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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an apparatus used in recording speech. The sound record of speech is subsequently used to obtain a written record of the text. Magnetic recording is used in most dictaphone models.

The main subassemblies constituting a dictaphone are a transfer mechanism for the sound carrier (magnetic tape, wire, drum, or disc); a magnetic head; an amplifier, used for both recording and playback; and power supply circuitry. The passband width of a dictaphone is narrower (300-4,500 gigahertz) than that of a tape recorder. This makes it feasible to use low speeds for the sound carrier (for instance, 4.76 and 2.38 cm/second for magnetic tape), thus obtaining an uninterrupted duration of recording of up to 1.5 hours (for one track). The recording of information is done with the aid of separate accessories, for instance, a microphone or an adaptor affixed by suction cups to the side of a telephone; the recording can also be done via a switching console (incorporating the originator’s telephone line and the operator’s line). Headphones or desk loudspeakers are used in listening to the playback of the recording. An existing recording is erased automatically whenever a new recording is made. Dictaphones have provisions for accelerated rewind of the sound carrier in both directions. There are also provisions for an accelerated return of the carrier; this feature is used in repeated listening to some small part of the recording and allows the writing or typing of the speech message. The typist starts the sound carrier by operating a special key or by pushing a foot pedal.

Dictaphones are used mainly for transcribing seminars and lectures, presentations in meetings and conferences, and telephone conversations and for giving recorded messages from a telephone operator.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.