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An audio tape recorder, tape deck or tape machine is an audio storage device that records and plays back sounds, including articulated voices, usually using magnetic tape, either wound on a reel or in a cassette, for storage. The tape consists of a plastic backing coated with a thin layer of tiny particles of magnetic powder. The magnetic powder is a metallic magnetic powder containing iron as the major constituent. 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 electric signal. On playing back the tape past the recording head, the signal is reproduced and then converted through a loudspeaker into the original sound wave.