The LaserActive console was released in 1993 by Pioneer Corporation as a fourth-generation home console, competing with other systems like the Super Nintendo. While the LaserActive had a small library of games that were available, the system could be expanded via official add-on modules called PACs, which allowed the console to play games for the Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and more. This unique concept was part of the LaserActive’s attempt to consolidate multiple technologies into one platform, as the console was also able to run LaserDiscs, CD-ROMS, and even karaoke discs.
While Pioneer’s LaserActive console was as ambitious as could be, it was also incredibly expensive, resulting in lackluster sales and lukewarm critical reception. However, thanks to helpful after-market add-ons and modern technological progress, the LaserActive has become a hotbed for interesting mods and improvements. Today, I’m taking my LaserActive system and installing the PAC Attack mod created by Zaxour, which leverages the “triple bypass” technique created by Tian Feng to achieve better audio for the SEGA PAC-S10. Be sure to check out my full mod installation video as we break down this uncommon mod on one of the rarest and most unique game consoles ever made!
"While the installation itself requires some precise soldering and wiring, it's not the hardest mod of all time and offers a nice no-cut solution."
AImproving the LaserActive With Zaxour's PAC Attack Mod
While the LaserActive SEGA PAC-S10 was marketed as a premium add-on that lets you play Sega Genesis and Sega CD games, the audio is less than ideal. Luckily, Zaxour’s PAC Attack mod promises to improve the audio to better match the golden standard set by the VA3 Sega Genesis. To get this mod started, all you’ll need is the PAC Attack custom PCB (which can be ordered directly from Zaxour) and a few strands of wire to make the appropriate connections. If you plan on installing this mod yourself, I recommend following along with my video tutorial to ensure a clean installation.
To get started, you’ll need to access the inside of the SEGA PAC-S10 module, so simply remove the screws on the back to slide off the cover and remove the four screws holding the sub-board in place. To remove the main board, you’ll need to unplug the two controller cables and remove the back panel of the module, making sure you unscrew everything along the way. On the sub-board, the eight capacitors that comprise the audio circuit must be removed, while resistors R72 and R73 must also be removed and have their pads shorted. Resistors R78 and R100 should also be removed, but do not short the pads.
With that done, you can begin reassembling the SEGA PAC-S10 module and screwing everything back into place, but leave out the screw near the connector pins on the sub-board. This is where you’ll mount the PAC Attack PCB, making it super easy to attach to the sub-board. Now, tin all the pads on the PAC Attack PCB and start making your wire connections. There are nine connections that need to be made, which are detailed in my video tutorial. Once you’ve made these precise connections, the installation is complete and you can completely reassemble the SEGA PAC-S10!
The Pros and Cons of the PAC Attack Mod
After installing the PAC Attack mod, it’s clear that the LaserActive is outputting better audio as heard on the VA3 Sega Genesis. While the stock SEGA PAC-S10 saw significant roll-off on lower frequencies, the PAC Attack mod fixes this issue, keeping things closer to a 0db baseline. That said, you shouldn’t expect any wildly different audio, just a clearer and more consistent result.
While the updated audio doesn’t provide a day and night difference, there are still some unexpected benefits that come from the PAC Attack. One of the most common issues with SEGA PAC-S10 modules is their faulty audio circuits, due to leaky capacitors that cause damage. The PAC Attack mod completely bypasses these circuits, so if your system is affected, this mod offers a way to reclaim crystal clear audio. While the installation itself requires some precise soldering and wiring, it’s not the hardest mod of all time and offers a nice no-cut solution. Overall, I really enjoyed installing Zaxour’s PAC Attack mod on my SEGA PAC-S10, as it saved an otherwise faulty sub-board while simultaneously improving the audio quality of the LaserActive.