I admit I was a little be sceptical when I first came across this post. PJ appears to have been on a similar quest to myself and during the search came across a package called OTLA ( available here ) When you start to read about the principles behind the package, it starts to make some sense, but seeing is believing.
Loading Harrier Attack as a .WAV ( or tape ), previously took about 96 seconds, which for a Spectrum game isn’t terrible. Using the same .TZX file and feeding it through OTLA produced a worryingly short .WAV – 15 seconds!
Playing the resulting .WAV into the Speccy produced a higher pitched tone than normal with a lot more than usual screen border flashing, but after 15 second, it miraculously completed loading. I was * really,really* surprised.
Its not perfect. Similar to PJ’s experiences, I tried a couple of other games and had problems. For example, I wanted to compare Chequered Flag’s standard load times with a OTLA produced .WAV, but couldn’t get out a file that didn’t throw up a load error.
So, a very positive step. I could, if no other better alternatives appear, attempt to get hold of .TZX/.TAP versions of my software collection and then convert those to OTLA ‘optimised’ .WAV’s. I could then follow PJ’s example and have a small MP3 player attached to my Sinclair, loading games far more consistently and quickly than maintaining tapes and tape players.
Mission accomplished? Only time will tell.