XL·1 by Pete Shelley, another vinyl record with computer content.

I continue with my vinyl records, whenever I manage to find copies at reasonable prices. This time, it’s Pete Shelley’s XL·1, which (once again) contains a program for the ZX Spectrum.

Instead of repeating all the previous articles each time, I’ll refer you to the dedicated page, which explains what I do with vinyl records and lists all the pages containing programs, explanations, etc.


So, the program is found on certain vinyl editions (not all of them), as well as on cassette editions. From what I’ve seen, CDs don’t contain the code. Some vinyl editions place the code directly after the classic tracks (which can be surprising), while others place a locking groove before it. In other words, the music ends with an endless groove before the code, so you need to place the needle in the right spot to retrieve the code (this was also the case with So Long America).

The Cover

Some Explanations Inside

As for retrieval, it’s quite simple: I recorded it at the wrong speed (45 rpm instead of 33 rpm), and yet the ZX Spectrum code retrieval worked on the first try. The record was clean, but it’s the first time it worked on the first try nonetheless. There’s nothing special to mention, it’s ZX Spectrum code. By the way, the story behind this program is available on a website (by its author), and a version is available for download.

The program is designed to display the lyrics and animations for the different tracks on the record. Consequently, it’s quite long (expect around forty minutes). I recorded everything in an emulator and synchronized it with the music, but I also made a shorter version with just one track. The synchronization isn’t great, but I don’t know if it’s due to my recording, the program, the emulator, etc. Compared to this video, which was recorded on a real ZX Spectrum according to the author, there’s a difference in one of the tracks. With the emulator, we see very visible green dots, which isn’t really the case with the real computer.

Since I also bought the cassette, I checked if the code was the same, and it is (or almost): I have a few bytes that differ, but both files work and apparently give the same result. By the way, this must be an obstacle: the cassette doesn’t have the same structure as the vinyl.