A cornerstone of the new studio space was to have all my consoles hooked up and ready to rock at a moment’s notice. That’s not so tricky with the HDMI consoles, but the analog ones have required specialized equipment. Thanks to years of research and watching [[MFP30 - “Born to Test This Stuff” with Marc “Try4ce” Duddleson|My Life in Gaming]], I’ve acquired the requisite slew of component cables and bought my RetroTINK 5X Pro last year. My solution was to hot-swap the component cables when needed. In no time this became cumbersome. I also couldn’t route one console to both my OLED and CRT, leaving the set-up feeling segmented. It felt like patch work.[^1] I’ve long eyed the [gcomp Switch](https://rondoproducts.com/products/gretrostuff-automatic-8-2-component-composite-switch), but I struggled with the near $300 price tag. I [dug back into researching options](https://youtube.com/watch?v=998tBzpJhVo&t=1259) and was reminded about these rackmount matrix switches from a company called Extron. The prices on eBay seem to hover around $70~100 these days, but I figured this would be the best option for me for a few reasons. 1. I could buy an option with more than eight inputs.[^2] 2. The Extron can output to multiple devices at once. 3. It’s cheaper than the gcomp. With the [[RetroRGB Breaks Down the RetroTINK 4K|RetroTINK 4K]] on the horizon, I’ve been [Preparing the Way™](https://www.relay.fm/rd/102) for it and a new streamlined flow for all my consoles, TVs, and capture gear. I know I just wired all this up, but one’s setup can always be better! So I took the dive on the Extron and wanted to write a bit about my experience with it so far. First off, I found a great deal on a resale site called [Reverb](https://reverb.com/). It seems to be a site dedicated to selling instruments and audio gear. I was able to snag an Extron Crosspoint 84[^3] for just $40.[^4] Now, the pictures on the listing were just the [[Extron Listing Front.jpg|front]] and the [[Extron Listing Rear.jpg|back]] of the switch. I confirmed there was a power cable, but I didn’t ask for anything else. When it showed up the following week, I was surprised to see it in an original Extron box. Neat! Inside, there was a smaller box with all the original documentation, parts, and software—on two floppy disks for [Windows NT](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT). I go to nab the power cable and it has never been opened. This unit has never been used before. ![[Extron New.jpg]] The Extron switches use BNC connectors. Thankfully, BNC to RCA adapters are readily available and cheap. I bought two [20 packs](https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09TT2HY8C) for $10 off Amazon. I also nabbed three [HDRetrovision male-to-male component cables](https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KRKM96K) (one to the CRT, one to the Tink 5X and one for the Tink 4K). You just lock in the BNC adapters and then insert your component cables like normal. The catch is that the audio is not BNC. Extron uses something called Phoenix. There are adapters that can be bought online. I landed on this [listing](https://www.ebay.com/itm/393225573637?var=662142889878) on eBay. You have to get different boards for input and output, but the price isn’t bad either way. The odd bit is how the fit of these isn’t flush. While waiting for the delivery, I was watching videos to learn more about the switch. One video said you’d need to sand down these adapters so they fit. Of course, the individual didn’t show this process or even say where to sand, but that tidbit stuck in my mind. When I sat down to put everything together, I figured sanding the top would be necessary. Having a smaller switch, the BNC hookups are close to the Phoenix ports. This makes the tops of these adapters brush up against them. Then I tried plugging in multiple adapters and they started shifting out of place. It’s too tight of a fit. So I sanded down the sides of the audio adapters as well. I find it really odd that these aren’t better sized horizontally. ![[Extron Sandpaper.jpg]] ![[Extron Audio Jacks.jpg]] Once you’ve got all your adapters in place, you just start plugging stuff in! You toggle which input you want via the buttons on the front and pick which outputs to send the signal too. You can send it to all of them!! I could run the same 240p or 480i signal to all three devices and not lose one bit of visual quality/information. It’s a bit mind blowing to finally have a multiout switch solution. My vision with all this is not only to solve my hot-swapping problem, but to allow me to send my console output to the Tink 4K to play on my TV[^5], the Tink 5X for streaming crispy pixels, and the CRT. I even have plans drawn out to capture to both my iMac and my standalone card. It’s this beautiful daisy chain of video signals that removes any barrier to playing how I want and capturing what I need. --- [^1]: I suppose it is technically patch work. [^2]: I didn’t this time, but expansion is an easy option. [^3]: 84 meaning 8 inputs and 4 outputs. [^4]: And $30 in shipping, but whose counting? [^5]: With BFI, scanlines, and HDR 🤤