Since TVs shifted into the glorious realm of HD, there's been a bit of a battle going on in the world of retro gaming. Relying on RGB output was arguably the most sensible way of extracting the best possible picture from your consoles in the CRT-filled '90s, but that isn't always the case now (in fact, many modern TV sets have removed connections like SCART entirely, and those that do have them rarely handle the analogue signal well).
This has opened up the door for a wide range of AV solutions for retro gamers, including upscalers like the OSSC, RetroTINK2x and Framemeister (which, on a basic level, take the analogue signal and turn it into something your modern TV can play nicely with, and they do a pretty amazing job) as well as cheaper, 'plug and play' cable options – most of which have historically offered less-than-stellar results. Until now, that is.
Produced by UK firm Retro Gaming Cables in collaboration with RetroTINK, the RAD2X range of cables aims to offer low-latency analogue-to-digital conversion along with upscaling and even an optional smoothing filter for good measure. RAD2X cables cost £53.99 each and have been produced for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 / Famicom AV / SNES / GameCube – the latter covering multiple systems thanks to Nintendo's adoption of the legendary 'Multi-Out' port. Futhermore, the Mega Drive RAD2X cable has optional adapters which allow it to be used with other systems, such as the Neo Geo and PC Engine. Unlike competition products, none of these requires an additional power source, with the exception of the PlayStation example.
The cable itself plugs directly into the back of your console, with a transparent plastic box on the other end that houses the tech which makes the RAD2X tick. This then connects to your television via a Mini-HDMI-to-HDMI lead. Unlike many of the stand-alone scalers we mentioned, there's no tinkering required here – this really is a plug-and-play solution that works flawlessly each time. Latency is measured at around 53 microseconds, according to the manufacturer, and we're in no position to argue that – there's no noticeable input delay from what we can see.
Compared to SCART, composite or S-Video connections, the difference in picture quality is striking, with images looking sharp and colourful (and scaled correctly), while audio is equally impressive. The 'smoothing' filter might not be to everyone's tastes (we certainly prefer to see those lovely boxy pixels), but there are certainly instances where to makes the image look more visually pleasing – and it's there if you're a fan of that kind of thing. The only thing missing is the option to enable CRT-style scanlines, which is one of the big attractions of devices like the OSSC.
While they don't come cheap – especially when compared to other, lesser HDMI cables on the market – the RAD2X cables perform so much better. Another bonus is the fact that one cable (the Nintendo Multi-Out one, for example) can often service several machines. While serious AV fanatics might miss the ability to muck around with various settings and add things like scanlines to the mix, the RAD2X series is arguably the best option for anyone who simply wants to run their vintage hardware on a modern TV with the minimum of fuss and effort, and comes highly recommended.
Thanks to Retro Gaming Cables for supplying the RAD2X cables and adapters used in this review.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Wed 4th May, 2022.
Price not mentioned in the review, but goes for £53.99 each.
That seems competitive against some other retro-console solutions.
I have a rad 2x cable for my SNES and the picture on newer televisions is amazing. I bought a few cheaper options from Amazon and they really don’t compare well, as the picture difference is notable. If you play retro consoles I would highly recommend it, I have definitely got my money out of it.
Honestly, £53.99 per cable isn't really competitively priced compared to an OSSC.
I was looking in to that year's ago but ended up with the OSSC. Fantastic device and retro games looks fantastic. It has lots of features and can line X5 if your tv supports it.
@WhiteUmbrella the rad2x is a really good offer, if you need just one cable. Basically it is the usual high quality RetroGamingCables cable with a build in Retrotink, and it is cheaper to buy two normal cables plus a separate retrotink.
Especially as the RetroTink gets a new improved version from time to time.
Some comparison screenshots would had been nice otherwise I wouldn't take this review that seriously.
I use this cable with my Gamecube and I am really impressed . I also have the Keico hdmi adapter but it can't really recommend it it due to its habit to cut the video signal if the game switches between resolutions. Rogue Leader does that between video sequences and gameplay resulting in missing a couple of seconds of video footoage or gameplay. RE 4 also changes the resolution everytime you enter the submenu - which is really annoying. So I would always prefer the rad2x cable over Carby/Keico/Prism
How is it for N64? I know it doesn't have RGB like the SNES and PAL units have overblown S-Video unless using a specialized cable.
Hopefully will come to USA soon. You guys have all the good stuff.
@NintendoPete This should be fixed in the latest version of GCVideo (3.1), which you can download and update your adapter to. Kaico came shipped with 3.0 - new ver.: https://github.com/ikorb/gcvideo/releases/tag/GCVideo-DVI_release_3.1
@jello64 It does ship to America for £11. Including the shipping it's about $81 at current exchange rate.
>RAD2X Is The Only HDMI Cable You Need For Your Retro Consoles
Unless you want to play on an unmodified Nintendo 64 console, that is. No S-Video support makes the RAD2X a poor alternative to Retrotink 2X-Mini/Pro.
I can get down with this. I know it’s just a matter of time before our new tv, whenever that is, doesn’t include the L audio, R audio, video jacks.
I’ve had my eye on “Ultra HDMI” for forever but A. I can’t find one when it’s in stock, if it even ever is anymore, and B. You can’t buy those directly; you must have someone install it for you.
I have the skills to solder! I just need the part!
Anyway, since that’s been a chore to find for years, I’m contemplating this.
It’s either this or go for the Polymega…
Is there an easy way to update my adapter? It doesn't come with a micro USB port ?
Have it and i am using it for the N64 and Gamecube, it is indeed a really good Cable and Scaler.
I like the OSSC a little more, for the Super Nintendo, but i can recommend the Rad2 102%!
@NintendoPete Yup, i've seen there latest models do have the usb-port but it can be done without. You need a way to be able to boot files from an sd-card (eg. SDMediaLauncher + SD card), download the .dol file, put that on the sd-card. Boot the gamecube, goto the Kaico menu on the controller, then 'About' option, then to Update, then select the .dol file. Then restart.
Like this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skc2AZhbGjY
Thanks - but I don't have Swiss or else and I just read this: https://www.reddit.com/r/Gamecube/comments/q9mod6/gcvideo_v31_firmware_is_now_available/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share
So it seems that the issues still persist - unfortunately
@NintendoPete just download Swiss then, you should get that, as you can force your games to 480p also
And buy this - https://www.codejunkies.com/products/sd-media-launcher__ef000580v.aspx. If you want the softmod option, it's what i use.
My PC with emulators will be the only HDMI cable I ever need
And so begins the avalanche of "emulators exist" comments.
I don't know why it's such a strange concept to a lot of folks that many of us who are into classic console games actually want to play classic consoles.
While I don't have the RAD2X, I do own a Retro Tink 2X Mini, and I love that thing. Put my faith back into quality upscalers after being burned so many times. It even has a smoothing filter that doesn't over do it.
I wish I knew it was the real deal when I bought it (it was sort of an impulse) because I would've stepped it up to the regular 2X.
Either way the line doubler tech Retro Tink is great, and for 50 bucks if you only wanna fix up one console this seems like a great purchase.
@Rosalinho For whatever reason, the emulation camp forgets that there is a group of people who have a library of cartridges.
I’m in both camps myself. I probably will never have a home console library other than the Switch, but I maintain a handful of GB, GBC and GBA carts.
It's great if you only have one or two consoles. Once you start going beyond that you're better off with a Retro Tink and some form of channel split video for RGB or some variant of that.
Great article, bit could have done with showing off some samples of gameplay.
I have the Nintendo Multi-out RAD2X and it's marvellous.
Here's some gameplay samples for those I. The comments who are interested:
N64 (Note this is Composite since my N64 isn't RGB modded): https://youtu.be/yjS-IxXymyc
This is a God send for me, an easy plug and play solution. Now my wonderful retro systems can look great again, the way they were intended.
@Neowl Thanks for posting the links to your videos. It's nice to see them in action.
These sound good but I have my eye on a Retrotink 5x for my SNES, Megadrive, N64, Gamecube, Wii and PS2 upscaling needs. At £350 they’re far from cheap though.
Why so long to get this review out NL? These have been out for a while.
Anyway, I have one, it's great as a plug and play solution. I have the Nintendo one to use on my SNES, N64 and GC. But that's the issue. Do I buy 3x of the same adapter or keep swapping it between all 3 consoles? They need to implement a solution for this, but they won't, they want everyone to buy 3 of the same adapter.
Sega Saturn cable - ORDERED
I'm buying one for my PS1
@LesterBurnham you're welcome. Bit of a missed opportunity on the writers part not to include any footage in the article, in my eyes!
I have a Sony Wega flat-screen 42 inch CRT dedicated for my original retro consoles. Beast weighs as much as a tank but I prefer original visuals and cables that im used too playing.
I did buy an upscaler for my switch and happy with it.
I decided to buy the RAD2X to use with my (PAL) SNES (RGB), N64 (Composite) and GameCube (RGB) instead of the Retro-bit Prism HDMI cable for just the PAL GameCube.
It makes more sense to me (on a limited budget) to get one HDMI cable that will improve the visuals of three different consoles, instead of the Prism that will improve the visuals of just one. Also, the Prism provides the better quality video for a NTSC GameCube at 480p, which my PAL GameCube (480i) is unable to take advantage of unless I have Swiss installed.
can you expand on this please?
i currently have a multiAV to Svideo cable that i use between my CRT and N64, cube, and snes.
but, i was thinking of grabbing this so i can play the same systems on my HDTV. it seems like thats the point and function of this cable, but your comment makes me think maybe otherwise?
anyway thanks in advance 👍
@NintendoPete I emailed kaico a couple of weeks ago about this issue. They weren't aware of it but tested and confirmed they were experiencing it too. They've reached out to the creator of gcvideo whose confirmed its an issue with version 3.0 or later and he's currently working on a fix. I've asked if its possible to downgrade the firmware to 2.4 which doesn't have this issue so am just waiting on a response.
Bought one of these for my SNES and very pleased with it. Same result as using my OSSC but without all the extra cables and complexity.
Interesting - let me know when you get an answer
@-wc- maybe I can. PAL user, though, so not sure whether this would apply to you. I ran into this scenario and problem (SNES, N64, GC to HDTV) and while the RAD2X is amazing for SNES and pretty good for GC, the lack of RGB-output on the stock N64 made it pretty much useless without an RGB mod. It's forced to use the composite signal and basically doesn't give a better picture than regular composite would, which is... really bad, loads of pixel crawl. It also can't handle different region games being played on it. My use case is an Everdrive X7 on a PAL N64 playing mostly NTSC games which force the N64 into PAL60 mode, which the RAD2X can't handle and will either give you a discoloured or distorted picture. I had to grab an extra retrotink 2X-mini to get my N64 to work properly with the HDTV. This might not be an issue for NTSC users though, but the bad picture quality still remains. On the SNES on the other hand, given it's a model that does RGB, the resulting picture is crisp and steady.
@NintendoPete they've created a 2.4 firmware update or downgrade to be accurate, can get it here -
I've tested and the issue is gone, can use this till gcvideo creator sorts it out. Patch notes for v3 or higher mostly seem to be related to the gcvideo menu so doesn't seem to impact on performance or quality of any games I've tried so far touch wood.
@Speedo Thanks is there any way to downgrade without using Swiss to avoid additional costs?
@NintendoPete you definitly don't have the micro USB port beside the hdmi port on your model? If not I would drop kaico an email they're very good. They will probably do it for you via post. Worth giving them a shout.
@Speedo unfortunately I don't have a HDMI port - but emailing Kaico is worth a try
@NintendoPete are you using the kaico multi out adapter? Works with n64 and snes as well? Don't think it can be updated. One I'm using is the dedicated gamecube adapter which uses the display port connector. But worth giving kaico a shout you never know.
The same here - just the dedicated gamecube one. Cairo's customer service is fast and brilliant. I can send them my adapter in exchange for one with the micro USB port. Now I just have to find out how much shipping costs from Germany to England
@NintendoPete yeah they're great, I imagine it'll cost a lot less than buying a new one or another device. Glad you got sorted.
Paid 7€ for postage - they pay the return costs which is awesome.
Thanks for telling me all that
Finally got the new Kaico adapter - got stuck at customs for quite a long time. Will test it tonight Kaico Labs are awesome!
just tested it - works perfectly now =) Thanks again
@NintendoPete glad to hear, can't beat playing on original hardware!
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