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JBond

Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

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5 hours ago, phenix said:

SN2.jpg

 

What is that? The operator's left hand suggests a musical instrument but shirely not.

JBond, the spy recorders are fascinating and your commitment to research is striking. I'm sure you know there were a few spy cameras disguised as other things, I am wondering if you have come across R2R recorders disguised as other things, eg a watch, hip flask etc? Of course the miniaturisation of the devices you've posted would allow them to be hidden inside things more easily and the billet style boxes they are housed don't necessarily reveal what they do (without a microphone plugged in) but they do make them quite enigmatic and once found on a gentlemen's person would raise suspicion I would think.

As Jez mentioned the 'Crevette' I thought I would ask if you have 1 in your collection (even though it's not an audio recorder) or any other co-axel R2R recorders?

Kind Regards.

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The picture is a Nagra SN attached on top a mixer inside a carrying case with some sort of time code. I guess only the poster knows for sure.

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It might be some kind of scene/take recording; it seems that the (external) display shows what the preset control in front of the Nagra is set to.

I am quite curious about the device, I have never seen it before. But it seems that he SN (as well other Nagra models, in whole or in parts) was often used as an OEM device. F. ex. the the first SQN3 was made as an add on-mixer for the SN. I have also seen several Frankenstein-like contraptions with Nagra IV-drive mechanisms and multitrack heads and electronics for instrumentation purposes. And of course the very fine David Lane BBC player/synchronizer...

So if anybody knows about the SN suitcase, it would be interesting to hear about.

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I used the SQN3/Nagra SN set-up c.2000 and it was really very cool but the photo shows quite a different beast - much bigger for starters. The SN I used was often velcro'd to an Aaton XTR by the DP when he was OMB'ing in Afghanistan in the 80's, perhaps this is similar set-up, this might explain the handle the operator is holding (which is strange thing to have on a mixer), but there is no lens or eyepiece visible and there is another handle on the top of the unidentified box which isn't very camera like so this is not much of a theory, just lots of conjecture :-)

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Nagra SN paired with the Noriyuki 3x1 mixer ( Dutch reinvention of the first SQN-3 type C mixer) Noriyuki engineer/inventor Wim Van der Linden  named the Noriyuki to sound Japanese.  The mixer is nested into a Nagra 4.2 chassis case (note Nagra carry handle).   In addition, Nagra 4.2 case holds 2 hidden Cetec-Vega Diversity receivers (note the antenna right angle connector at top rear).    A green fiberglass "frogpole" emerges from the front.    CP-16R handgrip with on-off switch for the SN recorder and pushbutton to activate Audio Services incandescent 7-segment display bloop slate.  Nicad "D" cells powered the mixer/recorder/wireless assembly.  The lightweight rig was shoulder-mounted.  The attached photo may show a  Sennheiser 404 in use.  American Cinematographer Oct 1979, p.1040-1066.  Production sound was recorded double system 16mm film / SN mono at top speed of 3.75 ips (specs: 60-17k +-2),  for NBC prime time operating-room-based 13-part series "Lifeline".  Photos by Rich Lerner

SN Rig.jpg

noriyuki.jpg

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Wow, that's awesome.

Someone should remake this thing. Maybe with a zoom F8 or similar so a lightweight meter bridge/mixer surface (iphone) could be mounted on the boompole saving the operator from straining to check/adjust levels. The deluxe version could have a joystick to control the direction of the mic :-) 

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CORRECTION: The Noriyuki SNM-3 mixer was a 2x1 design, not  3x1.  And the rig in these photos had only one Vega Traveller II diversity receiver in it.    The production supplied an identical SN recorder to the transfer house, along with a Nagra LPS transfer unit.  The production tracks were transferred to 16mm mag fullcoat.  Weight of rig was 1/2 that of Nagra 4.2 with receiver and enough tape to record all day.  Diameter of sound person at waist level was approximately 1/2 that of a sound person with Nagra 4.2 + wireless and enough tape to run for one day.  Navigation through crowded surgical units was facilitated by the reduced profile.

NORIYUKI SNM-3.jpg

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That's a nice little unit by itself.

I wonder if that first unit was put together by the company as advertising for the SNM-3 setup. Showing the small size with everything included.  Inside a gutted Nagra which everyone was using at that time, to show the difference? One just a recorder that everyone used,  the other with everything inside that same size recorder.  It's probably one of a kind inside that 4.2 case.

Must have been a cost savings idea. I would think to have a boom operator with a soundman sitting in front of the mixer and controls, would be a much better outcome. Unless I'm missing something here.

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I love what seems to be a bit of camera tape holding the pop gag on the mic - has it previously dropped off into the open wound?? Or am I reading too much into a rather grainy image? 

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1 hour ago, Nick Flowers said:

I love what seems to be a bit of camera tape holding the pop gag on the mic - has it previously dropped off into the open wound?? Or am I reading too much into a rather grainy image? 

Funny you should ask, because in the late 1980s I was working for Nova on a Parkinson's disease documentary where we were shooting brain surgery at Vanderbilt. I was using a Schoeps MK41/CMC5 microphone and suspension on a "frog pole", nearly identical to the photo above except I had a solid foam tear drop instead of the basket windscreen in the photo. Before going into the O.R. the nurse was spraying all of our equipment with disinfectant, and when she started to spray my microphone I talked her out of it, explaining that it would be in the air never touching anything. Well, as the lights heated up the room, the foam windscreen loosened and fell off of the mic toward the opening in the patient's head. Thankfully, it just missed the opening and bounced off the side of the patient's head. Of course, the piece of equipment that almost went straight to the medulla was the only thing that hadn't been sprayed. I remember the brain surgeon's eyes glaring past his mask. So, yes, the piece of camera tape is probably a good idea.

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There but for the Grace of God went I! I used to work for the BBC programme City Hospital, which quite often meant covering operations - surgeons could be quite skittish when I came to put radio mics on them. I always thought that the Anaesthetists were the Sound Men of the operating theatre, (the unsung and undervalued heroes) and the surgeons were the cameramen (hogging the limelight and disproportionately pleased with themselves). 

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Yes, that probably is tape you see.  Your story about falling parts resonates.  Not sure the camera tape would have totally secured it, but as I recall, that pop screen basket fit tightly on the microphone--but the foam teardrop sometimes would be missing and you'd wonder where it went!  

The gutted Nagra was a new part supplied by N.M.R.Inc. in NY from their parts list.  The chassis-half at the time was under $100.  The phenolic battery case with spring-loaded contacts, handle mounting hardware, and the stainless battery door were also purchased new, housed the power supply for the rig. 

A boom person and a mixer could have been the right way to do it, but it wasn't a cost-saving decision.  There was money.  Flying into Rocky Mountain backcountry not sure what would be there, jumping out of a helicopter to pick up a patient with major trauma, it was cramped all the way back to the roof of the hospital, running into the elevator and through to the sometimes tiny operating room--the care providers wanted to see the smallest crew, so there were major compromises and risks were taken at times.

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Dating and Reverse Record

Note:  I am showing these vintage tape recorders as part of my collection only.  They are out of service and no longer used in the manner they were designed, but remain a part of audio recording history.  It should not be considered in any way as endorsing or promoting any activity contrary to applicable laws and regulations.  

 
I came across a way to finally date the early recorders or at least get them in the ball park. With help from a UK transistor collector site I found on line.    http://www.wylie.org.uk/technology/technology.htm
Yup there are people that have a transistor collection. No, not transistor radios. Not tape recorders, but just the transistors. That person helped me date a later covert recorder I have with very early IC's.
 
Since I learned something about transistors today, and how to date them.  I thought I would check to see what transistors those early Resin Recorders that I earlier posted in this thread.
Remember I said they drilled holes in the resin recorders for the transistors etc to sit in. Well I dug out a couple of them to see what they were.
Look what I found.
1956 and 57,  Raytheon transistors. I knew these recorders were made in the 50’s  Which was a pretty good guess back in 2002 since there was No information about them anywhere.
 
01yrSBx.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

 

The date code on the other side. This one is 1957 the 24th week.

YMfgwVn.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

 

Another one.

 
EZJnkEN.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

 

The date code on the other side, 6-01.  1956 1st week. Its safe to say these are not 1955 recorders. But they are 1956 or 1957 in my opinion. 

 
vw1NR8m.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

 

Some of you must think I’m crazy for collecting tape recorders. 

There is a whole group of people out there who get all excited over just transistors.
I thought yeah that sounds real exciting, but then again these sites helped me out and are very valuable for research.
Much more than what I do with my collection. 
 
So more proof those first transistor CIA recorders I have are from the 50's. 
I said earlier the recorders were late fifties to early sixties.
I think its more like mid to late 50’s 
 

They even have Museums for transistors. 

http://semiconductormuseum.com/PhotoGallery/PhotoGallery_RaytheonBlues_Page6.htm

 
 
Just think.
In 1956 to 1958 while Stefan Kudelski was making the Nagra II Ci and the "NEW"1958 Nagra III.  
(the first Nagra to use transistors). 
The CIA was using the best transistor technology at the time to secretly make these tiny covert recorders in upper state New York.
 

H6OWIFn.jpg

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

So after making that statement above, I wondered what did Nagra use at that time?

So I opened up my 1958 and 1967 Nagra III to see what they used.

Most of the transistors must be in those metal boxes, the only one I found easily is here on this board show below.
In Europe they started making this type of transistor back in 1954 the OC 72 
Information can be found about it here. http://www.wylie.org.uk/technology/semics/Mullard/Mullard.htm
 
I found this transistor on a board on my 1958 Nagra III
 
WPjBev7.jpg
 
On the same board below on my 1967 a  ASY 27 transistor, common from 1962 to 1974 in
 Europe
 
 
f6qk8T6.jpg
 
 
 
 
 

1956-57 Reverse Record

 

I found out something interesting, I was in the process of taking new pictures of these first 1956 CIA recorders for a different project on Miniature Covet Recorders

nothing new for Jwsound. 

 

I thought since I do have these recorders on Jwsound I would update the story just in case someone was interested and did follow the posts of these recorders.

 

GhZqpJn.jpg

 

  

I made this video to show what I’m talking about.  Watch what happens as I turn the motor over by hand forward, then backwards.

Notice the flywheel moves from side to side engaging one of the two capstan drives (the two smaller wheels) at the top of the recorder and one drive wheel at a time as shown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A - B means, A side, B side of the tape.

 

 

BAePUlS.jpg

 

 

For what I can tell these little recorders record on either the top or bottom half of the tape, depending whether A or B side is selected. There is no mechanical control at all to engage the tape like on “all” the later covert recorders.  On these first mid 1950’s recorders, it was all done electronically. 

On the later recorders that followed, when you selected play or record a mechanical lever would engage the flywheel to the motor.

That is not the case on these very early recorders.  To reverse direction of the main flywheel as shown in the video, you just reverse the direction of the motor by the A-B switch on the front control panel.  The Flywheel is on a floating cam and rolls from one side to the other side depending on the direction of the rotation of the motor.

 

I knew these recorders had two capstans but I never really cared or looked into how it worked until now.  Only one capstan works at a time. When the motor is electronically reversed, the flywheel slides over and the opposite capstan is engaged against the tape.  Also engaged is the correct drive reel.  Recording is done on only one half of the tape, top or bottom depending whether A or B  is selected.  Just like the late model microcassette and cassette recorders with auto reverse, but remember, this recorder is from1956, the Nagra II era.

 

On these first CIA recorders, the covers were screwed down, top and bottom.  On this reverse record model, you “never” had to unscrew the top cover, manually remove the reels, turn the tape over and reassemble the unit to continue on.  You just switched the knob to the B side, the motor reverses direction continuing the recording on the bottom half of the tape.  This is how I thought it might work after studying it but, to be sure, I unscrewed the head so I could see the face of it.  Sure enough, it has two separate tracks in the one head - this is not a two-channel model

 

Koo3GWP.jpg

 

 

(Think of what it would have been like if as a Soundman recording a movie on the Nagra III, 4.2 or even the 4S . 

You're recording, as the tape is getting close to the end you flip a switch and continue the recording non stop on both sides of the tape. Probably many reasons why that could not happen,  but on these little recorders it did.) 

 

By the way what did you do when the tape was running out ? yell out? wave your arms ? nod?

That must be one of the things that became extinct,  stop everything because you’re out of tape.

 

 

 

None of the other little covert recorders have this reverse record feature.  For all the others to this day, you had to turn the tape over to record on the top or bottom half of the tape, unless it was a full track recorder.  As you can see in the picture, the head will record on both the top and bottom of the tape, instead of the normal flip the tape over. 

This is mid 1950’s.

 

jpazSna.jpg

 

 

The 1957 recorder shown in the above picture works the same way with the rolling flywheel but only has one capstan drive.  It does not reverse record but I believe it rewinds the tape. That 1957 shown may be the first two-channel recorder using two microphones.  I have a few of the two capstan recorders which did span a few years according to the dated transistors. 

 

As advanced as this little reverse recorder was for the mid 50’s, I can see why the reverse record was not continued on in later model covert recorders. 

 I would think,  it would be much too easy in a very high stress situation, while recording covertly, to accidentally turn the knob or forget what side it should be on (A or B and erase over something already recorded on the other side.  Whereas, if you had to turn the tape over by hand, it would certainly add a level of insurance to preserve what was previously recorded. 

That is, if you don’t pull the doomsday magnet deploy string … then it’s all over.  

 

7nY3qmF.jpg

 

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The Second Recorder - 1960-62

Note:  I am showing these vintage tape recorders as part of my collection only.  They are out of service and no longer used in the manner they were designed, but remain a part of audio recording history.  It should not be considered in any way as endorsing or promoting any activity contrary to applicable laws and regulations.  

 

 

I’m going to post some more information about the rest of my covert recorders in order and the reason why I think these little recorders led up to "Nagra being the number one covert recorder manufacturer in history and still is today."
 I certainly do not know all of the details - this is only what I think happened.
 
There is NO detailed information anywhere about these little recorders that I know of and probably will never be any information unless I start telling the story and just maybe others that know about this U.S. covert recorder history will either add what they know to the story or let me know what I have wrong.
 
Otherwise, everyone that knows about these recorders will be gone and this U.S. secret covert recorder history will never be told. I believe the retired agents know the story, it's just not told.
Hopefully, someone can add to the story.  Right now I don’t know of anyone that can.  Maybe that will change.
 

Here is what I call the second model spy recorder.  It’s the same model that is in the Washington DC International Spy museum and probably the most common early covert recorder to find or see in print. One just like it just sold on eBay March 6th for 898.88. I would say it sold for a good price. This is so much rarer than a  common Nagra SN 

Xp7v1On.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.
 
Although some of the other early style resin recorders in this stack shown below could have been the second model, each one is a little different with improvements.
These first resin recorders were made from 1956 through 1959.  It’s hard to tell.  As I said before, it looks like they were experimenting, each one is a little different but maybe they were years apart - I just don’t know.  I do know the transistors date the recorders. These have 1956 and 1957 transistors in them. 
 
LChAnPP.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

 

That mysterious 2 channel model on the very bottom left of this stack, maybe there’s more to this story that we just don’t know about and may never will, unless a former CIA agent chimes in with the hands on truth, otherwise, it’s all speculation. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear from someone who actually used these recorders and hear their stories? 

Where have we heard that statement before?
 
 
 
If these first recorders are about 59 years old or more and the agent back then was 25 at the time, the agents are well in their 80’s now. One thing I have to say about these first recorders - I think the mechanics were of much better quality; maybe not as pretty and simple but better made.
The pictures below are comparisons with the first resin recorder with what I think is the second covert recorder side by side. I would date this second one between 1960 and  1962.  Notice the primitive hand-drawn battery info on the inside of the rear lid on the first recorder.  Notice the bottom has a rubber gasket covering the edge of the cover. The top is also that way.  Extra cautious in protecting the recorder whereas the second and recorders to follow have no sealing gaskets. 
 
It’s clear these second recorders were not made in that same Upper NY State machine shop, since the plastic on the second one looks molded and not machined like the first series. I’m sure a totally different contractor made these second units with a totally different process. I have read Canada also used this 2nd model. 
 
YcNullf.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.
 
In this next picture you clearly can tell from looking at the decks of these two units they are made through a different process, one shows all the machine marks,  the other smooth and shiny.  The motor is also larger on the later model.  You can clearly see how they are starting to evolve. As will be even clearer with the next model. 
On these first ones look at all the tape path guides, look at the side rollers like on a Nagra, with the little pad, for cleaning the tape?  Looks like some had two Caspian drives with adjustments.  The two adjustment screws behind the head possibly for speed?  It’s clear they put a lot more thought into making these first models.  It’s almost as if the next ones were cheaper made or maybe just made simpler. 
 
Also shown below the little erase lever is pulled and magnet pushed up to touch the reel. That infamous erase magnet no longer to be used and any other covert recorder that I know of.  Compare that to the second model’s little erase head off to the side. 
 
IPUNMwf.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

On the first recorders look at that tension arm and roller like on the Nagra - only this one has a felt pad to remove any tape residue. That guide roller was also dropped and never used again until the Nagra SN

 
h5iSk6S.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

 

The second one now has a hinged metal lid and hinged metal bottom cover. No parts to deal with. No need to unscrew the lid to get to the tape or change the batteries. 

 
gOs8ed4.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.
 
6N75LFc.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.
Notice the additional shielding on the cover for over the motor and head. 
Another big important difference is the addition of the wired remote on/off. From this point on, it’s been on all recorders to follow even today's covert recorders.  And of course the solid plastic solid reel. I don’t recall ever seeing reels like this on any other recorder unless the reels were clear when new and clouded over time.  Now with the cloudiness, it would be harder to see the remaining tape. 
 
 XeAM3n5.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.
 
Shown here with the tape going around the erase head, not as quick as yanking on the string, that’s for sure.
 
 
Y01cOJI.jpg
Photos marked with RJW are copyrighted.  Any use other than private with or without the RJW watermark is strictly forbidden, without written permission from the owner.

 

You can also see that the circuitry on this second model is finer and less crude, the transistors (not shown) are very small I would have to disassemble the whole recorder to see them - at some point, I will, but if I haven’t done it already I guess I never will.  Someone added a couple wire leads for an external battery or power supply since the mercury battery is no longer available. 

 
You can also see the downfall to this type recorder as the main flywheel has damage from leaving it in the play position for decades. The flywheel diameter is critical as it has to touch a few of the drive wheels all at the same time depending on what function it’s in.  The switches are also a separate part on this second recorder. On the first recorder, they were part of the milling process. The second recorder was clearly more mass produced. 
I would’ve loved to tell who ever made these recorders to just mill a groove in the flywheel and put an O-ring around it.  Instead, they used what looked like white RTV silicone and trimmed it once dry?
 
The second recorder does have some improvements but I still think these first recorders were made better.
 
kPNRGpb.jpg
Photos marked with 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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On 3/22/2016 at 0:41 PM, phenix said:

Nagra SN paired with the Noriyuki 3x1 mixer ( Dutch reinvention of the first SQN-3 type C mixer) Noriyuki engineer/inventor Wim Van der Linden  named the Noriyuki to sound Japanese.  The mixer is nested into a Nagra 4.2 chassis case (note Nagra carry handle).   In addition, Nagra 4.2 case holds 2 hidden Cetec-Vega Diversity receivers (note the antenna right angle connector at top rear).    A green fiberglass "frogpole" emerges from the front.    CP-16R handgrip with on-off switch for the SN recorder and pushbutton to activate Audio Services incandescent 7-segment display bloop slate.  Nicad "D" cells powered the mixer/recorder/wireless assembly.  The lightweight rig was shoulder-mounted.  The attached photo may show a  Sennheiser 404 in use.  American Cinematographer Oct 1979, p.1040-1066.  Production sound was recorded double system 16mm film / SN mono at top speed of 3.75 ips (specs: 60-17k +-2),  for NBC prime time operating-room-based 13-part series "Lifeline".  Photos by Rich Lerner

SN Rig.jpg

noriyuki.jpg

I remember this article, and also remember thinking that this was the most radical approach to boom-mic-based verite audio I'd ever seen. We tried to build up a similar rig out of lesser gear and failed--too awkward.  Did you ever use this rig on another job?

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Sheesh, I recently tried to buy 1 of these but I was a bit too enthusiastic and my friend decided to keep it! I'll ask him again in a year when he's realised he'll probably never look at it again :-)

d r

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On February 1, 2015 at 6:36 AM, Jeff Wexler said:

Question for Philip: I had 2 stereo Nagras but rarely used them in production myself, purchased for Northstar Media Sound Services, a post production and sound transfer facility I co-owned with Don Coufal and Roger Daniell. One of them had the timecode conversion that was done by a guy in San Francisco --- I have forgotten his name. It was the one that had the really neat timecode display that sat on the top surface of the machine between the ff/rw toggle switch and the lid latch in front. It was a beautiful conversion, far superior in my mind to the Nagra implementation with the bottom slide out control panel.

I remember the Harvey mod.  Nice, but the display chewed batteries.

On February 2, 2015 at 10:05 AM, Jeff Wexler said:

I think the recorder products slipped to way down the list of priorities for Nagra. Nagra made a name for themselves, obviously, with the recorders dominating the sound for picture arena for over 30 years, but had gotten into several much more profitable products during that time.

 

I had a Sony F-1 setup also --- very intriguing but I never got to put it to any real good use for the jobs I was doing so I sold it to someone who could put it to better use.

I went to Antarctica with Captain Cousteau.  He presented me with an F1.  I told him that I didn't know the machine, couldn't trust it and that I would use my 4.2.  He was not amused.

On February 5, 2015 at 7:18 AM, Jeff Wexler said:

Around the time that commercial production in the US went over to mandatory timecode recording (previously, timecode was not necessary) someone did develop a method of doing timecode on a mono Nagra. There were actually a couple of methods and there may have been a few people involved in doing this, all in an effort to continue using the mono Nagra 4.2 (and not be forced to buy the Nagra IV-STC 2-track machine when we didn't need a 2 tracks or a new machine). I know there was one method which was a little bit like the pre-cursor to timecode "stamp" we have in today's world of file based recording. When you went in to record, a short burst of timecode (audio) would be recorded and the same code shown on a display that the camera could photograph --- you could say that this was sort of a "smart bloop light" that utilized timecode. Another system actually recorded continuous linear timecode on the tape utilizing a modified neopilot sync head and somehow providing a timecode track that did not disrupt the mono full track recording. The last method that I remember involved replacing the headstack with a 2-track record head and all the associated and necessary circuits to make the mono Nagra actually a 2-track machine with program on one track and timecode on the other.

 

I don't think any of these systems ever got any wide acceptance and most people just bit the bullet and purchased a new Nagra IV-STC for $14,000.  

John Glascock bought an early STC from ASC for $17K!

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28 minutes ago, traut said:

I remember the Harvey mod.  Nice, but the display chewed batteries.

I went to Antarctica with Captain Cousteau.  He presented me with an F1.  I told him that I didn't know the machine, couldn't trust it and that I would use my 4.2.  He was not amused.

John Glascock bought an early STC from ASC for $17K!

I did a lot of doco with my Harveyized Nagra, I don't recall battery issues at all....like days of work...   I also did a lot of work with an F1.  I made a bag for it with a VHS porto-deck and a big ext battery--it worked a few times but was way too clunky for movie sound.  I used it to make a lot of live-to-stereo albums in the field (as well as most of the NPR recordings for the New Music America festival in 1988), as well as serving as my mix-down deck in the studio.  (With a "hifi" type VCR you could record 2 chan in digital--picture channel--and 2 more to the hifi channels, or put bloop-light outputs there, for film sync.  Live performance parts of the doco feature "Troupers" were done this way.)  For Antarctica--uh, no way.  That price for the Nagra IV-STC was a major factor in why Harvey Warnke and Andy Wiskes came up with the TCS mod, the stock factory TC Nagra was WAY too expensive for us.

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On December 7, 2015 at 8:37 AM, Jeff Wexler said:

You know, I don't really quite remember how it all worked. I seem to remember that you had to have the Nagra rolling and then when the camera rolled the QRRT system did its thing. I vaguely recall that there might even have been a way to leave the Nagra engaged, mechanically, in record and the QRRT would roll the Nagra using the remote roll feature. I'm going to do some research because I would like to make it clear beyond my fuzzy memory of this system.

I worked on a NASA/JPL project at least 25 years ago (maybe 30).

The DP was using an ancient Arri that he tethered to me with a 15-20 cable which I plugged into the XTAL plug socket.

I was using either a IV-L or 4.2.

Pretty sure I would leave the Nagra in record and it would roll when he rolled the camera.

I think it also activated tone generator for a burst.

Kind of clumsy, but a lot easier than mixing 2 booms and 6 wires!

On March 22, 2016 at 5:40 AM, JBond said:

The picture is a Nagra SN attached on top a mixer inside a carrying case with some sort of time code. I guess only the poster knows for sure.

It's not TC, it is a bloop light.

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Yeah....WAY before TC.   The sync cable thing worked by the Nagra rolling w/o internal pilotone, which was supplied by the camera.  The Nagra resolver sensed the start of the pilotone signal and triggered an audible alarm which got mixed in with the audio from the tape on its way to the magfilm recorder, hence an audible bloop that corresponded (approximately...) to the fogged frames at the start of a camera roll (fogged by a lightbulb built into the gate as the camera came up to speed).  Crude, and sync was fuzzy, esp in 16mm (one set of perfs per frame).  This was what was used before "crystal sync" camera motors.  After we got those (so the pilotone no longer had to exactly follow the cam motor speed) we could then generate pilotone from a crystal-controlled 60hz generator attached to the Nagra (remember the external "Hershey-Bar" crystal gens?).  I think it was the Maysles or DA Pennebaker who figured out how to use the guts of an early crystal controlled wristwatch (Accutron?) to govern the speed of the camera motor, and suddenly we were free of cables!   Until....video!!!  This was also when the bloop lights were developed for slating, since there was no connection between cam and recorder anymore.

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The photos in this thread have blown me away! 

Does anyone have a source for Nagra III parts in the U.S.? Where would one find caps/covers for the heads?

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The Nagra SN Story, as I see it. 

I know it’s been a while,
Before I can continue with the third model spy recorder, I have to correctly date the first Nagra SN and debunk the most recent misleading article or statement about the Nagra SN.
 
 
The question I always have is, when did the first Nagra SN, the Black Series, actually come into play with these made in the USA early spy recorders I have? 
That’s easy, 1960 right? It’s all over the internet. 
Right here in this link on Nagra’s site, scroll down to the year 1960 and there it is (But notice when you do, it shows a late model SN and no other information about the prototype or JFK, US, Secret Service, etc. 
 
These statements are and have been all over the internet for years.
You can find many, many sites, articles and tributes to Stefan Kudelski, all repeating these statements.
 

“The SN Serie Noire, were originally ordered by President Kennedy for the American Secret Services.

Or this “Commissioned by the Kennedy administration”. 

Or   “the American Secret Service"

Just the search of Stefan Kudelski’s name and all of the above comes up, but vague without any other details.
 
And now this latest article, from March 2016
 
“Kudelski, the high-end Swiss manufacturer of portable audio tape recorders, was approached by the American secret services towards the end of the 1950s to develop an ultra-small recording device. “ 
 
"From 1960, unbeknownst to the man in the street, the Nagra SN (for ‘série noire’, or ‘black series’, make of that what you will!)  went on sale to selected customers. It would be another eleven years before the device became available to the general public.
 
This recent German magazine article about the SN is on the Nagra Audio Facebook site. The writer takes Nagra’s 1960 timeline prototype statement and fills in the blanks.
Notice how the article is written to coincide with Nagra history timeline statements of the SN prototype being developed in 1960. 
 
So from that easily found, brief bit of information along with what the writer interpreted,  hmm let’s see If it was out in 1960 the Secret Service must have asked for it in the late 50s,  yeah that sounds right.  So that’s what he writes.
  
I always wondered why Nagra listed the year as 1960 but I never really thought it through until now. I always figured yeah, they had the prototype and sometime later they released the secret SN to the US. But when was that?  I never thought for a minute it was in 1960, way too advanced for 1960, but I didn’t know when it was actually made. I didn’t really care I guess. After reading this article, I set out to find the real story. 
 
I have never read anywhere before that the Nagra SN was developed, put into production and sold to the U.S. in “1960” 
 
 But this article clearly states and leads the reader to believe that is what happened. That statement will now be copied & pasted and written about for years.
Its even posted on Nagra’s own Facebook? Its got to be true? Right?  Don’t believe it. Its not true.
 
I have come to believe all early Nagra stories seem to develop on their own over the years. With every writer at the time either copying what others have said or wrote in the past, or adding their own thoughts into it. (You can’t blame them, there is so little information out there, all they have is to see what was written before and copy it.) 
 
 But this latest writer adding his own little twist to the story with just these few words “the end of the 50’s”and “from 1960” Those words change everything. I would be very curious to see his references.  He didn’t get that from "1960  SN prototype"
 
This new story will just go on now uncorrected as fact, as so many other misrepresentations of the early Nagras.  Others will pick up on that article and write it again in their article, it spreads on and on.  
 
Well I don’t believe everything I read when it comes to early Nagra’s. Even written from Nagra. You would think Nagra after all these years would write the complete SN story. But they don’t for whatever reason. They let the story write itself over the years. Everyone writes what they think and the story is always how everyone else interprets it. Never any facts.
 
I certainty could be accused of doing the same thing and maybe you should not believe me either? You should use your own judgement about the Nagra SN story. 
The difference with me is at least I question something that doesn’t seem right and try to at least backup my thoughts.
 
I believe the biggest problem is, most Nagra stories and statements from Nagra have been mistranslated over the years, I think Its all about the translation or lack of correct translation. Writers interpretation of what Nagra or others stated at the time. As we know Google translate its not always right.
 
There is so much misinformation on the internet about the early Nagras that just goes on uncorrected.  
 
As I pointed out earlier in this thread.  Starting with this famous picture below of the black decked out Nagra II shown with all the Nagra II improvements over the Nagra I, but everyone on the internet calls it the Nagra I. Why? Because they read it on the internet.  I have found that same picture on other sites labeled as a Nagra I and even on Nagra’s Facebook someone posted that same Black Nagra II picture and talked all about the Nagra I,  in which people see it and consider it the Nagra I.  It never gets corrected and uninformed people go on believing that it’s the Nagra I.  
 
V9TWVkm.jpg
 
Like the first 1958 Nagra III that Nagra always shows a 1962 NP model Nagra III and the captions always says below every picture, a 1958 Nagra III.  Nagra did not have NP pilot until 1962
A 1958 Nagra III shown below. Every picture Nagra shows has the pilot head and meter.
 
pCLi9sm.jpg
 
They would be better off showing a picture of the non pilot model and no one would know the difference. But Nagra clearly and boldly shows the 1962 pilot model with that dead giveaway front panel pilot meter ?  On line and also in print catalogs, as shown below.
I chalk it up to they just never had a picture of the first 1958 Nagra III.  An actual 1958 Nagra III may be as rare as the Nagra I as far as I can tell. I was going to say rare as the Nagra II but they are not that rare.  They made 1,000 Nagra II’s only 240 1958 Nagra III’s were made.
 
FC0J3Co.jpg
 
 
And now I have to point out the truth (as I see it) about the Nagra SN, and you can be the judge between what that 2016 German article says and what I’m showing you now.
 
==============================================================================
 
Think about it - (1960 ) - how can that be?  For one, it was before the Kennedy administration. (If JFK even really asked for it)
This screen shot below from Nagra’s time line, strangely now it only mentions JFK on the description of this obscure hard to find SNST-R in Nagra’s time line. Unless you search directly for you will never find it.
That description with the use of the JFK statement was removed from all previous Nagra history SN timeline statements. As far as I can tell.
 
This is the only place I can find any mention of JFK from Nagra itself. This one says he ordered it. So that can be taken, Nagra made the SN in 1960, JFK Administration found out and ordered them. It can be interpreted anyway you want. See my point. Instead of Nagra just writing the story, everybody else does.
 
cZ737Rt.jpg
 
 
OK 
The Kennedy Administration, 
which began January 20, 1961 when he was inaugurated President of the United States, and ended when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963, a span of 1,036 days.
 
This new German magazine article is just plain misleading  but other past Nagra statements found elsewhere are misleading also. Either Kennedy didn’t ask for it or Kudelski never had a prototype made in 1960?  If they did have the prototype in 1960, Kennedy certainly didn’t ask for it to be developed . So which is it? 
It could be neither are true.
 
I’ll tell you why I think that. 
 
For one - why on earth would the CIA / Secret Service have and use these primitive covert recorders that I have been showing if a working Nagra SN was available to them in 1960?
The SN was not available, that’s why. But according to the 2016 German article it was, so who is right?
 
Here another description of the Nagra SN, from a Nagra booklet printed in 2001. Titled  HALF A CENTURY OF EXPERIENCE as you can see, yet another different description.
 
hb8orFv.jpg
 
 
( “developed especially for the United States government or, more precisely the United States Army” )
 
Wow, when have you heard or read that line before?  Like I said it’s all in the translation, whoever translated this to English? Is that what they meant? Is this the story now? Depends how many people saw it and wrote about it? You would  think it was supposed to say (developed especially for the United government or, more precisely the US Secret Service?)  See what I mean, translation is everything. 
 
So according to that so much for the Kennedy Administration? or CIA or Secret Service?  Wanna bet the translation is wrong?  Nobody cares, say whatever you want, Nagra didn’t seem to care.
 
If JFK even did order a new covert recorder from Nagra to be developed?  Why Now is the JFK reference changed? Could it be because it does not coincide with the 1960 prototype date?
I know now the SN did not come out and used “secretly” until 2 years after President Kennedy was assassinated. So if they asked for it they never received one.
 
IgcWApp.jpg
 
That 2001 statement says they did not have a workable SN in 1960 so much for the German article.
Or you may think it gives that article more credibility. It does not.
 
So in 2001 Nagra did not acknowledge the SN came out secretly. 
Nagra does not admit the recorder was out before 1970 (which it was ), but the booklet may prove it was not ready in 1960. Unless they are just flat out lying, or fooling us or the translation is all wrong, take your pick.
 
The real truth is,
The first usable Nagra SN came out in 1965, 5 years after 1960.  
 
How do I know this? What do I have to back that statement up?  Well if you believe Nagra, I came across this I have not seen before and circled it in RED. 
According to the latest 2015/16 Nagra Group Milestone Timeline,  14 years after what was listed above in Nagras 2001 Half Century brochure.
 
Finally the date I have been looking for, the date when the SN first came out, is in this picture below.
 
u9eyw9P.jpg
 
 
It clearly states in “1965 the US Agencies start using the Nagra SN secretly” Look!  no longer is 1960 an Historical Milestone date on Nagra’s timeline.
Hmm- maybe because nothing really happened in 1960?  That’s right, there was no 1960 SN tape recorder, secret or not.
 
But in all fairness,
The Nagra Groups Milestones is an overall picture of everything Nagra has done from the begining. It's not a tape recorder timeline.  Only 3 times does it even mention a tape recorder and they were in the first three years listed. 
 
They are,
The 1951 Nagra I, the 1958 Nagra III and the 1965 Nagra SN.  
Click on the link https://www.nagra.com/group/history  
As you can see no other models are mentioned.  
What it does show, it shows that Nagra considers the 1965 date as a major Milestone for the SN, not the previous 1960 timeline.
 
Ha,  I knew it was not a 1960 tape recorder!!
 
I took a screen shot in case it disappears as so many other things that I once found over the years on Nagra sites that I can’t find today. Like other Nagra spy models like the JBR and CBR before they were public.  I wish I took a screen shots of those also.  I know what a couple of those other secret recorders are and will explain later in this thread at some point.
 
This makes so much more sense than the late 1950’s, 1960 etc. as the German article implies. Nagra states in most of their time lines the prototype was done in 1960 thats it.
Nagra never said is was made and sold in 1960 ever. It was all left up to the readers’ interpretation from there.
 
==============================================================================
 
So why did Nagra always state the year 1960 for the SN when clearly now we know they didn’t have it until 1965?
 
And why do I believe this latest 2016 Nagra Milestones when I clearly stated I not sure I believe any of the other Nagra statements about the SN over the years?
Because it finally makes sense, that’s why. It makes sense.  
 
 
U.S. Agencies start using the miniature NAGRA SN “secretly”.  The word secretly is the dead giveaway, means the U.S. was not using them earlier, secret or not.
If Nagra stated it this way in 1965 - the US Agencies start using the Nagra Sn, One could think yeah but secretly they could have been using the SN since 1960.  That is not the case any longer.  “secretly” is the key word.
 
So finally, the date the first Nagra SN Serie Noire", the Black series Nagra was put into service. (1965 ) And was unknown to anyone for 5 years.
 
Why the mixup all these years?
For one and to Nagra’s credit, this information was always kept secret in the beginning.  Supposedly Nagra was under strict orders to keep the SN development confidential.  And later (after 1985) Nagra just wrote whatever they wanted in bits and pieces with nothing ever specific as they had contracts for other secret recorders so why make a big deal about a past recorder.  So everything was always vague and left to the reader’s imagination.
 
So in my opinion what makes sense is, Kudelski may have started on the “prototype” SN in the early 1960’s  especially if JFK had anything to do with it.  60 with an ’s not 1960 as it says in most Nagra history time lines. My guess the development of the SN took some time, maybe years.
 
Again Lost in translation. 
I use this as an example. 
Could this 1985 interview be part of the reason why it was supposed to be the 1960’s but ended up being 1960?  
 
In a 1985 interview from Mr Kudelski’s  words himself in this Videography interview.  (Note this was before the internet, before the internet stories and all of the Nagra history time lines.)
Since the SN was secret when it first came out, I don’t believe much at all was ever written about the “secret" Nagra SN before1985,  in timelines, articles etc. There may have been books or articles written that I don’t know about? 
 
Kudelski says in this interview.
 
Videography: What about the miniature Nagra recorder, the SN?

Kudelski: It was done in 1960. But at that time, you see, in Switzerland, we had a very bad problem. Industry was going too strong. Our government made some rules [prohibiting] companies from increasing the number of employees. For years and years, we had to stay with the same number and this completely [prevented] our expansion. When the limitation finished [about 10 years later], the market was already technically advanced. That was very bad for new companies—you see, old companies were established.

Videography: Did you have plans for things you wanted to do during this time, but couldn't because of the hiring restrictions?

Kudelski: At that time, it would have been possible to become a much larger company. But only since 1970 have we been able to start to expand again. 

So what was done in 1960?  The prototype? The drawings? The plans? The idea? Certainly Not a working Nagra SN as we know now. The Nagra we know now is way too advanced for 1960.
 
Or was Kudelski’s  statement mistranslated in that interview and supposed to have meant “It was done in the 1960’s”  Everybody knew in 1985 the SN came out in the seventies, so when he said in the 1985 interview it was done in the sixties, it was news. (Because nobody knew at this time the Nagra SN’s were out secretly in the sixties) So he said it was done in the sixties.
 But when translated or mistranslated it became 1960. Everybody copied and wrote 1960 from then on - even Nagra, could that be the possible reason why the 1960 date stuck. Clearly Nagra doesn’t say anything more about the SN. So the internet happened, timelines happened, nobody really cares and life goes on.   
 
Remember earlier I proved how people just copied Nagra stories and pictures as fact and no one corrects it. I think it’s been going on that way for years. Nagra never corrects it. Nagra says nothing maybe because of the secret nature of the SN is why.
The latest story on Nagra’s Facebook is untrue yet Its on Nagra’s Facebook. Again, Nagra has always let others write the SN story and I think I proved that time again.
 
 
I believe that same thing could have happened with the year 1960. If not from that interview, it may have happened somewhere else, copy after copy could have gotten distorted along the line. Then it becomes fact. I could be wrong but it makes sense to me. 
 
Otherwise were we left to believe this SN was done in 1960? Something so advanced for the year 1960 that parts were not even invented yet?
 
 
I remember in grade school we use to play this game, all the kids would line the chairs up and sit in a row, the teacher told the first kid a message. The first kid would past it on to the next kid and so on until the whole class repeated the statement they heard to the person next to them. It was always funny because the teacher would ask the end student of what he was told and it always had nothing to do with what the teacher said to the first student.
 
Same today reading the Newspaper or watching the news. You never notice it until something happens in your neighborhood or down the street?  They report the wrong name the wrong street etc.  You only realize it because it’s your neighborhood. Everyone else doesn’t have a clue it’s wrong. 
 
Thats what happens with Nagra nobody knows about the real Nagra SN history so everyone else doesn’t have a clue if its right or wrong what they read.
 
Just one look at the SN tells you it’s not a “1960" piece of electronic equipment.  From the first No name plain spy SN recorder to the high end SNST-R other than the circuits inside  they are pretty much all identical. 1960? 
 
Otherwise,
Why was the JFK story dropped? Why was the 1960 timeline for the SN prototype dropped and now the year 1965 is highlighted and promoted as the year of the SN?
Because if anyone thought about it, neither JFK or 1960 makes any sense together in the same sentence.
 
I believe the JFK Administration story to be true and the 1960 date is false for many reasons.
 
I believe the SN was developed in the “early” 1960’s  maybe not started until 1962 or 1963 during the Kennedy Administration's time in office.  Nagra had the idea from what the US, CIA wanted and set off to make them exclusively for the U.S. But a working SN was not built and delivered until 1965, two years after President Kennedy’s assassination. 
That sure would make a nice story knowing the details of the SN story on both sides,  the U.S. side and Nagra’s. 
Who asked for it , When did they ask for it and what were the problems and delay in making it. All still unanswered.
 
So what did I find out in my research compared to the March 2016 German article. 
What I found out was the first Nagra SN was delivered in the year 1965 and “secretly” sold to the US agencies in that year, 1965. It was kept secret for 5 years not 11 years.  It was clearly Not developed in the late 50’s and clearly has Not been produced since 1960 as the German article reads.
 
Since it was supposedly made exclusively for the US government and because workable parts for it were not invented in 1960.  Its very clear to me Nagra was not making and selling these to “others” or other countries before 1965.
 
So, the First year the Nagra SN came out “secretly” was in 1965. Not 1960 and the first year it was known publicly was 1970 71.
This is pretty much how I see it.
 
 
Who cares, why did you waste so much of my time reading this, you ask?
 
Why make this big deal about when the Nagra SN came out? Who cares?  Well, people are still talking, writing and reporting about the Nagra SN even today.
 
First and foremost this was a current March 2016 article about the Nagra SN that was incorrect. Nagra commenting “Nice article".
Second  I’m trying to establish a fairly accurate US Covert recorder time line. My third US covert recorder was out the same time the US was starting to use the Nagra SN.
Third it’s a hobby of mine. Some people collect matchbooks. Not that there’s anything wrong with matchbooks.
 
Up next, the made in USA  top of the line secret covert reel to reel recorder of the day (1966)
Compared to the 1st Swiss made Nagra’s SN is next with a stunning difference between them.  
 
==============================================================================
 
Well, I wrote all that above a little at a time on and off for the last couple of months or so.  I was working on the next recorder story when on July 19th I got a notice on Facebook,  Nagra Audio posted some pictures of their Company with all their high end items. Also their collection in glass cases.
 
I saw something right off the bat, I asked my connection at Nagra for a closer picture of it 2 weeks ago. I received the pictures on 7/20. That was a great thing Nagra did for me. The pictures of the SN prototype, are you kidding me? I sure was happy to get them as a gift for my collection.
On 7/31
I also asked for information on a recently bought SN which has no marking on it. Serial number
811  40.  I asked if it was one of the original production model SN released in 1965 as their website listed as the date they were first sold to the US. I asked what the serial number meant. I asked was it part of the original Black Series # 40 out of 811 ordered by the US government.  Maybe I asked too many questions.
 
MnWn821.jpg
 
B5XDwga.jpg
 
The answer came this morning.
The information you have found Nagra Kudelski Group historical milestones) is inaccurate ! (We will ask NAGRAVISION to correct it)

Please refer to OUR web site www.nagraaudio.com for the accurate dates and information.

#1) The prototype we have was the original unit designed in 1960 yet never produced. The first “official” SN was not developed until 10 years later circa 1970, and the first units we actually sold in 1971.

#2) Your SN is a relatively early machine and was built in the first year of manufacturing. It is NOT a prototype, but a production model.

#3) Early SN machines did NOT have any printing on the deck plates. It was introduced in the early ‘70s but we do not have an accurate date or serial number for this. Various different versions were created over the years.

#4) The SN serial numbers were consecutive, and our records start at # 75 which was probably the first model actually sold. The number following the serial number corresponds to a technical evolution level and is referred to as the “Indice #”. We do not have records defining all the different indices, but they were due to the change in the thickness of the deck plate (from 1 to 3 mm) and the changes made to the motors etc.

All we can certify, is that the SN you have is number 811 and it was manufactured in June 1972 and is an SN-S model. The first slow speed SN was number 83 and manufacturer in September of the previous year (1971).

 
So if true? That just changed my long post above about the Nagra SN based on the Nagra Milestones 1965 statement.
Lets see, If Nagra changes the Milestones to the year 1970 and uses the word secretly I will believe the year 1970. If they leave out the word secretly and just change the date to 1970, its clear the SN date is 1965.  
 
So there you have, three different stories about the SN.
 
The German article in the beginning.   (SN sold secretly from 1960 to 1971)
What I said in the above post.              (SN sold secretly from 1965 to 1970)
Nagra’s reply to my 4 questions.           (Made in 1970 sold in 1971)
 
First Nagra notices a mistake when I brought up the fact of their web site saying “1965 the US Agencies start using the Nagra SN secretly” 
That will be disappearing soon just like I predicted two months ago when I wrote this post.
 
Please refer to OUR web site www.nagraaudio.com for the accurate dates and information. 
When you go to the web site they list 3 Nagra SNs all with the same description even the prototype.
Still not very clear.  
After all these years Nagra still stands firm the first Nagra SN was made in 1970 and sold in 1971
I know the 1960 prototype was never produced, never used and never sold.  They only ever had one and I have the pictures to prove it. It truly was just a Prototype as Nagra stated all along. 
 
But did everyone all these years just assume the prototype was the Black Nagra? It wasn't.
I know now as fact the prototype does not look anything like the Nagra SN we know today. 
 
Has anybody ever seen a flat gray painted Nagra SN with no name or marking on it? In the year 1972 I never would have thought that.
There is either two answers from what I can tell. Either all the hype about the Kennedy information, CIA, Secret Services etc. was all just stories over the years and the first unit was in 1970 all along.
Or what I wrote above is true. And that Nagra Milestones stating the year 1965 will soon disappear  
Forever.
 
But could what Nagra says really be true?
The SN is still too advanced for the year 1965 compared to other recorders of 1965.
 Nagra's official reply today is the same as Mr Kudelski interview in 1985 and the same as the 2001 booklet. So are they still keeping the secret of the Nagra SN's all these years, or is it the truth?
Why would they still be keeping it a secret? 
Lets face it no one ever came forward and said, I used the SN in the 60's . 
It wasn't the answer form Nagra that I wanted to hear but it's the Official one I received. 
 
Is the Nagra Milestones with the year 1965 wrong information? Or what is wrong is Nagra did not want to release it. I will be curious if they do change it and more curious what will they change it to?
What I can say is,  after viewing the pictures of the 1960 prototype.  Its more believably the Nagra SN is 1970 then to believe its been used secretly since 1960.
I do know the Nagra SNST was secret for many years, Could this be the mixup. The SNST was only used for slow speed recording, It was not used for anything else. It was kept very secret.
Here is the link again. https://www.nagra.com/group/history     Lets see what it changes to.
 
 
You be the judge. 
 
======================================================================================
 
 
 
I just want to include this perfect example from a 6 moons interview at Nagra about Nagra. http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/roadtournagra/9.html
 

Look at the caption for the picture of this recorder below, I assume the recorder is at Nagra since this whole page was showing their collection and Nagra’s white shelves showing the Nagra PS-1 (upper right) in this picture's background. The same shelf is shown later in this series of pictures of Nagras collection.

 
Look how much is wrong with the description of the picture below.
Starting with the “Famed SNTS-R” (No such recorder) supposed to be SNST-R and was the “last" SN model ever made in 1999.
The SNST-R has absolutely nothing to do with the one pictured or the rest of the description.
Again that repeated phrase "unknown to civilians for 10 years” But all goes on uncorrected. Just as I have been saying all along.  
The Nagra below,  Hmm, looks just like my June of 1972 model?
 
The famed SNTS-R miniature recorder for concealed spy craft was commissioned by the CIA, unavailable and unknown to civilians for 10 years and thus part of Nagra's Black Line. The sample of Greek/French Nagra importer Costas Kekemenis which I'd photographed at the Athens Hifi show a few weeks prior had been procured from Scotland Yard in fact. In short, old Q in the bowel’s of James Bond's byzantine accessory boutique had nothing on Nagra as contract outfitter to the American intelligence service.
vdI4AXJ.png
 
 
==============================================================================
 

On second thought after thinking about this,  the caption above that picture may be correct, but just not corrected before print.

The only mistakes may be the mixed up letters  SNTS-R and the early picture under it.  If you correct that SNTS-R and put in the proper SNST letters in its place the statement becomes true.

The famed "SNST" miniature recorder for concealed spy craft was commissioned by the CIA, unavailable and unknown to civilians for 10 years and thus part of Nagra's Black Line.If you forget the picture,  its a true statement. 
 

 

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I think that the 6Moons writer isn´t too familiar with Nagras professional product line... He also states that the pictured TRVR is a clandestine machine, and that it is not listed. Which it is (in his own list), and it is not really a secret recorder, just not widely known (being used for voice logging in f.eks. airports/flight control). So I wouldn´t read too much into that source...

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