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Topic: ZX Spectrum (Read 7875 times) previous topic - next topic
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ZX Spectrum

Hey, if you have, or had a ZX spectrum, we all remember how it loaded its games, with cassette tapes. I have one, but it seems I lost it (ugh!)

Nowadays there is TZX file format available for use on ZX Spectrum emulators, which stores the data in the same way the tape was, so you can load the game, well directly (in less than 1/10 second  ) or like the spectrum did, loading it from the tape/TZX file sound (data is stored into a bunch of square waves)

the fact is, as when you use the real Spectrum you read the sound from the tape (analog) or TZX file, it's easy to use Cool Edit Pro to record it digitally into a .wav file and load games from a burnt CD (quite overkill, as TZX files are about 48kbytes and games usually take 5 minutes to load  ) , or if you are crazy enough, get a vynil cutter, a expensive turntable, a tube amp then....enjoy seeing ZX Spectrum enjoys warm and fuzzy­­® game loading 

ZX Spectrum

Reply #1
What does this have to do with anything?

ZX Spectrum

Reply #2
If I follow, you are saying one could record the original 'tape sounds' to .wav, then cut a vinyl of the .wav somehow, and then load the game off record?  lol!

ZX Spectrum

Reply #3
Yep. I have a ZX MIB but it has not seen action for over a decade.

ZX Spectrum

Reply #4
pleanty of old school computers and "synthesizers" used tape to store presets and programs.

ZX Spectrum

Reply #5
And what about hardware MP3 players?

For example, I have an iRiver iMP-150... Take that .wav, encode it to .mp3, and try to load the games from the mp3 player into the Spectrum... Which preset would be enough for this to work?? aps? ap128? or maybe api?

The funny thing in this case would be that the "tape player" would have more processing power than the computer itself...

ZX Spectrum

Reply #6
Heh, funny idea!

I have my doubts about psychoaccoustic audio compression, since the Spectrum's "ear" surely works different from our own.  You might get better results with something like adpcm.

ZX Spectrum

Reply #7
OMG...the ZX Spectrum...my first love in programming (isn't that a scary thought...I still remember programming in BASIC using those crazy key shortcuts that were required for BASIC keywords).   
I wonder if those crazy rubber keys still work on any of those models after all these years.

Nah...give me the Commodore 64 any time.  At least it could hook up a floppy! 

ZX Spectrum

Reply #8
I used to have (before I fiddled with the printer port while it was on) a ZX Spectrum with a floppy drive (huge thing, but it could read 3 1/2 inch floppies with 360KB's of data, I think), only it wasn't one of the first models (it was a little bigger and had 48KB's of memory) and the drive was a later addition.

ZX Spectrum

Reply #9
I've heard of people recording c64 data onto minidisc and successfully loading it. Taking into account the noise and damage on tapes I don't think you'd have problems when using a lossy codec, which of course atrac is.

I wonder just how many speccy games you could fit on a heavily compressed mp3-cd? Although i'm sure your speccies would love the warm and fuzzy loading that only vinyl could provide

ZX Spectrum

Reply #10
I don't think it works. This is basically a modem storage of data, and a certain range of frequencies are expected. I suppose they relied on the range of frequencies less prone to distortion in regular audio tapes. Carefully study the modulation/demodulation algorythms of each system and see what is needed and what is not. None of the psychoaccoustics used for humans could apply either.

The easiest, is to use a serial port and pass the data in digital form from another system. Any legacy in analog format should be demodulated in digital and saved as such.

C64 floppy? Now thats slow reading... And don't dare touch the joystick!

Good thing i had an Apple //c
She is waiting in the air

ZX Spectrum

Reply #11
Quote
I don't think it works. This is basically a modem storage of data, and a certain range of frequencies are expected.

No, modems transform sinusoidal waves in digital impulses.
The data for Spectrum is stored in tapes, but is not really analog... ZX Spectrum is from 1984, sooo old that a DAC couldn't be used in such a small computer (it was basically a small keyboard).
The TZX file format (which "digitally" has the same size as the original game) allows too be "played" as the tones the real Spectrum recognized from the tape.
With real-time Cool Edit Pro recording from the wave output source, I saw (approaching the zoom) that those tones are really just "short and long" square waves, no less, no more, and square waves are what seem to represent digital impulses (1s and 0s).
Simple, but true.  B)

I'm looking for my ZX Spectrum, I have already prepared one of my favorite games (Tir Na Nog) on mp3, using --alt-preset-standard. Average bitrate was 120kbps (128kbps on blocks, 32 on silence. Let's see if it works that way    .

ZX Spectrum

Reply #12
Quote
OMG...the ZX Spectrum...my first love in programming (isn't that a scary thought...I still remember programming in BASIC using those crazy key shortcuts that were required for BASIC keywords).   
I wonder if those crazy rubber keys still work on any of those models after all these years.

Nah...give me the Commodore 64 any time.  At least it could hook up a floppy!  :D

This is off-topic, but... my first computer was a C=64, and I didn't even have a tape drive for it for several months!  I mostly practiced programming, and typing in/running short proggies from magazines... no way to save them afterward. 

OMG, the tape drive for the C=64 was so damn slow.  Part of the problem was that the data was recorded twice for redundancy/error correction.  Come to think of it, the 1541 disk drive was the slowest ever made for any computer too, afaik.  I think it set some sort of record for slowness (without speedup software, anyway).  If I remember right, (then Sublogic) Flight Simulator took 10-15 minutes to load.

ZX Spectrum

Reply #13
I have high hopes in the MP3-ZX test...  (and more after reading that bit about flat impulses... I think they are definitely in the audible part of the spectrum... or Spectrum, actually  )

I hope SyeltH finds his Spectrum soon...

ZX Spectrum

Reply #14
Isn't it just possible to use the TZX files to render the required signal with a program and send that to the Spectrum? Those TZX files are probably even smaller than the mp3's you could create of the signal, and you only need to know wether to output a 0 or a 1 and for how long (which can be determined by looking at the files you have already recorded).

ZX Spectrum

Reply #15
Quote
Isn't it just possible to use the TZX files to render the required signal with a program and send that to the Spectrum? Those TZX files are probably even smaller than the mp3's you could create of the signal, and you only need to know wether to output a 0 or a 1 and for how long (which can be determined by looking at the files you have already recorded).

TZX files are about 48kbytes, which is by far much less than any wav/mp3 you can make of it. (mp3 --aps took me 4'38Mbytes for Tir Na Nog). The way is that here file size doesn't matter anything, this is being done for fun, the fact is getting the game to work with wave/mp3/vynil and waiting for 5-10 minutes to load the game as the real spectrum did  .

ZX Spectrum

Reply #16
Jeez, havent you seen my avatar
rc55.com - nothing going on

ZX Spectrum

Reply #17
Quote
Jeez, havent you seen my avatar

lol didn't notice it. Yeah!!!
The only thing you forgot is that Spectrum only has 7 or 8 colors   

ZX Spectrum

Reply #18
Anyone who thinks the ZX Spectrum or C64 is dead should think again. Not only are many demoscene productions still coming out every year, but the C64 with SuperCPU has an operating system under development (Wings), and also a completely new machine based on the C64.

A C64 based CPU (65c816) at 20Mhz with a PCI slot, 64 megs of RAM, and boots from an onboard compact flash drive. The system can also be upgraded to a (rather mismatched) dual CPU machine with a Z80 add in board too. Expected to runs the WingsOS, but will also boot games off Cartridges just fine, and execute them natively. Notice the slot for them on the far right. Also, IDE with DMA access, and 16 stereo voices (albeit in 8 bit).
The C-ONE http://c64upgra.de/c-one/



Same for the spectrum, its far from dead, now at 21Mhz with ISA slots, up to 64 megs of RAM, and a Philips DAC TDA1543 for 2 channel of 16 bit stereo sound at 44Khz
The Sprinter http://www.petersplus.com/sprinter/

These machines are very recent additions, There is a huge gap in the market for hobbyist computers at the moment, and systems like this will fill it. Its got to the point where desktops PC's are far to complex (electronically) for anyone to begin experimentation with them anymore. Systems like these have detailed hardware specs, simple IO interfaces, and low clockspeeds. They are just the thing for people to learn low level programming or advanced microelectronics on. (and have a lot of nostalgic fun on at the same time)

ZX Spectrum

Reply #19
Quote
Quote
OMG...the ZX Spectrum...my first love in programming (isn't that a scary thought...I still remember programming in BASIC using those crazy key shortcuts that were required for BASIC keywords).   
I wonder if those crazy rubber keys still work on any of those models after all these years.

Nah...give me the Commodore 64 any time.  At least it could hook up a floppy!  

This is off-topic, but... my first computer was a C=64, and I didn't even have a tape drive for it for several months!  I mostly practiced programming, and typing in/running short proggies from magazines... no way to save them afterward. 

OMG, the tape drive for the C=64 was so damn slow.  Part of the problem was that the data was recorded twice for redundancy/error correction.  Come to think of it, the 1541 disk drive was the slowest ever made for any computer too, afaik.  I think it set some sort of record for slowness (without speedup software, anyway).  If I remember right, (then Sublogic) Flight Simulator took 10-15 minutes to load.

Same here! When I was 11 my dad bought me an atari 600 with an (expensive and proprietory) tape deck which suffered a snapped play button within 2 weeks. I was so scared to tell my dad I had broken the tape deck that I started programming my own games, playing them then turning the computer off and losing my work! It got me a career though... 

ZX Spectrum

Reply #20
Quote
A C64 based CPU (65c816) at 20Mhz with a PCI slot, 64 megs of RAM, and boots from an onboard compact flash drive. The system can also be upgraded to a (rather mismatched) dual CPU machine with a Z80 add in board too. Expected to runs the WingsOS, but will also boot games off Cartridges just fine, and execute them natively. Notice the slot for them on the far right. Also, IDE with DMA access, and 16 stereo voices (albeit in 8 bit).

That is awesomely cool!  And what better amount of RAM for a C64 to have than 64 *megs*? 

ZX Spectrum

Reply #21
I've been thinking about this kinda thing for ages, didnt realise others did too... my idea too was to create mp3 cds for my mp3cd player to load games onto my spectrum. The beauty of it is that i wouldnt have to keep fast forwarding and rewinding my tapes, listning to the gaps between games... i could simply press the skip button to load the next game!

My problem is that i cant find a decent emulator that will output the sound in realtime for recording to wav with WindowsXP... all my emulation tools want 9x and i can't be bothered to build a 9x box just for the purpose... any ideas?

ZX Spectrum

Reply #22
Quote
I've been thinking about this kinda thing for ages, didnt realise others did too... my idea too was to create mp3 cds for my mp3cd player to load games onto my spectrum. The beauty of it is that i wouldnt have to keep fast forwarding and rewinding my tapes, listning to the gaps between games... i could simply press the skip button to load the next game!

My problem is that i cant find a decent emulator that will output the sound in realtime for recording to wav with WindowsXP... all my emulation tools want 9x and i can't be bothered to build a 9x box just for the purpose... any ideas?

Go to www.worldofspectrum.org and search for Spectaculator. It doesn't output the sound to .wav, but you can do real-time recording with Cool Edit Pro while game is loading. For that, you have to disable "Fast loading" and start recording on-the fly. Use TZX roms for that (found in the same page I linked to).
In Cool Edit Pro, recording source has to be wave/mp3. Do NOT play any sound while doing the recording!

ZX Spectrum

Reply #23
Thanks man... time to dig out my speccy again! 

ZX Spectrum

Reply #24
Took a while to find the Fast Load option, very obsure place to hide it... Will be testing soon, and ill post the results/experiences...

 
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