Turn your Mac into a Tape Recorder with TapeDeck

LogoQuite a few years ago tape recorders were very popular, and they are still used today. TapeDeck is an application designed to look, and be used, like an analog tape recorder. TapeDeck works great for many things, from recording yourself playing an instrument or recording a lecture. Just hit record and the tape starts.

The main interface of TapeDeck is made to look like a tape recorder. In the middle is the selected tape, which can be controlled with the buttons at the bottom: Record, Play, Rewind, Fast-forward, Stop, and Pause. Right below the tape is a progress bar, which you can click on to skip to a section of the tape. Next to the progress bar is the time and volume, and under the progress bar are the main options. You can change the recording quality between high, medium, and low and you can change the audio to stereo or mono. Next to that it displays the microphone input.


You can even add notes to your tapes in TapeDeck. When a tape is selected, just click the “notes” part of the tape. The whole tape view switches to a text field where you can type as much as you want, and when you are done just click “Done Editing” at the bottom. You can also change the name of your tape by clicking on the name. To better organize your tapes you can change the color of the text and icon. Just click the “A” icon and the color will change. There is one problem with this, though; if there is a color you want, you have to keep clicking until you get to it. When you click the gray rectangle on the right side of the window the tape drawl slides open. Here you can view all of your tapes. Just click and drag or use your scroll wheel to scroll through the list. The list displays most of the info about the tape, such as the name, quality, length and day recorded. To play a tape, just click the one you would like to listen to and it will slide into the main window. The icon in the list will then be replaced with “Tape Loaded”. With the search bar at the bottom you can quickly find the tape you want.


TapeDeck includes many other useful features. You can customize different hotkeys to start, pause, and stop a recording and you can control TapeDeck using the menu bar item. Another cool feature is that the icon turns red when it is recording. The problem with this, though, is that there isn’t any notification if it is paused, which would be very useful when the main window is hidden. TapeDeck also includes sharing features. You can easily export the tapes to iTunes to easily transfer to your iPod and email the tapes to a friend. When the tape is copied to iTunes the album artwork is a copy of the tape’s icon, so each tape will have unique album artwork when you are browsing through your tapes on your iPod. When you email a tape TapeDeck automatically creates a new email with the subject “TapeDeck Recording: TITLE” and attaches the tape file as an MPEG4. Low quality tapes are very small and work great for emailing.


TapeDeck is great for recording any audio using a microphone. It has many different options and makes tapes easy to share. Although there are just a few annoyances TapeDeck is a great app and I highly suggest it. TapeDeck is made by SuperMegaUltraGroovy and toastycode. You can buy TapeDeck for $25 and download a demo at the apps website.


17 Responses to “Turn your Mac into a Tape Recorder with TapeDeck”

  1. dex on May 28th, 2008 6:21 am

    I really don’t see a use for this app, regarding that Garageband does the same (and more) and comes free with any new Mac.

  2. Chaos on May 28th, 2008 6:55 am

    After reading this blog for about a month now I get the impression this is somewhat of a pattern here.

    All these tools have one thing in common: they are not free. How many free alternatives there may be, you get to read about the 25$ app.

    And I haven’t heard a word about these alternatives (except in the comments), or what justifies the price, or whatever makes them stand out from other tools.

    I think this is the reason why there are so many free givaways: the developers recognize and reward the advertising character of these non-comperative reviews.

    Does anybody know a good good-and-free-tools-for-mac blog?

  3. Jonathan Barrett on May 28th, 2008 6:55 am

    @dex I know what you mean, but on many occasions Garageband is overkill for the kind of light, fast recording TapeDeck is aimed at. The file management is a great feature (I don’t have to worry about where I store my meeting recordings, for example), and you just fire it up and go.

    TapeDeck is a great example of a very, very tightly focussed app that does one thing well. My hope is that an update allows the “max/min” button to create a small mode a la iTunes – something like a memocorder?

  4. Jonathan Barrett on May 28th, 2008 6:59 am

    @Chaos not sure if that’s fair. I think the comments are a great place to discuss the alternatives. This site is geared up to reviewing applications, not solutions to problems, so I don’t think it’s not doing its job by reviewing an application.

  5. Jack Amick on May 28th, 2008 7:49 am

    I thought I should point out that on the first page currently there are 3 reviews of free apps ;) .

  6. cbi on May 28th, 2008 8:45 am

    it looks interesting, not something i would usually use, but would like to try…. it looks like thats out of the question though….leopard only

  7. dex on May 28th, 2008 12:57 pm

    @chaos: http://www.coolosxapps.net/ although I like both sites especially because from MacApper I get fine info about excellent shareware and low-priced high quality, little-known apps ;)

    @Jonathan: you are probably right with your comment. I didn’t quite think about recording a meeting or lecture. (Although I use QuickTime that can also record for free.)

    Anyway, TapeDeck could really use lower price or more features (while preserving its simplicity).

  8. Greg Healy on May 28th, 2008 3:04 pm

    @Chaos: If you are looking for free software, I suggest checking out our list of Mac Freeware: http://macapper.com/2008/01/10/mac-os-x-freeware-list

  9. Masta Cress on August 9th, 2008 9:12 am

    This App is Great. The Point is that you have a real Tapedeck Emulation and NOT a Multitrack Recorder (dear dex with his garageband) or a poor Media Player (iTunes).

    If you dont want to record some tapes like back in the times before CDs and Computer stored ya music you should not download the demo.

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  11. Joanne Jacka on March 31st, 2011 12:53 am

    I would like a recorder to tape my voice as I evaluate plants & trees, but then would like it to plug into my MacBook Pro and automatically transcribe what I’ve recorded. Is there such a machine and what does it cost and what additional products are needed? I would assume detectives have such machines to facilitate their work also. jj

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