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Nicholas West

1/4 Track Playback Head On A Nagra IV-S ?

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I have a Nagra IV-S machine which I used to transfer quite a few 2 track tapes to digital.  However, the utility of the machine as a transfer and home audio deck would be magnified a thousandfold if I were able to play 1/4 track tapes on it, of which I have A LOT, as well as 2 track. As a safe transport for old delicate tapes it has no equal.  I was thinking that maybe a 1/4 track playback head could be installed where the pilotone head is, and could be switched in and out of the playback amp. Has anyone ever heard of such a conversion?  Has anyone here ever converted a Nagra into a 1/4 track machine? Or know anyone who could do such a thing?  Has anyone here ever SEEN a 1/4 track conversion on a Nagra?  Any thoughts on the subject would be so welcome!

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I'd love to learn what can be done. I have dedicated machines for playback of 4-track tapes but making a nagra even more versatile wouldn't hurt :)

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Well you're stuck with a minimum playback speed of 3.75ips which is possibly unsuitable for many tapes (I don't remember if commercial rtr tapes were 3.75 or 1.87) then it's just an ugly matter of wires perhaps snaking about an otherwise beautiful machine?

 

For those here unaware of it though check out the classic David Lane Nagra playback machine, which was developed as a budget Nagra T replacement for transfer houses/radio - no record but mono and stereo playback heads (and synchro) in I believe a IV-S body to cope with the variety of Nagra recorded tapes coming in.

 

Jez

For a homemade version (yep I've thought of it too) it could be any Nagra (like a 3 or IVL) so long as the transport works OK ...

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On 1/19/2018 at 7:53 PM, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

Well you're stuck with a minimum playback speed of 3.75ips which is possibly unsuitable for many tapes (I don't remember if commercial rtr tapes were 3.75 or 1.87) then it's just an ugly matter of wires perhaps snaking about an otherwise beautiful machine?

 

For those here unaware of it though check out the classic David Lane Nagra playback machine, which was developed as a budget Nagra T replacement for transfer houses/radio - no record but mono and stereo playback heads (and synchro) in I believe a IV-S body to cope with the variety of Nagra recorded tapes coming in.

 

Jez

For a homemade version (yep I've thought of it too) it could be any Nagra (like a 3 or IVL) so long as the transport works OK ...

 

Commercial reel to reel tapes were either 7.5 ips or 3.75 ips.  Vintage amateur reel to reel machines were usually built with both of those speeds available.

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Nagra used to sell 1/4 track Playback heads for the IV-S and Nagra T-Audio (same heads), but they are no longer available. You may be able to find a few of these Holy Grail items via eBay or internet search. 

Nagra Part# 7106.225.000 if that will help.

 

Steve George

Remote Audio, Nagra's North America Distributor

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I was doing a quarter track head conversion using the pilot head position on stereo nagras about 3-5 years ago. I did 3 of them, and sold them all to Asian audiophiles.  I used NOS Ampex quarter-track heads, doing some light "machining" so they would fit snugly into the pilot tone head shell. I used the NRS switch on the front panel to allow switching between the quarter-track and half-track playback head. I've had a few requests to make more, but its a lot of work hours.  I have photos, but have to find them. Here is a video demo of one of them on youtube:

 

 

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This is a great mod for those who mainly use the IV-S for playback and have no use for the pilot/NRS function.

You have a ballpark of what the mod cost and is it reversible (What is the extent of light machining)?

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I'm also interested, in case another Nagra lands in my lap, I may want to have this done to it. 

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