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FirebrandX

Doom 64 UltraHDMI

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Finally got my hands on a modded N64 with UltraHDMI. What this does is bypass the analog A/V processing and outputs a pure digital A/V signal for HDMI. You can select various resolutions up to 1080p, set integer scaling, and remove the N64's infamous 'muddy' function that blurs the graphics.

Doom 64 looks MUCH better via UltraHDMI, and on top of that, the audio is now clean with ZERO electromagnetic noise or cross-talk interference (this is something that plagues the analog audio of N64 consoles).

I uploaded a 720p demonstration on Youtube, but unfortunately Youtube's compression loses much of the crystal clarity. Below is a link to the Youtube video, and if you're interested in seeing the uncompressed video quality, there's also the link to that below it:



https://filetrip.net/dl?Wv0JXlxOsX

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Sorry this is totally off topic and doesn't contribute whatsoever but I LOVE your avatar! And your name too. I'm a huge fan of the series :)

Also where might I find one of these n64 systems? I'd love to have one myself

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MrDeAD1313 said:

Sorry this is totally off topic and doesn't contribute whatsoever but I LOVE your avatar! And your name too. I'm a huge fan of the series :)

Also where might I find one of these n64 systems? I'd love to have one myself


Thanks! Yeah, big fan, and I even got a tattoo of Firebrand on my shoulder.

Regarding the UltraHDMI mod, it's hard to come by as it sells out the moment installers get new stock in. Recently a couple modded N64s sold on ebay for $600 to give you an idea of the demand for these mods.

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Looks like a cool hardware hack and I'm not surprised it's popular. I am surprised that people haven't done the same hack for every 90s console.

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fraggle said:

Looks like a cool hardware hack and I'm not surprised it's popular. I am surprised that people haven't done the same hack for every 90s console.


They (various modders) have been working their way through the consoles from back then. There are several HDMI solutions for NES and Gamecube, though none yet for SNES.

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BTW another benefit of UltraHDMI: Crystal clean digital audio. N64 analog audio is notoriously dirty with 60-cycle hum and hiss, whereas there's ZERO interference or crosstalk via the UltraHDMI audio.

I've been comparing the quality to Aubrey's OST, and you can definitely hear the 60-cycle hum in his tracks, which again, is entirely absent in the UltraHDMI output.

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fraggle said:

Looks like a cool hardware hack and I'm not surprised it's popular. I am surprised that people haven't done the same hack for every 90s console.


Any HDMI mod would first need to have access to a high quality analog source to tap into (e.g. component RGB) or even tap into video RAM directly in order to make a difference.

The N64 appears to be pretty unique in that it has an accessible digital RGB video stream somewhere on its board, which makes the UltraHDMI mod possible. With many other consoles, you get all-in-one chips that output directly into analog.

Most consoles of that era had video chips that would output video signals within the resolution limitations of SDTV or even output composite video directly, and many didn't have a proper analog RGB generation/separation to begin with. For those, the sampling/conversion losses incurred before finally feeding an HDMI converter's input stage would make any gains from using HDMI minimal, other than ensuring some forward compatibility with modern TV sets.

FirebrandX said:

BTW another benefit of UltraHDMI: Crystal clean digital audio. N64 analog audio is notoriously dirty with 60-cycle hum and hiss, whereas there's ZERO interference or crosstalk via the UltraHDMI audio


Does the UltraHDMI mod bypass the N64's audio output preamps at a point before the hum is introduced? Because that's a mod that could also be done separately (and, in fact, modders often replace output ICs or caps with better ones). Unless it can tap into a digital audio stream directly, like it (apparently) does for the video.

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FirebrandX said:

I've been comparing the quality to Aubrey's OST, and you can definitely hear the 60-cycle hum in his tracks, which again, is entirely absent in the UltraHDMI output.

That's curious. Wouldn't Aubrey have access to basically the original master files he used to make the soundtrack in the first place? I mean, it's entirely possible that stuff isn't around anymore, but the presence of the hum you described being on his tracks would imply that he recorded them from a Nintendo 64 via analog, which seems strange.

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Bashe said:

That's curious. Wouldn't Aubrey have access to basically the original master files he used to make the soundtrack in the first place? I mean, it's entirely possible that stuff isn't around anymore, but the presence of the hum you described being on his tracks would imply that he recorded them from a Nintendo 64 via analog, which seems strange.


There's actual proof he used analog output on the N64 tracks. One of the tracks has a glitch where on the loop point, two of the channels drop out and it plays the 2nd loop without them. He recorded the 2nd loop thinking it was not the end of the track. Had he been using original master files, the glitch wouldn't have happened. In another track, he forgot how long to record and ended up playing two loops instead of just the single playback, causing the track to last nearly 15 minutes. This is all of course aside from that fact that you can actually hear the 60-cycle hum in all the original game tracks.

Maes said:

Does the UltraHDMI mod bypass the N64's audio output preamps at a point before the hum is introduced? Because that's a mod that could also be done separately (and, in fact, modders often replace output ICs or caps with better ones). Unless it can tap into a digital audio stream directly, like it (apparently) does for the video.


Indeed it does. It pulls the digital signals from the same chip as the digital video. I believe it is the "Reality Coprocessor" made by Silicon Graphics.

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MrDeAD1313 said:

Sorry this is totally off topic and doesn't contribute whatsoever but I LOVE your avatar! And your name too. I'm a huge fan of the series :)

Also where might I find one of these n64 systems? I'd love to have one myself


You ALSO have a great avatar. BE HAAAARDDD~. As a newbie I just have a sleeping neckbeard. :(

I really wish this were done with more consoles. Legend of Mana like this would be a pure beauty. What would be cool is if there was a comparison with D64 absolution, or an emulated version of D64 (not sure if this game works with emulators too well.)

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FirebrandX said:

There's actual proof he used analog output on the N64 tracks. One of the tracks has a glitch where on the loop point, two of the channels drop out and it plays the 2nd loop without them. He recorded the 2nd loop thinking it was not the end of the track. Had he been using original master files, the glitch wouldn't have happened. In another track, he forgot how long to record and ended up playing two loops instead of just the single playback, causing the track to last nearly 15 minutes. This is all of course aside from that fact that you can actually hear the 60-cycle hum in all the original game tracks.


It's interesting that Aubrey Hodges chose this method, given that the midis and soundfont Doom64EX generates should allow for clean renders of the music.

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My guess is he didn't have the files for it. I recall him mentioning a lot of the stuff had been lost over the years. However, he did have original hardware for the Doom PSX soundtrack, and in that one, there's much higher quality stereo reverb than you actually get in the game.


Anyway, I hadn't thought to try this before, but it seems Doom 64 does not need the deblur function. It has sharp pixels by default, and the only other instance of this I've seen in 240p N64 games is Quake II when 8MB expansion mode is turned on.

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jute said:

It's interesting that Aubrey Hodges chose this method, given that the midis and soundfont Doom64EX generates should allow for clean renders of the music.

Which in itself provides a slightly different experience, as apparently, according to Kaiser, some midi information gets used in Doom 64 EX that is just straight-up ignored in the original N64 for one reason or another. The easiest comparison is the Breakdown music, in which that weird high-pitched "instrument" plays an actual melody sorta in the EX version whereas it just drones the same note in the N64.

I was wondering why Aubrey's version didn't reflect this, if that was the original intent, but now that it's more or less confirmed he used the N64 itself to record the game audio, that's probably why.

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