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Scott Smith

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Everything posted by Scott Smith

  1. David: Nice hearing Frank Haber mentioned. Been a long time since I’ve heard his name brought up. One of the good guys when it came to working with Nagra’s in NYC back in the ‘70’s. Yeah, the SN series recorders had plenty of idiosyncrasies. I won’t even begin to get into the joys of the two competing pilot synchronization systems🙄... -S
  2. Yeah, Georges Quellet was a bright engineer who had some interesting ideas (like the interchangeable head block). I used a few of the Stellavox recorders over the years, but they never felt quite as solid as the Nagra’s. Regarding the ATN capacitors; for whatever reason, the caps Kudelski used in many of the units over the years were never quite the quality of the ones in the recorders. Never quite understood this. I replace them as a matter of course in any of the older suppliers I run across.
  3. Yeah, the Demme film is a lot of fun. A bunch of us watched the LaserDisc version while we were putting together Andy Davis's screening room up in Santa Barbara in 1994 or '95. Some nice footage. I still have a VHS copy kicking around, but not the LaserDisc version.They never did a DVD that I'm aware of. Maybe Gary Goetzman will take it up and do a Blu-Ray one of these days... Dig the cover photo though!
  4. Yeah, never really cared for the rechargeables. The stock PAR charger was designed for 2000 or 2500 mAh cells as I recall, so it was useless with the later 4000 and 5000 mAh cells. Plus, you only got a supply voltage of about 14.4 volts with a set of fully charged ni-cads, which was a little too close to the regulator cut-off for my taste, especially if you were powering accessories from the recorder. I think I experimented with an outboard charger at one point, with a higher charging rate, but was uncomfortable with the heat buildup in the battery compartment, so just abandoned the whole idea. I'm thinking that Nagra may have intended the rechargeables more for radio reporting work, but not really sure.
  5. James: A little late to this post, but just wanted to give kudos for all your efforts at preserving this technology, and all the stories and documentation that goes along with it. Still have most (but not all) of the Nagra's I've owned and used (along with a couple of Stellavox's). Just can't bring myself to part with them... Congrats again on a great collection and dedication to preservation.
  6. Have seen the wow & flutter meter before, but not the 1/3!octave filter. Maybe they got tired of paying the exorbitant prices for Bruel & Kjaer gear😊!
  7. Lloyd: Thanks for posting these. Great photos! Pretty typical of how it got done back in the day, especially on episodic shows where they didn't have the budget for all the new stuff. (By 1973 I was using a Nagra IV as well). It wasn't fancy, that's for sure, but they got the job done!
  8. Yes, I do have a few photos (although I wish we had taken more). Need to work on rounding them up and getting them digitized. This might be the kick in the ass I need. -S
  9. Jeff: Sadly, I'm going to have to cancel for tomorrow. Was really hoping to make it this year, but have too many things that have piled up over the past 5 seasons of production. Will miss seeing everyone! It's been 5 years since I've last attended😞 --Scott
  10. Philip: Just saw this post. Love the Rio theater! A great old Art Deco venue. Was up that way last year. Looks like a fun gig! -S
  11. JBond: Fascinating. Thought that I had seen just about everything in the world of Nagra. I guess not! Looks to be in very nice condition too. A lot of those field recorders used in radio reporting really got beat up.
  12. Richard: Wow, some nice drawings from your friend! Never seen anything like that. Likewise the Nagra’s with the red & blue covers. JBond, was that a special issue of some kind from Nagra, or did someone make those custom? -S
  13. Plenty of reasons to avoid public soldering, especially when show time is approaching, and you have some insane amount of cables to be fixed! Having worked with plenty of trucks over the years, my default is always to go with un-grounded shells, which usually will cause less grief in the long run, for all the reasons I've outlined previously. As Phil points out, when doing remotes, what the truck engineer has to say it is absolutely the final word. When dealing with one's own equipment, it might be another matter, but always CHECK IT FIRST! I've have had some rather unpleasant surprises over the years. Also, there is still a certain amount of equipment in use out there where pin 1 has a different ground path to the electronics than chassis ground, and the results from grounding pin 1 to the chassis at the input or output connections will result in less than optimal results. Stage boxes can be a particular source of grief. Some have a common ground at the box itself, others carry pin 1 back to the truck/console. Because of this, we still have two separate groups of XLR cables and snakes, some of which are shell un-grounded, others shell grounded. (Also, do not confuse issues of RF and induced AC current into the signal conductors with ground issues!) And if you've never taken Bill Whitlock's seminar on grounding and signal flow, sign up for it when it comes around the next time. There is no better authority on the subject!
  14. @jrsphoto Wow, guess the value of the Nagra’s are really dropping! Back in the day, just the pinch wheel alone would cost more than that! Haven’t seen a Victor Duncan tag in a long time either. That alone is an antique! -Scott
  15. Mr. Mitchell is the real deal. I first encountered the Art Ensemble of Chicago at the Ann Arbor Jazz and Blues Festival in the early ‘70’s. Had no idea what I was walking into🙂. In the ‘80’s we shot a sequence with them as part of a longer documentary encompassing the African-American music scene in Chicago (produced for Disney, which was truly bizarre). We were fortunate to have filmed it in a good sized room at the South Shore Country Club (also the setting for the exterior of one a scene for “Blues Brothers” before it was renovated). The room acoustics really added to the sequence, and group knew how to play it to their advantage. Kicking myself for not making copies of those multi-tracks before they landed in the Disney vaults, where they will most likely remain (along with some other good performances and interviews). -Scott
  16. I’m still using PPM metering on most of my consoles-just what I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Calibrated for -8dbu PPM for -20Dbfs (O VU equivalent) on the recorders. Have never had a complaint from post regarding levels. There a a few boards that are equipped with limiters on the input channels, but I try not to hit those too hard for the iso’s. And I try to avoid changing the input gain trim mid-take if possible, just to avoid the subsequent change in level when post receives the tracks, as it makes it a bit more difficult doing signal processing when the levels are bouncing around. -Scott
  17. Philip: You’re very fortunate regarding the DAT’s. Most people don’t realize that they require even better storage conditions than analog masters do. And God save you if you get some with sub-standard shells (you know the ones I’m talking about!) I recently had to transfer a few tapes that weren’t particularly well stored, and I had to try five different decks before I found one that was happy with them (interesting to note that the high end Sony PCM -7040 machines are frequently the least forgiving in terms of what they’ll accept). And then there’s PCM-F1😕.... -Scott
  18. Wow, an incredible find! One of the few Nagra’s that I’ve never been able to lay my hands on. dela: Athan might be able to make you a pinch roller to properly fit on the machine. It’s possible that it’s the same as a stock IS, but I don’t have an ISS manual or parts list, so don’t know for sure. -Scott
  19. Well put Ty. I might print this out and put it on the wall. -Scott
  20. And of you’re looking for a hypercardiod version, the MKH 435 is a very nice mic. Was unfortunately only made in a T power version, but Pete might be able to convert it. -Scott
  21. Mark: Thanks for the info on your experience with the Shure PSM. When I spoke to Shure, they said that the 900 would probably work on 12 volts, but it would be borderline, as it was at the bottom end of the regulator range. They’re usually pretty conservative on their design tolerances though.
  22. Was tempted to try the PSM 900 as well. Only thing that turned me off a bit was the 15 volt DC input. Not an issue on the carts that have a PowerMax, but kind of limits options if you’re just using a regular 12 volt system. Build quality looks very solid though. Have used both the Sennheiser IEM 300 systems and the Lectro Duet (just for boom ops) with good results. Would be tempted by the Lectro VHF system for situations where I need more range.
  23. Scott Smith


    “Talent” is making a huge assumption when it comes to actors. I’ve seen plenty more talent behind the camera than in front of it😊. -Scott
  24. Yeah, seems like this has gotten a lot worse over the years. And I thought it was just the stages I worked on... Have shot in some unbelievably noisy buildings. It’s like the guys that designed the systems had never heard of the concept of high volume/low velocity HVAC. Really don’t know how people can stand to work in such an environment. -S
  25. +1 on the hog’s hair. Comes in both 1” and 2”. Has worked extremely well over the years. We keep a big roll of it at our warehouse.
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