Questions tagged [cassette-tape]

For questions about audio cassette tape, as used for computer data storage.

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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-...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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9 votes
1 answer
214 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 ...
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5 votes
3 answers
526 views

Definitive list of music bands/groups that included computer programs on their analogue audio music physical media releases (LPs, singles)

Is there a definitive list of music pop/rock bands/groups that included computer programs as part of their physical analogue audio music releases? (vinyl LPs, EPs, singles) etc? For this to be ...
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17 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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Audio cassettes on TI-99

One of the features of the Atari machines was that the left audio channel on the cassette was connected through to the television speaker. This was used to produce things like "Conversational ...
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8 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
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8 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
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  • 1,780
5 votes
1 answer
277 views

How did games written for tape-based BBC micro, get officially and unofficially ported to disk, bearing in mind extra workspace needed by DFS ROM?

If I recall, PAGE = &E00 for a BBC Model B system with cassette tape based storage. On installation of Acorn DFS ROM (with 8271 Floppy disc controller), the ROM allocated more memory, increasing ...
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12 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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Identifying and recovering programs from tapes

A couple of days ago, I was given some old tapes with programs written on them. However, I am having some trouble with them. I do not know what computer they were programed for. After recognising the ...
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12 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....
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4 votes
1 answer
240 views

From what errors could Commodore's tape loader recover

The Commodore PET/VIC-20/C64 tape routines write out the leader for each file twice, and then write the data twice. While it would seem that this should allow data to be loaded more reliably, ...
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33 votes
13 answers
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
242 views

Upping the speed of the VIC-20 tape drive: aftermarket hardware for the expansion port with "rabbit" in the name?

EDIT: I realize from reading the comments that I was bit loose in my use of the word "speed" as a property of the tape drive. What I had in mind was the speed of the data transfer, not the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
407 views

ZX Spectrum red stripes during loading

When we load any game on ZX Spectrum from cassette player... Should red stripes move smoothly for better result or they should be static for perfect result? What is the theory?
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3 votes
1 answer
341 views

Loading a Tandy CoCo or a Dragon 32 machine code program from cassette with multiple "name blocks"

For the Dragon 32 and the TRS-80 Color Computer I've found two documents describing how loading from cassette tape works:Dragon 32 doc, CoCo doc. They both say that a standard program consists of a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
116 views

Length of leader block in Coco and Dragon cassette tape header and .cas tape image file format

I've been looking into the format of .cas files for Tandy Color Computer and Dragon32 emulators. These files are almost exactly byte for byte representations of the data/audio/bit pattern of the ...
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64 votes
1 answer
4k 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 myself. ...
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9 votes
1 answer
549 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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
225 views

Checking Old Tapes

How do I check old ZX spectrum cassettes work - the tapes are after all quite old? I am fairly computer savvy (my life is a continual strand from that Speccy to this here Thinkpad - and many stations ...
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3 votes
0 answers
127 views

Commodore tape drive performance specs

Over the years during which Commodore sold tape drives, there have been a few different versions of the drive with different analog electronics. I'm interested in experimenting with "turbo" tape ...
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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 ...
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7 votes
3 answers
394 views

What home computers offered an adjustable tape baud rate

By the title I mean a built in option rather than a software or hardware add on and saving / loading to regular domestic audio cassette tape. We should exclude all third party type loaders from this ...
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2 votes
1 answer
183 views

Vic-20 tape I/O dependence on CPU speed?

As I understand it, the Vic-20 reads and writes the cassette deck by the low-tech expedient of just using the CPU to bit-bang a one-bit serial line. This presumably means that for a given code ...
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4 votes
1 answer
478 views

Did BBC Micro and Electron games use custom tape loaders?

Back in the day, I owned a Commodore 64, and I noticed that essentially all games on tape, provided their own code for reading the tape, instead of using the code provided in ROM. This had two ...
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15 votes
4 answers
4k 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 ...
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6 votes
0 answers
208 views

PET LOAD command and the < key

I remember reading (probably in some issue of the newsletter of the PET Benelux Exchange (PBE)) about a strange effect during tape loading of a PET program. Back in the day, I tried it and it worked. ...
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16 votes
7 answers
4k 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 ...
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  • 351
17 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
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  • 271
5 votes
1 answer
247 views

Exact tape recording format for SVI-318/328 computers

I'm looking for the exact tape data format of old SVI-318/328 computers, some kind of whitepapers explaining it. I've obtained several information from a real tape, but I don't known if the infered ...
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  • 493
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Are there standard DIN pinouts for cassette and video ports on early Japanese 8-bit computers?

I have several different Japanese 8-bit computers, and they use similar DIN connectors for video and cassette I/O: Composite video: 180° 5-pin DIN: Fujitsu FM-7, NEC PC-8001mkII Color TTL (digital) ...
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  • 21k
18 votes
6 answers
8k 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 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
836 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 ...
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  • 268
3 votes
2 answers
3k views

When and why did tape recorders acquire a "remote" input?

This entirely-typical-of-the-era (other than mysteriously missing its EAR socket) tape recorder from 1984 was the "standard" type of tape deck for home computer data storage in the UK. They could be ...
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12 votes
2 answers
1k 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, ...
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3 votes
2 answers
434 views

How significant/pioneering was the TV Typewriter?

How significant and pioneering was the TV Typewriter, in light of things like calculators with CRT's from 1964 and various other things? I recently read that the TV Typewriter established the standard ...
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10 votes
6 answers
2k 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 ...
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4 votes
4 answers
485 views

Cassettes that used stereo?

One of the tricks many of the early machines allowed was the ability to record an audio track on one of the tape channels, and then turn it on or off using the deck control. I believe the Ataris may ...
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6 votes
1 answer
680 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 ...
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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. ...
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  • 1,397
15 votes
8 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, ...
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9 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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
602 views

Use of PSK for storage of data on audio tape

Most home computers of the 70s and early 80s were able to save and load data on audio cassettes. Typically, in order to do this they encoded the data using frequency shift keying (FSK), i.e. for a '1'...
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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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Using VHS/MiniDV/CompactCassette as digital data storage? [closed]

How can VHS cassettes. MiniDV cassettes. Compact audio cassettes be used as digital data storage? Can the error correction strength be adjusted?
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  • 1,729
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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 353
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 ...
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