JBond

Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

Recommended Posts

I found the Stellavox Operators Manual. It's really a very sparse document. In fact, the introduction page advises that users are expected to utilize the help menu more than the printed directions. I've scanned two pages, more or less at random, to give a taste of the document. The directions do not contain a block diagram, circuit drawings or anything of the sort.

In fairness, one should acknowledge that when Jacques Sax took over building the recorder, he did remedy most (maybe all) of the problems that beset the original roll-out. The excessive power draw and associated heat were reduced to reasonable levels. But, it was too little too late and most sound professionals had already moved to HHB and Fostex recorders.

David

Stelladat Manual excerpts.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dela   

I would guess not, as the audio path is the same in both models. The only (very hypothetical) problem could be crosstalk from the TC system, but that will be easy to detect just by listening.

Be aware that there could be quality differences between unmodified IV-S recorders, they were delivered with heads for either 2 mm track width (for pilot/TC models) or 2,75 mm track width (for non-pilot machines). The larger track width gives a slightly better S/N ratio, so if you compare a wide track IV-S with the X4S, the IV-S will be a bit better. But, to make things even more complicated, non-pilot recorders were sometimes fitted with narrow track heads, so that there was compatibility between pilot and non-pilot machines...

So, to quote Beastie Boys: Check your head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarkC   
29 minutes ago, dela said:

I would guess not, as the audio path is the same in both models. The only (very hypothetical) problem could be crosstalk from the TC system, but that will be easy to detect just by listening.

Be aware that there could be quality differences between unmodified IV-S recorders, they were delivered with heads for either 2 mm track width (for pilot/TC models) or 2,75 mm track width (for non-pilot machines). The larger track width gives a slightly better S/N ratio, so if you compare a wide track IV-S with the X4S, the IV-S will be a bit better. But, to make things even more complicated, non-pilot recorders were sometimes fitted with narrow track heads, so that there was compatibility between pilot and non-pilot machines...

So, to quote Beastie Boys: Check your head.

Thanks Dela so a 0.75mm difference in head width is the difference. What do the 2mm and 2.75mm look like? Can somebody share photos please?

Peace

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Is there an audible difference between the NAGRA IV-S stereo and X4S to record music?"

I'm a little puzzled by the question. As I understand it (and maybe I'm mistaken about the terminology), we use the letters "X4S" to designate a Harvey-mod time code Nagra. To get a Harvey-mod machine, one started with a Nagra IV-S and installed the Harvey-mod components which were available as a kit. So, an X4S is a Nagra IV-S at heart. 

The other matter of people doing additional modifications and swapping out heads leads one into a rabbit-warren of possibilities but good to be aware of potential variations. 

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harvey required one's Nagra to be in excellent shape overall, esp heads and transpo, before he'd mod your machine with his gear.  He didn't do that sort of work himself.  I never hear of anyone Harvey-izing anything but what we called the Nagra IV-SL, the standard CTTC pilotone version.   Harvey did nothing at all with the audio electronics besides swap out the factory speaker for one  small enough to work with his side panel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

 If Stella really did make their machine in a way that would have allowed some other sort of later-tech post-DAT record transport to be swapped in when one became available, then it's really too bad that never happened.... 

Fascinating in fact. I wonder if it's indeed possible (?easy?) to retrofit ... Apart from the transport, were there other regular failings? How was the ADC feed to the heads carried about? Ahh speculation!

Jez

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dela   

A bit of mixed comments (after all there are quite a few differents subjects here...):

I have enclosed a couple of photos of resp. wide- and narrow track heads. They show a wide track recording head and a narrow track playback head (with space for a pilot track in the middle of the tape. My apologies for the awful pedicure on the pictures...

Just for illustrating the somewhat strange choices of the Stelladat, I have also enclosed a couple of photos of the inside of the Stelladat. From the bottom view photo of the base board it is obvious that Sonosax had no second thoughts about selling a near-prototype device. It shows that the company simply didn´t have the resources for designing a product that advanced, and when they tried, they couldn´t afford to scrap obsolete versions; they chose to add a multitude of corrections in stead. If you wanted to control the recorder using the AUX-connector? Too bad, it isn´t connected to anything on the inside. And the list of strangeness is long...

But I still like it; despite (or because of) its shortcomings it is a wonderful transitional device, and as a stand alone DA converter it sounds really good. If I had two of them, I wouldn ´t hesitate to send one of them to live i JBonds great collection, but I have grown quite fond of it, and I hope one day to succeed in fixing it one day. I generally collect Nagras, but some recorders are too exquisite to not own. The same goes for the Mandozzi DART-2 recorder, also a little swiss masterpiece. Only 32 kHz sample rate, but with at fantastic build quality and, despite the low sample rate, a great sound. It´s also swiss, so at least there is a swiss theme.

And David: If you ever get to scan the Stelladat manual, I would love to see it.

 

 

IMG_0114.JPG

IMG_0115.JPG

IMG_0118.JPG

IMG_0123.JPG

narrowpbhead.jpg

widerechead.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dela said:

And David: If you ever get to scan the Stelladat manual, I would love to see it.

I would be happy to scan the booklet for you. It's not that big- only 22 pages, 25 if the cover and list of authorized service centers are included. But it will make a fairly large file that I would hesitate to post here. PM me with an email address that might handle a file of about 7 - 10 MB.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This company is owned by ALL German goverment Broadcast companies. In germany the goverment owned Broadcaster are members of  ARD. (ARD means group of broadcaster.)

I just wanted to correct this statement a tiny bit, and I know this is totally irrelevant to this thread and maybe considered picky-ish and it's probably just a translation thing anyway, but it is important especially in this day and age:
In Germany the ARD and it's local TV and radio stations are not government owned. Just like the BBC and others these are public stations, paid for by the people. The very raison d'etre for these broadcasters (originally) was to be free from government influence - particularly important in Germany.

Sorry for the interruption and now back to this excellent thread

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a Stelladat..  Never left me in a real crisis but it did inspire confidence either..   They had a sort of confidence monitoring that gave you a heads up when things were going south.   I was way more cavalier then..  great preamps/ converters.   Had a lot of NP-1s and ran two at a time.   

Bill Drucklieb worked on them and other machines.  Not sure what happened since the demise of DAT.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarkC   

Apologies for shifting the direction of conversation abruptly, but I would was hoping to receive some information about how well the Stellavox AMI48 mixer has worked with the Nagra IV-S for the Sound-men. Any preferences for connectors? Banana plugs vs Tuchel, things to look out for?

Cheers

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now