Author Topic: New tool for Windows PC: TapeUtil  (Read 3305 times)

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Offline Devilmarkus

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New tool for Windows PC: TapeUtil
« on: 21:45, 21 August 10 »
Hello world,
today I finished my other project "TapeUtil".

TapeUtil is a simple tool to capture tapedata directly from your CPC, when tape signal is connected to AUX or "line in" input to your PC.
I am sure somebody here can describe how to connect the CPC-tapedrive to the PC input.

It uses the command tool "samp2cdt" from Kevin Thacker. So it works only for Windows PC.
(Mac or Linux users maybe are able to record a WAV when they disable "Convert to CDT" in the options.)

It also comes with a few options to make it easier to transfer e.g. Speedlock protected games.

You can also convert already existing WAV-files to CDT with it.

Here the GUI:

Not much to see here, but normally enough to dump a tape as CDT.
Clicking on "Start" begins the capturing. With the VU-Meter you can check your audiolevel while recording.
After recording is over, click on "Stop" and your CDT file is generated.


 
Speedlock options


 
Options for misc copy protections (Std. disables it)


 
Create CDT -> unhook this when you only want to record the WAV file
Keep WAV -> select this option, if you want to keep the WAV file after it has been converted to CDT


Convert a existing WAV file to CDT (WAV is not deleted after converting!)

You can download this tool here:
http://cpc-live.com/data/list.php?dir=-tool

Example for a good selected audiolevel:
http://cpc-live.com/tapeutil
« Last Edit: 22:19, 21 August 10 by Devilmarkus »
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: New tool for Windows PC: TapeUtil
« Reply #1 on: 10:10, 23 August 10 »
Wow, this is lovely. Wish it existed a few years earlier... :)

Funny fact: it was my girlfriend who alerted me to this :D

Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: New tool for Windows PC: TapeUtil
« Reply #2 on: 08:50, 18 November 10 »
So, did anybody use it yet?
Any feedback?
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Offline Cholo

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Re: New tool for Windows PC: TapeUtil
« Reply #3 on: 21:24, 18 November 10 »
Id made good handfull of cdt's using it. Havnt tried the actual direct recording yet tho (ive been using Goldwave so far for that) but ive used the manual wav2cdt-option quite a lot.

Used to do it all manually, and set up some batch files to handle different kinda protections. This however requires a lot of renaming files and copying & moving files around. Also if you have done a lot of recordings you get the need of organising things .. having 1000 recordings in you main work folder aint a good idea. Anyways, running TapeUtil instead and im saving a lot of manual work. No need to move things around as TapeUtil recognises what folder you are working in and will place the outputting cdt in the same subfolder too (neat). Really fast conversions that for sure  ;)

Ideas for a upgrade:
- add a "/alter" switch to use alternate way of converting.
- support for Voc files (actually maybe it already does i havnt tried yet, lol)
- add or display a output log (quite usefull when locate any troubles with a tape/recording .. like you can see that the checksums in block 3 & 4 on side one of the tape and block 7 and 8 is bad on side 2 you can then cut and paste the good parts together. Also with multipart games you can see if later lvls .. like Taipan speedlock .. is looking healthy or not).
- add a "/maxp xx" switch

Explanation:
Sometimes i pop a batchfile that says:
Code: [Select]
samp2cdt go.wav go0.cdt /maxp 45
samp2cdt go.wav go1.cdt /maxp 40
pause
samp2cdt go.wav go2.cdt /maxp 35
samp2cdt go.wav go3.cdt /maxp 30
pause
samp2cdt go.wav go4.cdt /maxp 25
samp2cdt go.wav go5.cdt /maxp 20
pause
samp2cdt go.wav go6.cdt /maxp 15
Simply to see what the optimal maxp setting is. Some commercial games are recorded in block by block. Aka the loader needs maxp 20 but the screen needs maxp 35 and so on. Again the log reveals everything.

Why Voc files? Well a little trick is to CSW the recording first before attempting to convert it. Not that i can explain it technically but doing a quick Wav to CSW and then a CSW to VOC seems to "clear the signal" somehow. Especially good with speedlock i think.

So sometimes a pop a batch with:
Code: [Select]
csw go.wav
Pause
csw -dv go.csw
Pause
That quickly outputs a nice "go.voc".

Alas in on a vista 64 machine and csw.exe is no longer compatible (unless i run it in Dosbox and talk about time consuming then).

Another reason why VOC is good is because its compatible with the speccy tool "Taper". Taper does handle those speedlock games quite well even tho it cant really handle normal amstrad blocks (so its cut and paste and renaming tzx and .. ). Sadly Taper is also Dosbox only on vista. The nice Merger program Tapir does work on vista tho (or use CpcTapeXP too). Anyways im getting slightly off topic  :)