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ZX Planet - Spectrum Heaven! - RealSPEC Emulator Review

RealSPEC is a great MS-DOS based Spectrum emulator and one in which the authors RamSoft claim to be more powerful then previous emulators and have more of the original hardware emulated to give better on screen graphics and be more faithful to the original.

RealSPEC emulates the following models:

16K/48K/128K/128K+2/128K+2A/128K+3/Pentagon 128K/Scorpion 256KLike R80 RealSPEC emulates the Pentagon and Scorpion range of computers as well as the more universal models. The requirements?200Mhz Pentium Class CPU, 8MB RAM and a DPMI DOS Extender.

Below are the latest changes to the spectrum emulator RealSPEC by RamSoft:

  • Real-tape support: reliable loading and saving of real Spectrum tapes directly through your soundcard. To enable it, select "Physical-Device" in the tape fileselectors. Please read the new dedicated sections in the Tapes chapter.
  • Covox, Stereo Covox, Soundrive and Music Machine emulation: added a digital channel for 4 x 8-bit stereo sound
  • DACs with linear interpolation, providing high quality music and effects. When enabled (ALT-F12), the digital sound devices replace the beeper channel (so they are subject to the "Device Balance" setting in the main sound panel of F12).
  • Empty disk images creation: with ALT-F6 you can create empty IMG, MGT, TRD, DSK and MDR files. Note: DSK disks and MDR cartridges are blank and must be formatted. Parallel port emulation for DISCiPLE, +D, +2A, +3 and Scorpion. Data can be sent to LPT1, LPT2 or a disk file.
  • See the Communication Ports menu (CTRL-F3). Ability to change ROMs also for the various peripherals in F3 (DISCiPLE, +D, TRDOS, IF-1, Multiface).
  • Improved Scorpion emulation: exact multicolor timings, enabled Shadow Monitor (NMI) and fix for "128 TRDOS". Coming next: turbo speed emulation.
  • Better real disk support: improved BIOS compatibility; now it works with TRDOS disks too.
  • Joystick emulation also via PC cursor keys (select "Cursor Keys" as stick in ALT-F3).
  • Updated help pages (F1).
  • Added switch "AY-48K:" in the INI file to enable/disable the AY soundchip for the 16K and 48K Spectrum models; the available settings are: 0=OFF (original 48K), 1=AY38912 and 2=YM2149; the default is 1 (AY enabled).
  • Support for 256K .Z80 snapshots in Scorpion mode (both reading and writing). Improved Z80/SNA snapshot handling with +2A/+3 and Scorpion models.
  • Many bugfixes (+2A/+3 timings, custom ROMs loading, DemoMode, .AY player, Z80 core, FlashLoading, etc
Emulator Installation
Requires WinZIP to decrunch and also requires the separate custom sinclair rom images (available on site)
Emulator Ease Of Use
Ease Of Use

Another MS-DOS based emulator but this one is pretty user friendly (once you press F1). On this screen you will find all the keys you need to press to get to various options (F5 to load SNA files etc).

Emulator Compatibility
This emulator is capable of running all the games we tested it with (around 100+) and it runs them at an accurate speed. RealSpec is capable of reading emulated games in (SNA/Z80/TAP/SLT/VOC/DSK/TZX) formats.
Emulator Graphics

This emulator does not use scan line enhancements to visualy improve the look of Spectrum graphics in full screen but the quality is very high indeed. The games look closer to the original machine than they would with scan lines. There are however some pretty advanced features of the Spectrum emulated (full ULA and Borders) and some pretty cool options (Vsync).

Emulator Sound
The sound is awesome in this emulator as both of the Spectrum sound chipsets are emulated perfectly. Your sound card is easily detected and it works fine under Windows.
Emulator Speed
The speed is very close to that of the real machine and does not overclock itself on faster machines. There are no options to increase the speed of the emulated Z80 or the emulated cassette loading times in this emulator though.
Emulator Registration
The beauty of emulation is that most authors create these superb programs in their free time and therefore expect nothing in return. RealSPEC has no registration fee and is 100% free.
Emulator Download

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