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Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

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My Aunt Margaret Mills, an anthropologist and folklorist travelled the mid east in the 1960s and 1970s with a Nagra 3, collecting oral history, folk tales, and conversations for her work.

She has donated her III to the kind person who helped her transfer all her reels to digital formats for deposit to archives around the world.

I will ask her for some specific stories.

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I’ll bet your Aunt Margaret has some good Nagra stories to tell. You should send her the link to JWsound and this thread, maybe she’ll sign up and tell some of her stories of her life’s work using a Nagra III. She would probably love to do it.
Thank you, Christopher, for posting to my Old Nagra thread.

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On 2/11/2015 at 10:35 PM, rstl99 said:

I have a lot of respect for Stefan, and am happy to also own one of his early Nagras (a IICi, which I bought last year from someone in Rome who was given it by his old uncle, an italian reporter).  I also own a III (the iconic Nagra) and some of the IV's.  Bit of a shrine I suppose...  And they all work!  (except for the IICi, I haven't gotten around to checking the electronics yet, though the mechanical transport works perfectly).

Are you selling your Nagra II on eBay rstl99 ? or is that another one?

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kudelski-Nagra-II-CI-1957-museum-quality-rare-swiss-portable-reel-tape-recorder-/281633896328?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item4192b03788

 

Your timing is terrible for me.

In the last two months, I bought a 1958 Nagra III, a Blue Nagra E, a Nagra D and a

Nagra VPR-5 that I had no choice to say no.  I'll tell the story someday. Can't do anything else right now and be able to live with myself. I usually sell things in my collection when I want to buy other recorders. Which I did this time but I don't have any more to sell now.

 

That looks like a real nice one too. Damm. If I only knew that was in the works.

Good luck, but for purely selfish reasons I hope it doesn't sell. Until I could buy it. If it does sell I hope it goes for top dollar so I won't feel so bad.  

Your pictures are great that Nagra II is as clean as New. 

Another  Nagra II slips away from me.

 

YAlQJJ3.jpg

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Wow, those are beautiful machines. I don't know of anybody who used the Uhers in the field, but I did see a Stellavox a few times (but not very often). It's amazing how long those Nagra III's were in use -- I can remember them being used in Tampa at our TV station well into the late 1970s, at least for film jobs not shot sound-on-film.

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A truly wonderful topic with stunning pictures!!

 

I did my first recording job with a Nagra III of a church organ in the UK in 1965

 

In 1979 I bought my first Nagra 4.2 what a beauty!

 

A story!

 

I was in Australia recording a ship salvage documentary in 1981

A tropical storm arrived to make things more difficult but good for the drama.

My dear Nagra got so wet that when I increased the boom channel the poor thing whistled.

Bought a hair drier in the morning and then all was well.

 

A few days later no bias or erase - bit of a problem.

 

Somehow (I cannot remember) I defined a capacitor had failed so after removing the

appropriate board I removed a similar capacitor and used it as a substitute and all was well!!!

 

Please don't ask how or why, but by divine judgement that's what happened and I completed the job!

 

Love those days

 

mike

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On 3/18/2015 at 11:59 PM, Marc Wielage said:

Wow, those are beautiful machines. I don't know of anybody who used the Uhers in the field, but I did see a Stellavox a few times (but not very often). It's amazing how long those Nagra III's were in use -- I can remember them being used in Tampa at our TV station well into the late 1970s, at least for film jobs not shot sound-on-film.

Thanks, Marc,

I'm not crazy about the Uhers mixed in there, never was. I just use them to fill the space, 3 Nagras won't fit across on the shelf.

Since I only have two across on the upper shelf, maybe I'll see how they look two Nagras across to the bottom?

On 3/19/2015 at 2:50 AM, mikewest said:

A truly wonderful topic with stunning pictures!!

 

I did my first recording job with a Nagra III of a church organ in the UK in 1965

 

In 1979 I bought my first Nagra 4.2 what a beauty!

 

A story!

 

I was in Australia recording a ship salvage documentary in 1981

A tropical storm arrived to make things more difficult but good for the drama.

My dear Nagra got so wet that when I increased the boom channel the poor thing whistled.

Bought a hair drier in the morning and then all was well.

 

A few days later no bias or erase - bit of a problem.

 

Somehow (I cannot remember) I defined a capacitor had failed so after removing the

appropriate board I removed a similar capacitor and used it as a substitute and all was well!!!

 

Please don't ask how or why, but by divine judgement that's what happened and I completed the job!

 

Love those days

 

mike

Thanks, Mike,

That's a good story and a good point. 

Try doing that today....

 

jn5xdYx.jpg

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Well, I already knew this but seems I forgot how bad it looks without the Uhers.

As you can see the Uhers and that Ficord has an important role with the Nagras, not for recording movies but to fill in the blank space.

There is just no practical way to arrange them, the cabinet is just 3 inches too short.  :-[ 

zwKrn2j.jpg

lB0vTdI.jpg

 

 

18G4fjB.jpg

 

YAlQJJ3.jpg

 

I still have to fit one of these below into the cabinet on the next shelf up from what you see here.   

Did you guys know the VPR-5 sold for 45,000 back in 1983? I paid 50,500 for my house with 2 acres in 1980!

They had two different versions of the VPR-5 - early and late - and also this one below shown with Mr. Kudelski. The one that does not say Ampex /Nagra on the front panel.

 

Which one do you think I have coming?  8)

 

gKeSfvj.jpg

Photo courtesy of Nagra press release.

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On March 20, 2015 at 8:47 PM, Marc Wielage said:

Naaaa, it's fine with the Uhers. That's a great shrine to recording history!

Thank you Sir.

 

Maybe someday the Nagra LB, Nagra 7 and Nagra Aires will fill those spaces.

 

Not everything can fit into the cabinet.

 

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Most probably a question for JBOND (this was asked on Facebook by Tom Allen):

 

Can someone help out. 

On the left side of the machine above and behind the microphone input, is a small BNC type connector. Very small, maybe a 1/32nd inch diameter BNC connector. I don't see this connector on other Nagra III decks and was wondering if you knew what that was or, if it is perhaps a modification for pilot tone?
 
post-1-0-09222200-1426857439_thumb.jpg

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Jeff that is a factory installed option. I believe its the same as the jack that is also on the 4.2 called a RX input, only recessed in on the 4.2 .

That is for the Antenna input for the QRR receiver.

Here is a 4.2 and my 1967 III

The speed verier does not plug into that jack.

yfplheH.jpg

IM7HHrG.jpg

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"That is for the Antenna input for the QRR receiver" --- that's what I thought, my memory of that jack on the 4.2 as well, but I didn't trust my memory (and someone else posted that it was for the speed varier). I think what set me off was that I don't remember any wireless support in connection with the Nagra III (QRR receiver did not exist at that time I think) so I wasn't thinking that it could be for an antenna.

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Thanks, Pete, I stand corrected. I couldn't find the information on the III and the 4.2 looked the same. The speed varier plugs into the 6 pin jack on the 4.2.

Good thing you posted back I had Jeff scratching his head.


Sorry, Jeff for the wrong info. I knew for a fact the speed varier had the larger plug, I didn't know there was another speed varier with a small jack too for the Nagra III

The speed verier Plugs into number 39 on a 4.2, but you were asking about the Nagra III
I was fooled into believing it was the same for the III
I guess one shown alway trust a sound-man over a collector. ::) 

Fkk8CLq.jpg

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On 3/20/2015 at 0:29 AM, pverrando said:

Back on the mid 90's I went to a gear auction where they had 3 VPRs. Bidding started at 100 for the lot- no bids.

Yeah, most went into dumpsters too, and as you say wouldn’t even bring 100 at auction. Too bad you didn't buy them, If you bought the three back then you could have made 8 to 10K on the three in as little as five years. From the prices I have seen in the past and even today.Two sold in the pasts months one for 3200.00 and one for 2500.00 neither had power supplies both probably didn't work and they were all dented and beat up. Mint ones are very rare and expensive.

In 2006 I spoke to the guy at Nagra on the phone that help develop the VPR-5 for Nagra we spoke for about 30 minutes he also developed the Nagra IS.

He told me that even after the VPR-5 was fully assembled it still needed about 40 man hrs of set up and adjustment before it could be sold.

They were made at a time in history just as technology was changing fast, all the tape formats were coming on the market. Even the 8 mm consumer cameras were coming out. So it was a little too late getting to market.

There are sites on the internet all about the VPR-5 raving about this machine.

 

Shown below are the two before the VPR-5 The VPR-2 and VPR-3 So back then it was a big deal.

SXnJHpI.jpg

LPzvQDP.jpg

CrVzab4.jpg

 

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Jeff,  I came across this the other night, watched some bookmarked it and just finished watching it again.  You are a very interesting speaker and you explain things very well in your stories, it was very interesting I enjoyed watching it.

I liked the part where you tried holding out a broom handle with a book on it, to see if you wanted to start as a boom operator, hell with this, you told everyone hey  I’m a sound mixer. Yeah, thats right sound mixer.  Your experience really shows in this video from relating to others on the set to different situations using different formats etc. I like how you explain the different formats and how no one wanted to try something new.  Even the Nagra III they were skeptical at first at that meeting with your father, very interesting. Thank you for doing this.  Has this been talked about or shown on JWsound before? I could not find anything in search?

If anyone hasn't seen this, and you don't really know Jeff other than his written word on this site,  I suggest you watch.

 

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That talk at the LA Soundgroup was so much fun. I can hardly bear to watch it but I have heard from others that I did have a lot of interesting things to say and the video has been widely watched all over the world. 

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On 3/20/2015 at 9:39 PM, Philip Perkins said:

Meanwhile--don't diss the Uhers.  Lots of movie sound of various sorts was recorded on them, a chunk of it by me!

Besides, they look cool.

 

phil p

I will keep them, Phil, it looks awful without them. Knowing that you used them now gives them credibility.

You have a nice long resume too I see.

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JBOND:

It's usually as easy as taking the YouTube SHARE link and just pasting it into the post composition pane (like where I'm typing now). Sometimes you have to put some other text in the box also, like "watch the video" and then paste the link. Doesn't always work, unfortunately, and you do have to make sure you are using the SHARE link that YouTube provides and not the URL for the page where the video appears. If you send me a link, I can make sure it gets up here and works.

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