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About dela

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    I have been working with film post production for 12 years; I am now primarily working with TV (on a danish national broadcaster, as well as being involved i film projects. I am quite fascinated by Nagra recorders and everything connected with them.

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  1. Chris: If you need some info on the disconnected things, fortunately the schematics are included in the manual for the Nagra III: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/mbrs/recording_preservation/manuals/Nagra III Instructions Manual.pdf It is quite a while since I last looked at my Nagra III machines, but if you are not sure how to connect the motor and the meter, I can check up on it and send you some pictures of the cabling. The III can be a bit tricky to navigate in, because so much of it is enclosed in shielded modules... As a collector I obviouslys like machines in good condition, but it is also fun to have a challenge once in a while. I have a water damaged 4.2 that I have spent a lot of time fixing just for the fun of it, and it is very satisfying to have fixed all the issues. It might not be mint condition, but still it has its history, and you get to know you Nagra really, really well by nursing it back to life.
  2. I (as a primarily video post person) actually liked Audiovision, so it warms my heart that it was used and considered a useful tool by many...
  3. I shudder to think how this combined audio/video application would be implemented... Trying to make an application that would combine two very different worlds and work methods into one process would, in my opinion, inevitably infuriate either audio- or video users (or both). It would have to incorporate all the different processes developed over decades, but squeezed into one single GUI and methodology. Avid once had the Audiovision, which looked like an early attempt to make a combined audio- and video workstation, but in reality it was little more that a Media Composer with some glued on ADR tools. It never really took off, and I suspect that one of the (many) reasons was that sound people not necessarily want to be pushed into editing audio like video; they are two very different processes. I think that Blackmagic attempt to make this combined application could go well, in that it would be a great (free) tool, that could incorporate both video and audio, but it is also a risky move. Resolve was primarily made as a video conform/grading/finishing tool, and if this core functionality is in any way compromised or cluttered with rarely used editing features, it will scare away high end users. And I am absolutely sure, that it would attract a sizeable segment of prosumer users, but it will not be attractive to high end audio/video editors. And, as the Final Cut Pro 7/X transition disaster showed, users can abandon an otherwise established platform almost overnight if their workflows are disrupted and neglected. That being said, I think that Resolve is a marvellous tool, and that Blackmagic should be praised for having a vision about creating a completely integrated product range of relatively cheap hard-and software. But, apart from the grading/finishing components, still a work in process and not necessarily ever a great editing tool.
  4. 18V should be just fine. The Nagras are normally rated to work on 11-35V supply, and 18V is actually the voltage of a set of (new) batteries.
  5. I have just checked up on the pilot system in the 4.2, and I have a couple of comments (but not an answer as such on why the pilot indicator turns off during record): Your 4.2 has three options installed: 1) The QGX-50 crystal generator 2) The QFM-50 frequency meter option. It is that circuit that measures the frequency of the incoming og played back pilot signal. If the needle of the modulometer is stationary in the middle at 0% (when in the Frequency setting), the pilot frequency is exactly 50 Hz. If you go to playback, the pilot frequency is compared to the reference frequency. A difference between these two will result in the meter needle oscillation. 3) The QSLI synchroniser. This circuit will compare the reference frequency with the pilot signal. And here is a catch: If you select Playback without speaker on, the QSLI is not active, and the needle will oscillate, indicating that the speed is not spot on according to the pilot signal. When you go to Playback with speaker on, the QSLI will be engaged, and the meter should remain stationary, indicating that the QSLI has succeeded in regulating the speed to compensate for the pilot frequency difference. So in theory when playing back your old recordings, the needle will oscillate in Playback with no speaker and be steady when playing back with speaker on. I hope hat it clarifies the workings of the system a bit; I will ponder over the service manual when I get the time and try to figure out why the pilot indicator goes off during record. It might not be a fault...
  6. You could do that, if you could get the non-pilot heads. I am not certain if you need any electrical adjustments with he new heads (I would imagine not); the actual replacement of the heads is quite easy. Of course you need to make a complete readjustment of the heads, but that is what service manuals are for. I know a place that have a recording head on stock, but I don´t know the price of it... I remember that you have the Harvey modded IV-S... I would really love to have such a machine, so personally I think it would be a shame to cripple the TC capability to get a marginally larger S/N ratio. But then again, I am just in it for the machines, not to really use them for recording. I just checked with a couple of my 4.2 recorders (I know that at least one of them has problems with the pilot system...), and the pilot indicator should remain on when going into record mode.
  7. Unfortunately no; the TC track lies in the middle of the tape between the two audio tracks, so if there is no wide guard band between the tracks, the TC signal will overlap the audio tracks. I don´t know that much about the Harvey TC implementation, but that also relies on a middle track...
  8. I am pretty sure that if you remove the return spring, the braking function will be really bad... If the spring is not pulling the roller outwards, roller will move inwards (and release the brake) with even a very low tape tension. If adjusting the spring does not work, you might try to dampen the return spring with f.ex. a bit of soft foam tightly around the spring (since the diameter is too small for putting the foam inside it).
  9. Oops... I just checked with a scrapped 4.2 and discovered that I had mistaken left from right. The clutch is on the right reel, on the left reel the regulation is made with an adjustable brake. But the principle is the same, and actually the brake felt is a bit easier to check and replace on the brake than on the clutch system. But sorry about the confusion anyway...
  10. David is right that it is a common problem with the portable models, but unfortunately the service manuals are not really informative about how to solve it... The wobbling/oscillation og the roller is caused by the rather ingenious mechanical feedback system, where the left roller position is adjusting the left spool clutch. When the roller moves inwards (tape tension increases) the clutch is loosened (spool torque is decreased), because the movement of the roller is coupled to the clutch, using a metal arm between the two. It works really great if the clutch is working, but if f.ex. the clutch gets "sticky", the torque adjustment is not perfectly smooth, and you get the oscillation. The good thing is that it is not really serious (it usually goes away if you manually holds the roller, corresponding to dampening the mechanical feedback system). In my IV-S TC, which had been inactive for many years, it even disappeared by itself after a bit of use. Getting rid of it involves taking apart the clutch and replacing the grass og the greased felt in the clutch; it can (probably) be done, but it is not for the faint hearted på apply new grease, as it is a one-way street: Once the original grease is not there, the regulation might get even worse... But it will probably be a good idea to start with making reversible changes, so adjusting the tape tension (on the adjustment screw on the clutch arm) might be a good start.
  11. I think that diversions are what make this thread so interesting; just when you think that a subject has been covered, a new one pops up and kickstarts the fun...
  12. The Nagra E is exactly the same size as the IV/4.2 series, which is probably part of the reason they could manufacture it for at low(er) price: They could use the tools and materials used in the more expensive machines, and in that way don´t have large start up costs. But however nice the E was, the Stellavox recorders were more in the IV/4.2-class; I would guess that the IS would be more a Kudelski version of the Stellavox (and probably a more stable recorder). I don´t know the price point of either the Stellavox SP-7/SP-8 compared to the IS? I actually don´t think that there was a toolkit as such in the E, but there was a kit consisting of the most used components, as well as the test leads for the voltmeter-use of the modulo meter. But still very convenient... Regarding the sound quality of the QSEF, I would think that if your current signal source is properly impedance matched with the unbalanced input of the IV-S, everything should be optimal (if you don´t use long cables, that can pick up noise). In that case the QSEF will not improve the sound; it will merely be another step for the signal to pass, without doing anything good. I can´t remember if the QSEF is transformer based or it is a differential amplifier; if it is an active circuit, it is not impossible that there is a fault in it, but if it is transformer based, it probably simply is the transformers affecting the sound.
  13. The Nagra E might be less expensive than the 4.2/IV-recorders, but it is certainly not a "cheap" recorder. The materials are as good as in the larger machines, and the price was primarily reached by removing features not deemed absolutely necessary, and by mercilessly removing all non-essential things (f.ex. the rubber gasket around the lid) and simplifying the circuitry. So the core recorder is presumably as reliable as the larger siblings. Actually the E is the result of a quite modern approach, namely that the price of buying a device is one thing, but keeping it running for years is also a part of the "price" (TCO, Total Cost of Ownership). And, not least, that to make it work in the places where it was meant to be used (in developing countries or other locations without a really good acces to skilled technicians), you had to make an effort to make it very easily serviceable. Not only was there a component kit inside the recorder, but you could also make measurements without a voltmeter, and the main circuit board is very neatly laid out with very informative printing. Even the service manual is different: It is not only containing the raw service information, but it also explains a lot of the basic principles for the circuits in the recorder, making it almost a general tape recorder tutorial. So the E design was "sustainable" 30 years before the term became widely used... I have the service manual for the E, and if you send me a message with your mail address, I will send it to you (it is too large to put here, so it will be sent by wetransfer.com). I "only" have the E user manual in original paper form, but if I have the time, I will scan it in the weekend. And regarding the tape on your Nagra E: It is always really exciting to get tapes along the recorders, and I have found all sorts of strange & interesting things. F.ex. a live recording of a boat trip on the Rhine (complete with ambience recordings from the cafeteria, where german schlager Hammond-organ hits are played to a relatively indifferent audience). On a IV-S TC from Mali, Africa I found a recording of a very (very, very) thorough technial test and then there is of course the quirky test tapes, that sellers has made (I got a very touching rendition of old 60´ies hits on a recorder I bought off a foot therapist/Tesla coil designer/bird sound recorder).
  14. Yes, it is a fun fact, that the legendary SQN-3 was actually made to be used with a SN... Regarding the TRV, it was made for voice logging in. f.ex. flight control centers and radio stations, it was also used for surveillance. The only one I have heard of used in Denmark was used for debriefing airline pilots about meteorological data. It could play and record with an OK sound quality even with very low speed, and the quite advanced control system (borrowed from the TI) meant it could be used in automated setups. It was a niche recorder, but I definitely think that a lot more than 100 TRVRs were made. I think that the problem with finding them is that they never were "personal" machines, they were just part of an installation in a government/company setup. They were not used by people who had any interest in audio or sound quality, so when the installation was scrapped, very few felt the urge to save the recorders. Which is a shame, because they were quite advanced machines... I would also like to have one, but each time I have seen one, it has been in a really bad condition. I hope that one day I will be lucky, but you never know. A couple of months ago the Nagra JBR playback machine (PS-1) was hard to get, but within the last month 3-4 has been on eBay for a reasonable price. So perhaps there will also be a TRVT surge sometime...
  15. I couldn´t resist checking eBay, and I found it; the seller is certainly not underselling it... To call it a high quality swiss broadcast quality mixer is a bit of a stretch. It might be custom made for radio work, but it seems like an inhouse job at a broadcaster, and not really a particularly good one. The component quality is mostly OK, but the switches and potentiometers are mediocre, and not even as new would they be very good. By now they are probably corroded and need to be replaced, luckily they are still as cheap as they were from the start... The capacitors are of OK quality, but I would guess that all eletrolytic capacitors are dead and need to be replaced. It is built around germanium transistors, and the seller cheerily states that they are "selected". Which would probably be neccessary just to get the thing working in the first place... In short: It is a nice piece of DIY kit, but I certainly wouldn´t recommend buying it for using it, for that there would probably be much better mixers around. And if one would like to use it for a practical purpose, I think that there are better mixers available, and they wouldn´t neccesaily cost a fortune. One of my favourite brands (being danish that is not a surprise) is NP Elektroakustik; they made mixing consoles for Radio Denmark, and they are really, really good. And they look nice too: http://broadcastsupport.eu/products/17-audio-mixers/1320-np-elektroakustik-lv28/ I have one at home; I might be tempted to post some pictures of it. But there are a large amount of fine mixers from 1960-1980 around, and it is great fun to see, how imaginative and competent some people were.