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About JBond

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  • Birthday 12/18/1955

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  1. Maybe this will help explain the Nagra SN over the years. The Nagra SN Series - from Prototype to Production, 1960 - 1970 to 1999 by RJW Size including controls - (WHL) 4 X 1 x 5 3/4 inches Weight - 1.3 lbs Diameter reels - 2 5/8 inch Tape width - 1/8 inch Tape speed SNN 3 3/4 ips , SNS 15/16 , SNST 15/16 SNST-R 3 3/4 stereo Battery life - 5.5 hours The Nagra SN is one of the most well-known miniature covert recorders in history. Circa 1960, the first prototype SN was constructed by Stefan Kudelski, his company, Nagra Kudelski. Nagra started making tape recorders back in the early 50s. This miniature recorder was a very different project from his other larger portable recorders already in production. The SN prototype was one of a kind; no other units were ever produced. At the time, components for such a small, high-quality recorder were not reliable for what Kudelski had in mind. Further development of the prototype SN was put on hold for ten years. The actual production began in 1970, and the first units sold were in 1971. (15) The SN was an enormous success throughout the world and used mostly by government agencies on both sides. Since the recorders were such expensive items, governments were just about the only ones who could afford them in any quantity. The small private investigator and others usually could not afford this type of recorder. Later sales expanded to law enforcement. The SN became known as somewhat of a famous secret spy recorder with a mysterious past, never told in any detail. Stories were told throughout the years of a secret unknown spy recorder with early use by the U.S. Government throughout the 1960s. This has never been substantiated with any fact. The SN is a beautifully built machine, a small, thin, reliable, one channel miniature tape recorder. The rugged recorder chassis was milled out of a solid block of aluminum alloy and assembled with 7 miniature modular plug-in circuit boards and powered by just two penlight batteries for 5 1/2 hours of use. The Nagra SN miniature recorder was created to satisfy the requirements of covert recording during the 1970s. The SN became the machine of choice for many security agencies around the world. It was like no other miniature recorder the world has ever seen. The first units were painted with a flat gray paint with no Nagra name or any other markings on the recorder as most early covert spy recorders were nameless. When asked why the first SN did not carry the Nagra name, a spokesman for Nagra said it was due to the factory understanding of silk-screening. It wasn't until two years later in 1973 that the finish on the recorder started to change. That flat gray finish was now a smoother semi-gloss gray paint. The Nagra SN name was now beautifully silk screened in red lettering on the tape deck’s upper right-hand corner, with the operation and tape path instructions on the reel deck and lid. This new finish only lasted a short time before the finish changed again. No longer was the housing of the SN painted. Instead, Nagra utilized an anodized aluminum finish, topped with a thin undetectable hard protective transparent coating. These early finishes varied slightly in the aluminum color. Each SN was presented with the utmost attention to detail, from the highly mirror polished tape deck screws to a jeweled VU meter, the SN just screamed high quality. Kudelski, the leading manufacturer of sound recorders for the movie industry during this time, also made it so the small SN, a capable body worn recorder, would be able to pick up the actor's voices more clearly and sync with the movie equipment, using the higher speed SNN. The SN was featured in numerous motion pictures both on-camera and as a production tool. The use of the cinema body recorder did not last too long, as wireless microphones became less expensive and better sounding and they replaced the need for the body recorder in motion pictures. The Nagra SN's primary use was always a covert tape recorder. In 1977, another significant SN development designed principally for covert operations was a slow speed, two-channel stereo model developed for the FBI called the SNST. This model was used for quite some time without any information about it released to the public. Only government agencies, not even law enforcement, knew of them at first. The Nagra SNST miniature recorders were categorized by the U.S. Department of Justice to be Interception of Communication Devices (IOC). The IOC statutes make it illegal to own, use, train and/or educate non-law enforcement personnel to use this equipment. Through the early 70s to 1999, there were four different models of the SNs. There may have been some insignificant custom versions since Kudelski worked with the individual customer's needs. The four primary models are: 1970: Nagra SNN - Mono full-track recording (3.3/4 - 1 7/8 ips) 1972: Nagra SNS - Mono half-track recording (1 7/8 ips - 15/16 ips) 1977: Nagra SNST - Stereo version (1 7/8 ips - 15/16 ips) 1999: Nagra SNST-R - HiFi version of the SNST (3.3/4 ips) All built with the same size/weight dimensions, etc., the only differences were in the circuitry of the different models. The Nagra SN series was extensively used by many countries all over the world since 1971. Today, accurate total production numbers are not known.
  2. I hate to bring this up but Nagra showed a Nagra SNST-R in their latest video about their Nagra SN shown at the top of this page, the SNST-R was the last and most advanced Nagra SN that was released in 1999, 29 years after the first Nagra SN. If they are talking about the first Nagra SN released in 1970 why not show a 1970 Nagra SN. ( No Name, No silkscreening ) Sorry, I just want to keep the Nagra SN story correct.
  3. If not for his last sentence I would say Mr Muricy just made a mistake between using 1984 and 1994 as this first quote implies. so Mr Muricy came to the US in 1984 to shoot … in 1994 Ok, a clear mistake, but then he adds this last statement. I solved the great Nagra SN mystery, but this I have been stumped. 😎
  4. Nagra posted a series of YouTube videos about their recorders in its museum on their Facebook page. These videos seem to clear up some long unanswered questions. Here is the one on the famous Nagra SN stating Kennedy asked for it “for the US Army” but not released until the end of the 60’s So - the end of the sixties means not in the sixties and certainly not in 1965... In other words Dec1970 or 1971 Sounds like something you may have read before on “Jwsound Nagra stories”.😎
  5. This showed up on my facebook page 4 minutes ago. You're seeing posts from NAGRA AUDIO first. The first portable recorder in the world - built by Stefan Kudelski - released in 1951 Rare interview of Auguste Piccard by Stefan Kudelski. https://www.facebook.com/nagraaudio/videos/1943547572356096/ Looks like Nagra set that story straight, now, no misunderstanding what the Nagra I is. Also added some new information, only 10 - 12 units made. Very nice.
  6. (Better this than none) That may be Nagra's thinking also. They probably know 99% would never know. Or it was just an oversight.
  7. Its too bad they don’t have someone who knows the history of Nagra and would take the time to produce a short film with the correct information. This picture shows a Nagra II; the Nagra I never had a meter or direct center hold down reel nuts. This picture does not belong in the film at all because they never mention the Nagra II, why show it as a Nagra I But here it's showed in all its glory as his prized invention, the Nagra I These next two pictures do show the Nagra I, all they had to do was not show the Nagra II, especially showing it first like they did! I guess they feel no one would know the difference, so it doesn’t matter which picture they use. Or they consider the Nagra I or II are the first Nagra's ever made? Same here below in this next picture and caption, it doesn't matter if it's correct or not who would know the difference? Just run with it. Can we believe anything since the obvious miss representation that seems to show up in any story written about Nagra past and present day? The Nagra SN went to the moon In the Apollo mission but not in 1969, they confuse the first moon landing date with the SN going to the moon, kind of misleading. The Apollo Program 1963-1972 They landed on the moon 2 times in 1971 and two times in 1972 I would suspect the SN went to the moon after it was developed not before. The real story is here on post ; #373 you can believe it or not.
  8. Good work noticing that detail, MarceauFilm I wonder why he looks like he rewinding the Nagra II, as she holds the microphone in front of the person talking into it. It would be the other larger crank on the side to windup the motor. Messed up that interview. I'll bet that was just a pose for the picture, everyone just acted like they were doing something.
  9. This posted on Nagra Facebook today with a link to the local 695 magazine. René Laflamme 6 hrs · Wow this is amazing, here the original tape of Stefan Kudelski inventor of the first portable professional recorder, the Nagra. This recording is from 1953 when Auguste Piccard took the Nagra I with him on his record-breaking deep-sea dive in the bathyscaphe Trieste. The sound of the recording is a real time travel. https://magazine.local695.com/…/the-nagra-recorder-stefan-k… About the Bathyscaphe: https://youtu.be/AOfS-tzxZAs
  10. I saw the DR on the tents and for some reason it reminded me of the Nagra IS and Dela… Oh how we age…
  11. It is "gorgeous" the way Nagra designed the famous SN recorder with seven removable plug in modules, each held in by only a couple of small brass screws. The one shot hastily taken picture, with parts of it out of focus is disappointing.
  12. Dela, I believe the jack that Tunes is talking about is not on the SNST, even though the SNST is in the picture, Its the jack on my red 1973 SNS. Tunes asked me and I didn't know what the jack was for. I just took the board off and the jack is wired to the proprietary SN microphone input. I assume this is so you can use a normal 1/8 microphone jack that was found on a pen or watch microphone.
  13. Maybe it will become a fad, You have to be very into Nagra to wear this out in public or around the house for that matter. https://weadmire.net/product/nagra-noire-serie-all-over-t-shirt-by-yukio-miyamoto/
  14. This listed on eBay , reminds me of Dela's collection, I see why he collects them, look at that custom DR radio silkscreen. You have to admit the Nagra IS is a sweet recorder. You will find Dela's IS collection on post 576 page 24 Or just go to the post index on page 1 and click on Dela 576
  15. Thank you, daniel That's a great story and is just the kind of story I was looking for to be told when I started this thread back in January 2015. I wanted it to be about untold stories using Nagra tape recorders in your profession that only soundmen knew about. The original title of this thread was Nagra Stories only soundmen can tell. There were others on here that told stories over the last three years and I appreciated their stories also. Wow, so you were on the ship for a month? God, it seems so primitive using tape reels in your profession today. I can see you now hanging on and trying to change the reels on an SN. The locking reel hubs unlike a Nagra III or IVS really need two hands as the reel lock would make it impossible to do one-handed so I can see you now trying to do that and keep yourself upright on a rolling ship. I can also imagine how you must have felt not wanting to drop a reel to watch it roll down along the deck leaving a 50 ft tape trail behind, especially with a crew as you explained that did not make you feel at all comfortable. You got the gig over a more experienced soundman, so I guess the pressure was on you to show your best. I appreciate your taking the time to tell your story and hope it'll inspire others to tell theirs. After all, when I started this thread I wanted it to be about Nagra stories that only a soundmen could tell. It would've been nice if the guy had sold you the SN. If I were you, I would look for an SN as you have a great memory to go with it.