what is a "tape loop"?

I have an Audio Refinement Complete int. amp and i am curious about the uses of 2 "tape loops" it has. What are they used for? Can i use them as a pre-out?

thanks in advance.
When you hook up a tape recorder to your preamp, you need a connection from the output of the preamp to the input of the recorder, and you need another connection from the output of the recorder to an input on your preamp.

The output from your preamp to the recorder usually needs to be a line level signal that is not affected by your preamp's volume setting or tone controls. Of course, your preamp's source selector determines the signal that is transmitted (CD, LP, Tuner, etc, but not tape, which could cause a dangerous feedback loop).

Often, users want to hear if the recorder's tape is capturing the signal properly, so their preamps have a "tape monitor" button. This button can cause the preamp to connect the signal transmitted FROM the recorder to the preamp's volume and tone controls, then pass it on to the amp to be played back. This happens even though the preamp's selector switch is still set to another source (say, CD), and the other source is what is being sent to the recorder for recording.

Accordingly, you can see that the tape loop allows you to select one source to send out the preamp's tape out sockets, while choosing to play back and listen to another source (i.e., the recorder itself) through your amp and speakers.

This gets interesting if you have things like equalizers or other signal modifiers. You could use your preamp's source selector switch to pick a source (say, LP), let the preamp send this signal out to the equalizer (hooked up in place of the tape recorder), have the equalizer modify the signal, then have the equalizer send the signal back to the preamp, and play the modified signal to your amp and speakers by pushing the tape monitor button.

To your question, the tape outs are likely not the same as pre-outs because the tape outs would not be affected by your preamp's volume control, tone controls, or any other similar on-board signal modification/control devices. For example, it would probably be unacceptably loud and you wouldn't have any control over the volume.

Hope I haven't been too confusing.
James, IMO your explanation is excellent. You're too humble.
thank you james. i was hoping that i can use tape loops for driving a power amp. So from what i get from your explanation i can't do that. Will i do any harm to the Audio Refinement integrated or the power amp even if i give it a try? what are your opinions?

thanks again.
The tape out has no volume control (and in the the circuit it preceeds the pre amp volume control) so if you try to drive your amp from it you will be passing on the full signal from your source. What you can do, but I don't know why you would want to, is to put a passive attenuator between the tape out and the amp to control the volume. If you source has a separate volume control you could do as you suggest.
The tape monitor feature was designed for use with three head recorders. The third head is behind the record head and actually allows you to monitor the signal that you have recorded on the tape a moment after you have recorded it. This lets you to know if you are recording too hot and have distorted peaks, or too low and allowing the noise floor to intrude excessively. Most open reel decks have the third head, but only some casette decks do. Unfortunately, my highly modded Wollensak 8-track deck does not.
Parkcaka, Your idea of trying the tape out signal to drive your other amp should probably not hurt either amp, but it could hurt your speakers because of the high volume. I would only recommend trying this if your source has a volume control, like some CD players and some phono preamps have their own volume controls. If so, I would turn the volume all the way down before trying this hook up. Newbee's suggestion of getting a passive attenuator is a good way to solve the problem. Good luck.