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Thread: GUIDE: Telling apart good Genesis 1s and Genesis 2s from bad ones.

  1. #2026
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert ITViking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chessage View Post
    More specifically: those last two numbers denote the distributor. "-22" was assigned to 'Irwin Electronics'. Irwin's contract ended in 1993. Assuming you're in Canada, your model 1601 was imported from the United States.



    This was done to accommodate larger production runs as consumer demand increased.

    Thank you!

    So the implications would be that the 'mk-1601=22' model # was only used when Irwin Toys was involved in distribution.

    My VA6.5 was clearly distributed by Irwin, and I'm guessing they may have also distributed some VA7 model 1 units as well. But the model 2 came out the same year Irwin lost its distributor status, so I'm curious about the possible existence of model 2's distributed by Irwin. I'll have to do some more research.

    I have another non-HDG unit coming today, so I'm hoping its a VA7.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert ITViking's Avatar
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    Another technical related question... the HDG vs non-HDG... I've read other articles that suggest the VA7 may actually have superior video, and certainly isn't inferior in its video quality. As far as I can see, the 'High Definition Graphics' was really just a marketing tool more than anything, and its presence or lack there of, doesn't really have any bearing on the technical capabilities of the unit.

    Yet I suspect many people think it actually means the HDG models had superior graphics and that non-HDG units had lesser graphics capabilities.

    Am I wrong? Also, any idea why the text was removed?

  3. #2028
    Outrunner CrossBow's Avatar
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    The va7 model does indeed have good video out and I believe some of the best composite from a Genesis. But then so do the model 2 units.

    The largest issue with the va7 and I feel it is reason enough to NOT own one is the hosed up audio circuit on it making everything just sound muddy. It is really hard to listen to a va7 for any length of time after you have heard the same game on a va3...hehe.

    But I'm sure you are correct in that the HDG was just for marketing. As for why they took it off, maybe it saved them that much more in the later years of the model 1s life that it just wasn't needed anymore. And to be honest, it was only high definition in so far as most other consoles had slightly lower resolution on them as opposed to what the Genesis could do. But it honestly wasn't truly high definition as we know it today.

  4. #2029
    Outrunner Eep386's Avatar
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    My experience with a VA7 Model 1 with a CXA1145M encoder is that the video is very decent, though a slight amount darker and more saturated than normal. It still looks better than your typical VA3 Model 1, in that it tends to suffer a lot less from rainbow banding.

    @ Crossbow: Not if those Model 2's come with KA2195Ds! :P The KA2195D is a dreadful encoder which almost never looks good to anybody stuck with them. Even a blurry CXA1145M is an obvious step up from one.

  5. #2030
    Outrunner CrossBow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eep386 View Post
    My experience with a VA7 Model 1 with a CXA1145M encoder is that the video is very decent, though a slight amount darker and more saturated than normal. It still looks better than your typical VA3 Model 1, in that it tends to suffer a lot less from rainbow banding.

    @ Crossbow: Not if those Model 2's come with KA2195Ds! :P The KA2195D is a dreadful encoder which almost never looks good to anybody stuck with them. Even a blurry CXA1145M is an obvious step up from one.
    Good to know. I've only got like 2 model 2 units and they both look about the same to me as other models. I'm just not a fan of the model 2 aesthetics so I tend to focus on the model 1s only.

  6. #2031
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingSports Talker JamesF's Avatar
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    I have received my Model 2 VA3 with 163 serial (china) and KA2195D encoder,
    I will compare it to my Model 2 VA4 164 serial (china) with CXA1645 encoder.

    Audio
    Recorded at 24bit 96kHz into a professional audio interface (Focusrite Saffire), and listened with Studio Monitors and Headphones.
    Both units sound absolutely identical with critical audio listening tests flipping between the two aligned tracks in my DAW.
    PSG volume/balance, ladder effect, and filtering are identical in every way between VA3 and VA4.
    Noise floor (thinking noises) is almost identical with 1.5db difference in favor to VA3, but peak audio level is the same.
    Both consoles do not have any audible distortion even with loud games and sound great.

    Video

    RGB with retrogamingclables.co.uk Packapunch cable (csync) into OSSC in 5x mode:
    VA4 shows slight vertical banding (jailbars) while VA3 is does not have any visible banding and shows a clean emulator like picture.
    Maybe the CXA1645 encoder in the VA4 has some bleeding of the chroma subcarrier into the RGB lines, but it does not happen with the KA2195D on the VA3.
    Maybe it's a different PCB layout and the line that causes banding is further away from the RGB lines on the VA3.
    This chinese Model2 VA3 has the cleanest video output I have seen so far from all the models I've tested.

    Composite:
    Both look good on my Sony Trinitron 29" (European), but the VA3 has less rainbow on Sonic waterfall, and no visible jailbars even in composite.
    To me, it looks like the dreaded KA2195D is actually performing better than the CXA1645 in terms of pixelation, artifacts, contrast and color accuracy, I have not idea why the KA2195D has such a bad reputation.
    Though I will not be using Composite signal for playing games, but my opinion is posted.

    My personal Conclusion
    I would pick the Model2 VA3 as my primary console for playing Genesis games simply for the lack of jailbars in comparison to VA4.
    The VA4 is a close second to the VA3 with slight visible jailbars in critical viewing conditions, but not on most CRTs so either is a great stock Model 2 choice for CRT.
    Yes I do own a Model1 VA6 but I don't like how it looks (physically) or how it sounds, I much prefer the Model 2 type of sound filtering and the slick square look.
    Last edited by JamesF; 10-31-2018 at 01:21 PM.
    Sega Genesis Model1 VA6, Model2 VA4|VA3, Mega Everdrive X5

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    Outrunner Eep386's Avatar
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    @JamesF The KA2195D tends to have very bad pixellation compared to most encoders. Of course the TV and its settings plays a big part too. On my 32" RCA the KA2195D is viciously pixellated, and it also tends to give off-tint (greenish) color. Knuckles becomes an odd shade of salmon, for instance, and Sonic gets a distinctly green tinge to his spikes. The CXA1645 also looks very pixellated on my TV, though not quite as bad as the KA2195D, and has an excessive bend toward red tint. Sometimes it's so bad orange things look pinkish.
    The color tint is fine on same TV with, say, a MB3514 or CXA1145M encoder, and the pixellation is nowhere near as bad with those encoders. The MB3514 has a very subtle tinge toward yellow compared to the CXA1145M, but it's not serious. Of course the stock MB3514 looks pretty gross with ridiculously blown out color saturation, but it is relatively sharp and pixellation isn't worse than the '1145M. Fortunately that is fixable.
    Last edited by Eep386; 10-31-2018 at 02:17 PM. Reason: stupid typo

  8. #2033
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingSports Talker JamesF's Avatar
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    Hi Eep386, long time no talk.
    Yeah I don't think I care that much about the differences and nuances of the very poor Genesis composite signal, since I use a full RGB setup with all my consoles.
    I do care about minimal jailbars with a stock console though, and the VA3 I got is a winner so far.
    Sega Genesis Model1 VA6, Model2 VA4|VA3, Mega Everdrive X5

  9. #2034
    Master of Shinobi
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    So can you help me identify this Japanese MD1: it has the R logo and AV terminal on it so I understand it is a VA0 to 4 and doesn´t have TMSS ? It says MADE IN JAPAN and serial number is 99N14441


    As per the OP there should be a better sound on VA3 and VA4 (VA0 to VA2 distord on loud games) so is there a way to tell apart those two?

    Is the rainbow banding the same from VA0 to VA4 ? OP says VA5 has "slight instance of rainbow banding" but is it slight compared to VA0 to VA4 which have a lot or what? Speaking only about Japanese models of course.
    There is no mention of any other VA in the text: is it accepted that VAs are interchangeable from region to region?

    Thanks!


    EDIT: forgot to mention that I don't have access to it ATM so I can't test anything on it, or open the console.
    Last edited by chilled; 11-22-2018 at 11:37 PM.
    Lists of MD games: officially licensed (~925) @ cartridge sizes @ Top 5 @ Top 250 (controversial) @ Sonic hacks @ best title screens @ Arcade ports (150) @ best European

  10. #2035
    Outrunner Eep386's Avatar
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    When you can, could you share a picture of the motherboard?
    We'll be able to identify that a little better. A serial # of 99N14441 would imply it was made in 1989... so definitely an old model 1 system indeed. It sounds like it could be either a VA0 or VA1 from the description.

    If you remember what the motherboard looked like, you could check here too: https://segaretro.org/Sega_Mega_Driv...ware_revisions If there's an odd circuit board floating on top of the motherboard, it's a VA0. Otherwise, it's a VA1 or VA2 revision.

    VA3 and on have reduced gain on the pre-amp section, so they tend to crackle and crunch a lot less on loud sounds.
    VA0~2 have a slightly higher low-pass filter corner but they have excessive gain.
    Only way to tell usually is by the VAx revision number - maybe by ear too.
    Last edited by Eep386; 01-21-2019 at 03:24 PM.

  11. #2036
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    I cannot actually, as it is a model I'm hesitant to buy, as it would cost me 95 € shipped (with rgb cable, pad, power). It is switchless region modded (using the reset button). I would prefer it to be VA3 or VA4: are there that many loud games which suffer on VA0-VA2s ? Is it very noticeable when plugged to stereo equipment through the headphone jack?
    Lists of MD games: officially licensed (~925) @ cartridge sizes @ Top 5 @ Top 250 (controversial) @ Sonic hacks @ best title screens @ Arcade ports (150) @ best European

  12. #2037
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    Does anyone have a Japanese model 2 Mega drive? I'm wondering how they compare. It appears that there isn't any 3/4 motherboard ones.

  13. #2038
    Nameless One vexatious's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! Just want to mention some oddball Sega Genesis Model 1 units do exist which don't say High Definition graphics on front, and even cleaner sound than those that do; some of them are also missing ext. port. They even seem cleaner sounding than model 2s. Not sure exactly what variant they fall in since they look just like those with noisy sound (no high definition graphics text and sometimes no ext. port), but they are definitely some unexpected oddballs. I had two of these in a collection of 5 model 1s without high definition text when I was testing if they work and was surprised how clean they sounded compared to the common noisy-fuzzy ones; very obvious with "Contra Hard Corps" with headphone jack @ %75. These were American NTSC BTW. You have to be careful when saying, "I have one with bad sound..." because there's no high definition text; has to be tested first. Wish I still had them to take picture.
    Last edited by vexatious; 01-21-2019 at 03:09 PM.

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