Review: RAD2X is the only HDMI cable you need for your retro consoles

Image: Nintendo Life / Damien McFerran

Ever since TVs entered the glorious realm of HD, a battle has unfolded in the world of retro gaming. Relying on the RGB output was probably the smartest way to get the best picture from your CRT-filled consoles in the 90s, but that’s not always the case now (in fact, many modern TVs have removed connections like SCART entirely). , and those who have them rarely do well with an analog signal).

This opened the door to a wide range of AV solutions for retro gamers, including upscalers like OSSC, RetroTINK2x and Framemeister (which at a basic level take an analog signal and turn it into something your modern TV can play well). , and they do the job just fine), as well as cheaper plug-and-play cable options, most of which have historically offered less than outstanding results. So far, i.e.

Produced by a British company Retro gaming cables in collaboration with RetroTINK, RAD2X range cable aims to offer low-latency analog-to-digital conversion as well as scaling and even an optional anti-aliasing filter for good measure. The RAD2X cables cost £53.99 each and have been produced for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64/Famicom AV/SNES/GameCube. port. In addition, the Mega Drive RAD2X cable has additional adapters that allow it to be used with other systems such as Neo Geo and PC Engine. Unlike competing products, none of them require an additional power source, with the exception of the PlayStation example.

The cable itself plugs directly into the back of the console, and at the other end is a clear plastic box that houses the technology that powers the RAD2X. It then connects to your TV via a Mini-HDMI-to-HDMI cable. Unlike many of the standalone scalers we’ve mentioned, there’s no tweaking required here – it’s a truly off-the-shelf solution that performs flawlessly every time. According to the manufacturer, the latency is about 53 microseconds, and we can’t confirm this – from what we can see, there is no noticeable input lag.

Compared to SCART, composite or S-Video connections, the difference in picture quality is striking: images look crisp and colorful (and properly scaled), and sound is just as impressive. The “smoothing” filter may not be to everyone’s taste (we certainly prefer seeing those lovely square pixels), but there are certainly times when an image looks more visually pleasing – and there is if you’re a fan of that sort. things. The only thing missing is the ability to include CRT-style scan lines, which is one of the main draws of devices like the OSSC.

While not cheap, especially when compared to other, lower end HDMI cables on the market, RAD2X cables perform much better. Another bonus is the fact that a single cable (such as the Nintendo Multi-Out) can often power multiple machines. While serious AV fanatics may miss the opportunity to fiddle around with different settings and add things like scanlines to the mix, the RAD2X series is arguably the best option for those who just want to run their old gear on a modern TV with a minimum of fuss. and effort, and highly recommended.

Thanks to Retro Gaming Cables for providing the RAD2X cables and adapters used in this review.

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