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This page last updated on 31 October 1998

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4 emulators listed:

[Spectator] [Speculator] [ZeXceL] [ZM]

My thanks to Simon Goodwin for most of the information below.

Spectator v1.18 (Carlo Delhez)

  1. Emulates 48K Spectrum, Kempston, Protek and Interface 2 joysticks, Interface 1 and Microdrives.
  2. Loads .Z80 snapshots.
  3. Saves .Z80 snapshots.
  4. No real tape support.
  5. Requires 256Kb of RAM, needs QRAM or QPAC to multitask.
  6. Slower than the ZM emulators.
  7. Shareware - cost 50 Dutch Guilders to register (in 1993, so it may cost more now). Registration gets you a 720Kb disk full of Speccy software (mostly games), a printed manual and various utilities to read from +D, Disciple, Discovery and Beta/Hobbit disks.
  8. Emulates undocumented Z80 opcodes; runs more Speccy software than the other QL-based emulators.
  9. Screen update not immediate; uses a separate task to update the screen every second or so. FLASH a bit slow as a result. Keyboard handling a bit weird - QL Caps Lock does not correspond to Spectrum Caps Lock, press F5 for Extended Mode, etc.
  10. Sound via the QL NET port or the QL's beeper, which sounds rather better.
  11. Shareware version available from QL Public Domain suppliers such as S.J.P.D. and Qubbesoft, registered version available from author:
    Carlo Delhez,
    Emmastraat 3,
    4651 BV

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Speculator (William James)

  1. Emulates 48K Spectrum, Kempston and Protek joysticks.
  2. Loads .Z80 snapshots and files from QL devices.
  3. Saves snapshot in its own format, saves files to QL devices.
  4. Comes with Dave Barker's QSPEC, a comprehensive set of QL commands to load and convert ZX tape files via the QL NET port, but loading is hit-and-miss as it depends on QL memory and tape speed. Speculator's LOAD command can use QL drives or a tape player connected to SER2, which can in theory accept stronger signals than NET. These tape routines assume Mark 1 Trump Card memory.
  5. Requires 256Kb of RAM.
  6. Faster for BASIC than the other QL-based emulators (due to replacement of some of the slow original ROM routines) but slower for machine code programs.
  7. Public domain; comes with complete source (in assembler).
  8. Comes with a utilty to enable keyword entry letter-by-letter, useful seeing as Speccy keywords aren't printed on the QL keyboard. Filenames not limited to the Speccy's 10 character standard so full 36 letter QL filenames can be used.
  9. Doesn't multitask; takes over from SuperBasic. Doesn't emulate undocumented Z80 opcodes.
  10. FLASH emulation can be turned off to speed things up. Sound via the QL NET port; a bit rough and ready, and locks out SER and MDV devices when in use.
  11. Available from QL Public Domain suppliers such as Qubbesoft or S.J.P.D.:
    Qubbesoft PD,
    Brunwin Road,
    CM7 5BU

    36 Eldwick Street,
    BB10 3DZ

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ZeXceL (Davide Sanchiara)

  1. Emulates the 128K Spectrum.
  2. Loads?
  3. Saves?
  4. Real tape support?
  5. Requires?
  6. Faster than ZM/128.
  7. Shareware?
  8. Good points?
  9. Bad points?
  10. Runs under the QL's extended pointer environment; anyone with more info on this emulator is most welcome to mail me.
  11. Available from World of Spectrum.

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ZM/1, 2, 3, hT and 128 (Ergon Development)

  1. Emulates 48K Spectrum, 128K Spectrum (ZM/128 only!), Kempston (ZM/2+), Protek (ZM/2+) and Interface 2 joysticks, Interface 1 and Microdrives (ZM/1 and ZM/2 only).
  2. Loads .Z80 snapshots (ZM/2+).
  3. Saves .Z80 snapshots (registered ZM/2+).
  4. Real tape support with ZM/AC that comes with registered versions of ZM/2+.
  5. Requires 512Kb of RAM (640Kb for ZM/hT).
  6. ZM/hT can out-perform a real Spectrum on a 16MHZ Gold card; other ZM versions are faster than the other QL-based emulators at least.
  7. Shareware - cost 60,000 Italian Lire to register (in 1993, so it may cost more now). Registration gets you full versions of ZM/2 and ZM/3 and a printed manual plus utilities to read tapes and MGT or Opus disks. Send 90,000 Lire and you get ZM/HT, a compiling emulator which actually compiles Z80 code into native 68000 for a big speed increase (though variable speed until it has compiled all the Z80 code it encounters). Extra cash required for postage.
  8. ZM/2 includes a Z80 monitor. Definable key layouts. Keyword entry eased by a menu of keywords you can select from as well as using the keys. Screen update can be in delayed or immediate modes. Emulates undocumented Z80 opcodes.
  9. Only ZM/HT can save configuration or save compressed Z80 snapshots.
  10. Sound via the QL NET port; a bit rough and ready, and locks out SER and MDV devices when in use. Response to INs from non-existent ports can be set, which helps with some games.
  11. Shareware version available from World of Spectrum; registered version available from the authors:
    Ergon Development,
    via Emilio De Marchi,
    42100 Reggio Emilia,

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Primary site for this FAQ: http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~pak/cssfaq/index.html.