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Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:49 pm
by Ziggy587
Just wanted to share the evolution of my 13" setup. I've posted all of this info (without the pics) in the CRT thread, probably spread out over many pages, so I thought it would be nice to share this in its own thread.

I have a few different AV setups, but probably like most of you I feel like it's usually much too sloppy looking to share pictures of. :lol: That, and I always feel like "when I get X accomplished then I will finally be satisfied." But I either never seem to get X accomplished, or if I do there's always something else on the to-do list. So here's some pics of my sloppy setup that I'm never satisfied with, but I love nonetheless.

Hopefully this will encourage some people to share pics of their own setups. I would love to see them!

The backstory of why I got a 13" setup (skip if you don't care and just wanna see the pics)...
So as a lot of you probably already know, I have a collection of CRTs that non-retrogamers would view as insane. My flagship is a 27" Sony Wega. Thankfully, I have a basement which supports hobbies such as huge CRT TVs. But around 2015, there was a series of events that kept me from being able to use my basement for recreation. And thus, be able to use the CRTs.

So I was forced to use my HDTV. I tried a bunch of different things, but I was never happy with any of them. Luckily I was able to score a Framemeister for a decent price, and I got RGB cables for all of my consoles. But the first problem was space, I didn't have the space for all of my retro consoles where I have my HDTV setup. So I went for years without playing certain consoles. The second problem was all of the problems you get from trying to retro game on an HDTV. Even with the Framemeister, things don't always look so good. Not to mention the complexity of the setup, honestly some times it was just too much of a pain in the ass for me to bother playing a game for a quick 5 or 10 minutes.

So I ended up not gaming very much in those years. I tried very hard to come up with ideas of how I could fit my 27" Wega upstairs, but I never could think of something that I could live with. One idea I had was kind of neat. I have a larger size TV stand, and I got the idea to put the Wega behind my HDTV, then to build some sort of rack that could raise the HDTV up to reveal the CRT behind it. Then lower the HDTV when you wanna watch it. Something like that would be awesome, and would probably get a lot of hits if I posted it. But as large as my TV stand is, it's not deep enough to hold the CRT with the HDTV in front of it.

Growing up, for the longest time I had a shitty 13" GE CRT in my bedroom. In the 90's, I was lucky enough to have this TV at all (my first bedroom TV was actually B&W!) let alone have my pick at a decent model. I probably did countless hours of gaming on that stupid 13" screen. But I hated how small it was, and sometime in high school I got a 17 or 19" CRT to replace it. At that point it was like, "How did I ever manage with that small 13" screen!?" Then as life went on, I got progressively larger and larger screens. I mention this because at the time I was racking my brain to figure out how to fit the 27" TV, it never even occurred to me to get a 13" screen. I mean, I had heard of people using 13" PVMs, but I always thought that was too small to really have a good time with. A trade off, to get a screen with RGB input but have to sacrifice a decent size.

But then one day, I finally just got sick of my setup and the lack of a CRT and decided to get a 13" CRT. So I went on eBay and nabbed a Sony Trinitron 13"...


So above is my first 13" setup. Sorry for the dark picture, but I took it a few years ago when I first got that TV and didn't have the intentions of posting it.

At the time that I got it, I thought I would just have a little modest setup as seen above. I really just wanted something for the NES because I could never get it to look right with the Framemeister, and I went years without using my NES. But then I quickly hooked up my spare Genesis (a model 3) because I realized I could finally experience all of the dithering effects that look like shit over the Framemeister.

I didn't know what it would be like to game on a 13" screen again, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. I as afraid I would think the screen was too small, but it isn't! You just have to sit closer to it. Luckily my computer desk is on the opposite wall from this TV. So when I want to use the TV, I just spin my computer desk chair around and move it closer to the screen. My eyes are usually 3-5 feet away from the screen when I'm gaming. And it's definitely not too small. Once I "get into" a game, I completely forget about the screen size. There's also something about it that just feels cozy to me. Maybe it's from all the bedroom gaming I did on a 13" screen growing up.

I was enjoying using the 13" CRT with the NES and Genesis so much, I thought it would be crime not to use my other systems with it. But that stand I had it on (in the above pic) was really only accommodating for one console. So I decided to get a new piece of furniture. And that's another great thing about 13" CRTs, they are so small and light, you don't need a proper entertainment center for them. You can use any number of things. So I decided to go with a typical bookshelf...


Above is a pic of when I first put the shelf together and just started to put things on it. Then it never looks that neat again. :lol:

For anyone interested, I got this shelf from Amazon:

So my original plan was to have a very clean and minimalist setup. But that idea was quickly abandoned. You can see in the above pic, to the left of the TV where the NES is, I was going to build a little riser shelf so I could stack more consoles in that space. Same for the bottom-right corner, I was going to build another riser shelf, but maybe have 2 or 3 tiers, to stack consoles down there as well.

The 13" Sony Trinitron only has composite input and a single mono audio input. The TV only has one speaker, so I get it, but that's rather annoying. So I built a stereo summing cable so I could properly use all of my stereo consoles into it.

I quickly hooked up a bunch of consoles. I was having an absolute BLAST gaming on it! It's a huge difference when you game on an HDTV setup for a few years and then go back to a CRT. I never thought of myself as sensitive to response time, but a lot of games just feel better on the CRT. And now I can actually win those puzzle games in SMB3. Not to mention the setup is so much more simple, just turn the TV and the game console on. No extra crap to deal with, like endless settings to get things to look right. And I was able to experience the immediate opening to games that you lose on the Framemeister because it takes a few seconds to sync the signal. Like when you power on Super Mario World or Link to the Past, and the instant you power on you get that "ba-ding" Nintendo Presents splash screen. I hadn't seen that splash screen or heard that "ba-ding" in years! And best of all, games LOOK so much better! Even with the best settings I could find for the Framemeister, retro games just look so much better on a CRT.

So after having so much fun with this little 13", I decided to upgrade to a PVM. I found a good deal on one and pulled the trigger. And now the setup gets more complicated. :lol: First off, the speaker in the PVM is total shit. I ended up getting the Bose Companion 2 Series III, mostly because they sound decent and have a small footprint. I didn't want to have to fit large speakers on the shelf. Secondly, you get a PVM for RGB input, and that also complicates things. Before with the consumer Trinitron, I could get away with a simple composite switch box. But now with RGB, switch boxes aren't so simple.

So for the longest while, I just had a BNC-to-SCART adapter hanging in the front of the shelf so I could swap SCART cables. Any time I wanted to play a different console, I had to swap the SCART cable. Eventually I got a Bandridge 5 input switch box, but I quickly ran out of inputs. So I used the Bandridge's inputs for my most used consoles, then still had the SCART connector hanging out in front of the shelf so I could switch cables for the less frequently used consoles.

And then that's when you're never satisfied with the setup. I still hadn't built the riser shelves. And I never even routed the AV and power cables behind the shelf. I figured why bother since I would eventually have to redo it anyway. I thought I would eventually get a second SCART switcher, or one with more inputs, and finally build those riser shelves, then at that point I would finally connect everything properly and get the rats nest of wires behind the shelf.

Well, that never happened. :lol:



Above is how the setup currently looks. I eventually got a second Bandridge switcher, but I opted to NOT route all of the cables behind the shelf. I figured, I know I'm gonna eventually switch things around and if all of the cables are behind the shelf it'll just be a huge pain in the ass. So, I just routed all of the cables in the front as neatly as I could. It may look messy this way, but I don't care. I like it like this!

The bottom right has a couple of surge protectors that everything plugs into. I have one of these, which is great for wall wart plugs, then I have another standard power strip plugged into that. I never built those riser shelves, so my Genesis is just kinda sitting on top of the surge protectors. I switched to my model 1 Genesis because I can use it with the Mega Everdrive for SMS and Sega CD (the model 3 can't do that). I also have a model 2 Genesis with a model 2 Sega CD, but the model 1 Genesis with the Everdrive takes up less space. Also, the two Bandridge switch boxes live in that space as well.

The PS2 slim is kind of sandwiched in there, but I don't intend to leave it like that. My PS2 phat is hooked up to my HDTV with component cables, and I don't mind using it that way. I'll eventually figure out something better for the slim, but I haven't been doing much PS2 gaming so it's on the back burner for now.

The Saturn is the newest addition to this setup because I finally got an ODE for my model 1 (it had a busted drive, I also have a model 2). So that's why the PS1 got shoved on top of the PS2 slim, and the PC Engine is now on it's side. :lol: I kind of love how the PCE can just fit in anywhere like that. I have the SSDS3 permanently attached to the PCE.

My PVM doesn't have YPbPr component inputs, just RGB. So that platinum Gamecube is a PAL version because it can output RGB. I installed a mod chip in it so I can use my NTSC-U games, as well as boot the startup disc for the Gameboy player. Which is the real reason I got the PAL GCN. My Wii is hooked up to my HDTV with component cables, and I don't mind doing my Gamecube gaming that way (especially for 480p games). So I pretty much only got the PAL GCN in order to use the Gameboy Player over RGB on the PVM. I also finally got an SD card adapter for the GCN, so now I just boot a burned Swiss disc then launch the Gameboy Interface homebrew app.

The N64 is modified to output RGB. The NES, I have the NESRGB kit but I just haven't gotten around to installing it yet. The Wii that's shoved in there, that's actually my backup Wii and it's not actually hooked up. I would connect it to the PVM, there's some VC and WiiWare games I wouldn't mind playing on the CRT, but the Wii doesn't output RGB. I suppose I could hook it up with composite cables, I just haven't bothered.

The shelf above the TV is always a complete mess. Usually it just has the controllers or carts for whatever I currently have in rotation. And whatever other nonsense, when I don't know where to put something I tend to just stick it there. That shelf holds the Bose speakers above the TV. I don't get stereo separation that way, but I don't mind. Since the TV is all the way to one side of the shelf, there's no good way to position the speakers anyway. I had thought about repositioning the TV so it's in the center, but whatever.

The shelf above that was only ever intended for books, but then I ended up shoving other miscellaneous things in there. I put my Dreamcast and PS1 games up there when I was going through those collections to list them for sale, and I just figured I might as well leave them there until I'm done selling everything.

And on top of the shelf is currently just storage for some AV gear. I have my JVC S-VHS VCR up there, which is what I use when I want to digitize VHS tapes. Also my Video 8 VCR, which I use to digitize Sony's Video 8 tapes. The Sharp VCR, the PS1, PS3 and GCN are all just spares that I stuck up there a while back and that sort of just became their new home.

So, a little messy and sloppy, I know. But hopefully you guys will get a kick out of it.

Please create a thread and post your own AV setups! I would love to see them!

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 1:09 pm
by bmoc
Nicely done. I very much want you to get a gscartsw to replace those Bandridges but I'm afraid you are just going to have to duct tape it to the side of the bookshelf.

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 1:12 pm
by marurun
That 13" TV gives you a decent amount of flexibility. I like the different places you've stuffed it.

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:01 pm
by Ziggy587
bmoc wrote:Nicely done. I very much want you to get a gscartsw to replace those Bandridges but I'm afraid you are just going to have to duct tape it to the side of the bookshelf.

Thanks! I was eyeing the gscartsw for a while, as well as the Hydra. But aside from being a little pricey, they're also very large. So yeah, it would be hard to fit into my bookshelf setup. I would probably need more than 1 still. But what I like about the Bandridge switch boxes is that they're relatively small, and they work equally well in a vertical or horizontal orientation.

marurun wrote:That 13" TV gives you a decent amount of flexibility. I like the different places you've stuffed it.

Thanks. I love 13-inchers now. They're just so manageable. A few years back, I scored a Sharp 13" TV/VCR combo for $5.99 in a thrift store. I really didn't need it, but I just couldn't pass it up for 6 bucks LOL. I use it for my new electronics workbench now, being so small it's easy to fit it in practically anywhere.

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:02 pm
by Golgo 14
Nice setup!

And now I'm going to assume that everyone has a framed picture of their avatar in their home.

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:17 pm
by Ziggy587
Golgo 14 wrote:Nice setup!

And now I'm going to assume that everyone has a framed picture of their avatar in their home.

LOL, good eye! That's actually a painting my brother did, and yes my avatar is a crop of it. A few years ago, I posted his video game related paintings here: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=48884

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:54 pm
by Golgo 14
Ah, I never saw those. They're great!

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 10:44 pm
by fastbilly1
I love it. And that it slots into your shelving unit perfectly.

Growing up my family had an 8inch BW TV with a dead speaker that our NES was hooked up to for a long time. If I could ever find the same model I would buy it without hesitation and put it in my office.

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 10:50 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
Golgo 14 wrote:And now I'm going to assume that everyone has a framed picture of their avatar in their home.

Yes because my mirror has a frame on it.

And cool setup Ziggy. Looks cozy.

Re: Ziggy's (messy) 13" CRT Setup

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:42 pm
by Nemoide
Oh man, definitely a cool setup! I also used to play on a junky old 13-inch CRT and have some fond memories of those days.