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Questions tagged [cassette-tape]

For questions regarding data storage on magnetic tape in a cassette tape format.

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66 votes
1 answer
5k views

How do I extract the program from the Radiohead "Nude" tribute by James Houston?

One of my favorite videos ever is a tribute to Radiohead "Nude" by James Houston. I have never seen the program in the video available to download, so I've just made an attempt to extract it ...
terrorrussia-keeps-killing's user avatar
41 votes
5 answers
30k views

Loading ZX Spectrum tape audio in a post-cassette world

My ZX Spectrum 48k seems very resistant to working with audio input. I no longer have any cassette players, so am relying on audio files from digital players. I have been able to save and verify a ...
scruss's user avatar
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34 votes
17 answers
17k views

Did computer games for Commodore 64 really take "25 minutes" to load "if everything went alright"?

In the Swedish-language song "Nostalgi" by Markoolio from 2003, some of the lyrics go: My first computer had 64 kB you surfed on the water, and that's that The computer games were loaded ...
Kommendåre 64's user avatar
34 votes
2 answers
3k views

Rescuing data from old audio cassettes

In my recent expeditions to the darkest corners of my garage, I've found a load (there's a pun in there somewhere) of old audio tapes containing Sinclair Spectrum code. These aren't commercial titles, ...
KenD's user avatar
  • 1,901
27 votes
3 answers
4k views

How did ZX Spectrum games loaders prevent the use of MERGE?

The MERGE command could be used on early games to load the first BASIC program block without it auto-running, but in later games, the use of MERGE caused the machine to hang. How was this achieved?
Paul Markham's user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why did the Atari 8-bit computers make beeping noises while accessing the disk and cassette drives?

If you've ever used an actual Atari 8-bit computer with either a cassette or disk drive, you would have noticed that it made a variety of "beeping" noises while accessing the devices. Specifically, ...
bjb's user avatar
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26 votes
2 answers
5k views

Which software was the first to use copy protection?

While researching early magnetic storage around 1980, I've come to ponder if we know of the first piece of software on removable media that employed copy protection? The Wikipedia article mentions ...
Micropolis's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does waggling the joystick of a C64 cause errors loading from tape?

When loading a game from the tape drive on a C64, if you wiggle the joystick around too much the program will not load correctly. Is there an explanation for this? EDIT: Perhaps someone can try to ...
WW.'s user avatar
  • 353
24 votes
8 answers
7k views

What did it sound like when you played a cassette tape with programs on it?

As a medium of storing large data, cassette tapes were used just like the following: I wonder what it would sound like if one put the tape in a cassette player and played it as if it were a regular ...
Namudon'tdie's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
5k views

Blue and yellow stripes on the screen when loading from tape on ZX Spectrum

When loading a program from tape on ZX Spectrum you could see those blue and yellow stripes around the splash screen. I might be mistaken but I believe those were even sometimes used for quite ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
  • 493
22 votes
3 answers
2k views

How did "full memory" Spectrum tape copiers work?

There are some tape copiers, such as LERM that claim to be able to copy tapes which contain software that takes the full 48kbyte of RAM. However, this seems impossible on a Spectrum, when the whole ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
  • 1,233
20 votes
6 answers
3k views

Does lossy audio compression damage datasette data?

I grew up with the C64 and had software on cassette tapes. These days, you can find "backups" of this software all over the internet, even in mp3 format (by recording the audio signal with a ...
Jeroen Jacobs's user avatar
20 votes
6 answers
13k views

How much data could a home computer store on an audio cassette?

The use of audio cassettes for storing data for home computers was a great example of repurposing an existing invention. Cassettes were sold in a variety of capacities, and labelled with their audio ...
Kaz's user avatar
  • 8,176
19 votes
9 answers
2k views

Developing an application in the era of cassette tapes (audio-tapes)

My colleague and I have just had a conversation and we were wondering how the process of developing an application was done in the era of cassette tapes. Today we have HDDs, backup HDDs, FTPs, ...
jacek.ciach's user avatar
19 votes
7 answers
1k views

Did any microcomputers back in the day accelerate standard-cassette performance

Many commonplace cassette recorders in the 1970s and 1980s were capable of reading or writing two tracks at once (stereo). While that wasn't universal (portable cassette recorders were often monaural,...
supercat's user avatar
  • 37.2k
19 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why did some Spectrum games need LOAD "" CODE?

Most ZX Spectrum games were loaded from tape, and the traditional way of starting the loading process (at least in the 48K era) was to type LOAD "" and then start the tape. This would normally load ...
KenD's user avatar
  • 1,901
18 votes
3 answers
5k views

How did the Commodore 64 show a picture while reading cassette?

I was watching this video just now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0YmJluYb6Q&ab_channel=NostalgiaNerd on things that early home computers displayed on the screen while reading cassettes, and ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
18 votes
7 answers
6k views

What should be the waveform for ZX Spectrum tapes?

I am digitizing about 40 tapes with programs for the ZX Spectrum. I am somewhat puzzled by the waveform after digitization. The signal of most cassettes is meander-shaped. One of the cassettes can ...
A. Rumlin's user avatar
  • 391
18 votes
2 answers
2k views

Cassette tape storage formats

I just came across this excellent article on cassette tape storage formats. One thing confuses me though... in the "all digital" examples, like Figure 1C, what exactly ends up on the tape? That is, ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to decode an audio file which contains an MSX BASIC program? [closed]

I have an audio file in WAV format, which supposedly comes from a cassette sound file. Moreover, it contains a BASIC program, but I don't know how to decode it. I have tried to convert the wav file to ...
Josemi 's user avatar
  • 271
15 votes
1 answer
921 views

What format is used for CoCo cassette tapes?

Color Computer machines initially used audio cassette tapes for storage. How was the data stored? What was the maximum bit rate?
tlindner's user avatar
  • 2,367
15 votes
3 answers
1k views

Using a modern PC or other digital audio recording device as a cassette recorder replacement

I'm having a hell of a time getting this to work. I've got a Casio fx-720p + FA-3 cassette interface, a TRS-80 PC-3 with its cassette interface and printer dock, and a Tandy 102 with a cassette cable. ...
db2's user avatar
  • 1,487
14 votes
8 answers
3k views

Copying tapes "back in the day"

Back when I had a ZX Spectrum 48K, I had a friend that had a 128K and we would swap games for the weekend from time to time. We did try and make duplicates of the tapes (yes, I know, but we were ten ...
Recycled Steel's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Were cassette tapes designed to be adjusted by pencils? [closed]

Back in my ZX Spectrum days, it was normal to do manual fine adjustment of a cassette tape position using a hexagonal pencil or a cheap Biro pen. It's almost like the hub is designed to be twiddled ...
SusanW's user avatar
  • 251
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

How did Atari cassette "turbo without hardware mods" work?

There were some cassette copying programs for 8-bit Atari, that boasted saving the games in a way that would load it at up to 1800baud - versus the standard 600baud, which was a significant ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 7,115
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

Compression techniques used in old ZX Spectrum tapes

Many ZX Spectrum games* (and demos) would improve loading time and save space in the tape using rudimentary compression. During decompression, the game would display "decrunching" for ...
forest's user avatar
  • 2,029
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why did the ZX Spectrum use edges for its tape storage routines?

Why did the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum use edges for its standard tape storage routines? I can see that frequency modulation was likely necessary in order to account for the inaccurate timings when running ...
user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did the Apple 1 cassette interface card have its own ROM?

According to this page, the Apple 1 monitor program was located in addresses $F000-$FFFF, a ROM program to use the optional cassette interface card was at addresses $C100-$C1FF, and the peripheral ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 16.3k
13 votes
1 answer
693 views

How to use virtual cassettes with Matthew Reed's TRS-80 Model III emulator? (TRS32)

I'm fooling around with Matthew Reed's TRS-80 Model 1/III/4 emulator for Windows (TRS32) and am have trouble using virtual cassettes. I am using it to emulate a Model III with Level II BASIC. I have ...
QuantumMechanic's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Early Apple assemblers, getting hold of them

The apple ][ history site https://apple2history.org/history/ah17/#05 has a section on assemblers with these interesting snippets: TED/ASM: Developed at Apple and smuggled out the doors around May ...
PeterI's user avatar
  • 5,297
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

What format is used for Apple II cassette tapes?

Apple II computers initially used audio cassette tapes for storage. How was the data stored? What was the maximum bit rate?
fadden's user avatar
  • 9,060
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

Did the Commodore datasette interface provide greater reliability?

Cassette, being cheaper than a floppy disk drive, was a popular storage medium in the 8-bit era. Some computers such as the Sinclair Spectrum, just provided a port to plug in an existing cassette deck....
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
11 votes
2 answers
406 views

What format was used for Exidy Sorcerer cassette tapes?

The Exidy Sorcerer personal computer could use audio cassette tapes for program storage. In what format were programs (and data?) stored on tape? What was the data rate? I seem to remember the tape ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 8,277
10 votes
8 answers
1k views

CP/M without floppy drive

I remember reading (at the time when it was current) in a hobbyist magazine about a ZX Spectrum modification to map RAM into ROM (not unusual), and implementing CP/M for it. The author ended the ...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Daisy-chained cassette drive?

Early microcomputers sometimes supported several peripherals in a 'daisy chained' arrangement, i.e. instead of the computer having several ports, one per peripheral, it had a single port, which each ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

What tape format did the Nintendo Famicom Data Recorder use?

I just learned from a YouTube video that in Japan there was an add-on for the original Nintendo Famicom console that included a keyboard (HVC-007) and compact cassette tape player & recorder (HVC-...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 6,684
10 votes
1 answer
310 views

What to replace the belt in the cassette drive of an Epson HX-20 with?

I am the owner of an Epson HX-20 laptop computer. It runs well except for the builtin cassette drive which doesn't seem to work reliably. After carefully disassembling it I found that the belt seems ...
fuz's user avatar
  • 1,564
10 votes
1 answer
852 views

Why CPC464 display is less stable while reading from cassette?

Context The Amstrad CPC 464 has a very stable RGB video output. By "stable" I mean that the image on the CRT monitor does not move, wiggle, shake in any way. The electron beam draws every pixel ...
Stéphane Gourichon's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
532 views

Is there any existing hardware mod for C64 to decouple tape drive from IEC (1581 drive collision)?

Commodore 64 has a known bug which doesn't allow to use tape drive together with a 1581 drive. Basically, in C64 the SRQ (Serial ReQuest) line is connected between IEC bus, CIA chip and the tape ...
Kuba Tyszko's user avatar
  • 2,648
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why Kansas City Standard (KCS/CUTS) differs from Bell 103/202/212 modem protocol?

While both were data transfer protocols serving streams at 300/1200 baud, why did they choose different frequencies, marks, modulation, and anything else? I understand that they serve different ...
Schezuk's user avatar
  • 3,754
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it possible to use a TI-99/4A cassette cable with Digital Audio devices?

I would like to save and load BASIC programs with my TI-99/4A. The TI-99/4A can be connected to a cassette recorder for this purpose. Buying a cassette recorder and cassette tapes seems unnecessary ...
Liveunderwater's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
194 views

What is the format of the packets on an Altair 8K BASIC 3.2 Tape?

I successfully digitized a vintage (1976) cassette tape of Altair 8k BASIC V3.2 to a .wav file. Using an audio editor the waveforms look very clean, and minimodem seems to have successfully decoded ...
scm's user avatar
  • 1,049
9 votes
1 answer
411 views

What is the effect of direct exposure of the magnetic disk of a floppy to ultraviolet (UV) light?

I was thinking of the mold issue of floppies and UV light (UV-C) came to mind. As ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation and floppies use a magnetic disk for storage and I vaguely ...
Bob Ortiz's user avatar
  • 1,662
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Teddy Ruxpin Animation Coding "Language"?

I've recently become interested in the original Teddy Ruxpin that operated by playing 8-track cassette tapes. The 8 channels on the tape were used in a creative way to ensure that Teddy's animation ...
ribs2spare's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Overclocking an 8-bit computer

I've been thinking about the possibility of overclocking 8-bit computers of the late seventies and early eighties, and it seems to me that the things most likely to break, would be: Cassette save and ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Cassette formats using ECC?

The Commodore systems famously wrote everything to the Datasette twice as a form of error correction. Most other formats I've looked at - Atari, CUTS and CoCo - lack any form of correction. Is anyone ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

How did the C64 interface tape drives?

How did the C64 interface tape drives? I'm aware that the external interface was basically a audio input - but how was this audio converted into digital data, and how was it loaded into RAM and ...
vidarlo's user avatar
  • 298
8 votes
3 answers
392 views

What is the correct power supply for this SD card/cassette reader for Sinclair computers?

I bought this some time ago, but I did not keep the power supply with it. It does not have any product name on it, and I can't locate the correct information. What is the correct power supply and what ...
Zhro's user avatar
  • 283
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the maximum BAUD rate for ZX Spectrum tapes?

I've played with various BAUD rate programs that allow you to save most of the RAM into a cassette tape up to around 9600 BAUD. Has anyone written or have a way to write the ram to tape (not ...
Fandango68's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's the difference between Kansas City tape standard and CUTS?

A number of a different computer systems use a tape encoding based on either the Kansas City or CUTS standards. There's a very brief overview on Wikipedia, but it's not clear what the difference ...
Jules's user avatar
  • 13k