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Definition: tape recorder


A machine that records audio or video onto magnetic tape. A tape "recorder" or tape "deck" generally refers to earlier analog devices, such as a VHS tape recorder. Until the 1990s, analog audio tape was the norm for recording music as well as answering machine phone messages.

Handheld voice recorders also used to be analog; however today, a voice recorder is digital with audio stored on a flash memory chip. A tape "drive" implies digital data such as an LTO drive for backup and archiving. See magnetic tape, voice recorder, VHS and LTO.




Analog Open Reel in 2022
The Tourbillon TR-X is a high-end analog tape recorder manufactured by Metaxas & Sins in the Netherlands. Using an ARM chip to keep the two reels and capstan motors in sync, The Absolute Sound magazine says "the TR-X combines 2020s technology with 1960s soul." (Image courtesy of The Absolute Sound, www.theabsolutesound.com)