TapeDeck is a simple, animated audio recorder. It has an interface that looks like the tape recorder sitting in your attic next to that half-completed Rubik's Cube, and is just as easy to operate.

It records audio coming into your Mac from a headset, mic or line, and can also record any sound going through your Mac's sound card with the help of a free download calledSoundFlower (www.viddler.com/explore/liscio/videos/1).

The only drawback is that it doesn't record at the sound card level without this third-party help. The developers tell us they are working on this, but for the moment SoundFlower adds a layer of complication to the otherwise simple premise of TapeDeck.

Range of effects

TapeDeck is full of animation and audio effects that mimic the cassette recording experience - there are rotating tape wheels and plastic-sounding clunks when you click on a button. After you make a recording you can tag the 'tape' by 'writing' on the virtual tape sticker, plus you get the option to add more detailed descriptions.

The tapes stack up in the right-hand 'tape box' for quick recovery. This is a Leopard-only release, and when you browse the files in Finder they appear as cassette tape icons, which is cool. TapeDeck also lets you copy cassettes to iTunes, or email them to your contacts with one click.

This app takes you back in time, it's stable, and it's simple to operate if all you want to do is record your voice or a line in. It doesn't do anything that your free copy of GarageBand can't do, but it's easier to use and a lot more fun. The learning curve will please newcomers, as it doesn't really have one if you've ever made a recording with a cassette tape!

Our only complaint is the inability to record online sources out of the box.