MN-61 wire recorder (video)


Date of creation: 1961

This video shows the use of the Soviet military wire recorder MN-61. It demonstrates how the device is turned on and the playback of recorded background noises that accompanied the radio communication. Sound is played back through an additional speaker, in this case attached to the side of the recorder. The second part of the video demonstrates fast-forwarding (with sound made audible to facilitate the location of the required part of the recording) and normal and reversed playback.

This device belongs to the same group of electromagnetic wire recorders as the Webster Chicago recorder and the Minifon P55. As in the case of the Minifon, the number in the device name indicates the year in which it was developed. The MN-61 is the ground-based version of the wire recorders that were installed on airplanes, and could be used to play back recordings made with both systems. It was used until at least the 1980s. Weighing 12 kg, it exemplifies the sturdy design typical of military hardware. One reel of wire could hold 5.5 hours of audio.


This video was made by Nikita Braguinski at the Media Studies department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in April 2018. The unit shown here is part of the department’s collection of historical devices, the Media Archaeological Fundus (accession no. 311).

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