Reply To: Bad audio quality through SCART from Genesis (using headphone out) – OSSC 1.6

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I don’t have audio issues with my OSSC and the Mega Drive (sounds exactly as good as any other console and I couldn’t tell a difference between using the SCART input directly on my TV), but just wanted to share some general thoughts regarding cables.

– I had nothing but poor results with generic, cheap eBay/Amazon cables. They often do cause severe A/V problems. This includes everything from a Game Cube SCART cable to a Dreamcast VGA cable. Over time I replaced every single one of those with a cable manufactured by an expert (like the ones mentioned here already). Of course, upgrading the rest of your system like getting an OSSC or installing an RGB bypass on your console will only highlight the weakest link more.

Interference is a real issue. I mostly noticed two problems:

– Composite video leaks into RGB. Most cheap cables are wired for sync-on-composite instead of csync for maximum compatibility (have composite as a fallback in case the TV doesn’t do RGB, I guess). Even on consoles that have csync. Had a Neo Geo AES where checkerboard interference patterns went away the instant the cable was switched from composite to csync. PAL Game Cube (does only sync-on-composite) would show interference even with fully shielded cables because composite leaks into RGB inside the SCART switch. Sync stripper to get csync fixed it.

– Video leaks into audio. Even with the cables from RGC both SNES & Mega Drive have audio buzz / high pitched noises depending on video output. Not super noticeable, but it is there. If you hear it most during certain screens, that’s likely what that is. You can check a worst case for yourself by bringing up the grid test from the 240p test suite. You can fix this by either running audio separately or getting fully shielded cables. If you don’t hear the audio issues when you plug in headphones into the consoles but do once the audio has passed through the SCART cable alongside the video signal, that’s probably the issue.

Fully shielded cables and integrated sync strippers are quite expensive, but they’re definitively not snake oil. They can make a clear difference for audio & video.