MZF-Studio

Sherlock
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2023 11:47 pm

MZF-Studio

Post by Sherlock »

Hello All.

I am new to the MZ-80 scene, and have just acquired a beautiful MZ-80B. Thankfully, it came with a working cassette, and I can load SB-5520 on it.

I am trying to make sure I can duplicate this cassette in case it fails as it looks quite flimsy. Unfortunately, I do not own any tape decks anymore.

I was wanting to build a .wav file of a boot cassette and have downloaded SB-5510 on .mzf. From all I have read online, I can use a utility program to convert MZF to a WAV file, and then plan this into a cassette player to record the audio and use this on my MZ-80B.

I found a utility called MZF2WAV for DOS, and ran it successfully. On its documentation, it says it does not support MZ-80B, I presume because the MZ-80B played its cassettes at 1800bps, vs 1200bps for the other Sharp MZ's. I found recommendations to try play the generated WAV back at 150% speed, to compensate for this, and have done this (using Audacity). When I try the cassette in my MZ, it looks promising, as it says something like "IPL is loading BASIC", but it just hangs there, long after my recording ends.

My cassette recorder is a RadioShack CCR-81 in nice shape, and appears to work fine. I have listened to the recorded tapes and they sound fine without too much hiss. I am also using some new-old-stock cassettes bought on ebay that were still in plastic in a sealed case and in new condition. They are Maxell Professional Industrial P/I Communicator Series C30 cassettes.

I am not sure if there are other incompatibilities between the MZ-80B tape format and the other MZ's beyond just the speed of the tape.

I have seen references to a utility called "MZF-Studio", but all the links I find go to www.ulrichkeller-it.de/DownloadBereich.html, but when I go there, it asks for a login, and I cannot download it.

Does anyone have a copy of MZF-Studio that I can try out, or does anyone see any problems with what I am doing?

Has anyone else successfully done what I am trying?


Any help would be much appreciated!
Gortho
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:53 pm
Location: Poland

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by Gortho »

Sherlock
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2023 11:47 pm

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by Sherlock »

Yes - thank you very much!

I tried googling for this every way I could think of and could not find this.

I will try using this tool and report back if I am successful. If anyone has any hints or if there is anything I am doing wrong, please let me know!
User avatar
mz-80a
Posts: 406
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:46 am
Location: Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by mz-80a »

Just try using a car cassette adapter. That's what I use with my MZ-80A. Straight from WAV on my laptop directly into the machine's tape deck.
MZ-80A Secrets
https://mz-80a.com/

Sharpworks (Sharp MZ homebrew)
https: //mz-sharpworks.co.uk/
Sherlock
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2023 11:47 pm

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by Sherlock »

Thanks - I have one on order, so I will see if this works.

I did try the MZF-Studio to generate the WAV file, and recorded it to the cassette, but it did not work.

I also digitized the working cassette I got with the machine, and tried to record this to a new cassette with similar volume levels, but this also did not work - just says "LOADING ...", and then hangs there forever.

Maybe my cassette player has problems.
User avatar
mz-80a
Posts: 406
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:46 am
Location: Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by mz-80a »

It may do, it's definitely worth trying the car cassette adapter. I don't really get many problems (other than it took me ages to work out with my Dell laptop the correct settings on its sound driver), just getting the volume right (about 46 - 50 % volume on my Win 10 laptop). I use MZF Studio's WAVs all the time with great success so I know MZF Studio works okay.
MZ-80A Secrets
https://mz-80a.com/

Sharpworks (Sharp MZ homebrew)
https: //mz-sharpworks.co.uk/
User avatar
mz-80a
Posts: 406
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:46 am
Location: Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by mz-80a »

Here is what I get on my laptop when I plug my car cassette adapter into my laptop's headphone socket:
SoundDriver.png
SoundDriver.png (31.9 KiB) Viewed 5035 times
As I say, it took me a while to find the right choice here before WAVs started loading. I have to choose External Speakers (Medium) for it to work at all :)
MZ-80A Secrets
https://mz-80a.com/

Sharpworks (Sharp MZ homebrew)
https: //mz-sharpworks.co.uk/
Sherlock
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2023 11:47 pm

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by Sherlock »

Thanks for the info! I will be receiving my cassette adapter soon and will post my results. It's been quite frustrating so far.
Sherlock
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2023 11:47 pm

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by Sherlock »

OK, so I was able to try the WAV generated by MZF-Studio via the cassette adapter. It worked! I played it using an old Android phone (which still has a headphone plug), and played it back at about 50% volume, and it went in first time!

When I record this WAV file to a cassette using my RadioShack cassette recorder, onto a new-old-stock cassette, it does not work. So get this, when I take my recorded cassette, and re-digitize it into the computer as a WAV file, and feed this WAV file into MZF-Studio to generate an MZF, I can use this MZF File in an MZ-80B emulator, and it works!

So something on my cassette is off. Maybe it's the azimuth adjustment or something, since it seems to be able to read its own recorded cassettes, but its recorded cassettes will not work on another device.

So thanks to all for the help and suggestions!


It's nice to know I have a back-up alternative if needed.

I'm really trying to duplicate the cassette onto another cassette and I am trying to avoid buying another piece of hardware (like a double-cassette deck), and I was hoping I could use this TRS-80 cassette recorder and my PC to do this.

I even used some Deoxit on the plugs in case there was some oxidation on the contacts, and it did not help.
User avatar
mz-80a
Posts: 406
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:46 am
Location: Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: MZF-Studio

Post by mz-80a »

I just use Supertape 3 with my MZ and the car cassette adapter :) That allows me to make copies if necessary onto other tapes (written by my actual MZ).
MZ-80A Secrets
https://mz-80a.com/

Sharpworks (Sharp MZ homebrew)
https: //mz-sharpworks.co.uk/
Post Reply