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Recording system that makes use of electromagnetic phenomena to record and reproduce sound waves. The tape consists of a plastic backing coated with a thin layer of tiny particles of magnetic powder. The recording head of the tape deck consists of a tiny C-shaped magnet with its gap adjacent to the moving tape. The incoming sound wave, having been converted by a microphone into an electrical signal, produces a time-varying magnetic field in the gap of the magnet. As the tape moves past the recording head, the powder is magnetized in such a way that the tape carries a record of the shape of the wave being recorded.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tape recorder, visit Britannica.com.