Author Topic: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?  (Read 7809 times)

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Offline woody.cool

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Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« on: 14:20, 03 November 09 »
Hi all,

I'm curently in the process of transferring all my original CPC tapes into .CDT images.
What's the best way of going about doing this?

Currently, I've got a tape deck hooked up to my PC's Line In socket and I'm using CPCTapeXP to record the tapes.
I seem to be having difficulty with some .... sometimes, it fails to properly pick up the blocks on the tape etc. and I get constand "Read error a" and "Read error b" from my created tapes ???

However, some, have transferred correctly!
The tapes I'm transferring at the moment are Amstrad Action Covertapes, so I doubt there's any strange protection on them (but you never know).

Can anyone give any advice? Is there a better tool than CPCTapeXP?

Cheers
woody.cool

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #1 on: 17:28, 03 November 09 »
Ack... wish you luck. I have tried myself but never got far, with the same symptoms... :(

Offline woody.cool

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #2 on: 19:39, 03 November 09 »
Ack... wish you luck. I have tried myself but never got far, with the same symptoms... :(
Well, unless somebody's already done the above, I see no other way of getting my AA covertapes into .CDT format :(

Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #3 on: 21:05, 03 November 09 »
I am also only using my CPC 464 with a cable to my soundcard (line-in).
Then I use a tool like "Audioedit deluxe" or whatever and record tape signal as WAV.

When I'm done I use JavaCPC to create a CDT of this WAV.
(JavaCPC has a GUI for samp2cdt when you have Windows)
You can also use samp2cdt directly with command interpreter or use CPCTapeXP.
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Offline woody.cool

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #4 on: 22:40, 03 November 09 »
I am also only using my CPC 464 with a cable to my soundcard (line-in).
How are you connecting this up?

Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #5 on: 22:43, 03 November 09 »
I don't remember now, which 2 contacts I used for this.
But there are 2 contacts on the plug from tape drive to cpc-board, which provide audiosignal from tapedrive-head.

Maybe the plug is documented somewhere?
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Offline woody.cool

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #6 on: 22:50, 03 November 09 »
But there are 2 contacts on the plug from tape drive to cpc-board, which provide audiosignal from tapedrive-head.
... and you hook this up to your 'line-in' on your soundcard?
Normally, the sound coming from the tape head isn't loud enough! Saying that, what's to say there isn't some 'pre-amp' in the CPC that boosts the tape head signal to line level.

Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #7 on: 23:11, 03 November 09 »
... and you hook this up to your 'line-in' on your soundcard?
Normally, the sound coming from the tape head isn't loud enough! Saying that, what's to say there isn't some 'pre-amp' in the CPC that boosts the tape head signal to line level.

You can also connect parrallel to the internal CPC speaker... Or remove it. But use a resistor to avoid too loud noise.

Then you connect your cable with a 3,5" plug to line-in jack of your soundcard. (you can use right + left channel together, so you get a clear mono signal)
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Offline Cpcmaniaco

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #8 on: 11:22, 04 November 09 »
Here are all the Amstrad Action CDTs :

ftp://amstrad:amstrad@urusergi.serveftp.com/CDTs/Urusergi%20-%20CDTs%20originales/

The file is :

Future Publishing Amstrad Action Cassettes.rar




Offline arnoldemu

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #9 on: 12:16, 04 November 09 »
... and you hook this up to your 'line-in' on your soundcard?
Normally, the sound coming from the tape head isn't loud enough! Saying that, what's to say there isn't some 'pre-amp' in the CPC that boosts the tape head signal to line level.
Yes there is a type of pre-amp in the CPC, but I don't know of it's response so I don't know how it could be modelled to improve samp2cdt.

This is how I convert CDTs but this method is not always reliable because the tools are not as good as the Spectrum ones.

I connect a tape recorder to the pc via line-in. I turn off dolby and equalizer on the tape player (if it has it).
On the PC I do the same to make sure no alteration to the sound is made, I often turn off the other sound inputs too, and on one pc I had to change the dma settings for the harddrives to make it record correctly.

I turn the volume on the tape recorder to about 80%. I load up goldwave and use it's built in recording tools. It has a display showing volume and adjust the volume on cassette so this fills 80% of the window.

I make the recording and save as wav.

I then use samp2cdt tool to convert to a .cdt. Of course, this is not automatic and you have to guess the loader type.. sometimes this can be done by recognising it when you load the wav file into an emulator. (e.g. speedlock is very obvious to recognise)

Often samp2cdt fails to convert, so use "csw" to convert to csw and back to wav again and try with that one.

It may fail again.

Ok, after that try some filtering in Goldwave, it may then work ;)

So often there is a lot of experimentation to do :(

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Offline woody.cool

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #10 on: 12:33, 04 November 09 »
Here are all the Amstrad Action CDTs :

ftp://amstrad:amstrad@urusergi.serveftp.com/CDTs/Urusergi%20-%20CDTs%20originales/

The file is :

Future Publishing Amstrad Action Cassettes.rar
Depending on which ones have been done, that may save me doing all the Amstrad Action tapes .... but I still want to do the rest of my tapes sometime.

Offline dlfrsilver

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #11 on: 16:47, 04 November 09 »
Here how i proceed guys :

1) I use goldwave to see exactly if the sound wave is good or bad

2) Under windows XP, put the main sound level to 50%. Now go under goldwave and put the line in sound level at 27% and check that the microphone input is OFF.

3) on the recording window of goldwave, check that Volume is at 84%, Balance 50% and speed 1.00.

Once those are done, DON'T TOUCH them anymore. If you need to change the sound level, do it on the tape deck.

And lastly, the best thing is to have a digital tape in a 464+ or 464 which loads the WAV as it's recorded by Goldwave.
This way you will know if the recording is going well or not.

That the method i used to dump more than 500 K7 games. Results speaks for themselves, i did most Ocean speedlocked games
Domark, activision, etc..... 

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #12 on: 19:21, 04 November 09 »
Here how i proceed guys :

1) I use goldwave to see exactly if the sound wave is good or bad

2) Under windows XP, put the main sound level to 50%. Now go under goldwave and put the line in sound level at 27% and check that the microphone input is OFF.

3) on the recording window of goldwave, check that Volume is at 84%, Balance 50% and speed 1.00.

Once those are done, DON'T TOUCH them anymore. If you need to change the sound level, do it on the tape deck.

And lastly, the best thing is to have a digital tape in a 464+ or 464 which loads the WAV as it's recorded by Goldwave.
This way you will know if the recording is going well or not.

That the method i used to dump more than 500 K7 games. Results speaks for themselves, i did most Ocean speedlocked games
Domark, activision, etc.....
excellent.

I've got a few tapes that I need to transfer.. so I'll try this method next time.
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Offline dlfrsilver

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #13 on: 21:49, 04 November 09 »
Please give me the titles, i will help :D

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #14 on: 22:48, 04 November 09 »
Please give me the titles, i will help :D
I have a cd full of wavs, but this may not be good enough? I can happily post it to you. Send me a PM if you are interested.
As for the tapes, I could probably post a few, but I think I should make a list first to avoid sending you tapes you have already done ;)
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Offline dlfrsilver

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #15 on: 22:01, 05 November 09 »
Just make a game list, no need to send directly at first. i will then tell you what decoder to try ;)

Offline specfreak

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #16 on: 20:10, 07 November 09 »
Hi folks,

I'm downloading the Amstrad Action tapes, it may also save me some time.  I had Action Pack 20 and 21 todo
and Reel Action #10.

When sampling Speccy and Amstrad Tapes, I try to stick to -6db using Cool Edit or Adobe Audition, make sure the sample
doesn't get clipped and you have nice sine waves which haven't been 'bounced' backin on them selves, nice peaks just like
making merangue ;-).

Samp2CDT doesn't have filtering which the likes of MakeTZX on the Speccy side does.  A similar util called WAV2TZX does but it's
stuck with 44100 and you can't change the parameters.  What I do if the WAV doesn't convert easily is to run it through the CSW
program (using either -fr1 or fl300~600 to use butterworth bandpass filtering).  In addition use the -1 switch to make a v1 CSW as Samp2CDT can't handle v2.

You can then use the CSW1 with Samp2CDt directly and I often use the /ignore switch to drop bits when they're not complete.
Say you have a header that's 264 bytes in length when really they should be 263.

Tony Barnett (a follow preservation team member at WoS/TZX Vault) did these guides/videos that might be of use:
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/TZXGuide.pdf
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/TZXGuide-lofi.zip
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/TZXGuide-hifi.zip

Of course I'm not as good at making CDTs like Denis and GNGSoft ;-)  Just trying to add some alternative ways to doing things.

It's a shame we can't figure out how to store some tapes like Bleepload v3 without using a DRB block though.  This is in no way a criticism.

I should have some more CDTs ready soon, and WAVs are kept as backups should we need to revisit.  CPC-Power is now my best of all time CPC preservation archive.  Shame CPC Zone hasn't managed to get re-hosted, it was a cool source of info too.

Best wishes

Andy Barker

Offline Cholo

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Re: Best way to transfer CPC tapes to .CDT files?
« Reply #17 on: 02:06, 09 November 09 »
Well, i do pretty much what Dlf does i guess.
- Goldwave, for recording.
- samp2cdt, has a lot of nice options that you can play with so even a "bad" recording may convert well if you play enough with all the options.
- Csw, does indeed seem to do a good conversion of most amstrad tapes, so doint a wav-to-csw-to-voc conversion first, may work nicely untill you samp2cdt it.
- Tapir, for handling cdt files (copy, paste and merge and all that)(may need to rename cdt to tzx to use).
- Taper, Does a lot of speccy protections and as many of the amstrad ones are the same its worth a try. Cant handle amstrad "blocks" tho, so do them normally and then merge everything.

Alas Taper and Csw dosnt run in Vista 64bit, but i hope to get em working in Dosbox or similar.