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JBond

Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

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The most noticeable change from Nagra I to Nagra II was the Nagra II has the reel hold down nuts in the center of the reels

 

Are you quite certain about those reel hold-down nuts?

 

From the picture, it appears to me that the nuts have simply been set down on the reels rather than secured. One can see through the center of the nuts to the plastic reel below. It would be very peculiar to place something of the sort off-center as that would throw the balance off.

 

Also, the photo of a Nagra I we used to illustrate the Kudelski Tribute in the 695 Quarterly shows the nuts affixed in the normal position at the center of the reels.

 

Of course, I'll yield to a definitive statement from someone at Nagra (or Audio Technology Switzerland) that the nuts were off-center.

 

David

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To answer your question yes I am sure the reel nuts are off center.
That was the short answer but you guys know me by now,

Back in 1994, my first dealing with Nagra. They sent me a new cover for my SN because of hairline cracks in the clear coat.
I asked at that time for a picture of the Nagra I. They sent me this black and white photo you see here. It has been in my collection ever since to show this is the recorder I'm looking for.

Yes, your picture shows the reel nuts in the center. I believe you're showing an early Nagra II with all the bells and whistles at the time.

The Nagra I is this one in this picture that I received from Nagra. It’s black and white - if it was color it would be brown like the one in their showcase.

Everything was an experiment back then in the Nagra factory IMO. In 1951 thru and even in 1958 with the early Nagra III's every one was a little different.
The reason I say your picture is early is because of the wrinkle paint on the tape deck, the same front name plate etc. as the Nagra I. That front name plate was continued on with the early Nagra II’s - if you search you will find them. They probably made 50 plates and only used 25 on the Nagra I's ??
I'm guessing.

I looked at your picture 50 times before and never noticed the reel nuts, until today, but only after reading and searching other pictures, even the one I own.
Like I said I was trying to figure out the difference between The C and CI when I notice the Nagra I mystery.

Even Stefan Kudelski says in the interview I include the link.
http://www.polisheng.ca/docs/Kudelski.pdf
Kudelski: "Yes, the Nagra I. It was just a gadget. When I saw that this was a serious market, then we made the Nagra II with improvements over the Nagra I.

The picture in the article shows all of the improvements, how can it be a Nagra I when he said the improvements were in the next model, the Nagra II

Maybe I'm thinking too much but this is what I have to conclude until I find out otherwise.
I post this stuff to get answers that I don't have, I thought all this time Nagra made 100 Nagra I's that is false. One site says a dozen and the more accurate site says 25 there are people that own these recorders and I’m hoping they'll chime in someday.

Nagra has moved so many times since 1951 and they have very little records from back then about the Nagra I from what I can tell. I hope to be proven wrong and they have all the detailed records.
We are left to decipher these mysteries, from the remaining units known. Same with the first Nagra III many unanswered questions.

You will never see a 1958 Nagra III in any of Nagra's pictures. Anywhere, they never took a picture of it.
All Nagra's pictures of a Nagra III anywhere with a caption 1958 shows a 1962 NP Nagra III.

Again I'm only looking for answers, this should not reflect badly on you in any way.
If you do a picture search with your picture it will show two other sites that say the same thing, they say it's the Nagra I. That does not mean it is. It only means someone said it and others repeated it.

Here are the two other sites saying it's the first Nagra also. It may be a descendant
of the first Nagra but it is not the First Nagra.

This is the same thing everybody did with the first Nagra III they all show the 1962 NP Nagra III And you can fault Nagra for that since they started it.

I keep going back to Kudelski’s interview - the improvements were made on the second Nagra

That picture you show could be a Nagra I that the motor and transport was changed and was pimped out by a technician in 1956 for all anybody knows.

http://www.psneurope.com/genius-20-stefan-kudelski-worlds-first-professional-quality-portable-tape-recorder/

http://forsal.pl/artykuly/676494,stefan_kudelski_wynalazca_profesjonalnego_magnetofonu_nagra_nie_zyje.html

SGMOk0W.jpg
 





In this picture, you can see the shaft going thru the reel.

 

Click on the picture and you will see it more clearly.

kt62Pre.jpg

 

And in this picture you can see the threaded hole in the reel nut is much smaller diameter than the reel spindle. Again click the picture.

dlZS0Cw.jpgAll photos marked RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

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JBOND, I think you are right about the off-center reel nuts but it is just so odd that it started out this way and why it took so long to realize that putting the reel nut on the main spindle was the obvious way to do it. Why would Kudelski have ever thought that the off center nut, requiring an additional shaft, requiring that the plate the reel sits on would have to be large enough in diameter to match the reel's hub diameter --- kind of nutty if you ask me.

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Jeff, it didn't take too long, only 25 units were made like that. 

It may have had to do with the first spring transport motor they used and why they changed it on the Nagra II.

I'm sure it was because he thought he needed that extra torque? If you put the drive off center it would give you more speed or power.

 

Like if you tried to take up the tape reel with your finger, if you put your finger in the center it would be harder and take a lot longer to do, than if you put your finger off center. If you know what I mean. 

 

I'm telling you there was a lot of experimenting in the early Nagra days. It was experiment as you go. 

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This first picture found on the Internet is just like the one Nagra gave me, only its just a thumb nail 

That's is all I could find.

 

I believe both of these Black and white photos are Nagra stock press photos from back in the day. Lost in translation somewhere over time. 

Put both pictures together and there is the Nagra I and the first Nagra II

 
 
The Nagra I (year 1952)
 
uvdIyBe.jpg
 
 
The new improved Nagra II (year 1953)
 
5G9Pg5u.jpg

 

Edit:  

I said this was a Black and White photo it's not, I was wrong.  I see red and cream color in the picture. 

 

I have no doubt it's a Nagra II but now I have my doubts about being a Nagra Press Photo from the 50's, It may very well be a black painted Nagra II, Maybe the first Nagra II's  were black before they became bluish /gray? I don't think anyone will ever know these answers for sure.

Oh well

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Conversation with Stefan Kudelski 

 

John Rice, Videography, September 1985 

 

It's pretty interesting.

He tells how he built the SN in 1960 like a watch,  He tells why he used to own Stellavox. He explains the VPR-5 and Nagra's roll in it. , He explains why he built the IV-S and for who, He explains why he picked the name Nagra, which makes perfect sense. Etc. etc. 

Probably a lot of questions I would have asked him.  But you know me.... He also overstated about how many Nagra III's were made by more than double. To his defense, he did start off by saying he didn't know.

 

http://www.polisheng.ca/docs/Kudelski.pdf

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On 5/10/2015 at 2:15 AM, fatfatjames said:

Is it possible to find the plastic cover for the 7" reel on my nagra 4 stc?

Yes, they come up on eBay every now and then used, from 150 - 400. Most are complete with hardware. There is just the lid on eBay US right now but it's cracked, with no hardware.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nagra-7-inch-blue-grey-smoked-dust-cover-/191573464959?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c9aab177f

I would pass on that one if I were you. Another will come along. Just bookmark "Nagra" newly listed and check every day. You'll find one.

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looks too good to be true, very clean machine, still for sale? Wouldn't last 10 minutes over here.

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Another thing... the grey rubber thingy that run around the top of the nagra 4 st... can i buy that from some where?

Not that I know of.

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You could check for the gasket at Nagra USA in Nashville, or Dan Dugan in San Francisco, or perhaps the usual suspects (Trew, L.S, etc) for old parts inventory. Otherwise, just remove the gasket. If done properly, the machine will look great without it.  Using a plastic scraper or plastic knife of some kind, score around where the gasket meets the aluminum, top and bottom,  and work some WD-40 under the gasket, let it soak for a day, and repeat for 3 or 4 days.  If it doesn't come off cleanly, Wipe off the WD-40 and baste the gasket with alcohol as you remove it gently with a plastic scrape tool. Don't use  a razor blade, which will permanently scratch the brushed aluminum underneath. Don't use acetone. Know your solvents.

The Nagra E and IS did not use the gasket. Google some photos of these to see how it will look. 

-Pete Verrando

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Mine sort of melted

James, It might be worth you while to e-mail Nigel Woodford at Richmond Film Services in London. This is where the legendary David Lane worked up to his death. David was the Nagra Guru in the UK and I know he kept a large inventory of Nagra spares as I used to bring a lot of them back from the factory for him on my regular visits there.

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On 5/8/2015 at 4:56 PM, David Waelder said:

 

Are you quite certain about those reel hold-down nuts?

 

From the picture, it appears to me that the nuts have simply been set down on the reels rather than secured. One can see through the center of the nuts to the plastic reel below. It would be very peculiar to place something of the sort off-center as that would throw the balance off.

 

Also, the photo of a Nagra I we used to illustrate the Kudelski Tribute in the 695 Quarterly shows the nuts affixed in the normal position at the center of the reels.

 

Of course, I'll yield to a definitive statement from someone at Nagra (or Audio Technology Switzerland) that the nuts were off-center.

 

David

David 

Finally, I have found some proof of what I was trying to say about the 1st models, not that I have been looking for proof but the other day I bought this Nagra 16 page booklet on eBay, Half A Century of Experience 1951 to 2001 from Austria. 

 
7KeqA53.jpg
 
TyAMsmm.jpg
 
This is important because It has the first pictures that I have ever seen anywhere that shows the first 4 Nagra’s side by side in an Official Nagra booklet.
The Nagra I, the Nagra II, the Nagra II C and the make believe first Nagra III all in the same picture below. The booklet shows how the first models evolved.
 
KogowPG.jpg
 
Only thing, as I said before, Nagra never kept a 1958 (the first) Nagra III or even a picture of the first Nagra III,  they just don’t have one.
I say make believe because In this booklet it clearly shows a 1962  three head Nagra III pilot NP parading as a 1958.
 
 A 1958 Nagra III is a very different machine than what is shown. Which I will show in another post. 
 The caption in this booklet says 1958 Nagra III. As with all of Nagra’s pictures referring to the first (1958) Nagra III, they all show a 1962 NP. In Nagra’s eyes, the 1962 NP must have been their prize recorder, that is the one that got them in the movie business, that machine was their big break and where Nagra really took off.  But they never show and 1958 in any picture.
 
 Below is as much as I know about the first Nagras and hopefully someone else knows more and will chime in. 
 
The Nagra I, 25 units were made in 1951 
 
The Nagra II developed in 1952 shown with the unmistakable cool side plug in VU meter just like the one you showed in the 695 Quarterly. They were made from 1952/ 1953 thru 1954 with the Nagra IIB not shown (Unknown how many were made in these three years.) 
I estimate about 300 of the Nagra II’s and IIb's with the side plug in meters were made in the three years.
 
In 1955 The Nagra IIC and Ci were made, from 1955 to 1957  3 years, The meter was moved to the front panel.
 I estimate about 700 were made from serial numbers I have seen, serial numbers as low as 56-435 (1956-#435).  The C models came out in 1955 So its possible the first serial numbers could have been around  55-300. 
I have read they made a combined total of 1,000 Nagra II’s,II’b’s and IIc’s combined  from 1952 to 1957
 
In 1958 they made 240 units of the First Nagra III.   Believe it or not, a 1958 Nagra III is much rarer to find than a Nagra II. 
If one pays attention to the serial numbers a First year Nagra III can be picked up rather cheap compared to the Nagra II’s prices.

 

I'm going to have to get used to this new style forum, No preview before posting?

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I'm going to have to get used to this new style forum, No preview before posting?

I don't think there is a Preview before posting --- did we used to have that? I don't remember. I do remember that I have made a post and THEN did the proofreading, had to go back and EDIT and then re-post.

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