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About rstl99

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    Own a couple of Nagras for nostalgic reasons.
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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  1. The production person told me their script has changed and the event to be filmed is in the early 50's, and asked me if I happened to have a Nagra I to loan them! I told them there were maybe only a handful left in existence, and all those are likely in museums and worth several thousand dollars, and I would not loan one if I had one. I pointed them to the museum of magnetic sound in Texas and maybe they can loan them a suitable vintage recorder of the early 50s (non-Nagra), whatever that may be... Unless someone here has a nice Nagra I that you would want to lend out? :-) And by the way, no the director is not Tarantino!!
  2. Actually, I dug out a spare III that I had bought for parts some years ago. The motor transport works and it plays back, it just doesn't record and I have no time nor inclination to figure out what component has failed in it. Anyway, the production only need a Nagra III with reels turning, so I'll lend them this one (if they give me enough money to cover its value which is not very high, a few hundred $'s). Well, we've all heard stories about Nagras falling out of planes and still working, so this could be another good story! I'll read the contract before I agree to ship it. So sad to hear that story about the vintage Martin (being a guitar player and owning a few vintage Martins). I hope Kurt Russell felt pretty sheepish after that incident (although maybe he had no awareness of what he had in his hands). Thanks folks.
  3. Thanks Mike and Crew, that's helpful. Yeah, I like my old Nagras and this III is in fine shape, which gives me pause sending it off out of town like that. I may decline the offer, though it would be interesting to see my Nagra featured in a tv series.
  4. Hi all, Someone up here found out I own some vintage Nagras and wants to rent my III for an upcoming film shoot. Period piece set in the 60s and they need a III with reels turning. I've never loaned out anything like this and assume there will be some kind of contract that ensures I get the darn thing back, but what kind of daily rate would be acceptable for something like this, any idea? Thanks.
  5. rstl99

    SQN 4S meters

    Thanks, I hadn't seen that diagram on the SQN site. I now realize mine has the BBC PPM scale. I didn't know scandinavians had their own standard... I suppose this page has all the information anybody would ever want on this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_programme_meter
  6. rstl99

    SQN 4S meters

    I just saw an SQN 4S mixer online that has different meters on it than mine (which is a more common 1-7 range, left to right). I know they came in different configurations. Can anyone tell me what range that is (I assume dB) and what it's best used for? It reminds me of the modulometer on my analog Nagra. Thanks.
  7. Darn, I should have picked up a used VI before the firmware updates made people want to hang on to them! My recording is largely live music, and not the type necessitating loads of mics, so my 744T and SQN IV mixer combo suits me fine. Speaking of SQN, I just picked up a nice mono unit (SQN 3-M) that I'll have some fun feeding my mono Nagras for old-style recording. I really like the sound of the preamps in the SQN.
  8. Bonjour Philippe, intuables, ces Nagra III !!
  9. Pro-Sound in NYC have a service shop that still has analog Nagra skills and parts (at least they did a year or so ago when I bought something from them).
  10. Here's the picture of Stefan that I framed, from the NY Times obit. Yeah, looks like a later version with pilot. In one of those french interviews, Stefan said that the Nagra I's and II's were built in more of an "artisan" manner (in part, employing craftsmen of swiss watch-making background, left job-less in the aftermath of WWII). Only when the II's showed themselves to be popular, garnering interest in radio, journalistic and scientific circles, did he realize the time had come to come up with a solid and more professional design, and a larger manufacturing capacity -- that's when they came up with the III. Stefan designed the electronics and left the mechanical components design to others. He said that because at the time the company had no distribution or dealer support around the world, they had to design the machine to be extremely reliable and able to function in almost any condition, because there would be no possibility of getting it repaired "out in the boonies". He jokingly said that they built it "too well, too reliable", so that owners basically could use them almost forever. Of course, it's a well-known fact that he originally designed his first recorder as an experiment with the idea of coming up with some tape-based control mechanism for machine shop equipment. Only when little interest was shown in his idea, did he decide to adapt it for recording sound. I was in Paris last year, standing in the square in front of Notre-Dame-de-Paris cathedral, as the chimes struck noon. I recorded the moment using my pocket Canon camera and thought of Stefan, up there in the bell-tower, recording the sound on his first Nagra, which won him the prize for a recording competition that year. It set him on his way.
  11. I had these recorders sitting inside cupboards in my little "studio" downstairs, until one day I realized they were some of my most prized possessions so I bought the glass shelf unit at Ikea and now have them proudly on display in my living room-dining room. Visitors get a kick out of looking at them, and don't have a clue... On top of the shelving unit is a framed photo of young Stefan standing proudly in his lab, with one hand on his prized creation, the Nagra III.
  12. Some very interesting rebroadcasts of french audio and video pieces on Stefan were posted on swiss and french websites after his death, which offered very interesting things about Stefan and the early days of the company. One documentary from the early 90's interviewed some of his early collaborators when they were just working out of a house. One thing I recall Stefan saying in a late interview, only a year or so before he died. In it he said something like (going from memory here) "as a refugee, you always go through life with a bit of a hung-dog expression, and have to learn to swallow your pride and it sometimes lends you a certain arrogance perhaps". I think he was reflecting on his life, having had to leave Poland because of the war, resettling in Switzerland, starting over, trying to make a life for himself and his family. I find it sad that his company have not published a proper biography of Stefan. I was told that Roland Schellin, who wrote the book on the history of Stellavox, has had a book on Kudelski-Nagra ready but the company won't allow him to publish it for some reason... The early years of the Nagras would be very interesting to know in detail, but sadly most of the people involved directly are now gone, and I'm not sure that much of that corporate knowledge still remains in the "mother ship"... 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).
  13. Other thing I noticed is they playback with the main selector switch on the first playback position, not the second one that would actually send the signal to the loudspeaker. Nitpicky, I know... Still nice to see the old 4.2 doing the job, and the reference to baking the tape to get a signal coming out was kind of cool too.
  14. You're welcome, it's an interesting machine without a doubt, and Kudelski always had a knack for elegant, efficient design, layout of controls etc. As Senator said, the two sets of batteries are to power up the tubes on board. The crank winds the spring motor which moves the tape across the heads. As you know, the III not only did away with the crank (with the dc motor), but the tubes as well, going with the then-new transistors. I still think it's Stefan's most ground-breaking achievement and the "classic" Nagra.
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