VIC & PET loading .wav and .tap

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mr zetec
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VIC & PET loading .wav and .tap

Postby mr zetec » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:58 pm

There are countless .tap files out there for VIC/PET/64/plus4.
I am lucky enough to own an number of these machines and although emulators are really cool nothing emulates the feeling of typing on the real thing. I would really like to be able to backwards convert my emulator .taps to .wavs and record my favourites back to cassette for loading on the real deal.
At first it doesn't seem to difficult, download the .tap, convert it to .wav, play the .wav through your PC line out into the line in of a cassette recorder.
Not so, I have spent many long nights trying all manner of conversion programs, settings and variations and the nearest I came was I managed to download a .wav of ACE for the plus/4 and play it directly from my PC line out to the plus/4 cassette port and successfully load it ONCE!
Now my original tapes are beginning to fail.
My goal is to come up with a simple method of converting .taps to .wavs and cassette recording them. Does anyone know of a means to do this on PET/64/plus/4?

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Postby ral-clan » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:26 pm

Can remember now, but there's a piece of MSDOS software out there that will analyze the WAV you recorded and convert it to a binary file. Then another small utility will read that binary file and play it as a fresh, wav out of your sound-card. It recreates a WAV from the binary file. This will avoid any problems with tape speed being out, or volume/gain levels not being ideal, etc. If the first program successfully converts the wav to a binary (a TAP file if I'm not mistaken), then the recording is good.

Another option would be to building one of those Datasette to Parallel port cables so you can hook the datasette right to your PC and transfer cassettes directly to binary TAP files - no audio stage involved for things to go wrong, since the Datasette doesn't output audio - it outputs only the data. There are plans for this cable out there on the net. I've built one and it works well. The utility also works in can record a TAP file back to a real cassette via the datasette hooked to your PC.

Although recording a VIC-20 cassette to a WAV file with your computer should work in principle, I've never been able to get it to work in reality - even when using fairly high end audio recording equipment and being very careful. There are always small variables here and there (tape hiss, machine wow and flutter, speed, head alignment, etc.)

One tip that might help: if you are playing a VIC-20 cassette into your PC with a stereo tape deck, try to find a MONO player instead.

If you can't, then record to a stereo WAV. Afterward, split the two stereo channels into discreet, seperate MONO wav files (with Audacity or some audio editor). DO NOT MERGE/MIX or them to MONO wav. You will now have two mono wav files of the same program. Discard one. Save the other and see if the WAV to TAP utility works. If it does then you've got a valid recording. Use the TAP to WAV program to covert it back to a fresh WAV (this fresh wav being digitally created anew will have no background tape hiss, have no dropouts and be of the correct EQ, baud rate and volume). Try recording it back to cassette - if you are using a stereo recorder you may need a mono to stereo Y splitter. It would be better to find a mono recorder if possible.

This will avoid any out of phase problems due to tape heads being out of alignment.

The datasette to PC cable is much more reliable, though.

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Postby carlsson » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:17 pm

The cable ral-clan refers to is a X1531 cable.

Another approach is the recently developed DC2N which is a device that takes a memory card full of TAP files and plays back those as if they were real tapes.
Anders Carlsson

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mr zetec
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Postby mr zetec » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:31 pm

Yep, I have been on the DC2N waiting list for some time now....

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Postby Luigi » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:44 pm

mr zetec wrote:Yep, I have been on the DC2N waiting list for some time now....

One man working at it alone without help...

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Postby nbla000 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:36 am

Luigi wrote:One man working at it alone without help...

Happy to see you Luigi !!!

Do you need help for your DC2N project ? ask us, I'm quite sure that here you may find a lot of smart guys that will help you :wink:
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