Info for the newbie

This document will describe the method to transfer Amstrad cassette software to be used with a emulator.

The cassette software needs to be converted into a tape-image which uses the TZX/CDT file structure.

There are already many tools that exist for transfering Spectrum cassette software and some of these work equally well for the Amstrad.

You will need:


First you will need to test your setup is correct.

If successful you should have recorded the sound from the cassette. Now listen to the sound and check if there is any distortion, pop or crackles. If there is, and this was not on the original cassette, then you may have problems recording sound with your setup.

You will need to eliminate these pops and crackles before you can record any cassettes. The pops and crackles will affect the sound and voc2tzx will be unable to decode it!!!! :(

On my system, whenever the harddrive was active, there would be pops and crackles in the recorded sound :(

I eliminated the pops/cracks using these steps:

There are other methods, but if you can't elminate these problems then you can't record the sound. voc2tzx can't decode the sound unless it is clean.

Recording a Amstrad cassette and converting it to a tape-image

You will have more luck converting cassettes in the following cases:

If you are trying to transfer a copy (e.g. tape-to-tape duplication), or the cassette doesn't work properly on the Amstrad then it will be more difficult for voc2tzx to decode the sound. It may be because of extra noise, or the cassette may be damaged and some of the sound signal will be missing.

But, good luck!

What you need to do:

  1. Start your recording software.
  2. Put the Amstrad cassette into the hi-fi.
  3. Start recording on your software.
  4. start the Amstrad cassete.
  5. look at the signal.

    You should have a clean sawtooth like waveform which fills almost all the display where the signal is shown.

    If not, adjust the volume. If you over adjust then the waveform will distort. This is bad.

    If you under adjust then the signal will be small, and voc2tzx may not be able to recognise it. This is also bad.

    You want the volume to be as high as possible without the waveform distorting and without the volume being over the maximum that can be recorded.

  6. If all looks good, rewind the amstrad cassette and repeat steps 3 and 4.
  7. wait for the cassette to finish.
  8. Save the file.
  9. Convert the file to a 8-bit mono voc. I use 8-bit mono 22Khz .voc
  10. Check the recording. If there is any extra pops or crackles or the sound is distorted then you will need to find out why this is occuring.
  11. Attempt to identify the loader. Trying the known command-lines.

    The main problem now, is that voc2tzx doesn't autodetect the loader type. So you might need to adjust the settings and/or use different switches. You will need to attempt to identify the loader and then use the appropiate command-line as listed on ADATE.

    Note, there are many different loaders and some of these are not supported by ADATE, so be prepared for many to fail. Also, many software houses used the same loader system for almost all their software, so if you succeed with one piece of software, you might succeed again with another piece.

    One tip:

  12. If it looks like it has decoded enough information, try it with a emulator. Winape, Arnold, CPCE and Multi-Machine all support the file format.

    But be aware that the CDT/TZX support might not be complete or might be bugged, so if there are problems, you should check it on another emulator just to confirm if the emulator is broken or if the transfer is wrong.

    You will also need to make sure you convert any additional levels which could have different loading methods!!!! If possible try and test the game enough to check that the levels have been transfered correctly!

    Check both sides of the cassette. Sometimes there is a exact duplicate of the game from side A, but at other times there might be extra levels.

  13. if all has gone well and the program runs; and you have transfered every level and both sides of the cassette if necessary, you can package the .cdt/.tzx files into a ZIP archive along with a text-file named "file_id.diz".

    ZIP archives can be created with WinZIP utility (WinZip)

    The file_id.diz should be in the format described in the docs/upload.txt file on the ADATE archive.

So there you have it. The main problem currently is that you might need to adjust the command-line before you will get a completely correct decoding and this can sometimes take a bit of time. The recommended command-line is given for some well known and common loaders in the ADATE docs.

Good luck!

Recording using Windows "Sound Recorder"

By default, "Sound Recorder" will record up to 30 seconds of sound. To record more you will need to do the following: