Quantcast Is Hauppauge USB-Live2 any good? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
05-29-2020, 08:15 AM
Lee B Lee B is offline
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After years of planning, I'm almost ready to digitize my precious home video collection, and currently talking to someone here about buying a Pinnacle 710-USB, which I understand is a quality device.

Under normal circumstances I would be very happy with this, but since my money is so tight right now (I'm out of a job), I had a quick look around for bargain prices and happened to noticed that the Hauppauge USB-Live2 is selling for only €50 here in the UK - that's just a third of what I'd pay for the Pinnacle.

I searched for test images of the Hauppauge, and was quite astonished to see this thread showing significantly better results for the Hauppauge than the Pinnacle, with a far smoother picture, vastly more natural colors, and a much better gamut. By comparison, the Pinnacle looks too 'vivid' - over-bright, over-sharp, and the whites look clipped to me.

To my eyes, there is no comparison, the Hauppauge wins hands-down… but perhaps the Pinnacle used in that test had an inferior chipset?

Or perhaps the Hauppauge website is selling units with inferior chipsets?

Could anyone please tell me which chipsets to avoid, and is there any way to tell the chipset just from looking at the product?
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  #2  
05-29-2020, 09:49 AM
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Good/decent, sure.
Good/best, not really.

My reply/notes on that threads went into detail why.

You're spot-on with your observation, at least half of it. Pinnacle cards had a long production, and had both official revisions, and mid-production undocumented changes. As always, chipsets matter. The statements "710-USB is bad" and "710-USB is good" can therefore both be true. Welcome to capturing!

But the part you're missing is the tape itself. Let's assume this is a good 710 model. Still, that tape is terrible. The values are washed, regardless of card. Some are washed more, but all are washed. This is not unusual. Different workflow pieces can cause different interactions. For example, in that exact sample, the VCR could be outputting a signal that only the Hauppauge liked. Another VCR may prove opposite, or have both clips appear identical. Again, welcome to capturing!

When you see errors, don't knee-jerk judge. Process of elimination is how you isolate root causes. That requires a big stash of gear and test tapes. There are reasons why I must test my workflows. I can't just grab random pieces, and call it a workflow. Interactions matter.

True, you are assembling a workflow manually. So you take risks in how the pieces interact. But don't let somebody else's workflow overly influence your picks (assuming all good gear, of course). Also realize their copies of the same model could vary, such as VCR wear/caps, or capture card or TBC sub-versions/revisions.

A lot of digest, I know. But you asked.

I am leery of any new cards sold these days. The enticement to cheap out with components is just too great these days. Know that Hauppauge is well known to have production shifts. Same card model, vastly divergent internals. So you must be very careful when buying Hauppauge. It wasn't that way during the MPEG-2 PVR-250/350 days (PVR-150 was terrible), but it has been for over a decade now.

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  #3  
05-29-2020, 10:36 AM
Lee B Lee B is offline
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LOL, thanks, Lordsmurf! That's really helpful information.

It all seems like such a lottery! Cross your fingers and hope the pieces of your rig all like each other, and hope the manufacturer didn't decide to throw a cheap chipset in there.

Nevertheless, may I ask… Assuming optimal input conditions (and chipsets) - are you aware of any fundamental, un-fixable problems with the USB-Live2 that would put it in a lesser class than the Pinnacle?
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05-29-2020, 12:01 PM
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Lesser, yes.
Bad, no.

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  #5  
05-29-2020, 12:46 PM
Lee B Lee B is offline
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Thank you, Lordsmurf.

Incidentally, I wrote to Hauppage today and asked them what chipset is in the USB-Live2 model currently on sale. I received a reply, simply referring me to this page, which says the chip is "CX 23102". I have no idea if this is good or bad?

Then again, if, as you say, the USB-Live2 is inferior to the Pinnacle 710-USB, then I wouldn't want it anyway. I trust your expertise on this.
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05-29-2020, 06:12 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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It's similar what's in the Diamond VC500, the image quality is quite good (provided you use s-video), but it does not like unstable signals very much.

As for the comparison, the clipping should be avoidable if input levels are set correctly, maybe the default sharpness setting is a bit high on the dazzle and pinnacle.
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  #7  
05-30-2020, 01:15 PM
Lee B Lee B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
It's similar what's in the Diamond VC500, the image quality is quite good (provided you use s-video), but it does not like unstable signals very much.
Thanks, Hodgey. I will be using s-video, and a line TBC, but I can't afford a frame TBC I'm planning to keep the audio in sync just by editing it after.
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06-02-2020, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee B View Post
Thanks, Hodgey. I will be using s-video, and a line TBC, but I can't afford a frame TBC I'm planning to keep the audio in sync just by editing it after.
At very minimum, you need an ES10/15 to act as a minimalist TBC(ish). Having nothing won't at all won't work. You need to understand that audio skew is because you're dropping frames (missing video data).

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  #9  
06-05-2020, 11:36 AM
JustinC JustinC is offline
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I would get the Pinnacle over the others. I have a ATi tv wonder and like the damn thing but it is a hassle if you've ever owned anythig ATI you know what I'm talking about. Incompatible and general pain. I like it when it works but wouldnt suggest using it unless you already have a ATI video card to go with it.

Its got nice features like transparency mode over your screen for tv viewing (with MMC7.5, unofficial) but no remote.

I prefer nvidia products because of stability and the speed, if you could find a standalone personal cinema I would get that.

"dude your getting a dell", is that kid trying to say he wants to stick his 'dell' in you?
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  #10  
07-16-2020, 05:45 PM
Lee B Lee B is offline
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Thank you both for the reply.

I do totally understand that the results are subject to a large number of factors, and every rig is different. Nevertheless, I was just a little spooked to see the Pinnacle (apparently) outperformed by a lesser-recommended product. It made me stop and question whether my tastes in colour reproduction are different to 'popular' tastes.

With that said, does anyone happen to know where I might be able to see any captures from the Pinnacle 710-USB when it's working well?
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