Attention haters, prepare to troll! Boutique audio gadget maker Teenage Engineering is back with another stunningly beautiful product that offers a uniquely tactile experience for discerning creators: the TP-7 Digital Tape Recorder. This ultra-compact gem is designed to handle a wide range of recording duties and fits perfectly into the TE field lineup of pocket-sized audio gear with a sophisticated feature set that makes it well suited for a variety of tasks including dictation, interviews, music and demo recording, podcasts, and more. Lastly, it features a motorized "tape reel" that spins during recording and playback, which, like many TE offerings, is sure to inspire some strong opinions in the audio community.
A Versatile Audio Recorder
Before we delve further into the tape reel, let's start with some boring but fundamental stuff. The TP-7 weighs only 5.6 oz, fits in the palm of your hand, and runs on a built-in rechargeable battery that will power it for up to 7 hours. The unit features 128GB of internal storage for recording and is capable of functioning as a 24-bit / 96 kHz USB audio interface. The trio of 3.5mm jacks on the side can all be configured as inputs or outputs, allowing you to connect external mics, instruments, and powered monitors, while the USB-C port can also function as a recording input or computer connection. This opens up a variety of possibilities (including multitracking!), especially in conjunction with TE's lineup of separately available field products.
For example, you can record the Teenage Engineering CM-15 microphone via the USB input while simultaneously tracking a 2-channel mix from the Teenage Engineering TX-6 mixer. Alternatively, you can track musical instruments and vocals on three tracks using the 3.5mm analog inputs; the flexible TD-7 can be used for any number of on-the-go recording scenarios, depending on your needs.
Dictation and Interviews
For everyday dictation, interviews, and even podcasting, the TP-7 features a built-in microphone. A single touch on the Memo button instantly turns the unit on and activates the recording function, allowing you to get your thoughts down immediately before that planet-saving idea is lost to the ether. The red LED lights up to let you know you are recording, while a discreet 64- x 32-pixel monochrome display helps you keep track of your recordings and shows you pertinent information.
The TP-7 app even turns recorded speech into text for you, saving you a huge amount of time and agony during the transcription process. For podcasting, you can use the internal mic or add a higher-quality microphone of your choice. You can even record multiple guests simultaneously on location using several mics, as long as they don't require phantom power. Traditional tape-machine-style controls are also provided for recording, playback, and stop functions.
The Motorized Tape Reel
Last, but certainly not least, we come to the feature on the TD-7 that is sure to get people talking―the spinning tape reel. Engage the playback and record functions and the wheel spins, providing constant reassurance the unit is on and working. Styled like an analog tape flange, the wheel uses a delicately engineered brushed motor and sports a highly sensitive hall sensor that allows for tactile manipulation of the audio. That's right, you can press on it to pause and scrub the digital tape or use it for menu navigation. In addition, there's a side-mounted rocker that allows you to scrub through your recordings quickly by pressing in either direction.
The TD-7 is a thing of beauty and offers a flexible feature set capable of handling a variety of recording tasks, but it's not going to be for everyone. This kind of motorized, tactile control doesn't come cheap, but for a certain kind of professional journalist or on-the-go creator, it might just be the right device to inspire and capture some amazing audio moments.
For more details and information, click through to the product pages. Are you ready to try Teenage Engineering's TD-7 for yourself? Talk to us in the Comments section, below, and we'll do our best to answer your questions and respond to your comments.