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N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by opa Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:10 pm

Does an s-video connection improve the video output enough to justify buying the cables for an N64 or GameCube? I do almost all my GameCube gaming through the Wii (component) but I wouldn't mind using my actual GameCube. Also, I'm pretty sure N64 uses the same cable so I'd imagine that would be an improvement. Any thoughts from those that have compared s-video and composite?

I'm playing on an HDTV currently. Sadly no CRT set up right now.
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by MrPopo Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:13 pm

The N64 uses the same cable as the SNES; I don't remember if the Gamecube also uses the same cable or not. I think the S-Video is worth it on the N64; cables are inexpensive and the difference between composite and s-video is noticeable.
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by Nemoide Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:42 pm

The Gamecube was the first console I got an S-video cable for and I can say YES, it's a night and day difference. The N64 is a little more subtle in how much better it looks, but is still an improvement. So yeah, GET THOSE CABLES!
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by Ziggy587 Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:44 pm

The North American composite and S-Video cables are the same for the SNES, N64 and GCN. Link: https://gamesx.com/wiki/doku.php?id=av:nintendomultiav

S-Video definitely makes an improvement for the N64 and GCN. Composite will be a little blurry and have color bleeding, as well as other problems that you might not have (or notice). But the blur and color bleeding that you get from composite are gone with S-Video. This is true for everything, not just these consoles.

But on an HDTV there's so many other factors. Are you going straight into the TV from the console? Or are you going through something first?
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by opa Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:57 pm

Thanks for the input, guys.

I'm going straight to the tv from the console. I don't own any upscalers or anything like that.

Currently looking at this cable:
https://www.amazon.com/Gam3Gear-Nintendo-Gamecube-Video-Cable-Super/dp/B00LE3EAIK/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=gamecube+svideo&qid=1594057937&sr=8-2
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by Ziggy587 Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:22 pm

Cheap unbranded cables are always a crap shoot. They may or may not be shielded properly. And if they aren't, you may or may not have interference problems.

If you can solder, you could make your own fairly easily and then you'd know exactly what you're getting.
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by Jagosaurus Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:14 pm

Haven't used it personally, but this cable is getting a lot of props for being the best Ninty s-vid cable around:

https://retro-access.com/products/n64-s-video-cable

A good S-video cable will get you probably 75% of the way to a RGB SCART connection. This MLiG video shows s-vid captures vs other connections:
https://youtu.be/DPdzSsPHZEI

The N64 is an odd duck. I'd personally be okay with s-vid as anything higher requires mods.
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by opa Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:21 am

Thanks for the link, jag. I'll give it a look.

Out of curiosity, how much of a challenge would it be to make my own s-video cable considering I have zero experience?
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by Ziggy587 Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:59 am

opa wrote:Out of curiosity, how much of a challenge would it be to make my own s-video cable considering I have zero experience?


It wouldn't be a bad first project to learn to solder. And the actual soldering part is easy, it's learning how to have a third hand that's the real challenge. You'd have to strip a few wires and solder them to lugs, which is relatively easy compared to other hand soldering tasks. That's it in a nutshell.

Here's the primer video for soldering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpkkfK937mU

The above video does a real good job explaining the principles of soldering, and it's only a few minutes long! After that, I recommend just searching "soldering tutorial" on YouTube, there's a lot of great videos. Watch a few of them. EEVBlog has a good 3-part tutorial. Most of them are geared toward soldering components onto PCBs, which is great, but that's not what you'd be doing to make this AV cable. The multi AV plug will have pins that you have to solder the wires onto. The method you want to use is tin both pieces separately then join them together. So you'd tin the pin of the AV connector, tin the wire, then heat the pin back up and introduce the tinned wire.

Here's a good video explaining this method (just pretend one wire is the AV connector pin): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRPF4wpXX9Q

A few more videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM6rqVRMxXs , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opMBIIB6l1M

You're not gonna bother with heat shrink tubing though, or any insulation for that matter. The plastic case that surrounds the multi AV connector IS the insulation. You just have to make sure you don't make any bridged connection when you're putting it together, but you don't have to insulate each connection because they're not gonna move inside the plug.

Nintendo multi AV plug: https://console5.com/store/nintendo-sne ... epair.html

Or, you can just use one from a cheap cable, like eBay item number 263444253101.

As for the rest of the cable, it's up to you! Obviously, don't grab cheap cables (why bother). You have a few options. You can get pre-made S-Video cables and cut one end off. Or you could buy the connectors and shielded wire and build the entire thing yourself.
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Re: N64/GameCube s-video: is it a significant improvement?

by opa Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:40 am

^Thanks for all the info!
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