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 Post subject: [MSC-4000] Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2022, 19:29 
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As per the title, I would really appreciate the opinions of other muse decoder owners here on the attached images provided just to confirm that the random speckles visible on the white graphics are actually inherent on the Muse transfer itself and not likely to be something generated by the Sony decoder? I’m really interested to learn if this artifact is just as noticeable on some of the other models from i.e. Pioneer, Panasonic etc.?

Thanks!


https://postimg.cc/gallery/McvbDTg
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2022, 20:03 
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I assume you see this noise elsewhere on the disc? I ask because MUSE wouldn’t be the only format where you see “no copy” bumpers in significantly lower quality than the rest of the program.
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2022, 21:59 
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Yes it does appear at various times throughout this disc (A River Runs Through It) and also occasionally on the others that I have; regardless whether they be Film or Video based material, the bumper was only used as it was easier to capture a clear example of the problem using my iPhone camera than it would be on a moving scene on the main program.
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2022, 03:07 
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laserfanhld-gb wrote:
Yes it does appear at various times throughout this disc


Does it refer to the red "pixels" intruding into the letters from the left?

Image

I can't really remember seeing something like that before.
It looks like the video processing for the red channel is bleeding too far?

Julien
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2022, 04:49 
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The component output on the Sony is not entirely inline with the modern equipment. My memory on this from several years ago but I remember the voltage levels were off. I also remember I had better video from my Crystalio II than my Radiance 2144 for Hi-Vision LDs. In short, these Sony decoders are 20 years old now, they can really use a overhaul and modernization while the Radiance 2144 is not really optimized for this type video. Unfortunately, Lumagen has their hands full with their newer Radiance Pro firmwares, they won’t touch the Radiance 2144 or any older VP anymore.
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2022, 15:01 
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admin wrote:
laserfanhld-gb wrote:
Yes it does appear at various times throughout this disc


Does it refer to the red "pixels" intruding into the letters from the left?

Image

I can't really remember seeing something like that before.
It looks like the video processing for the red channel is bleeding too far?

Julien


Exactly that Julien and thanks for responding; although when viewed with the naked eye on the projector screen or even small LCD screen they actually look more black rather than the red colour depicted in the iPhone shots, they also actually appear like clusters of tiny insects moving around the borders of things such as the edges of mountains set against a bright background for example.

substance wrote:
The component output on the Sony is not entirely inline with the modern equipment. My memory on this from several years ago but I remember the voltage levels were off. I also remember I had better video from my Crystalio II than my Radiance 2144 for Hi-Vision LDs. In short, these Sony decoders are 20 years old now, they can really use a overhaul and modernization while the Radiance 2144 is not really optimized for this type video. Unfortunately, Lumagen has their hands full with their newer Radiance Pro firmwares, they won’t touch the Radiance 2144 or any older VP anymore.


Thanks for this substance, I have tested the MSC4000 component output running directly to my Arcam AVR600 component input and also tried it directly to a small LG LCD TV but the results are exactly the same as via the Radiance 2144, so presumably it’s likely that the Sony is the culprit, did you ever use another brand of Muse decoder or was it only the Sony back then?
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2022, 01:55 
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laserfanhld-gb wrote:
admin wrote:
laserfanhld-gb wrote:
Yes it does appear at various times throughout this disc


Does it refer to the red "pixels" intruding into the letters from the left?

Image

I can't really remember seeing something like that before.
It looks like the video processing for the red channel is bleeding too far?

Julien


Exactly that Julien and thanks for responding; although when viewed with the naked eye on the projector screen or even small LCD screen they actually look more black rather than the red colour depicted in the iPhone shots, they also actually appear like clusters of tiny insects moving around the borders of things such as the edges of mountains set against a bright background for example.

substance wrote:
The component output on the Sony is not entirely inline with the modern equipment. My memory on this from several years ago but I remember the voltage levels were off. I also remember I had better video from my Crystalio II than my Radiance 2144 for Hi-Vision LDs. In short, these Sony decoders are 20 years old now, they can really use a overhaul and modernization while the Radiance 2144 is not really optimized for this type video. Unfortunately, Lumagen has their hands full with their newer Radiance Pro firmwares, they won’t touch the Radiance 2144 or any older VP anymore.


Thanks for this substance, I have tested the MSC4000 component output running directly to my Arcam AVR600 component input and also tried it directly to a small LG LCD TV but the results are exactly the same as via the Radiance 2144, so presumably it’s likely that the Sony is the culprit, did you ever use another brand of Muse decoder or was it only the Sony back then?


I have 2x Sony MSC-4000, one of which I never powered on. I bought it because it was cheap and came with the remote. I also have a Panasonic MDC100. Unfortunately, my interest in this hobby and having free time greatly reduced soon after I bought the Panasonic. I never really did a critical evaluation between units. I can share some of my opinions from my memory to stay here as some reference.

Sony MSC-4000 is one of the earlier Muse decoders.

Pros:
The built quality and the engineering in it is impressive. It would definitely be in the “Elevated Standards - ES” line if released today.
It has a linear power supply with decent filtering (perhaps over engineered here).
Several separate boards for different dedicated functions.
All hole components (capacitor, resistor etc..)
Good video output. I always thought MSC-4000 represented Hi-Vision LD capabilities well.
Very extensive inputs and outputs.
Mostly discreet micro electronics if not all.


Cons:
Everything is so crammed in the chassis. I don’t really see much in terms of shielding.
Discreet micro electronics is also a con due to age. Many of the capacitors and resistors are probably way off from their original ratings.


Panasonic TU-MDC100 is the very last Muse decoder.

Pros:
They are a couple of years newer.
Much simpler and more efficient design which allows room to spread electronics.
Digital electronics are placed further away from the analog input and output board.
Muse decoding asics are placed inside an aluminum cage to reduce interference leakage.
Picture is sharper than the Sony.
All ICs, less number of capacitors that can go bad.
Runs much cooler than other Muse decoders due to its more efficient design.

Cons:
Switch mode power supply and it is on the same pcb as the analog i/o stage.
All ICs which are more efficient but not on par with discreet circuits in terms of noise.


Overall the improvement from one of the earlier generation Muse decoders to the last one isn’t great. I would put it somewhere around %5-10 in sharpness but I am not convinced if the overall picture is better. All decoders have ringing but some have more. This is something in the digital domain. To make the image sharper, you increase the contrast around the edges of objects. This causes the ringing. I don’t know whichever one has the better sharpening recipe. There are some comparison threads here. i don’t recall the details as I haven’t played any Hi-Vision disc for 3 years now. Overall picture noise and how its distributed can help the contrast and sharpness as it would act as a natural dithering noise. Sony’s design is focused on generating as little noise as possible but then it doesn’t do much effort in shielding and filtering. The Panasonic pays very little respect to low noise design but pcbs are carefully placed to minimize interaction and their is decent filtering and isolation. In terms of mods and upgrades, the Panasonic is a lost cause. You would have to design the entire IO and power pcb from scratch. The Sony has a lot of potential in this regard. You can probably bypass unused functions, add some shielding, upgrade some components to newer and better ones. You might be able to squeeze out another db or two of SN ratio. The best would be adding digital SDI output and bypass the entire analog IO stage.

To wrap it all, I don’t see a significant reason to change your Sony MSC-4000 unless it needs repairs. I checked the Radiance 2144 menu. You can actually adjust the voltage levels on the component inputs on the latest firmware. The Muse input also needs a separate calibration which there is no reference unfortunately. You can also play with the chroma pixel delay to see if you can help the red dots. If the red dots are specific to your MSC-4000 then it is probably dropping a bit or two in the digital processing in the asics. Possibly the RAM module is going bad. The solder points on the Sony is easy to work with but the issue is whether you can find a similar spec RAM module.
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2022, 03:32 
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laserfanhld-gb wrote:
Exactly that Julien and thanks for responding; although when viewed with the naked eye on the projector screen or even small LCD screen they actually look more black rather than the red colour depicted in the iPhone shots, they also actually appear like clusters of tiny insects moving around the borders of things such as the edges of mountains set against a bright background for example.


I'll boot my MSC-4000 tonight to start play a MUSE LD and take a pic of the same screen.

I do not remember something like that before, but I do recognize the small halo'ing/shadowing around the letters.

Julien
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC-4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2022, 18:07 
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Not a great pic (iPhone 8 in dark room), sorry about that.

But this is the opening/warning text from River Runs Through It, A (1992) [PILH-1006] played on HLD-X9 > MSC-4000 > Radiance 2144.

Attachment:
test.jpg
test.jpg [ 104.19 KiB | Viewed 4768 times ]


Since this is Component video, have you tried removing the red or the blue (keep the green for the synchro)?
Is it evenly visible in 3 signals or only appearing on one?

I would think the MSC-4000 might have cap(s) going bad somewhere?

Julien
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC-4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2022, 19:44 
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admin wrote:
Not a great pic (iPhone 8 in dark room), sorry about that.

But this is the opening/warning text from River Runs Through It, A (1992) [PILH-1006] played on HLD-X9 > MSC-4000 > Radiance 2144.

Attachment:
test.jpg


Since this is Component video, have you tried removing the red or the blue (keep the green for the synchro)?
Is it evenly visible in 3 signals or only appearing on one?

I would think the MSC-4000 might have cap(s) going bad somewhere?
Julien


Many thanks for this Julien, well its a good enough shot to show that they appear to be completely absent in your identical (display excepted) set up, it seems the finger is pointing solely at my MSC-4000 now. I’m going to try exactly as you suggest and will report back with my findings; when I originally picked this unit up I paid relatively little money for it as it was completely dead but after partial capacitor replacement it was brought back to full working order so perhaps you are correct and the remaining unreplaced caps are now deteriorating too.
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC-4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2022, 11:51 
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A quick update: Loaded up A River Runs Through It, then booted up the MSC-4000 and hit the play button. Surprisingly the Japanese copyright bumper was totally clean and devoid of any artifacts and the credits and first few minutes of the program ran perfectly then after a approximately 5 or so minutes the old problem started to manifest itself once more; no doubt due to circuit board components beginning to heat up, so it seems your suggestion of caps or other components going bad would be rather close to the mark Julien? I did return to the bumper just to confirm and it was now back to its usual pixel infested mess. Finally I did try your suggestion of separately removing the red and green component cables and it made no difference, but at least I now know where the problem seems to lie so yourself and substance have been a great help here, much appreciated both :thumbup:
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC-4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2022, 18:38 
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That does sound potentially capacitor related, or perhaps dry solder across the board(s). Maybe someone local with an iron, a reel of solder and a bucket of caps may be able to recap and reflow the decoder for you?

Best of luck. :thumbup:
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC-4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2022, 19:44 
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teddanson wrote:
That does sound potentially capacitor related, or perhaps dry solder across the board(s). Maybe someone local with an iron, a reel of solder and a bucket of caps may be able to recap and reflow the decoder for you?

Best of luck. :thumbup:


Cheers Ted, Yes I’ve already got someone in mind, in fact its the guy who coaxed it back to life when I originally purchased it a few years back for next to nothing (relatively speaking) as a non working item. Just hoping he’s still active this side of the pandemic if you know what I mean!
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC-4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 29 Aug 2022, 21:08 
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The 5v regulator IC mounted near the front of the decoder likes to get cold solders. I have repaired MANY MSC-4000 and that regulator always has micro cracks in the solder joint. Easy to miss if you're not looking for it.
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 Post subject: Re: Sony MSC-4000 Muse Compression Artifacts?
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2022, 07:52 
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drewmanfu0 wrote:
The 5v regulator IC mounted near the front of the decoder likes to get cold solders. I have repaired MANY MSC-4000 and that regulator always has micro cracks in the solder joint. Easy to miss if you're not looking for it.


Really appreciate this, I’m actually taking the unit in later today so I’ll certainly pass this info on to the repairers.

Many Thanks drewmanfu0 :thumbup:
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