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The symbol of generations. St. Petersburg resident gathered unique collection of tape recorders


Everyone dreamt of a tape recorder from 1970s to 1990s. One resident of St. Petersburg has managed to gather a unique collection of those. There are 500 decks, players and boomboxes at his place. And everything’s in perfect condition. Alexander Burenin visited the haven for nostalgic music-lovers.


Today many would envy such a collection, but for Sergey this is just one hundreth part of his treasures. He’s been collecting tape recorders from all over the world for 30 years. He bought his first player at a thrift shop by the Apraksin Dvor. The gear takes up an entire large room. There are micro-tape players here, which are hard to find in Russia, and unique mix-machines - which can play vinyls, tapes and radio.

Once a week he holds a cleaning day. Machines are put in different places, cant keep tape records in the same shelves for too long. Every single one of them is turned on, cleaned and then admired for a few seconds. Tape recorders love care. Newcomers get special attention.

Sergey Vasilyev, collector: «Some arrive in horrible condition. Some of the chrome parts look green. I try to fix everything, all bolts and gears, replace parts if possible»

Tapes take a lot less space - there’s not more than a thousand of those, all older than 15 years. These will not make much sense soon to those who love apples and other vegetables from the modern high-tech garden. The collector insists that one must listen to the music in the right way - rewind the tape with a pencil, press EJECT, flip the tape and choose the right side. Those who are unaware of this process, he says, lost a whole lifetime of experience.

Sergey Vasilyev, collector: «So i walk down the street in a t-shirt with a tape on it. Two guys walk in front of me. One says - whats that on the t-shirt? Flashcards? The other one replies - no, its tapes. What’s that? Well, thats what they used to record and listen the music on back in the days. The second one goes - well, i told you - its like flashcards»

But there’s another branch of hardware from the epoch when MP3 would have been nothing but a meaningless combination of letters and numbers.

Alexander Burenin, reporter: «There are players like these in the collection. 1979. Thats how the first portable tape recorder looked like. The story goes that it was made for the CEO of the hardware company. He liked to listen to the music on the road, but didnt like to carry large machines. To justify expenses, they made a small quantity, sent those to stores and forgot about it. The boss liked it, and customers too. After the overwhelming success, they started producing more and more. Soon, people with headphones and players like these were seen everywhere in the world»

I Have a Dream - this song is often played here from vintage speakers. Sergey also has a dream - to open a museum. For now his dream crashes into a lack of money. Of course, he could sell something and make profit, but he says - just like any collector would say - this was not the purpose of gathering it. While he’s dreaming about the museum, he has this room in his countryhouse - like a flashback to the good old days.