Marseille’s mClassic reviewed

mClassic is Marseille’s cost-reduced external scaler

Can an HDMI cable or adapter improve video quality output over HDMI? That sounds insane when you talk about a pristine digital signal. I thought the same thing when Marseille offered me a chance to review the mClassic. I’m TR’s resident console peasant, so of course I said yes. This external HDMI doohickey connects a PC or console to its HDMI cable and applies some post-processing filters to the image.

You may have heard of Marseilles before. The company makes mCable Cinema Edition and the mCable Gaming Edition, two other external upscaling solutions built into HDMI cables. These cables apply different effects for different uses, as their names indicate. The Cinema Edition upscales video and adds a sharpening effect in an attempt to make low-res video look like a 1080p or 4K feed. Meanwhile, the Gaming Edition adds an antialiasing filter to the upscaled, sharpened image. Both cables cost up to $140, depending on how long you want it to be.

Enter the mClassic

The mClassic is an dongle that brings the price down to $99, but keeps the mCable Gaming Edition’s features intact. Marseille turned to Indiegogo to fund mass production. As of the time this review went live, Marseille had already raised most of its $50,000 goal. Buyers who jump in on the pre-order will be able to pick up an mClassic $79, a $20 discount, while the very earliest of early birds who make it into the first 250 pre-orders can get their mitts on it for $59. While backing crowdfunding campaigns is risky, Marseille has successfully shipped its mCables for two years now. Because of that, we’re not too worried about whether Marseille will deliver the mClassic. We’re far more interested in what the product delivers. For that, the company sent us a pre-production unit to test.

Marseille recruited old-school rapper and NWA founding member OG Arabian Prince, who was a fan of the mCable, to be a designer and consultant. In a surreal conference call with both Arabian Prince and Marseille CEO Amine Chabane, the artist also known as Professor X said that he was interested on getting involved with Marseille because he wanted to find a way to cut costs and get the mCable’s postprocessing effects into more peoples’ hands. Yes, I’ve gotten my “six degrees to Dr. Dre” down to one.

The mClassic is rather handsome in its box, which contains the dongle, a short HDMI male-to-female extension cable, and the required micro USB power cord. There’s no charger included in the box, but the mClassic drew adequate power from the USB ports of both my TCL 55P605 4K TV and TCL 40S325 1080p set. The HDMI extension is handy for devices like the Nintendo Switch’s dock, which has limited room for plugging in an HDMI device. The big “m” logo on the back of the mClassic means that the dongle won’t fit in the Switch dock without the extension, so including it in the box was the right move.

The most important question is, can the mClassic deliver what Marseille promised? Let’s find out.

So many use cases

Marseille makes some bold claims about all of its upscaling products, mClassic included. First, the company claims that using the mClassic with your PC or modern-day console is like a graphics card upgrade, thanks to its combination of upscaling, antialiasing, and sharpening effects. Second, it claims that the mClassic can make your retro consoles look “HD.” Third, the mClassic purportedly adds no lag while it does its thing. The mClassic scales sub-1080p resolutions up to full HD, and 1080p video scales to either 2560×1440 at 60 Hz or 4K at 30 Hz depending on what the display supports. The device only supports HDMI 1.4, so 60 Hz UHD is off the table.

mClassic with one quarter of an Earth Dollar for scale

The mClassic has no analog input, so for non-HDMI device you need to convert the signal first. Fortunately, I have a couple options: the Open Source Scan Converter—first introduced in our Mega Sg review—and a RetroTINK 2x, which converts S-Video and composite signals to 480p HDMI. To put Marseille’s claims to the test, we’ll look at a variety of modern systems and consoles from yesteryear. We’ll also see if the mClassic can make 720p gaming on a Ryzen 5 2400G look like 1080p.

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Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

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joge
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joge

Can anyone answer this..
Just got a ps4 pro and a monitor with a 21:9 ratio. I know ps4 pro only suports 16:9. Would this device help bypass any upgrade the the resolution while fitting to the 21:9 scale without black bars?

Charles
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Charles

No it certainly will not do that. It only produces 16:9 resolutions (aside from a few legacy Tv’ ones like 480p).

There currently i no known way to have console create 21:9 resolutions. The only way this could happen if manufactureres (and game developers!!) start supporting it.

And without 21:9 tv’s.. that will not happen.

smoof
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smoof

Hi, I have a question: You guys don’t happen to have one of these capture cards that have allways been notoriously picky about their input, like some Elgato models or most Blackmagic devices? Some people had limited succes capturing SNES footage, thanks to the retrotink theses capture devices are able to read the resolution, the issue is the famicoms variable refresh rate which causes the image to scroll. There are solutions which have been proven to work, but they’re all high latency which won’t do for what I’m setting up, or simply less than ideal in some other fashion; more… Read more »

G
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G

I have several consoles connected to a receiver (Xbox one x, ps4 pro and Switch) can i plug this to the hdmi out from the receiver to the TV? Or is it 1 per console?

Durante
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Durante

As far as I know I was the first person to implement (and come up with?) this idea, a bit over 8 years ago:
https://www.neogaf.com/threads/fxaa-for-all-ps3-and-xbox360-games.438638/

Interestingly, back then some people already asked for a “plug and play” product version of it, which this seems to be. I’d argue it was actually more relevant back then, with many high-end (at the time) console games on 360 and PS3 releasing with no or inadequate AA.

Dangit Bobby
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Dangit Bobby

Why do you call it an “Earth Dollar” when it’s only available in America?

AnonymousCoward
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AnonymousCoward

In regards to the Nintendo Switch use case: setting the Switch to 720p in docked mode does *not* improve its performance since the device downscales the 1080p output.

jihadjoe
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jihadjoe

Did you test how much input lag it adds when doing processing? TVs with built-in sharpening or smoothing effects usually add a ton of lag so when gaming it’s almost always been better to turn that crap off.

sirdrak
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sirdrak

Less than 1 ms. I have the mCable Gaming Edition and there is no appreciable lag

DPete27
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DPete27

It looks like a great product that works. Especially for consoles. Seems $100 is a bit high and that ~$75 would attract a larger market via gifting but…

Waco
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Waco

I mean, it’s cool and all, but I just can’t see myself ever paying for something like this given the cost and not ultra-significant improvements in IQ.

Member

I could see myself spending $100, if I still had time to play console games more often. Getting the visual cleanup with the option to un-stretch the HD image would be pretty useful with the N64 and HDMI converter combo I have kicking around.

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ludi

Hah…just doxed myself. Was still logged into my WP account. But everyone will know soon enough anyway.

superjawes
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superjawes

Had you not replied, no one would have known, Aaron…IF THAT IS YOUR REAL NAME.

Colton Westrate
Editor

LMAO

deputy dawg
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deputy dawg

YOU DONE MESSED UP A-A-RON!

Colton Westrate
Editor

As of this past weekend, I get this reference!

chuckula
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chuckula

Thanks for the review Funky!

Since my main display is now 2K but I do find older games to be quite fun, it’s interesting to see different solutions that allow these games to be more playable at resolutions that were not dreamed of when the games were written.

deputy dawg
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deputy dawg

I hooked up the old Xbox 360 to my 2K display and it didn’t look great… it would be interesting to see how much this would improve things

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