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What Are the Different Types of Tape Recording Equipment?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Tape recording equipment is designed to record audio and video images. For recording speech or music, cassette recorders, and micro cassette recorders may be used. This type of equipment is not only for home use, as many federal and government agencies often use surveillance equipment, such as telephone recording devices. Additionally, there are accessories such as cassette tapes and micro cassette tapes that are used for smaller recorders. Many consumers who enjoy creating home video, have used recording equipment known as camcorders since the 1970s.

Most audio tape recorders will require a cassette tape that measures .08 inches (0.2 centimeters). The speed in which a tape records at is typically under two inches (5.1 centimeters) per second. Due to a poor ratio of signal to noise, audio cassette tape recording equipment will be unable to filter out noise from most recordings. When first introduced as a practical type of equipment, most people were satisfied with being able to record audio with the use of cassette tapes. As new technology was introduced, tape recording equipment seemed to falter in comparison with modern inventions such as digital voice recorders that do not require tapes, and mini disc recorders that use small discs to record on.

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Some people prefer to use micro cassette recorders as a type of portable and lightweight tape recording equipment. The micro cassette recorders require a smaller version of a cassette tape, known as a micro cassette tape. Many of these devices are voice activated and very convenient for taking along to class or business meetings.

Video cassette recorders (VCRs) were very popular during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. The home VCR requires a video home system (VHS) tape to record audio and video on. This machine was popular for recording video and audio by connecting it directly to a home television using cables. Although once considered a very practical way to record television programs and watch VHS movies, the VCR has become obsolete in favor of newer technology, such as the digital versatile disc (DVD) recorder and Blu-Ray Disc™ recorder.

Although most modern camcorders use digital technology to record video images, camcorders are still being manufactured as tape recording equipment. A camcorder that requires the use of a VHS tape is known as a VHS camcorder. This device can record home movies and video using an ordinary VHS tape. All camcorders have the option of recording audio as well as video images.

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jcraig
Post 10

@jmc88 - I agree with you completely. I have a friend who used to record professor's lectures in college, and even if he sat a few rows back, the recorder would still pick up every word.

There have been a few times where I have had to interview people over the phone for various reasons. I always like putting them on speakerphone and keeping a digital recorder next to it. The digital recorder lets me go back and check the conversation, plus there is a timer, so I can write down a certain time to skip back to it later.

I have even seen conference phones with built in recorders that seem like they would be great.

jmc88
Post 9

I couldn't believe the difference in clarity from the older cassette recorders to digital recorders. One of my parents was a medical transcriptionist who had to listen to tapes and type the information into the computer. Having digital recordings made things a lot easier.

Besides the sound quality being better overall, the digital recorders gave you the ability to upload the files to a computer and send them over the internet or on a CD.

cardsfan27
Post 8

I remember when I was a kid, Talkboys were the toy that you had to have. They used the normal cassette tapes, and the thing had a little microphone that you could pull out and talk into. They were really fun for a kid. It's too bad there's nothing like that now.

Our favorite thing to do was ride around the neighborhood on bikes and act like we were spies or police and take notes on our walkboys. I remember having a whole collection of cassette tapes from our adventures.

orangey03
Post 7

My parents had a small rectangular tape recorder that they used to record me singing when I was a little girl. It was a simple device. Basically, it had a speaker, a slot for a tape, and a row of buttons.

I remember them putting in a tape and telling me to wait for the signal. My mom would push the record button and motion me to go ahead.

I have listened to the tapes several times, and I’m glad they made them. Because of these tapes, I can remember things that would have been lost forever.

lighth0se33
Post 6

I have so many television shows and movies on VHS tapes! That used to be all I could get, and for several years after DVDs came into being, I continued to buy VHS tapes. They were much more affordable, and some stores even slashed prices on them as DVDs gained popularity.

I now have a combination DVD and VHS player. I have gotten accustomed to the quality of DVDs, so when I watch a VHS tape, I am stunned by the somewhat muted sound and lines of static that appear.

I remember my dad telling me to adjust the tracking when these lines showed up on screen. I had to move some arrows up or down until the lines moved off the screen. Recalling this makes me appreciate DVDs even more.

wavy58
Post 5

@cloudel - I had one of those tape decks, but I never used it to copy music. That’s a good idea, though.

My tape deck had a hole for plugging in a microphone. I would use it to record myself singing. I was trying to improve my singing ability, and to do that, I needed to be able to hear how I sounded and if I was making any progress.

After plugging in the microphone, all I had to do was press record and start singing. Every inflection of my voice showed up on the tape, so I could hear and work on all the imperfections. It was a great tool to have.

cloudel
Post 4

I have a double deck cassette player and recorder that has been in my family for three decades. I have a lot of music on tapes, because when I was a teenager, CDs were just starting to become popular, and I didn’t have a CD player yet.

With the double deck, I can insert a blank tape into one side and a tape holding music on the other. I can make a copy of the music by hitting the play button on one side and the record button on the other.

I used to make a copy of every music tape I bought, because I knew that after I played it awhile, the sound quality would start to deteriorate. Once it did, I was glad to have a copy.

oasis11
Post 3

@Mutsy - That sounds a little like he’s a regular James Bond. The most high tech recording I have ever played with was my DVR player. I get pretty excited when I can set certain programs to record and just play them back when I have time to watch them.

I never have to worry about missing a show. The nice thing about this too is that when there is nothing on television I can play one of my programs and I don’t have to worry about being bored. I don’t even have to worry about recording the programs on a DVD tape. The DVR automatically records it and has it available for me on a menu. It is the greatest invention.

mutsy
Post 2

@Sneakers41 - Wow, that sounds kind of cool. I know that the mystery shopping companies do work with some interesting recording equipment. I had a friend that was working in the mystery shopping business but he did undercover video shopping.

He wore a button camera that was attached to a DVR that would record the exchange that he had with a salesperson. These visits would then be uploaded on an SD card rather than using a tape.

My friend told me that the audio and video recording sound so clear that it is amazing. He said that you really can’t tell that he had a recording device because it was so small. He has tried using those pens with

recording devices but the quality was not the same.

He said that a lot of companies are moving to this form of mystery shopping because the video is very objective while a written account tends to be more biased. The camera really does not lie.

sneakers41
Post 1

I know lots of companies that use recording equipment in order to monitor the quality of their employee’s work. Most call centers have calls recorded and are later played back to the employee for quality assurance reasons.

Sometimes these companies have their own recording equipment or they may contract with a company that will record the calls for them and actually monitor the employee’s performance offsite.

Mystery shopping companies will usually use different types of recording devices to capture an outbound call made to a client’s employee. They even have equipment that can alter the voice of the mystery shopper so that they their voice will not be recognized by the employee.

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