Better graphics with HDMI adapters for old and new consoles

If someone would tell me that there is an HDMI adapter out there, which improves the resolution of many consoles … yes, then I would think first: Humbug. But there really is something like that – the mClassic from Marseille.

I really could not imagine that. On the page of mClassic are many sample images – but can I trust them? Right now, there's that mClassic still for 88 euros on Indiegogo, later he will cost 89 euros. I want to find out for myself, test it and see hard facts. What does this adapter really bring and for which consoles is it worthwhile.

Here is the promotional video of the Indiegogo action of Marseille.

At three consoles I will try the mClassic. First, I want to look at the result on the Wii U, then I examine thoroughly on the Nintendo Switch. Last but not least, I'm testing the improvements on the good old PlayStation 2.

Unfortunately, there is one small limitation: The mClassic scales the image to 1440p. However, our recording equipment only records a maximum resolution of 1080p. The sample images that you will see here do not show the full potential of the adapter. Thus, the test is more limited to the anti-alising capabilities of the stick. Oh yes, the manufacturer Marseille recommends not hochzuskalieren of 1080p, but the output of the console to 720p and to scale from this value to 1080p and 1440p. I have stuck to this advice.

What is the mClassic?

Maybe you know the mCable from Marseille Inc.? This has been around for some time and is also expected to scale up games and movies. The mClassic has even more options and also scales to a higher resolution. The important thing is that the mClassic works best when the output is 720p or below. This is due to the small chip, which is located in the HDMI adapter.

The graphics chip, which includes an anti-alising and depth-of-field algorithm, scales a signal to 1440p. Not at 1080p. If you scale from 1080p, the difference is not that huge. If you own a PS4 Pro and a 4K TV, you will not need the Adpater for this setup. But as soon as the signal is output 1080p or less, the HDMI adapter could be worth it – right? Show you the following tests.

But who expects a miracle now: No, the mClassic adapter does not do that. He can increase the resolution, yes. He does not add any new information to the picture. Sparse textures become sharp, high-resolution but sparse textures.

Nintendo Switch with the mClassic

Also on the Nintendo Switch, there are still some games with podium effect. Although the difference, as you can see in the following comparison, rather low, but an improvement is still present.

mClassic Nintendo Switch

Switch Hollow Knight (720p)

Switch Hollow Knight (720p)

mClassic Switch Hollow Knight (1080p)

mClassic Switch Hollow Knight (1080p)

This clearly zooms in on a part of the screenshot. Again, it should be noted here that the difference would probably be even greater if the mClassic has the ability to upscale to 1440p.

mClassic Nintendo Switch Zoom

Without mClassic (720p)

Without mClassic (720p)

With mClassic (1080p)

With mClassic (1080p)

This is unfortunately not possible with our recorder. A small, but subtle, difference can still be seen. How much that makes up in a running game is likely to be subjectively received very differently. In the editorial office, we had colleagues who immediately noticed a difference and found the image sharper, while others noticed the discrepancy less clearly.

mClassic straightens podium on the Wii U

It is well-known that there are podium effects on the Wii U in many games. Are the mClassic Adpater properly ironed out and straightened or is the difference not so big?

When I look at the difference between the normal 1080p and mClassic versions (scaled from 1080p to 1440p), the differences do not immediately catch your eye. It is clear above all that the mClassic weakens the podium effect, but does not completely disappear. But what does the picture look like when the mClassic scales up the signal from 720p to 1080p and lets its algorithms play here? Look at it yourself:

mClassic WiiU

Wii U (720p)

Wii U (720p)

mClassic (1080p)

mClassic (1080p)

At first glance, the difference here is also marginal, almost undetectable. But as soon as you zoom in on the picture and just look at the edges, you will see a bigger difference.

mClassic WiiU Zoom

WiiU (720p)

WiiU (720p)

mClassic (1080p)

mClassic (1080p)

The picture is clearly clearer in detail and less krisselig. Also, when only a zoom in the picture makes the difference, he falls on a moving picture a tick more. That the increase in image quality is not a difference like day and night, however, was clear from the beginning.

PlayStation 2 improved by the mClassic

Of course, I hoped for the biggest improvement on the PlayStation 2. However, there is a catch on the mClassic here: The adapter has only one HDMI input. To pass the PS2's signal into the mClassic, an HDMI adapter is necessary. Here we decided to use the pound HDMI Link Cable that outputs the PS2 signal at 720p. We then let that scale up again through the mClassic to 1080p. On Onimusha 2 it looks like this:

mClassic PS2

POUND HDMI HD Link Cable (720p)

POUND HDMI HD Link Cable (720p)

mClassic (1080p)

mClassic (1080p)

Here again with zoomed in picture:

mClassic PS2 Zoom

POUND HDMI HD Link Cable (720p)

POUND HDMI HD Link Cable (720p)

mClassic (1080p)

mClassic (1080p)

The difference is greatest on the PlayStation 2. Even the pound cable gives out a good fast HD picture. The mClassic tickles a bit more sharpness.

mClassic PS2_1

Crash Team Racing (720p)

Crash Team Racing (720p)

Crash Team Racing mClassic (1080p)

Crash Team Racing mClassic (1080p)

Especially in the zoom it is clear that the individual pixels are less blurred, stand out clearly from each other. Take care of the grass. In the 720p version, the dark green edges of the grass are almost lost – with the mClassic these boundaries are much clearer.

mClassic PS2_2 Zoom

Crash Team Racing (720p Zoom)

Crash Team Racing (720p Zoom)

Crash Team Racing mClassic (1080p Zoom)

Crash Team Racing mClassic (1080p Zoom)

But here too, if you do not zoom in and the game is on the move, the difference is much smaller. However, if you have a 4K-capable TV or a 1440p monitor, the mClassic resolves to 1440p, which makes the difference even clearer.

Conclusion: is the mClassic worth it?

Especially for those who still like to gamble on one of the older consoles, the mClassic can be interesting. If you use the retro mode of the adapter, you can look forward to high-resolution pictures. But there is a catch: You need an adapter cable for all retro consoles. Only then is it even possible to connect the mClassic.

If you look at Youtube, then the mClassic can also be used for the Super Nintendo or the Mega Drive. However, the improvements are not that important. It becomes clear in some PS1 and N64 games.

Whether or not the mClassic adapter really pays depends on how you use it. If you buy the adapter, but you already have a 4K TV and a PS4 Pro, then you can only advise against it. However, if you want to play on an older console – such as the Wii U, Xbox 360 or PS3 or even older ones like the PS2 or similar – yes, for this player, the adapter could be worthwhile.

Especially when the 720p is scaled up to 1440p as described, a clear improvement can be seen. Scaled up to "only" 1080p, the difference is smaller, but, as the zoom comparisons show, can show a sufficient difference for one or the other, making it worth buying.

Finally, one can say: The mClassic is no humbug, but not worth it for any player – and is far from magic to work.

Pre-order video games: Your opinion is in demand

Often the time from the first announcement to the final release of a game feels like an eternity. Of course, the publishers are taking advantage of this and are attracting attractive pre-orders. Therefore we ask you: how do you stand on the topic?