Chromasette was the first tape-based magazine for the TRS-80 (or Tandy) Color Computer. The monthly collection of "games, teaching or utility programs"  was published by CLOAD, the Santa Barbara, California-based publishers of a periodical by the same name for the earlier (black and white) TRS-80 models. The first issue of Chromasette was dated July 1981, and the final issue was likely published in 1984.
"Chromasette is very much like CLOAD, with a cassette wrapped in an accompanying letter that lists the programs," writes Stephen Gray in Creative Computing.
The accompanying explanatory letter is perhaps most famous for nicknaming the Color Computer the CoCo in the October 1982 issue.
The first program on each month's cassette tape is a "cover" that, when loaded and run, displays the Chromasette name and a clever demo, often seasonal or related to a topic explored in other programs on the tape. Each of the cassette tapes in our collection includes 7 or 8 programs in addition to the cover program.
The museum has created YouTube videos of several running cover programs:
- Chromasette cover #24, June 1983 by Douglas R. Bell. "Hand me a knife - better yet, a screwdriver. See the flow of electron juices graphically course through CoCo's insides in Guts Cover," writes Dave (David Lagerquist, Chromasette's editor-in-chief).
- Chromasette cover #16, October 1982 A cover with sound! Plays Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" and 3 other classical selections.
- Chromasette cover #18, December 1982 Merry Christmas!
- Chromasette #8, February 1982 A hypnotic moire pattern.
The museum has created PDF and cassette files to preserve Chromasette newsletters and tapes and make them available for study.
The cassette files were created using the original CoCo cassette interface attached to a Roland Edirol UA-1EX USB audio interface. The resulting files were split and processed in WaveGain before being converted to .CAS files, which can be run successfully in many emulators. We created the .CAS files with CASIN written by Jeff Vavasour (in 1994).
We've mirrored Jeff's tools:
The Chromasette newsletters and cover programs we have archived are available to download. The issues listed below represent all the issues in our collection (if you can provide the missing issues, please let us know).
- February 1982 (Issue 8)
- March 1982 (Issue 9)
- May 1982 (Issue 11): List of programs in back-issues
- June 1982 (Issue 12)
- July 1982 (Issue 13)
- August 1982 (Issue 14)
- September 1982 (Issue 15)
- October 1982 (Issue 16): CoCo nickname coined in this issue
- November 1982 (Issue 17)
- December 1982 (Issue 18): Signatures of the Chromasette team
- January 1983 (Issue 19): Caricatures of the Chromasette team
- February 1983 (Issue 20)
- April 1983 (Issue 22): The inside scoop on how the cassettes were duplicated
- May 1983 (Issue 23)
- June 1983 (Issue 24)
- July 1983 (Issue 25)