have the option for 480p.
Also, launching your GameCube into Swiss will allow you to force certain regions, so you can play NTSC games on a PAL GameCube and vice versa. Just remember that the RAD2x passes through whatever region it receives, so if you’re booting a PAL GameCube on an NTSC TV, you might not get a signal.
Unfortunately, NTSC GameCube’s don’t output RGB at all, meaning your only choice is to use it’s composite video mode. If you’re buying the RAD2x to use with other consoles anyway, I’d suggest giving it a try on your GameCube, just to see what you think. Definitely try using the smoothing filter though, as just like with the N64, I think it really helps the look of 3D games!
Overall, it doesn’t look terrible and certainly looks better than plugging your GameCube’s composite video output directly into a flat-panel TV!
A digital-to-digital solution like the Carby would definitely be better, but as I said before, if you’re planning on getting a RAD2x anyway, at least it can hold you off until you’re able to purchase a 480p-compatible solution…and heck it might be good enough for some people! At least it doesn’t add any lag and PAL users can take advantage of RGB!
After a ton of testing across all different models of Nintendo multi-out consoles, I can honestly say that the RAD2x provides the best plug and play HDMI solution for anyone who’s just looking for a way to connect their consoles to digital displays, without any fuss.
Please remember that overall value for your money is the most important factor here – All other plug and play solutions for the Nintendo Multi Out available today add lag, as well as add a flicker to the image. Check out the original RAD2x video for a full explanation, but honestly, every other “so called HDMI cable” I’ve tested for Nintendo consoles, has been a complete waste of money.
The RAD2x might be more expensive than some of those other cheap solutions, but I’d still consider them affordable…especially considering the performance you get out of it. Definitely check out my other videos if you’d like to see more info though, as I go into detail across all the different consoles it supports.