I guess I’ve had some qualified success in getting the ZX Spectrum going. After finding the right (mono) cable, sticking it in the Spectrum’s EAR socket, converting tape images to audio with tape2wav, and getting a PAL/NTSC converter, I can load stuff. Sort of.
The problem is mostly with the video converter; it’s too slow. The screen refreshes a couple of times a second, which is enough to lose many Hen-House Harrys. I know, I should’ve gone for a more expensive one.
I’ve found that the audio files made by tape2wav are very loud; 0 dB, full deflection, distort-o-matic. Dropping the volume to -3 dB made games load better. Adding a couple of seconds of silence at the beginning of the file wouldn’t hurt, either.