JAGAIOA: Amp’d Edition

Humble Bazooka has just released a new version of their multi-output adapter for the Atari Jaguar – This one contains a THS7374 video amplifier that allows it to be fully compatible with every (properly made!!) Genesis 2 cable out there.  You can also use all outputs simultaneously and the quality is excellent.  The no-amp version is still good for people using HD Retrovision cables and one output at a time.  Here’s links and more info below:

Jag AIO Amp’d:
Genesis 2-compatible cables:
Original Review:

So, why is an amp needed at all?  And what would that have to do with simultaneous outputs?  Well, this is, so we’re gonna tell you!

A big advantage of an adapter like this, is it utilizes an extremely common multi-out connector, which is the same one that’s used for the Genesis 2’s A/V out.  The good news is, stock of high quality connectors are easy to find and so are well-made Genesis 2 cables.  The bad news, is Genesis 2 cables contain circuitry in them and that needs to be taken into account.

As a result, on the non-amp’d version that just passes the signals though, the video output is dimmer than expected from an Atari Jaguar (this is detailed in the previous review).  Not a big deal if you’re using a CRT with an easy-to-access brightness knob (and HD Retrovision cables compensate for brightness), but it can be a pain with scalers and flat-panels.  The solution was to add a high quality video amplifier to the Jaguar’s RGB output lines, along with circuitry to have the MiniDIN output the same brightness (voltage) RGB signals as the Genesis 2.

One interesting bonus, is that the sync line on the Jaguar’s output requires about the same components that the Genesis 2 RGB SCART cable already contains.  That means it doesn’t need to be amplified, freeing up a channel on the 4-channel THS7374 amp.  So…Humble Bazooka ran the composite video line through the extra channel (including the proper circuitry), supporting dual output!

That means you can safely use an RGB cable that sync’s on composite video (like the HD Retrovision’s) and the composite video output at the same time.  This is actually a common request for people who want to game on a CRT and stream (or capture) via RGB.  Heck, you can even use a Genesis 2 composite video cable and the composite RCA jack at the same time…although, I’m not sure why you’d want to.  You can safely do this with S-Video on both editions as well, as the luma and chroma lines are isolated to that connector.  And, as usual, it’s safe to get audio from both the RCA connectors and Genesis 2 MiniDIN at the same time.

So, basically, if you want an Atari Jaguar A/V-out adapter that offers every feature you can ask for, get the amp’d version.  In my opinion, the only downside of two adapters is determining which one you have, if you buy a used one in the future.  The only way to know for sure is to open it up and look for the amp:

…and for anyone curious, the scope plots look exactly like this, regardless of what’s connected to the composite output:

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