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Last updated: August 1st 2003

  MakeTZX-2 logo Optimized for 3DNow!


MakeTZX is a powerful TZX converter, based on an advanced decoding engine which offers great reliability and performance. Feel the power: now with the loader type autodetect mode almost no switches are required! There are no obscure tech parameters to tweak, so that everybody can easily convert any kind of tapes! Read the features below. This program contains parts optimized for 3DNow! technology (for x86 based platforms only). MakeTZX is currently available for Windows 95/NT, MSDOS, Linux x86 and Amiga.

This is WinGUI, MakeTZX's powerful and easy graphic interface!

MakeTZX download center

Click over the link below to read the latest revision of the User's Guide online. The manual of MakeTZX contains a detailed description of the program with many usage examples and several easy but complete tutorials about the various aspects of TZX conversion.

MakeTZX user's guide (rev. 01/08/2003)

Check out the download box specific for your operating system and get the latest version of MakeTZX and its companion utilities: CSW will allow you to reduce the disk space taken by sample files, and DOS GUI is an experimental graphic interface for MakeTZX which runs in MSDOS.

MakeTZX for Windows
v0.50 beta
The most friendly TZX converter. Capable of realtime conversion from the soundcard! 

MakeTZX WinGUI is a graphic interface for Windows 9x (maybe NT) which extends MakeTZX's capabilities. It is more than a GUI frontend and adds new features to MakeTZX such as user-defined custom loaders. Read the description in the manual to learn more.

IMPORTANT: WinGUI version 0.50 and above doesn't work anymore with MakeTZX for MSDOS. If you are using WinGUI, you MUST download the Windows version of MakeTZX.

The most friendly TZX converter. Capable of realtime conversion from the soundcard! 

If you use Windows 9x/2000/XP and above, please download the Windows version of MakeTZX which has several advantages. Using WinGUI with the MSDOS build is strongly deprecated.

IMPORTANT: To run MakeTZX and the related tools under plain MS-DOS you need a DPMI host, such as CWSDPMI.EXE. Place it in the same directory where MakeTZX is, or into any directory included in your PATH environment variable. If you are running MakeTZX in a Windows DOS box, you don't need anything since Windows itself provides a (buggy) DPMI host.

MakeTZX for LINUX x86
OLD MakeTZX v1.02.1 74K 18/03/98
Source code v1.02.1 25K 10/12/98
Executables for Linux 80x86 platforms, including 3DNow! optimizations and DirectMode.

NOTE: For realtime DirectMode conversion, make sure that your Linux is properly configured to support your soundcard.

AmigaOS executables compiled for 68000 CPU.

NOTE: At this moment, the AMIGA versions of MakeTZX and CSW do not support DirectMode conversion; it might be added in a later release if there is a sufficient demand. Versions compiled with 68020 and 68040 optimizations may be available if requested.

Development status (WIP)

August 1st 2003. MakeTZX has been updated to version 2.33, both for DOS and Windows. The Linux build will follow as soon as possible. The most important changes are: new loading schemes (Injectaload, Excelerator and Multiload/Activision), CSW 2.00 support (tech specs into the CSW package), DirectMode bugfixes for Windows and Linux, stereo and 16-bit WAV support, various other bugfixes. The online "alpha builds" of RealSpectrum and RS32 already support CSW2.

July 4th 2001. A native Win32 build of MakeTZX is finally available! This version is a 32-bit console application for Windows 95/98/ME and Windows NT/2000, and it has the major advantage of the native Windows DirectMode which works with *any* soundcard (past, present and future)! Say goodbye to the silly incompatibilities of MSDOS with modern hardware :-) Please read the Windows-specific notes in the DirectMode section of the manual for more information.
WinGUI has been updated too. Please note that WinGUI doesn't work with MakeTZX for DOS anymore (the Windows version is required).
The Amiga build of the latest MakeTZX is also available.

July 2nd 2001. Version 2.31 of MakeTZX is finally out. This small maintenance release offers a new loading scheme (PowerLoad) and contains several bugfixes (Softlock, Speedlock 1). Both SoftLock and PowerLoad can be autodetected. More schemes will be added soon. The updated Amiga build will be available in the next hours.

Changes in MakeTZX v2.33:

  • Excelerator and InjectaLoad support. Two new decoding schemes used by CRL in games such as Loads of Midnight, Last Mohican, Jack the Ripper (Excelerator) and Book of the Dead, Ninja Hamster, 3D Game Maker (Injectaload). Both of them are autodetected.
  • MultiLoad enhancements. Formerly known as 'Activision', the MultiLoad (-lm) handling has been enhanced to support some variants and now it can be autodetected also.
  • CSW 2.00 support. The new revision of the CSW fileformat offers vastly improved compression ratio and support for higher samplerates. Check the documentation of the CSW utility for more information.
  • Raw decoding bugfixes. Some silly bugs caused standard speed blocks to be saved as turbo blocks with slightly incorrect timings.
  • Windows and Linux DirectMode bugfixes. Corrected a nasty problem which caused occasional loss of samples, thus making DirectMode conversion unreliable under these operating systems. The bug was not present in MSDOS DirectMode.
  • Support for stereo and 16-bit WAV files. We included this just for compatibility, since to ensure a good conversion quality there's no need for them and we still recommend using plain 8-bit mono samples. In this release the digital filter (-f) can be applied to 8-bit mono WAVs only.
  • Various changes and bugfixes. By popular demand, the beautifier option (-b) has been disabled. Several bugs removed in various points of the code.

Changes in MakeTZX v2.31:

  • PowerLoad support. For games like Arena, Deathwake, Dynamite Dan. Both normal and turbo speed variants are recognized. This scheme can be autodetected.
  • Softlock bugfix. The Softlock decoder has been fixed, and it is now autodetected too.
  • Enhanced Linux DirectMode. The Linux realtime sampler now supports also 16-bit and signed samples if the classic 8-bit unsigned mode is not available (e.g. with the SB Live! OSD driver).
  • General bugfixes. Several adjustments, including a fix to the samples pipeline which affects Speedlock 1 decoding (and possibly others).

Changes in MakeTZX v2.30:

  • High-quality digital filter with 3DNow! optimizations. The previous numeric filter has been replaced with a brand new, fully configurable DSP engine developed by us for MakeTZX; unlike its predecessor, the new filter can be used also for sample files. The routines are hand-written in 100% assembler, optimized both for the standard FPU and for AMD 3DNow! technology; the 3DNow! code runs 5 times faster than the FPU version. The DSP supports a complete set of numeric filter types and the expert user is given the ability to take full control over the various parameters. A great help against noise disturbs in old tapes (including DC-offset)! The manual has been updated with a new section explaining the basic concepts behind filtering in simple words.
  • 100% error-free conversion through Z80 OUT files. A revolutionary approach which guarantees mathematical success of conversions, thanks to our brand new technique which allows MakeTZX to process runtime information produced by emulators (OUT files). The result is that MakeTZX successfully converts any tape that loads and runs into the emulator and this simply means the end of many problems! OUT files are currently produced by Gerton Lunter's Z80 emulator and they are just a new supported input file format, in fact. Please read the special section of this manual dedicated to OUT files to learn how this technique works.
  • New custom loaders support. The Activision type (-lc) covers games like Dynamite Dux, Ninja Spirit, Pacland and Timescanner, which didn't convert before. For italian users, the Special Program and Playgames tape magazines are supported with the Biturbo type (group -lg), which is also fully autodetected (all variants). As usual, MakeTZX prints detailed information about the low-level aspects.
  • Crystal/Analog codec DirectMode driver. Added support for Windows Sound System (WSS) compatible soundcards, i.e. all boards equipped with a Crystal/Analog codec or equivalent, such as the CS4231 family, AD1848 and many others. Specific support for the Ensoniq Soundscape cards. The WSS codec is autodetected and used before SoundBlaster. You must have the WSSCFG (or SNDSCAPE) environment string set (e.g. set WSSCFG=A530 I7 D1 or SNDSCAPE=C:\WINDOWS). The behaviour is exactly the same of the SoundBlaster driver. Tested on OPTi 82C924 Audio 16 PnP soundcard (CS4231A). This driver has always been there since v2.11, but nobody told us that it worked! :)
  • Linux DirectMode. Now it is possible to convert in realtime also on Linux (and possibly all Unix-like systems); MakeTZX uses the operating system sound driver, so make sure that your kernel is properly configured to support your soundcard and that sound is enabled. The device /dev/dsp must be present.
  • Experimental Windows DirectMode. When coupled with the new graphic interface WinGUI and run under Windows, MakeTZX is able to record sounds using the Windows audio driver instead of the built-in Soundblaster driver so that it should work with any soundcard. Note that this feature is still very experimental and may not work correctly on some systems, so use it carefully at your own risk! Please read the dedicated section in the manual, first.
  • TZX beautifier. This new function ("-b") rounds the pauses of the blocks to "nice" values, improving the quality of the TZX file. The rounding is done intelligently, taking into account several parameters.
  • User-defined custom loaders. With WinGUI you can easily create your own schemes and extend MakeTZX's built-in loaders set. The new loaders can be selected and used just like any other predefined type. The loader characterization is quite simple at the moment, but we can extend it to describe signals of any complexity in a future release, if necessary. WinGUI comes with a configuration file containing the definitions for Sinclair User and Your Sinclair turbo loaders. Read the WinGUI section of the manual for more info.
  • Bugfixes and code optimizations. We have removed a lot of bugs and added several important improvements in many sections of the code (Alkatraz, AEC, file processing, autodetect and more), although most of them are not directly visible to the user. Memory consumption has been reduced and overall speed increased.
  • Manual additions. The manual has been significantly extended with more details, examples and explanations in all sections. Check it out!

Quick features list

This is a quick summary, don't forget to read the manual for a complete description of what MakeTZX can do!

  • Many decoding schemes supported including all SpeedLock variants, Alkatraz, BleepLoad, SoftLock, Paul Owens, Multiload/Activision, PowerLoad, Injectaload, Excelerator, Biturbo and Ramsoft's exclusive ZetaLoad system. Of course it also supports generic turbo loaders.
  • Loader type autodetect for many schemes. If you enable autodetect mode, MakeTZX will recognize automatically the custom loading standard and act consequently without any user intervention. No need to specify any loader switches for the supported types! At the moment, the autodetected schemes are Alkatraz, Speedlock 1/2/7, Bleepload, Paul Owens, SoftLock, PowerLoad, Biturbo, Injectaload, Excelerator and Zetaload.
  • Great conversion rates (97%) ! We have successfully converted many critical VOCs that didn't convert with other similar tools. Damaged tapes are also converted successfully most times thanks to the powerful Advanced Error Correction routines which can recover many physical errors. Typical cases representing no-problem are a) pulses too long or too short; b) noise spikes which alter a bit value; c) filtered VOCs with digital noise (for example making a "1" semipulse become a full "0" bit).
  • SoundBlaster/WSS DirectMode! Now you can directly connect your tape recorder to the soundcard input line and watch the LIVE show of realtime conversion on your monitor, that is MakeTZX decodes while sampling (not after) and all the events are shown on the screen in the exact moment when they happen! It uses DMA to guarantee the maximum signal quality: no clicks, no noise, and it won't miss a single sample even on the slowest 16 MHz 386! Thanks to these advanced feaures, direct mode offers exactly the same reliability as offline conversion! And there's more: you can set preprogrammed recording, that is you tell MakeTZX how much time to record and then go away to do better things! MakeTZX will automatically stop after the specified time has elapsed and let you find your TZXs ready when you come back.

  • Requires any SoundBlaster DSP 2.00+ (or 100% compatible) or a Windows Sound System compatible card and will automatically use the best resources available on the DSP (such as FIFO mode on SB16s).
  • 100% error-free conversion through OUT files. MakeTZX is the first TZX tool to introduce a revolutionary approach which guarantees mathematical success of conversions, thanks to a brand new technique developed by us which uses runtime information produced by emulators (OUT files). The result is that MakeTZX successfully converts any tape that loads and runs into the emulator without any possibility of error, and this simply means the end of most TZX conversion issues!
  • Intelligent code analyser which desumes lots of low-level information from the specific loaders, such as signal timings, addresses and lengths of data blocks. All checksums are computed to validate the correct conversion.
  • Works with VOC, WAV, IFF, CSW and OUT files. The Compressed Square Wave (CSW) is a file format created by us and it is intended as a way to store sample files in a compact form, using a compression scheme based on RLE. A CSW file is typically 10 - 20 times smaller than the corresponding VOC, and the higher the sample rate, the higher the compression ratio.
  • Powerful digital filter. A highly optimized signal processing engine reduces noise and disturb very effectively. If available, takes full advantage of 3DNow! technology for considerable performance boost (faster than P2 at the same clock frequency). Implements a fully configurable DSP filter designer to allow the expert user to achieve excellent results. The filter can be applied both to ordinary sample files and to realtime DirectMode conversion.
  • Easy to use thanks to the intelligent engine that does not need thousands of command line parameters to tune the converter! All the optimal values are calculated for you by the analyser. All you have to do is tell MakeTZX what kind of protection system you are in front of and it provides all the rest, but now, thanks to the autodetect feature, also this minimum input can be omitted in most cases!
  • Any size sample files can be converted. Any file that fits into your hard disk will be unconditionally handled.
  • Multi-platform support. MakeTZX is available separately for the following systems: Windows 9x/NT/2000 (Win32), MSDOS, Linux x86 and Amiga. The MSDOS version supports long filenames if run under Windows.

MakeTZX, CSW, WinGUI and the related documentation are ©1998-2001 RAMSOFT - ZX Spectrum demogroup