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What is the best 7800 A/V mod?


Everett1954
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Hi,

 

Just got a great 7800 but now looking at have the AV mod done.

 

Only need the composite video and analog audio out (Do not need S-Video)

 

There are different mods available.

 

Best Electronics Mod-consists of removing RF modulator adding components and cable.

 

The LongHorn Engineer board- a small board that gets tied into TIA, I believe this is what ElectronicSentimentalities use and well as others.

 

Please chime in with your AV mod experience, did you do it yourself if not who, which mod kit did you use, are you happy with it.

 

Can someone please explain the TIA switch that can be installed in some kits....Is it useful or needed?

 

What about the POKEY chip mod that is added to main board..is that useful or needed?

 

Thanks!

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Cjameslv, where did I say I wanted an inferior mod? Nothing above says any of that. Is it because I don't have a TV with S-Video? I know a a lot of the mods have S-Video also (like my 5200) but I do not use it.

 

Just trying to determine what the the best mod is by finding out what other other people are using and have done and and asking some questions.

 

What mod are you using? would you recommend it?

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My 7800 I got direct from Best and it is very nice. It has the AV mod with stock NTSC boot ROM. They also offered a "Euro" BIOS that skips the rainbow loading screen and bypasses the integrity check, allowing you to play built in Asteroids and partial compatibility with PAL or unsigned games. I did not opt for the BIOS upgrade. Upon opening the console (which voids the Best limited one year warranty) I noticed the job to be impeccably clean on the inside with a few very basic components added, RF box removed, and no sloppy solder work or daughter PCBs to be found. The Video/Audio cable are permanently attached and held in place by hot glue to provide stress relief, as well as the cable secured to the PCB with a paperclip like steel rod. The cable is good quality and ample six foot length though I would have preferred RCA jacks. Sadly Best no longer offer refurbished consoles but you can still buy their AV kits and spare repair parts.

 

Composite video and audio is very clear and razor sharp on my CRTs. Unlike the competing Svideo mods, there is no "switch" to disconnect the TIA when using 7800 mode. On the "Best" AV mod, there is no noticeable TIA interference like from the other guys. Also the Pokey audio is properly balanced unlike other third party mods, and games which utilize both Pokey and TIA (Commando) output both sound effects clearly just like with an RF console. Best A/V has no stereo separation and in fact has only one audio connector (you can double up on RCA audio jacks if installing yourself). Existing third party mods may offer a stereo option that can sound unbalanced depending on how the game utilizes the TIA channels, and Pokey is typically only supplied across one channel.

 

Sorry I don't have any experience with Electronic Sentimentalities or Longhorn Svideo mods, but I have been nothing but happy with my Best unit.

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Kosmic Stardust, Thanks for the great review of the Best Electronics video/audio mod. You were lucky to get one of the complete units as i see he is sold out. Everything I have ever gotten from Best Electronics (Parts, rebuilt 5200 controllers, rebuilt kits have been top notch) and Bradley is very helpful.

 

I see he still sells the Mod kit and it is very inexpensive compared to others.

 

I was unaware that there was a built in Asteroid game, is it part of the PAL Bios chip?

 

I agree, jacks would have been better than a fixed 6 foot cable , but it would work for me.

 

The Pokey/TIA thing is a bit confusing (some games?) use the sound of both chips? Do some carts have a built in Pokey Chip? I've heard of a mod that mounts a Pokey chip on the main board..what game would use that?

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Whats the point of asking for the "best 7800 a/v mod" and then saying you don't want it but some inferior mod instead?

S-Video is dead tech. No new TV's include it any more, and very few did to begin with. It's nice looking, sure, slightly better than composite in some cases. IT really depends on the quality of the mod and the quality of the TV.

 

If you only want Composite, the Best Elec. one is the way to go. The Longhorn/Electronic Senti. mod can be problematic, requires a lot more work to put it, and from what I've seen - the resultant differnces are minor at best ,and the Composite signal from it is no better than the Best Elec. mod. .

Edited by 78001987
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UAV by Bryan here on AA is by far the best mod available. I installed it on my 800 & 7800. As for svideo, its on almost all crts, plasmas & lcd tvs. Yeah no led TVs but considering you can get very nice Sony trinitrons from craigslist from free to $20, there is no reason to not use svideo.

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UAV by Bryan here on AA is by far the best mod available. I installed it on my 800 & 7800. As for svideo, its on almost all crts, plasmas & lcd tvs. Yeah no led TVs but considering you can get very nice Sony trinitrons from craigslist from free to $20, there is no reason to not use svideo.

i have 7 Tvs in my house, and none if them have S-video. I have a 65" Mitsubishi DLP, a 42" Samsung LCD, a 25" Sanyo crt, a 24" Dell, two Sony Trinitrons 15" and an 19" RCA.

 

TV manufacturers stopped adding SVideo around 2003.

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Lol so your bragging you have 7 TVs that suck for retro gaming? Grats! Just cause your 7 random TVs don't have svideo doesn't really mean anything. Not sure what your hangup is on svideo but it is superior to composite.

 

Please learn to Google before trying to look like you know what your talking about too. I have 2 flat screens from 2008 and 2010 by Samsung that both have svideo. Now please stop.

Edited by cjameslv
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i have 7 Tvs in my house, and none if them have S-video. I have a 65" Mitsubishi DLP, a 42" Samsung LCD, a 25" Sanyo crt, a 24" Dell, two Sony Trinitrons 15" and an 19" RCA.

 

TV manufacturers stopped adding SVideo around 2003.

 

Incorrect. I have a Sony 42" LCD Bravia TV and a LG 37" TV from 2008, both of which have S-Video. I also have family with HDTVs bought long after 2003 with S-Video slots as well, so I wouldn't consider it dead tech. Matter of fact, I find it hard to believe that people are finding so many TVs without S-video whereas for me, it's the exact opposite. :?

Edited by Tartfox
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Lol so your bragging you have 7 TVs that suck for retro gaming? Grats! Just cause your 7 random TVs don't have svideo doesn't really mean anything. Not sure what your hangup is on svideo but it is superior to composite.

 

Please learn to Google before trying to look like you know what your talking about too. I have 2 flat screens from 2008 and 2010 by Samsung that both have svideo. Now please stop.

maybe you should check with the op to see if his/her Tvs have s-video before talking like you're trying to pick an Internet fight.

 

Also, who needs to google this, when it's been talked about for ages right here on this site?http://atariage.com/forums/topic/175785-so-coaxial-s-video-are-phased-out-on-newer-tvs/

 

The changeover to mandatory HDMI for the HDCP with the introduction of Blu-Ray killed S-video for most TV manufacturers.

 

Do some odd Tvs still have it? Sure. The vast majority do not.

Edited by 78001987
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I have done both the cheap composite MOD that is listed within the 7800 forum posts and also the Long Horn Engineer mod on my 7800. In the case of the cheap composite mod it looked really good on my flat panel LED. But later when it was sold to a retro game store, the new owners complained that it had massive jail bars in the graphics on an actual CRT? My primary 7800 that has the LHE mod installed is slightly different. The composite on it actually looks and works better than the s-video part of it does on my flat panel TVs I've used it with. That said, the s-video on all CRTs I've used it with looks stunning! I do have the separate switch in the back to disable the 2600 TIA chroma from interfering with the s-video signal, but the diagonal lines aren't as noticeable on my CRTs as much as it is on the flat panels. I guess what I'm saying is that in the end the LHE mod looks great but it is also very TV dependent on whether it will look good or not. Using s-video you do loose the artifacting effect that was purposely programmed into many games to give the illusion of more colors or different colors than what was possible with the hardware at the time.

 

Here are few comparison shots I took of my s-video modded 7800 between composite and s-video that demonstrate the clarity of s-video but also the loss of artifacting from using it on certain games.

 

Here is the title screen to Tower Toppler on composite:

1933138_10206048121179411_90061026255725

 

 

And here is the title screen to Tower Toppler through s-video:

12819267_10206048121459418_9101867452191

 

 

 

Here is game play footage of Tower Toppler through composite:

12819303_10206048121219412_5835500138327

 

 

And the same scene through s-video:

12828458_10206048126699549_5095368812843

 

 

But it is important to remember that Tower Toppler is an extreme example of where composite looks better over s-video. In most other cases it is the opposite. Also I didn't mention, but those pics are from my tiny little 9 inch Sony PVM so I can't really get any better than that CRT example wise.

I will add another post later that shows some s-video and composite comparison on my flat panel I primarily game on.

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As promised...I took some new shots just now of tower toppler and some other games from my flat panel through s-video and composite. In most cases the s-video looks far superior to the composite where detail and colors actually just do NOT show up.

 

 

First up is the title screen to Tower Toppler through s-video on my LED.

 

13131186_10206518198011038_4616361024579

 

 

Here is Tower Toppler's title screen through Composite:

13131655_10206518197971037_8194750704744

 

As you can see the color bleeding is horrific on this game with composite. It is also worth noting that pretty much all 7800 games colors are "off" on both LCD and LED flat panels. I can't attest to OLED as I'm not that lucky in my life to afford one! LOL!

 

Here is Tower Toppler game play through s-video:

13220578_10206518198371047_3248741772304

 

Once again the lack of artifacting through s-video makes this look very strange. But...it is much clearer than the same screen through composite on my LED:

13173330_10206518198051039_8808554226195

 

 

Here is game play of Double Dragon through s-video:

13131255_10206518198411048_2148598965845

 

You can see how much more legible the text is and overall color as compared to the same screenshot through composite:

13220645_10206518198971062_2794969524413

 

Here is an excellent example of s-video showing much more detail on my flat panel as compared to composite. Here is the title screen to Commando:

13116259_10206518200331096_1500800719680

 

Here is Commando in composite... You will immediately notice the difference on this one:

13217408_10206518199811083_4281074837631

 

But it isn't all roses with s-video either. As you can see in the Commando shots above and the others if you look closely, there is quite a bit of the "jail bars" going on in the overall graphics. Part of me believes these have always been present but on CRTs you just can't see them or notice them because everything is blended together more as opposed to the sharper and higher def displays that flat panels offer. Here is a last set of screenshots from Commando that show that even in s-video or composite, some games will just never look right. In game play, the s-video has nasty color bleed on this title, but the composite does not. But composite it much darker and fuzzier as opposed to s-video. It is because of this that I choose to play Commando and a few other 7800 games on either my larger CRTs in composite or PVM through s-video.

 

Commando s-video

13147686_10206518199891085_1429107458954

 

Commando through composite:

13131491_10206518199851084_8444109368490

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Wow some great information and Screen Shots Crossbow. My Gaming TV is an LED Flat screen and the only vintage input is composite (No S-Video). My larger set in Living room has S-Video (it was purchased about 3 years ago).

 

There may be a slight edge on the s-video but I' m going with a composite.

 

Has anyone actually did the Best Mod? I tried to get a copy of the procedure from Bradley but he no it comes with the kit. Just wanted to see what it all entails.

 

There are also some kits on ebay that can be used for both the 7800 and 2600. They are simple boards with one transistor and a couple resistors, anyone installed any of these mods? According to feedback, hundreds have and give it high praise. I trust you guys on AA.

 

Also i have not seen any 7800 audio mod that has true stereo output when playing 2600 carts that support it. Am i wrong or is it not possible?

 

Thanks

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Wow some great information and Screen Shots Crossbow. My Gaming TV is an LED Flat screen and the only vintage input is composite (No S-Video). My larger set in Living room has S-Video (it was purchased about 3 years ago).

 

There may be a slight edge on the s-video but I' m going with a composite.

 

Has anyone actually did the Best Mod? I tried to get a copy of the procedure from Bradley but he no it comes with the kit. Just wanted to see what it all entails.

 

There are also some kits on ebay that can be used for both the 7800 and 2600. They are simple boards with one transistor and a couple resistors, anyone installed any of these mods? According to feedback, hundreds have and give it high praise. I trust you guys on AA.

 

Also i have not seen any 7800 audio mod that has true stereo output when playing 2600 carts that support it. Am i wrong or is it not possible?

 

Thanks

The Best mod is identical circuit-wise to the one described in this forum as the "easier 7800 composite mod" here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/127926-easier-7800-composite-video-mod/

 

It's probably best to read through the whole thread. You'll see lots of evidence that this easier composite mod is superior to the one you would get with the longhorn/electronic sentimentalities mod for the composite signal. The bleeding shown above isn't present, or at least isn't as pronounced. I have this mod in my main 7800 and there's no perceptible color bleed or ghosting as shown above. I'll see if I can take some iPhone pics tonight to share.

Edited by 78001987
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I did the easy 7800 mod awhile back. It was a little too bright at first which washed the colors out slightly but a 22ohm resistor on the video line fixed that. I'm very pleased with the picture quality.

 

Here's some LCD shots

post-37192-0-43154700-1462908685_thumb.jpgpost-37192-0-12006200-1462908698_thumb.jpgpost-37192-0-82600800-1462909279_thumb.jpgpost-37192-0-21879900-1462909287_thumb.jpgpost-37192-0-54680800-1462908711_thumb.jpg

 

I have more pictures posted here.http://atariage.com/forums/topic/127926-easier-7800-composite-video-mod/?p=2906575

Edited by thecrypticodor
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i have 7 Tvs in my house, and none if them have S-video. I have a 65" Mitsubishi DLP, a 42" Samsung LCD, a 25" Sanyo crt, a 24" Dell, two Sony Trinitrons 15" and an 19" RCA.

 

TV manufacturers stopped adding SVideo around 2003.

I just scored a 24 inch Sony Wega Trinitron manufactured in 2006 and it has an SVideo input in the rear.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's not as though choosing S-Video is a lifelong commitment. If one were to do an S-Video mod and finds a need for composite, all it would require is shorting the chroma and luma lines together into an RCA cable.

 

As well, if a conversion to HDMI is made with an external adapter, S-Video will look much cleaner than composite.

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If you want combo S- Video and Composite board professionally installed check out electronicsentimentalities.com. Joe does really good work, he did the the S-Video/composite mod on my 5200. He also sells the parts if you are handy with a soldering iron.

 

I installed my own composite mod (If you have S-Video TV use it-i didn't have S-video TV) really simple from Vintage games and more. Simple and works. They have great on-line instructions and photos.

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If you want combo S- Video and Composite board professionally installed check out electronicsentimentalities.com. Joe does really good work, he did the the S-Video/composite mod on my 5200. He also sells the parts if you are handy with a soldering iron.

 

I installed my own composite mod (If you have S-Video TV use it-i didn't have S-video TV) really simple from Vintage games and more. Simple and works. They have great on-line instructions and photos.

Great, thanks for the info!

 

I do have S-video on the TV, so if that looks better I would prefer (and usually do) use that.

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If you can install it yourself, for the 7800 I would wait for Bryan's Video Mod that is soon to be in the AtariAge store.

I like it better than the 7800 Longhorn mod, which I replaced.

You still have to make your own audio out, but that's just a capacitor from the bottom of 2 resistors to L/R.

Ceramic or electrolytic 10uF.

Plus it can be added without removing any existing signals. (Although I don't see why you would keep the RF.)

It gives composite and S-Video.

 

My 47" Toshiba LCD has S-Video.

If you are serious about retro gaming on new displays, The Framemeister XRGB Mini is worth the $300-$400.

It has composite, S-Video, RGB with adapter SCART, VGA? I think with adapter, HDMI in, and HDMI out.

 

I'd like to see what the S-Video to composite really looks like.

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