Cortex Component input help

Good morning everyone! I’m having an issue getting component video into my VC. I’m outputting component from a V-40HD and when set to 480P I get scrolling frames, so a sync problem (plus a flickering sync lock led on VC). Any higher setting gives noise and the sync led flickers as well, ie 720, 1080… Of course, VC wants 480i. The problem is that when output 480i, either 4:3 or 16:9 (same results in both cases) the CRT screen doesn’t show anything (no out of sync frames, no noise, nothing on the screen) and VC doesn’t flicker its sync led. Why is this happening? The mixer works fine with everything else, but component is the problem which is a big problem because that’s how to get a full color image into the synth. Could anyone shed some light on what I might be missing? I’ve ready through the VC manual and V40hd manuals several times and nothing I’m doing is working right now. Thank you :slight_smile:

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Good morning. Does your Cortex sync to external composite signals? Have you tried a component signal from something other than the V40HD? Have you checked the rear switch setting on the Cortex?


Hi Chad. Yes, VC syncs to component input from other devices, and composite is no problem from anything; structure, V40hd, any input really. The VC sync is set to internal and to NTSC. Usually there’s a solid sync from the composite output from the v40hd, but so far I haven’t found a setting that gets me anything stable with component. I think the cable is fine since it is obviously transmitting information (unsynced and noisey, not actually a clear signal) from the formats VC doesn’t accept, just nothing from the 480i 59.94 that VC is supposed to accept.

Interesting. It sounds like the Cortex is behaving. Do you have a component monitor to further check the V40’s outputs?


Will the VC accept and sync to 59.94?
I thought it only could take 29.97?

Below is from the V40HD manual, and like almost everything that outputs HD on Component, it can’t go down to 480i 29.97:


Hmm, pretty sure the V40HD is working fine. The frame rate could be the issue though… so VC only accepts 29.97? The Ambrey composite to component converter outputs 480i but doesn’t specify frame rate. I suppose I can keep using that box until TBC2 shows up. That said, are there details of what formats and frame rates TBC2 will accept? I pre-ordered a long time ago, so hopefully I’ll find out soon enough either way.

What equipment puts out 480i at 29.97? As in, if 59.94 is standard, why was VC designed with 29.97 as the limit, and since that was a design decision, what was VC intended to work with (boxes that output 480i at 29.97)?

In the US, standard-definition analog video has always been NTSC 480i which inherently runs at 29.97framerate and covers the broadest swath of consumer video devices leading up to the adoption of the earliest digital playback resolutions. The landscape and cost of video technology and peripherals has changed drastically even in the decade since LZX’s creation.

I don’t have the exact list in front of me atm, but TBC2 will accept both interlaced and progressive formats from 480, 720 up to 1080i thru component in both NTSC and PAL, but I do not believe will include 1080p.


Thanks. I guess I’m wondering more where I’d find a component output in 480i 29.97…? I understand SD composite, but I guess I don’t understand what equipment would send a component signal at 480i 29.97, when it seems even the best converters (decimator mdhx cross for example) only downscale to 480i 59.94. In other words, since VC accepts either composite in black and white or component in full color, but only when sent at 29.97, what actual analog gear sends component signals at 29.97, since component was supposed to be high def by design and all examples I’ve found operate at 59.94?

The Ambrey composite to component converter works for getting a full color signal into the VC, even though frame rates are absent from any of the Ambrey documentation I’ve seen.

Was the design philosophy of VC to get component input from specific equipment, like the Ambrey converter? I know the design is aging and being replaced by TBC2, and I’m not trying to beat a dead horse, but I would like to know if I should be seeking out certain devices that output component video at 29.97 and what those devices are, especially if there is a quality downscaler for this purpose. Again, this might all be redundant, but I’d like to know how to get the most out of what’s already in front of me. Additionally, I have been planning a big reshuffling of modules that would have TBC2 and VC in separate cases, but if getting color video into VC is going to be a long term issue then maybe TBC2 should live next to VC as was my original plan. :slight_smile:

I’ve reread your setup description. When set to 480i, are you also manually patching the Red Green and Blue outputs from the decoder section to one of the input channels of Visual Cortex?

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Specs can sometimes be wrong about 59.94 vs. 29.97. If something says it spits out interlaced video at 59.94, it very well may be talking about the field rate, not the frame rate (which would be half that, i.e. 29.97).

Looking at the specs, it appears that mixer does indeed only do component as progressive video (because it is likely expecting you to plug into a computer monitor or projector that itself expects a computer signal) but it does send out HDMI as interlaced. My guess is that that is indeed actually 29.97 frame rate.

So your choices are to downsample the progressive analog signal to interlaced (not sure what device is best for that, but likely there is some old Extron box you can pick up for not too much) OR you can convert the correctly-formatted digital HDMI signal to analog component (again, Extron may be the way to go there, though Ambery sells some options as well, I think). Or, well, you could convert the composite output to component (easy to find converters via Ambery or elsewhere), but you will take a quality hit.

It can certainly be frustrating to get to NTSC component video, especially if you already have a mix of gear from different eras. It is maybe important to remember that the last 20+ years have been a period of enormous flux in standards as things have moved to digital encoding, but NTSC reigned supreme for ~50 years prior to that. It is not as if LZX pulled their standard out of nowhere.

I assume the thinking behind being component-only on VC was that accommodating both component and composite in analog circuitry is basically doing twice the work. So it is cheaper to have people convert externally. And, if you’re going to choose one, better to choose the higher quality one (that probably also requires less circuitry on the back end…?) so higher quality is possible rather than forcing everyone to input a lower quality signal.


Now that I think about it more, if your HDMI signal is the right format (which it sounds like it can be), one of the cheap HDMI to component converters on Amazon (like this) should work since you don’t need to do any scaling. …I would be skeptical of the quality, but I guess it is not much of an investment to see if something like that might work. (After a while, you will almost certainly have a bin of various converters of various quality and uses.)

Myself, I get always get to component via HDMI, using one of two methods:

  1. A slightly more expensive converter others here recommended, the so-called Universal Premium Quality HDMI to Component Converter. It converts and downscales, which I need. But to convert from 16:9 to 4:3 it only squishes, not crops/letterboxes. This is sometimes what I want — I just unsquish when I convert back to digital.

  2. But sometimes I do indeed want cropping or letterboxing instead. For that, I use a chain of BMD HDMI to SDI micro converter and an Aja HD10MD3. Picking up both used, I didn’t pay too terribly much more for that combo than the other device. Frustratingly, it only crops or letterboxes and doesn’t squish. So, yeah, I’ve kept both set-ups.

As I said above, old used Extron boxes can often be the cheapest route. But they’re also much bulkier than a lot of other little converters, so less ideal if you need to be mobile (as I do).


And, jeez, didn’t even mention that “component video” isn’t just one standard but several (RGBS, RGBHV, RGsB, YPbPr), so that could also be a potential complication. Didn’t look too closely at the specs for your mixer, but if it expecting to send out to a computer monitor/projector, it is likely one of the RGB flavors vs. YPbPr.

Nothing can be easy!


Yeah, definitely didn’t skip that step, haha!

The issue is that when coming out of the V40HD, which in the menu settings shows as 480i/59.94, VC doesn’t show anything, the NTSC and sync lock LEDs don’t light up, flicker, nothing. When I keep everything hooked up the same but change to 480p, I can see an image coming through, but the sync isn’t locked so the image just scrolls as a kind of double image diagonally. When set to 720 I don’t get an image, but I see noise. So on 480p and 720 I get an NTSC LED and a flickering sync LED, but on 480i there’s no activity on the LEDs or on the screen.

I understand that there are RGB settings aside from the component settings, but I assure you, I’ve selected 480i component in the V40HD menu for the correct output.

I’ve got the Ambrey composite to component converter, an MD/HX cross converter, and the blackmagic SDI to Analog converter, so it’s not that I’m having an issue getting the signal I want into my system. But rather getting the signal I want, in the way I want to get it into the system, which I believed should have worked.

I’m going to keep troubleshooting, and I do appreciate all the support :slight_smile:

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Hm. Reading back thru the thread again, I notice that Zonkout mentioned testing the mixer component output directly into a TV. Did you try that?

…I just looked at the specs again and really do wonder whether it is one of the RGB versions of component out rather than YPbPr. This will not work with VC.


Yes, I hooked the V40 up to a Sony Bravia’s component input and everything worked as intended; phone out to hdmi in on the mixer, VGA/hd15 to component cable connecting the mixer and the TV with a beautiful picture. I hooked everything back up to the synth and shot a video scrolling through the V40’s four 480 settings. You can see a test of each setting: output displayed on preview monitor, the basic patch and Visual Cortex NTSC and Sync LEDs, and the results on the small tv. So it’s known, the little tv is not at fault, it works just fine with VC, Structure, and V40’s composite out. So, I can get Luma from the composite signal just fine, or plug the composite out into the Ambrey converter, then plug that into the YPbPr inputs on VC and get what I expect, but I really want to plug the V40 directly into the VC and get a stable color image… and so far that isn’t happenin. Tell me I’m not crazy or overlooking something small, I try to do my homework, I promise haha.

Here’s a link to the video:

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Well, you got me stumped.

It usually is some small thing one is overlooking, but…?

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The great thing about standards is…

IMO you’ve tried what you can, but you’re at the point of accepting you can’t plug the V40 output straight in to the VC.

Many format converters, especially the cheaper ones, rely on the HD input to be in the same framerate as your required output. Obviously that can’t happen here so you’ll also need to pay attention to the output options any converter offers.
I’d suggest to look at an Extron USP405 or similar, for format conversion. On paper it appears to do the job - perhaps I should dig out mine to test…


Interlaced formats sometimes specify the frame rate, and sometimes the field rate. 480i29.97 and 480i59.94 are the same, 29.97 frames per second, with twice as many fields (59.94). While technically possible, there is no 480 line format with 29.97 fields (14.99 frames) or with 59.94 frames (119.88 fields).


No *interlaced 480 line format, 480p59.94 does exist

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Well, it’s good to know I’m not missing something obvious, if for nothing but my own sanity. Thank you for your help and taking the time to share your knowledge, everyone. For the time being I’ll stick the Ambrey converter in the middle and hope that TBC2 solves some of my issues.