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Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell


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34 minutes ago, MarkC said:

Could one of these Stellavox tape counters work on a Nagra IV-S? Can anyone suggest an alternate option? 







You can't mess up a Classic IV-S with screwing that counter to the deck. Well, you can, but should you?

Can I ask what you use the IV-S for?

Do you know the Nagra counter is settable? 

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Hi JBond,


I use the iv-s for music recording. The Nagramaster is very useful for me and the sound is heaven. I am curious as to whether the wider heads would suit my purposes better, but I am content.


I was not aware the counter was settable, or should I say that it never occurred to me. Thanks for the tip!






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Music recording. You have to be sure what the Nagramaster is doing to the high frequencies.


Personally I was never sure how the Nagramaster setting related to my CCIR machine ... certainly it's a setting on its own so no matter, but am I right in thinking it's based on NAB standards transposed?

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To The Immoral Mr Teas, evidently you have answered my issue regarding my most recent work, the higher frequencies do tend to be emphasised, however this is ideal considering the majority of music comes from the double bass.

I am privileged to have this IV-S. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not to hijack the thread, but I have some questions/observations regarding the lids and hardware that fixed them to the bodies (hinges/locking mechanisms). 


I recently got a 4.2 and an STC. Both have 7" reel adapters, but the previous owner put Velcro on the lids, and now they're pretty grose. I'm trying to find new lids which is already difficult. But now I am encountering the issue of compatible hardware and mounting holes. To understand what I mean, take a look at these:


NOS lid I picked up yesterday at Wilcox Sound:image.jpegimage.jpegimage.jpeg

The front of the lid has two center screw holes and individual holes on each side. The back has three holes spaced evenly apart for hinges. 



This STC has two screw holes in the front for the lock, and two sets of two holes in the back for the hinges. 



This 4.2 has two centered holes and single holes along the sides of the front for its locking mechanism, and two sets of two holes in the back for the hinges. 


This III has the same locking mechanism in the front as the 4.2, but an entirely different hinge system. 


This IV-E has the same setup as the STC but the lock is red to match the machines finish. 


This IV-B has a totaly different locking mechanism, but still two-hole hinges. And I have an IV-L (not pictured) with the same mechanisms as the B. 


Given the diversity of the different systems, I'll wager that this is going to be a more difficult venture than I had initially thought!


If anyone has any experience with these matters, I'd love to hear your stories on the subject (and if you have a fitting lid that you're willing to part with, please PM me!). 

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Jon, that new old stock lid, looks like an aftermarket large reel Nagra III lid.  Unless I do not see it right. 
With the four holes across the front, it looks like the lid you show is for a Nagra III. 

There are two types of hinges for the IV,  Nonremovable lid, and the removable lid. 
Depending on what hinges you have they both should fit the lid.
But I can't identify the lid you show in this picture. Nagra did not make a completely flat across the top lid that I know of. Is that lid the same as the Velcro lid? 
The only lid I know that has the holes you show is for a Nagra III
The original lid with the velcro can be wet sanded and buffed to a high gloss with plastic polish. 

Although after looking at your pictures again, I have never seen a 4.2 with a Nagra III latch system.
I guess if you look long enough you see everything.  
That is not an original Nagra set up for a 4.2 Someone drilled the holes in the 4.2 and added a Nagra III large reel lid to a 4.2

Sorry about that,  not what you want to hear when you just buy a Nagra. I can't believe I just saw that. 
There is another way to look at it; you have a rare Nagra III crossover model that skipped over the IVL






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On 9/25/2017 at 8:55 AM, MarkC said:

Was the release of the Nagra Stereo recorder anything like the anticipation some people have for the next new Apple product back then?

Mark C

Yes, when I was waiting for my used Nagra IVS that I just bought to be delivered. It was not as exciting as the first iPhone back in 2008. I don't think too many people are all excited about the new iPhone today at 1,000.00. 

The professionals sound-men on this site are not going to tell you they were all giddy and excited when they bought their first Nagra IVS,  even though they were.  

Another way to ask the question is,

Does anyone remember how it was to first use the Nagra IVS?

From what I recall,  I remember reading Jeff said he liked his 4.2 better.  I could be wrong. 


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      Nagra in Europe did
      Something similar with their “Nagra Master"
     curve. Both were for 38cm/sec only. They
may be considered additional to the normal
NAB and CCIR curves, so they may be
   compensated by circuitry external to a reproducing tape machine. They both emphasised
frequencies in the range from 1kHz to 8kHz by about 6dB, leaving lower frequencies
   (which corresponded with louder subject matter)
  and higher frequencies (where HF
distortion set in) unemphasised.
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I was far from the first mixer to use a IV-S, but yes I did miss my 4.2 terribly (could not afford to keep both in those days).  I would never have gone with the IV-S at all except that my commercial, corporate and doco clients began insisting on using center track time code (via various systems including Coherent Communications outboard TC generator).  Somewhere in this thread I'm sure someone elucidates the diffs between the IV-S and a 4.2 for a meat-and-potatoes working location dialog soundie--they were many.  I bugged Nagra at every trade show I went to to add many of those features of the 4.2 we missed to a new model IV-S.....to no avail.  Missed opportunity.

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I know that my 4.2 and STC are heavily modded. These are a pair of the Dan Dugan hot rodded Nagras. So it doesn't surprise me that the lid is a frankenstein. Many other aspects of these are different from how they came stock, which is kinda why I got them in the first place. 


I love this thread though, learning all kinds of great stuff!

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Hello, my name is Onno and i live in holland. I collect nagra and stellavox for several years and have a lot of different nagras. I have also a lot of parts for nagra. Mostly new and a lot of parts for the sn machines. My latest recorder is this one. I can not find much about it perhaps someone here has one and can tell me more about this machine. Gr from onno in holland. 


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Hello, onno


Thank you for posting. You have  a very rare and desirable unit there, I read somewhere only 150 were made. I always wanted one of those but never had the opportunity.  There was a nice manual on eBay not too long ago. 

Please post some more pictures of your collection if you would.  I'll put it in the index on page one as the Onno Collection. 

Thanks again





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Hi all.  

I am now a Nagra owner, my Nagra E arrived yesterday.  Is an ex-Israeli radio station unit, pretty well used with plenty of small scratches etc, definitely not a mint one !  The usual Red color. But I am very happy that it still works perfectly, tested playback & record, all good. 

I must say, WOW, the build quality of these Nagra units is fantastic !  A bit better than my Uher decks !  

I will post pics of it soon.

Cheers, Chris.


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On 28/9/2017 at 8:21 AM, onno said:

Chris thanks will do that in the weekend thanks. The  manuals i have of the TRVR. 



Yes, it is a fun fact, that the legendary SQN-3 was actually made to be used with a SN...


Regarding the TRVR, it was made for voice logging in. f.ex. flight control centers and radio stations, it was also used for surveillance. The only one I have heard of used in Denmark was used for debriefing airline pilots about meteorological data. It could play and record with an OK sound quality even with very low speed, and the quite advanced control system (borrowed from the TI) meant it could be used in automated setups.


It was a niche recorder, but I definitely think that a lot more than 100 TRVRs were made. I think that the problem with finding them is that they never were "personal" machines, they were just part of an installation in a government/company setup. They were not used by people who had any interest in audio or sound quality, so when the installation was scrapped, very few felt the urge to save the recorders. Which is a shame, because they were quite advanced machines...


I would also like to have one, but each time I have seen one, it has been in a really bad condition. I hope that one day I will be lucky, but you never know. A couple of months ago the Nagra JBR playback machine (PS-1) was hard to get, but within the last month 3-4 has been on eBay for a reasonable price. So perhaps there will also be a TRVR surge sometime...

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Hi. Really liking my Nagra E. Have only done a few test recordings with it yet, and it sounds great. The tape transport on these machines is superb. 

The serial number is 0202200. Any idea how many Nagra E models were made ?

I have attached a carry strap to it, a standard guitar shoulder strap works perfectly.

I have been testing it with a Rode NTG4+ mic.




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What I would really like to know, who is that girl with you in your picture? My picture shows I'm lost in some dark alley while you're having fun with a hot girl. 
Just kidding, I know that's an Uher pamphlet.

 So this is your first Nagra,  Its nice isn't it. That is how you feel when you first get a Nagra.  The Nagra E is a very nice must have for any collector. 
Do you know what the E stands for?  Now you have to look for 4.2 movie recorder.  
Your unit does not look all beat up, It looks good. If you get a red permanent fine tip marker you can just touch some of those nicks with the tip of the marker; it will make the nicked aluminum disappear. Don't do it too much,  just touch it with the marker to the bright aluminum only be careful you only touch the bright aluminum and not the red otherwise it will show. 
Did you open it up and see if the tool kit is still inside? It's not a big deal if it's not. It's a wiring diagram folded up with a few parts inside, resistors, etc. 

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Ha, cool about the UHER ad !  I should perhaps update it to a Nagra one now..

Yes, I know the E stands for Economy. I think it was nearly half the price of a regular 4.2 model, but still pretty expensive, certainly not a consumer level item. Nagra never made any cheap decks !

The tool kit is missing, I think they are quite often missing in these decks.

I forgot to mention, the deck came with a tape on it, with what I presume is a radio interview, probably the last one it was used for. But is from an Israeli radio station, so is in Jewish, I cannot understand it !  There are various sections of tape spliced together. I will keep it in my collection. 


By the way, does anyone have a user manual in English for the Nagra E ?

I can only find a German copy. I would like to know all about the various internal link settings on the main PCB inside. 


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The Nagra E might be less expensive than the 4.2/IV-recorders, but it is certainly not a "cheap" recorder. The materials are as good as in the larger machines, and the price was primarily reached by removing features not deemed absolutely necessary, and by mercilessly removing all non-essential things (f.ex. the rubber gasket around the lid) and simplifying the circuitry. So the core recorder is presumably as reliable as the larger siblings.


Actually the E is the result of a quite modern approach, namely that the price of buying a device is one thing, but keeping it running for years is also a part of the "price" (TCO, Total Cost of Ownership). And, not least, that to make it work in the places where it was meant to be used (in developing countries or other locations without a really good acces to skilled technicians), you had to make an effort to make it very easily serviceable. Not only was there a component kit inside the recorder, but you could also make measurements without a voltmeter, and the main circuit board is very neatly laid out with very informative printing. Even the service manual is different: It is not only containing the raw service information, but it also explains a lot of the basic principles for the circuits in the recorder, making it almost a general tape recorder tutorial. So the E design was "sustainable" 30 years before the term became widely used...


I have the service manual for the E, and if you send me a message with your mail address, I will send it to you (it is too large to put here, so it will be sent by wetransfer.com). I "only" have the E user manual in original paper form, but if I have the time, I will scan it in the weekend.


And regarding the tape on your Nagra E: It is always really exciting to get tapes along the recorders, and I have found all sorts of strange & interesting things. F.ex. a live recording of a boat trip on the Rhine (complete with ambience recordings from the cafeteria, where german schlager Hammond-organ hits are played to a relatively indifferent audience). On a IV-S TC from Mali, Africa I found a recording of a very (very, very) thorough technial test and then there is of course the quirky test tapes, that sellers has made (I got a very touching rendition of old 60´ies hits on a recorder I bought off a foot therapist/Tesla coil designer/bird sound recorder).




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What a fascinating story Dela. TCO is a great acronym, especially for my car. Built for european climate and disastrously unreliable in Australia.


This tool kit inside the Nagra is quirky? How many pieces were in it?


Is the E smaller than the IVs and 4.2s? Was it a competitor to the Stellavox?


Apologies for diverting this discussion but I have a question regarding this accessory QSEF. 


I am comparing the quality to the QSCE cable, which is great, but for some reason the sound is degraded using the QSEF. Could someone help me here, I was expecting the QSEF to sound better.


Thank you all in advance



Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 9.03.06 pm.png

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The Nagra E is exactly the same size as the IV/4.2 series, which is probably part of the reason they could manufacture it for at low(er) price: They could use the tools and materials used in the more expensive machines, and in that way don´t have large start up costs. But however nice the E was, the Stellavox recorders were more in the IV/4.2-class; I would guess that the IS would be more a Kudelski version of the Stellavox (and probably a more stable recorder). I don´t know the price point of either the Stellavox SP-7/SP-8 compared to the IS?


I actually don´t think that there was a toolkit as such in the E, but there was a kit consisting of the most used components, as well as the test leads for the voltmeter-use of the modulo meter. But still very convenient...


Regarding the sound quality of the QSEF, I would think that if your current signal source is properly impedance matched with the unbalanced input of the IV-S, everything should be optimal (if you don´t use long cables, that can pick up noise). In that case the QSEF will not improve the sound; it will merely be another step for the signal to pass, without doing anything good. I can´t remember if the QSEF is transformer based or it is a differential amplifier; if it is an active circuit, it is not impossible that there is a fault in it, but if it is transformer based, it probably simply is the transformers affecting the sound.

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