The unofficial ELSA 3D Revelator page

Quick info:

The Revelator comes in two versions: wired and wireless. LCD-panels, connectors, drivers & compatibility are identical. Both versions feature a VESA compliant mini-DIN-3 stereo connector.

In conjunction with an ELSA consumer graphics board or most 3rd party TNT/TNT2-board they support any Direct3D game or application in a quality unpredescented by any other system. The Revelator Direct3D drivers deliver ultra-hi-res images to each eye. There are no black interlace lines or cut-into-half resolutions. The refresh rate goes from 50 Hz to at least 140 Hz fitting any taste and monitor. The Dyna-Z logic in the driver adjusts the stereo depth dynamically throughout the gameplay. No patches, no stereo-configs required!

The software page-flipping employed by ELSA not only delivers compatibility with popular chipsets such as TNT2 combined with incredible image quality and great stereo-effects. It's also the 'Achilles Heel' of the product. Just like grandpa LCD-BIOS it's vulnerable to resource conflicts with sound-cards, joysticks and such. The Revelator needs an IRQ - and uses it!!! If there are any conflicts or other 'heavy-IRQ-users' in the system it may screw the stereo-mode.

Apart from the VESA-compliant DIN-3 connector the Revelator is a 100% proprietary system and NOT compatible to anything else.
(ELSA, H3D, eyeSCREAM, Freedom wear, i-3D and similar glasses are manufactured by Ilixco and use the same IR-transmitter code though.)

The Revelator is a leap forward in terms of quality and value-for-money. At the same time it makes several steps back from the achievements Metabyte brought us with their brilliant eyeSCREAM drivers.
What we need now is a driver which combines the advantages of ELSA and Metabyte and sticks to the VESA-standard, i.e. rock-solid hardware-page-flipping and DIN-3 connectors on glasses AND boards! This is also a task for the chipset-developers. They have to comply to the VESA-stereo-standard and put the required functions in - or as my lawyer says: 'If it doesn't flip you musta' quit!'

NEW: Revelator now supports TNT, TNT2 & TNT2-Ultra boards of all brands. Get the generic driver at the german ELSA page. You have to fill out the registration form.

NEW (Dec. 99): The latest beta drivers for ELSA's own TNT2-boards has native OpenGL support now.

NEW (Dec. 99): Added troubleshooting section

This review isn't intended for beginners.  Please consult the Basics and FAQ pages if questions arise.

This page was innitially released on July 10, 1999
last update: Dec. 30, 1999

Pro & Con
The Controller
Connection Schemes
The Glasses
Hardware compatibility
Software compatibility
The universal Direct3D stereo driver
How to use other boards, glasses & even HMDs with
the ELSA drivers
H3D/eyeSCREAM and ELSA boards 
- does it work?

Related Links:

official ELSA site

Wicked3D review
H3D review
Revelator vs. eyeSCREAM chart


 Test configuration:

IDEK Iiyama Vision Master 17 monitor (86 kHz max. hor., 160 Hz max. vert.)

Pro & Con
+ larger LCD-panels than H3D/eyeSCREAM
+ high quality LCD-panels
wireless version:
+ same IR-code as H3D/eyeSCREAM
+ light
wired version:
+ extremely comfortable
+ extremely light (30 g)
+ inexpensive
+ adaptor for up to 4 glasses available
- LCD-panels still smaller than the competition
wireless version:
- loss of comfort and field of view when used with prescribed glasses
wired version:
- loss of field of view when used with prescribed glasses
+ VESA mini-DIN-3 connector
+ VGA-to-DIN-3 adaptor included
+ passive VGA-to-DIN-3 adaptor has low impact on signal quality
+ power supply by VGA-board (nice as long as you got power there, but turns into a 'con' if you don't)
- no H3D/eyeSCREAM hardware compatibility (apart from IR-Code)
- no 3rd party software support whatsoever (when used with ELSA consumer boards)
- there's no DIN-3 connector on ELSA consumer boards, the adaptor has to be used
- VGA-to-DIN-3 adaptor not suitable for non-ELSA boards
- shutters controlled by proprietary software trigger (when used with ELSA consumer boards)
- synchronization problems: dark stripe on bottom of screen  (when used with adaptor)
- requires power over the VGA-output, which some 3rd party boards doesn't provide (ASUS for example) 
- uses DDC-pin of the VGA-out for triggering the glasses which leads to incompatibility with certain monitors
- no autosync or sync-doubler functions
- no alternate-line and avobe-below image-format support
- no H3D/eyeSCREAM drivers support
Drivers (for ELSA consumer boards only)
Drivers (for ELSA consumer boards and a few 3rd party boards only)
+ choice of TNT, TNT2, Banshee and Savage4Pro
+ NEW: now supports many 3rd party TNT/TNT2 boards
+ NEW: now supports OpenGL on ELSA-TNT2-boards
+ total refresh control from 50 Hz up to 'blow-any-monitor'
+ almost perfect monitor compatibility
+ may even work with some HMDs' (field-sequential stereo on VGA-input)
+ no patches/stereo.cfg files required 
+ high software compatibility - many titles which didn't run on eyeSCREAM now work 
+ works with OpenGL and Glide wrappers
+ best Direct3D support ever (much better than eyeSCREAM)
+ good stereo effects
+ best image quality ever
+ no black interlace-lines
+ highest resolutions ever - hungry for 1600x1200 per eye anyone?
+ uses full vertical resolution per eye, i.e. all lines
+ uses almost full horizontal resolution per eye
+ 32bit color support
+ fast - performace drain just 20-30 %
+ fast switching between mono/stereo
+ slightly lower ghosting than usual
+ Dyna-Z adjusts depth dynamically
+ graphical representation of depth information available during gameplay
+ many options available during gameplay
+ driver stores your settings and remembers to which game they belong to
+ in-screen/out-of-screen control
+ monitor size control
+ eye-distance calculator
+ snapshot function
+ image viewer 
- no native OpenGL and Glide support
- no full horizontal resolution: image becomes smaller with larger stereo separation (black border on the left and right side)
- uses software page-flipping with IRQ, like 'grandpa' LCD-BIOS
- vulnerable to resource conflicts
- vulnerable to system performance
- slip-ups are possible especially when used with force-feedback devices on joystick/MIDI-port
- no backward compatibility with older systems
- no H3D/eyeSCREAM compatibility
- no DIN-3 jack on ELSA consumer boards
- no 3rd party Banshee or Savage4Pro support
- no Voodoo 2 or 3 support
- no resolution override (as eyeSCREAM)
- no laser targeting (as eyeSCREAM)
- no image viewing directly from web-browser (like VR-Joy, EyeFX)

Like all shutterglasses the Revelator suffers from ghosting and doesn't work with LCD-monitors and -projectors.

The Controller


The IR-emitter and the wired glasses (VESA miniDIN-3)

The Revelator doesn't have a controller in the usual sense. It's just a plain DIN-3 system.

There are two ways to connect them to the graphics board:

1) Just plug the emitter/glasses into a stereo ready workstation or hi-end gfx-board with mini-DIN-3 stereo connector. There are adaptors for other stereo-ready systems, i.e. DIN-5, DIN-7, DB9, 3.5 mm stereo jack, but these are not delivered by ELSA.

2) Use the VGA-pass-through cable to connect the Revelator to one of ELSA's consumer graphics boards, i.e. Erazor 2 or 3, Winner 2 or Victory 2. The VGA-pass-through adaptor isn't much more than a dumb cable. There's no controller in it. It doesn't look for the VSync. It looks for a proprietary signal on the DDC pin. Without the ELSA board BIOS and drivers it won't work.

BTW the impact of the adaptor on the VGA-signal-quality is insignificant.

The H3D/eyeSCREAM-IR-emitter (left) compared to the small ELSA-IR-emitter (right). Both use the same IR-code. The ELSA seems to do the job just as good as the H3D. Heaven knows why H3D wasted so much plastic here. The H3D had a IR-range switch for multiplayer matches in one room. I don't know if it helped much.


There is no external power supply. The wired glasses and the IR-emitter are powered by the VGA-board in any case.

Connection Schemes
Check connection schemes on the NuVision 60GX pages to see the options for connecting a VESA DIN-3 system like the Revelator to a stereo-ready workstation.

The ELSA board drivers deliver any refresh rate one could wish for. So flicker isn't much of an issue as long as you got a hot monitor. I recommend a monitor with 80+ kHz horizontal and 120+ Hz vertical range.

The Glasses

Revelator wired, the lightest and maybe most comfortable glasses on the market
The 'wired' comes with two pairs of bows - soft and hard. The bows are adjustable in length to fit any nose-ear distances.

The Revelator IR; similar to H3D, but the LCD-panels are wider by 1 cm - Ahhhhh.... what a relieeeef!

under construction - more comments on the glasses to be added later, check the pro-con table for now

Please check the X-RAY Lab for a weight&size comparison of various shutterglasses, including the Revelators.

Hardware Compatibility
The ELSA Revelator is by no means compatible with H3D/eyeSCREAM!!! The Revelator has no auto-sync, no line-blanker, no sync-doubler - nothing!!! The compatibility with other consumer systems is ZERO. As a VESA DIN-3 device it's compatible with CrystalEyes-Wired, CrystalEyes ENT and NuVision 60GX-SR.

It works with two kinds of graphics boards:

1) ELSA consumer boards  (Erazor 2/3, Victory 2, Winner 2)

2) Boards with stereo-connector, i.e. DIN-3, DIN-5, DIN-7, DB9 and 3.5 mm. For all connectors apart from DIN-3 you'll have to look for a proper adaptor.
Special stereo-drivers for your graphics card are obligatory. This isn't in the hands of the glasses manufacturer. Ask your graphics hardware vendor for stereo-driver support. There may be lacking driver support even if there's a dedicated stereo-connector on the board!!! The ELSA Revelator Direct3D drivers won't work on such boards.


Software compatibility
...on ELSA consumer boards (Erazor 2/3, Victory 2, Winner 2)

The stereo driver for ELSA consumer boards supports all Direct3D titles which deliver correct Z-axis information. It does a great job in that area. There is no native support for OpenGL or Glide. The driver works with GL/Glide-to-D3D wrappers, but performance may be weak here. When used with an ELSA consumer board the Revelator won't support any other software or drivers, such as LCD-BIOS, eyeSCREAM or H3D-native titles. The ELSA Direct3D stereo driver is only available for ELSA consumer graphics boards!

...on 3rd party boards without stereo connector

Glasses won't work in any way!

...on 3rd party boards with stereo connector

On a board with stereo connector the Revelator is limited to proprietary stereo software which runs on the board in question. Special drivers and applications which utilize page-flipping and trigger the dedicated stereo-connector of the graphics hardware are required. Only a special combination of stereo-ready hardware, operating system, stereo-ready drivers, applications and plug-ins will work.

Check the StereoGraphics software list for professional titles. Look for programs compatible with 'CrystalEyes-Wired', since these are quite similar to the Revelator!!!

The universal ELSA Direct3D Stereo-Driver
The whole shutterglasses-market isn't about hardware. Only beginners care about fancy design, wired vs. wireless and such. With a little experience you will realize there's only one thing that matters: DRIVERS!

To make this clear: actually there's no such thing as a 'Revelator-driver' to download or buy somewhere! The stereo-driver and the Revelator-trigger-driver are from now on an integral part of the ELSA consumer VGA-board drivers. So whoever uses such a board and new drivers has the Revelator stuff in it.
What may be irritating is the fact that you won't see the Revelator-options in the ELSA-properties after installation. The trick is to install the Revelator image viewer which is available for download from ELSA. Although the image-viewer doesn't contain any driver-logic, the installation of it sets the parameter to display the Revelator Stereo 3D options in the Display properties.

Sometimes users of various shutterglasses believe that the drivers only work as long as the glasses are installed. This was true for stone-age ISA-board systems like the 3D-Max. In newer systems like H3D, eyeSCREAM or Revelator the driver can't sense the presence of the glasses. This is important since it opens the possibility of using 3rd party glasses or even HMDs with them.

These sections will be added later:

Game and Application Compatibility

under construction - more comments to be added later, check the pro-con table for now

Options & Features

under construction - more comments to be added later, check the pro-con table for now


under construction - more comments to be added later, check the pro-con table for now

IRQ & Co. - Resource Conflicts

under construction - more comments to be added later, check the pro-con table for now

Problem: Slipups/Lightning in the Flipping (on-screen and glasses)

Cause: Revelator is triggered actively. An IRQ is used. Therefore the system is vulnerable to resource conflicts & performance problems.

- Assign an exclusive IRQ to your VGA-card in the BIOS PCI/AGP setup
- Use a low numbered (i.e. high priority) IRQ
- Try to disable as unused or less important IRQ-users
- Try to disable AGP-mode
- Try  a lower resolution, refresh rate or color depth
- Disable your digital joystick, wheel, force-feedback device

Problem: Revelator flickers irregularly (glasses only) or monitor goes blank

Cause: Revelator is triggered by the DDC-pin of the VGA-output, which is also used for communication with certain monitors.

- Build a VGA-to-VGA adaptor and cut off the DDC-line
- Use other monitor
- Use some other system, which is Revelator-driver-compatible, i.e. Eye3D, VR-Joy, EyeFX, 60GX-NSR, AnotherI's, etc.

Problem: Power supply for Revelator missing on your VGA-output (for example on ASUS-VGA-boards)

- Build a VGA-to-VGA adaptor and put 5V voltage to pin 9 from external source
- Build a real VGA-pass-through controller for your Revelator - see homebrew section
- Use some other system, which is Revelator-driver-compatible, i.e. Eye3D, VR-Joy, EyeFX, 60GX-NSR, AnotherI's, etc.

How to use other boards, glasses and even HMDs with
the ELSA drivers
Boards from other manufacturers:

It has been shown that it's possible to turn 3rd party VGA-boards with similar hardware into ELSA-boards by flashing the ELSA-BIOS into them. (Visit for the details.) Thereafter the ELSA-driver and the Revelator glasses will work. Warning: You may fail! You will loose the special features of your board! You will loose guarantee! Noone will grant you support - except for the internet community.

Does it make sense? Well, yes if you already own a new board and don't wan't to switch for any reason. Otherwise I would recommend to go for an original ELSA board. That's easier and saver.

Glasses from other manufacturers:

What the ELSA boards and drivers deliver is pure full-frame, full-resolution page-flipping, also known as field-sequential format. There are many shutterglasses on the market which are just checking the vertical sync signal on the VGA-output to synchronize the glasses.

ELSA-compatible systems:

  • VR-Joy
  • i-Art VirtualEyes
  • Tetratel EyeFX
  • Another I's
  • NuVision 60GX-NSR
  • CyberStuff Cyber3DVisor (!?)
  • 3DTV stereo driver model-3000 (among other 3DTV models)
  • APEC VR97
  • ASUS-glasses (?)
  • homebrew VGA-PT or SD

  • ELSA-incompatible systems:

  • H3D (color code missing)
  • eyeSCREAM (color code missing)
  • VRSurfer (requires a VGA-signal with interlace-timing. I checked it - No go!)
  • all parallel and serial port systems, e.g. 3D-SPEX, Cyberboy (port not triggered by ELSA drivers)
  • 3D-Max and other ISA-board systems (board not triggered by ELSA drivers)

  • Does it make sense? Well the ELSA glasses are some of the best and also some of the cheapest on the market. If you don't own any glasses yet they are the best choice for the ELSA drivers. If you're looking for some king-of-compatibility glasses which also serve other purposes than D3D-gaming you may choose something like the NuVision 60GX-NSR, VR-Joy or EyeFX as a derivate. The resulting quality of synchronization varies. If the sync isn't good you may see dark borders on the top or bottom of the screen. The Revelator itself surprisingly doesn't shine in this diszipline. The 60GX works flawlessly with the ELSA board here.


    Since the ELSA drivers deliver field-sequential stereo-format at any refresh rate it should be possible to use a compliant HMD with them.
    This would require a HMD which accepts field-sequential stereo on the VGA-input. By far the most HMD don't have that option. Most consumer HMDs accept field-sequential stereo on the Video-input only. Professional HMD on the other side usually require two seperate synchronized VGA-signals. (BTW the new Matrox G400 with it's two outputs comes to mind here, but there are no stereo drivers and - usually - the two outputs of the Matrox are not synchronized. In fact Matrox is proud about the fact that they're NOT synchronized!)

    One HMD which may work with the ELSA-boards and drivers in stereoscopic 3D is the Sony Glasstron LDI-D100BE. The second hottest candidate for ELSA-compatibility is the new VFX-3D, but I'm really not shure yet.

    Since so many HMDs accept field-sequential stereo on the composite-video or the S-video input the second best idea would be to connect them to the TV-out of an ELSA board. Well I experimented a bit with the Erazor III to get the stereo-information out of the TV-output undamaged. I failed, but I used a very early board-version and driver, which was different from the retail-version. I also didn't invest too many time in this. There is still hope, but I wouldn't count on it. BTW I find the thought of connecting an expensive HMD and a high-quality VGA-board via a sucking PAL/NTSC compliant video-connection distgusting! It hurts image quality.

    H3D/eyeSCREAM glasses and ELSA boards
    - does it work?

    Get H3D/eyeSCREAM Activator
    The H3D-Activator - a great tool - but not much help for the ELSA-drivers

    Does it work? - Basically the answer is NO!

    If you own some H3D/Wicked3D glasses you may wonder if they'll work on the ELSA boards using Ghazalis H3D-Activator.
    Well they'll work using the Activator in Page-Flipping mode, but there are several problems:

    - there must be no change in graphics mode after using the Activator or the glasses will drop out of
    stereo-mode; many games use different modes for menues and game, so there's a big problem
    - if there's only one tiny slipup in the page-flipping the glasses may show a reversed picture; this really can
    happen, in this case you should hit the ELSA-stereo on/off hotkey until you catch the right side again
    - the original ELSA-Revelator glasses work under way higher resolutions and refresh rates. I tried to put the
    H3D/Wicked3D into page-flipping mode under 1024*768@hi-color@100 Hz - no use.
    - what we need would be a stay-resident hot-key controlled version of the H3D-Activator which can be started from within the game

    Here's my recommendation: If you're interested in the ELSA boards or already own one, get the original
    wireless Revelator IR glasses. The Revelator glasses will listen to the H3D-IR-emitter and vice versa. So you
    have the best of both worlds controller-and-driver-wise and you and a friend can always use the two glasses

    BTW the controller/emitter of the Revelator won't work on current Wicked3D boards and drivers, since it lacks
    the required sync-doubler circuitry!

    Special thanks to ELSA for their support

    Please consult the Shutterglasses Comparison Chart for a complete market-overview.
    Brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
    The author can not guarantee the accuracy or topicality of the information given on this page.
    Christoph Bungert, Germany .