A recording head
is the physical interface
between a recording apparatus
and a moving recording medium
. Recording heads are generally classified according to the physical
principle that allows them to impress their data
upon their medium. A recording head is often mechanically paired with a playback head
, which, though proximal to, is often discrete from the record head.
The two most common forms of recording head are:
Note that Magneto-optical recording, though using optics and heat, should properly be considered a magnetic process, since the data stored on magneto-optical media is stored magnetically.
Earlier systems, such as phonograph records, used mechanical heads known as styli to physically cut grooves in the recording medium, in a configuration (of size, width, depth and position) recoverable as sound.