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dela

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About dela

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  • Location
    Copenhagen
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
    Yes
  • About
    I have been working with film post production for 12 years; I am now primarily working with TV (on a danish national broadcaster, as well as being involved i film projects. I am quite fascinated by Nagra recorders and everything connected with them.

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  1. szexypapucs: If you look at page 24 in this thread, you can see a description of the 4.2 IRT, as well as some photos of the exterior and interior. It is not fitted with the IRT TC board; it seems that the quite specialised TC board could be exchanged with a "normal" crystal sync board when it was used without external sync. On the IRT a special carrier board was installed, so that it was easy to exchange the boards. I would like to find (or just see) the IRT TC board...
  2. Here is a short description of the history of SQN; I couldn't figure out how to access it from the home page on their web site, but Google helped me: http://www.sqn.co.uk/history1.html And you are absolutely right about the interior of the SQN mixers: Every little bit of space is used...
  3. When I got into the broadcast business many years ago (though perhaps not as many as some of you...), I soon encountered the golden standard of broadcast mixers: The SQN series. I don't know how widely used they were in USA, but here in Europe everybody used them. They were small, good sounding and very, very robust and easy to use. A couple of years ago I was helping clearing out a storage, and there I got a SQN-3 mixer, and I was happy to get a little piece of broadcast history. At that point I had started collecting Nagra recorders, and I was immediately intrigued, when I found out that the SQN-3 was originally built as a mixer front end for the Nagra SN, and I started looking out for one. But I did not see any, until a month ago, when there was an auction at a british rental house, and suddenly it was there: A SQN-3 C in a Portabrace bag. No mention of Nagra, so I gather that it went under the radar of other collectors, but I fell in love with it, made a bid on it, won it and, after a great deal of work, got it shipped to Denmark... So here it is: The "original" SQN-3 C mixer, complete with the special "plug box", which a.o. contained a 10 Hz quartz reference. The background for it is, that when the Nagra SN was introduced, it was much awaited, but it turned out that the automatic gain control on the input made it unsuitable for proper film work. A bit later the SMR preamplifier came on the market, but it was rather limited in use. At that point BBC started looking for a way to make a mixer solution for documentary work, so that the SN could be used like its larger siblings, just with a much smaller weight. SQN (Sine Qua Non) had made a couple of other Nagra related devices, so they were commissioned to build a small mixer that could serve as a front end and control unit for a SN, complete with power supply and quartz controlled pilot reference. SQN came up with the SQN-3 C (C for "Control unit"), and the result was quite good. Actually so good, that they began producing a stand-alone mixer for general use (the SQN-3 M), and the rest is history. As you can see from the photos, it is a really handy little unit, and the SN is kept in a vice-like grip by the clamps, so there is no wiggling and shaking when the SN is attached. It is a very simple solution, but it was so elegantly and robustly built and designed, that it looks like they were made to be used together, and I find it quite amazing that in 1980 it was possible to make a mixer/recorder of just about the same size as two Sound Devices units stacked... And how does it sound? Well, I am looking forward to hear it, once that I get it fixed... It was working (without SN) for app. 5 min, after that the mixer became hot, the batteries drained and I switched it off. It seems that the power supply is shorted somewhere, and once I get the schematics I will start looking into it. Or be lazy and simply replace the board with a functioning board from a donor SQN-3; fortunately the upper boards (which contain the power supply) are similar enough to be altered to fit in both types. As it goes in Game of Thrones: Winter is coming, but in stead of hunting White Walkers, I will spend time chasing the fault, which is probably going to be exciting in itself. I really like the SQN-3 C, both as an amalgamation of two brilliantly designed units, and for it history. As the label on the back of the plug box indicates, it is literally from "The Old School"...
  4. You managed to squeeze in a VPR-5? I would love to have one, but the only one I have been able to track down, is with a seller, who is almost impossible to get an answer from...
  5. Once in a while you come across a recorder that you just have to love. The Nagra ISS is one of them, and this week I have been lucky enough to have had one in for a brush up. It has been standing on a shelf for many years, and it had some serious problems, mostly due to corroded switches and connectors. And a rotted pinch roller... The photos show it before cleanup, but even in this dusty state, it is still a fine little thing. As you can see, I got it with a SN tape threaded, complet with the same amount of dust as the rest of the recorder. After having had a bit of care (and an improvised pinch roller) it now runs smoothly, and the shuttle function is nothing short of brilliant; total control and smooth acceleration/deceleration. The capstan motor is a bit noisy, but apart from that, everything is OK. It was great finally to be able to hear the tape, and I was amazed by the sound quality of a 1/8" tape. It sounded like it was recorded yesterday, and the sound was clear and without noise. But it wasn´t recorded yesterday; judging after the content (an anti-nuclear power demonstartion) it was recorded app. 1978-1980! I wonder if any DAT recordings can be played back in 40 years...
  6. dela

    New to Nagra!!

    The pilot indicator will show if a pilot signal is present on the recording being played. If there is no pilot signal (which there isn´t, if you didn´t input a pilot signal...). it will not be activated. But it shouldn´t be a problem; you have absolutely no need for recording a pilot signal. It is only needed if you have a (very old) film camera connected.
  7. dela

    New to Nagra!!

    It seems to be in a pretty good shape; it will be hard to find a 55 years old piece of equipment that is in mint condition. But the scratches are part of the history... If you are used to seeing "normal" recorders, you will notice that one thing is missing: The flywheel, that normally is necessary for keeping the speed constant and avoid flutter. In the Nagras there is no flywheel, instead Kudelski went all in, and used a powerful DC motor that was electronically controlled by a light weight tacho disc and a sophisticated electronic control system. By keeping the rotating system very light, he avoided having the normal gyro-effect of the heavy flywheel, and that ensured that the Nagra was almost completely insensitive to movement in any direction when recording. You could walk, you could run, you could bump it around, all without variations of speed, and that was essential if you wanted to record on the move. The Nagra IV/4.2 systems were more advanced, but they were in many ways evolutions of the Nagra III, which was a truly revolutionary recorder...
  8. dela

    New to Nagra!!

    I have tried to find a photo or a schematic for a banana plug->RCA adapter, but unfortunately I could´t find any. Probably because it is quite simple... The closest I can get is to google "XLR RCA adapter schematic" and then show images. The line out/in banana plugs correspond to pin 2 and 3 on the XLR (in no particular order). I have 5 Nagra III´s but I must admit that they are not really being used for other than just testing. I like the III as it is an iconic and historically important machine, but my inner technician is more turned on by the newer recorders (especially the IS, SN and D). But I still collect/hoard any type... I have just noticed that I have accidentally posted a pair of exposed female nipples on the image of the table arranged Nagras. Sorry about that; the poster in the background actually belongs to my wife. But I guess that it is a first on this forum. I have attached an image of 3 swiss digital recorders, just to show that digital recorders can also be quite nice, even in a retro/vintage context...
  9. dela

    New to Nagra!!

    Here is a new(ish) image of my Nagra shelf and the Nagras a bit more on display; unfortunately I don´t have room for having them on a fixed display. But at least they are constantly visible and easy to get to... Once in a while they are out working too. In the shown setup you can actually see three generations of recorders working together.
  10. dela

    New to Nagra!!

    Congratulations with your first Nagra. I also started out with a Nagra III, and now I am running out of storage space on my shelves... I have a couple of comments about getting to use the III: 1) Power supply. Don't bother about looking for the original ATN supply, as the III (as are all the other Nagras) is very tolerant when it comes to external power. It isn't using much power, so virtually any 12V and upwards standard supply will work. BUT: Remember that Kudelski of unknown reasons chose to use positive ground, so you will have to ground the positive terminal of the supply and use the negative terminal as supply voltage (it is marked on the case beside the Tuchel connector). If you can´t find a Tuchel connector, a more common 270 degrees DIN connector will work, although it is a bit wobbly. 2) Banana plugs: The input and outputs are transformer balanced, so if you want to connect you Nagra using RCA connectors, you simply get 2 banana plugs, connect one to the shield of the RCA connector and the other to the center pin, and you are good to go.
  11. dela

    Nagra ARES C-PP - opinions?

    The Ares C-PP is a nice unit, but probably not really suited for practical use nowadays. It has a number of drawbacks: 1) It only record in MPEG I Layer II. And only 64, 128 or 192 kb/s 2) It records on PCMCIA cards (which are rare and with low capacity) 3) Import/export is only possible using proprietary Kudelski software, compatible "up to" XP For that price I would definitely buy it, but it is not ideal for practical use, unfortunately.
  12. I had some spare time today, so I thought I would also add some serial numbers for the Nagra III SN. collection... I have 5 fairly garden variety Nagra III recorders; if it is accurate that the first two digits show the production year, they are manufactured in 1962-1968. On the photos it can be seen how there are slight but noticeable differences. To sum up, the serial numbers for the recorders are: BH 62 1599 PHO 6813072 PHO 6710710 PHO 6710740 PHO 6711121 The main difference between the 1962 unit and the later versions is, that the pertinax (baked paper) boards are replaced by the much more stable fibreglass boards. A tiny difference is that the modulometer is a bit more robustly mounted than in the later units, where a more traditional meter is used. Could be caused by a change of supplier; the "new" type seems a bit simpler and thus cheaper. On all the Nagra III recorders (and actually all Nagra III recorders) Philips electrolytic capacitors are used. They tend to dry out over time, making it a good idea to replace them if the Nagra is to be actually used. But strangely enough I have never encountered a Nagra III that needed capacitors changed... The 1962 Nagra III is a bit special to me, because that was my first Nagra. A year after the next III came, then a Nagra IS, and from then on they just kept coming to me. I am sorry about the dirt on the 1962 unit; I hadn´t noticed that the semi-rotting bag had left such a mess...
  13. dela

    Question for the Nagra aficionados...

    Great machine! If you are not using the TC capabilities, you might completely disable the recording of TC, so that you don´t get any TC bleed into the audio. Normally it is not a problem, but if you can hear any TC at all, it is quite easy to disable it (i a non-destructive and reversible way). It is described in the service manual; tell me if you need a scan of it... I have not been polishing any lids myself yet, but a very knowledgeable german Nagra owner gave me a description of how to do it: "Also for clear lids I have the same results with "UNIPOL" and a very soft towel. This gives very good resultsHere is the link to Amazonhttps://www.amazon.de/Unipol-Metal-Polish-Pflegemittel-Metalle-1000ml/dp/B0056EW4IQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504464910&sr=8-1&keywords=unipol+polierpasteI use a PROXON device to do the jobhttps://www.amazon.de/Proxxon-Winkelpolierer-WP-E-28660/dp/B00JVT00JM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504464981&sr=8-1&keywords=proxxon+poliermaschine" It is an excerpt of a mail, in the rest he says that the machine polisher gives a much better result, but if a towel w. polishing creme is used, be sure to do it slowly and always keep moving. And never press... But if you take it to Trew Audio, I am sure that you will get all your questions answered...
  14. Actually there is a link between Nagra IS, me and Procol Harum: One of my DR Nagra IS recorders are from the collection of Anton Stormlund, who owns a large collection of Hammond organs. On a tour of Denmark, procol Harum (or rather: One of the incarnations of it) visited his exhibition and tested his instruments, including his huge theatre organ. It is indeed a small world...
  15. dela

    Hirose-powered Mac Mini.

    A smart mod, but keep in mind that the Mac mini expects a supply voltage of 12V DC with possibly a quite narrow tolerance. So be very careful, if you want to run it directly on a battery supply, where the voltage can vary considerably.
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