15
Jan
08

ZX Spectrum on the Nintendo DS

 

I am no Chiptune musician. I dabble here and there and respect the form, but it’s never been my focus. I see music sequencers/trackers, synths, and controllers for Handhelds and Consoles as instruments the same way I see an old Casio or 80’s Roland as instruments. They’re another weapon in an arsenal of synthesis and sometimes inspiring+alternate ways of approaching something which is often a great relief after you’ve been sitting blank eyed at a PC Sequencer or Editor for 4-5 hours every day. Trackers and cheap/old hardware+music software is also a large part of my present and past, so the occassional desire to bury myself into geekdom can be a source of inspiration. Such as running a ZX Spectrum EMU on my Nintendo DS and writing out some beats using the synthesis via programs as awful and entertaining as Wham! The Music Box while I’m sitting on the toilet.

There are 2 great ZX Spectrum EMUs for the Nintendo DS. DSpec and ZXDS. ZXDS is hands down the most compatible and full featured of the 2 (I didn’t even know of DSpec until recently, but it looks as though development may have stopped in 2006). Both have early version #’s but don’t let that fool you. ZXDS can operate in several modes like many of the popular EMU’s available. 48k, 128k, Pentagon and USRO (which I assume is another Russian ZX Clone like the Pentagon that occassionally pops up on Ebay).

ZXDS already has killer load/tape support including SNA/Z80 snapshots or TAP/TZX/PZX tapes. I have succesfully ran music programs such as Wham! The Music Box, SQ Tracker, Sample Tracker and SoundTracker. There are a few application’s I cannot find, or can only find in TRD format. AFAIK TRD (TR-Dos) isn’t supported on either one of these EMUs although ZXDS emulates their modes (.TRD was used on those Russian clones).

http://zxds.raxoft.cz/

http://dspec.eighttwelve.co.uk/index.php

 Finding all the Trackers, music apps, and so on for the ZX is surprisingly hard to do, and alot of older sites have recently fallen off the face of the earth. In a future update, I will be creating a new resource bring alot of these things back together.

In the meantime, you can find some software via moogle charm:

http://www.morganleahrecords.com/mooglecharm/programs.html#zx

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