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Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell


JBond

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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...

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello there!,

I had to become a member after I stumbled on this site after I dug out the Nagra III that was given to me by a friend, long time ago.

I fall in at page 32 of this thread, where there is a rather elaborate analysis of the serial numbers...

I look on mine, and I see this: B5809.

Would it be possible that I have something like the No.9 Nagra III??!?

 

Now my unit is some sort of FrankenHack... it has been retrofitted with pilottone (and scars), had some switch added for oscillator tone, extra banana jacks added.

It runs, but it need belts, and rubber ring that's fitted on the servo wheel to drive the supply reel (rewind). Plus the rubber around the top plate is all hardened and brittle, and is coming apart. Not sure it has much historical value...

 

One Fine Day when I get free time, I'll take photos and post them here.

 

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Congratulations PiO, sound's like you have the world's earliest known Nagra III
Being such an early number (9) it could have been made in December of 1957 

I wonder in late 1957 or in 1958 what was Nagra's production like? What was the assembly time to produce the first Nagra III's.  Did they produce them one by one with only one or two people doing all the assembly or in an assembly line with each person doing a certain job?  If I had to bet,  I'd say each one was hand made by one or two people.
Wouldn't it be really great if someone from Nagra would post their thoughts on early production?

Thanks for posting this information PiO
Please post some pictures for the record.
 

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AH!

here are some photos I took this afternoon...

 

Large number of mysteries about this machine:

the "B" in the serial denotes a broadcast model, which is not supposed to have Pilot. It was obviously retrofitted sometime...

Pilottone indicator not at the regular place!

I have not yet found out what the "int/ext" switch is about... I guess it has to do with clapper or pilot, but where is the "ext" signal connected??

Buttons for source check not introduced before 1964. Oscillator button 1962.

Spacing of the headphones banana jacks is not consistent with 1958 model...

I don't know what the third banana is for on the headphones out...

Red switch is for oscillator tone.

flutter rollers are not conform to 1958 model.

I'm very intrigued by the "Made in France" insciption scratched and then painted over!

Etc, etc, etc.

 

 vue plongeante.jpg

B5809.jpg

droit.jpg

frontal.jpg

Made in France???.jpg

ouvert.jpg

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Made in France was probably from the guy that retrofitted it, sometime long after 1962 by clearly cannibalizing a pilot tone model that probably had a battery acid or some other large problem. Not sure if they would of specified the Broadcast model on the 9th unit because Nagra nor anyone else at the time ever thought there would be a pilot model. They did not have another model III to name at the time, they were all B's 

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This was a big feat for Stefan Kudelski and Nagra, just nine units made at this point, for the previous six years all previous models of Nagra recorders used Hand Crank motors and hand crank rewind. I would think that was a very long awaited and exciting time for Nagra at the end of 1957 producing the Nagra III
In 1967 Nagra Celebrated their 10,000 Nagra III
The two serial numbers I would like to see are 5801 and 58 10000. So as time goes on with this thread we just might see someone else stumble upon Jwsound and post the pictures of those two numbers. 

By posting about our Nagra III we have already learned that only about 100 1958 's were made not the 240 number that thought and stated by Nagra that's a big 140 unit difference. We found this information from A man from Belgium, Antoine Martens stumbled onto Jwsound and posted 681 shown below in August of 2017
So thank you very much PiO for adding the information you did.  Thank you Antoine, and Thank you BGAULLIER for your valuable input on Nagra III documentation and information that you provided. 

 

#681

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It took way too long for me to find the past Nagra III information for the above post , I have updated my index on page one. 

You can access the index from any page by hitting the back arrow.

 

The back arrow looks like this <<       
It’s in the page number section at the top and bottom of every page and looks like this <<    PREV    17    18    19    20   
Hit the back arrow <<    and it brings you to the index shown below . From there, one click on the blue post number brings you right to the post you wanted to see again. 
 

 

 42   Jeff’s movie list                                        307   Nixon Resigns  Picture                                       364   CIA the Second Recorder                                  455   Nagra II  Video                              
 146   Meet Jeff (Youtube)                                319 New The Nagra JBR  updated  Feb 2018       373 New The Nagra Story, updated  Feb 2018      478   The Third Covert recorde   
151   My Nagra VPR-5                                      325   My Nagra Source                                                400   The Nagra SN  (Copy )                                       479   The 1966 Covert recording

220   A different kind of Soundman                333   A Special Gift                                                       404    There’s only One, Nagra I                                 480   The Fourth Recorder

225   What I found out about the Nagra I       335   The Nagra DH Difference                                  405  Great Nagra Collection  Vienna Collection      482   Finally Fifth and Final Recorde
232   Conversation with Stefan Kudelski       337   The Yellow Recorder                                          422     An appropriate answer                                    430    What happened to - Serie Noir?

252   The First Nagra III                                    347   CIA issued Recorder                                          425     Early Nagra SN serial #’s                                 363   Dating & "New" Reverse Record

268   The Sony and the Telefunken                 790  GREAT Nagra III Collection by BGAULLIER        952 Earliest Known Nagra III  by PiO                        576   The Nagra IS Differences  by DELA 
906  New The Nagra SN Series - from Prototype to Production 1960 -1970 to 1999                     #27  Senator Mike Michaels interview                      681  1st 1959 Nagra III by Antonine 
922  Jwsound gets  Attention from Nagra Audio                                                                                   154 Marilyn and the 1960 Nagra III Video                  962  The Gold SN - Test       
 
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Your neighbor calls asking if you can help get her tractor running, You rush right over and this is what You find.

Would you wake her and help start her tractor?
Stand there and wait till she wakes up? 
Or 
Go back home and read JBond’s Nagra Stories Again, using the quick index?
So many questions. 

 

YQcjTaw.jpg

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Regarding Nagra III serial numbers, recently I came across two units:

IMG_E8017.JPG

 

First is late 1967 Nagra III with newer style modulometer. 

IMG_E8018.JPG

Serial number: PHO 67 11215

 

Second is 1964 Nagra III under the name "Telefunken". It was used by Bayerischer Rundfunk. Telefunken name was given for avoiding high import duties and taxes. At least that's what I've been told. 

The machine was modified by RBT (Rundfunk Betriebstechnik). B/A button was modified to show the strength of pilot signal on the modulometer. There is also a little pot for regulation of that signal. 

IMG_E8019.JPG

Serial number: NP 64 5164 H

 

And the comparision of the two:

IMG_E8021.JPG

You can see that "Telefunken" Nagra was also provided with Groß Tuchel mike input instead of regular XLR. This is typical in recorders used by West Germany TV broadcasters.

 

IMG_E8022.JPG

 

Inside:

3F7ABD0C-9FA8-4B85-9674-48145456E3FD.jpeg

Top: 1967

Bottom: 1964

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On 12/10/2016 at 3:12 AM, Lermontov said:

I thought that 67 means 1967. It sure is a true classic and deck top always looked more sophisticated to me than 4.2 or IV-S.

Your 1958 Nagra III looks brand new.

And please share a picture of that gold anodized SN. Pictures are part of what make this thread true interesting.

 

Lermontov,  Nice pictures, I went back and looked at your other posts, you are a passionate Nagra collector as I and as many others are.   Since you are the only one in almost 3 years that asked to see the one of a kind Gold anodized Sn that was built especially for Mr. Kudelski as a surprise. 

I thought I would share this Nagra moment in history with you and others, I don't think MK will mind. 
This story goes to show that Nagra employees were thinking of adding color to their famous Nagra SN recorder. They produced "one" SN in a gold color as a test to surprise Mr. Kudelski.  As the email reads he did not like it at all thus the reason why the color of the SN remained silver.
The picture at first glance just looks like a normal SN but then you see the contrast with the non-gold anodized parts, it is a very special picture of a very rare SN along with the short story.  I imagine they used many already made silver parts in this test. They did produce the anodized Gold SN reels I own a few, I may have five of them.  I'm not sure if they had the Gold reels already or they made just a few when they made this recorder but Gold metal SN reels do exist and they are very rare. You hardly ever see the gold reels in pictures.  The gold recorder from what I understand is only the one shown.  You can see the reverse contrast of my gold reels against the common silver SN in my picture below.  
Now, will see how long it takes for anyone wanting to see Mr. Kudelski's prototype cassette recorder that no one ever knew about.  Mr. Kudelski loved his life's work and loved experimenting on his own in his factory even though he no longer needed to,  as I have been told from my Nagra source 

Dear Mr. XXXXX
Thanks for the interest that you have to our device. As XXXXXXX answered, this prototype is not to sale because it is part of the family history.
I’also remembered of your pictures. As you are a Nagra lovers, I send you a picture of the "Gold color" SN test. For the short story, this test was conducted in secret without notifying my father and let him see the surprise…As the result, my father wasn’t not at all pleased with this proposal, so this is a reason why the SN is only in grey color!
Have a nice day
 
Best regards
Marguerite Kudelski
CmtngP9.jpg
 

3DzY89D.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, dela said:

The gold anodized reels were a.o. used

 

 

Thanks, Dela for that information.  I didn’t know they came with the test tapes, that may be why we don’t see too many of them. 

I have only seen red and green anodized labeled test / adjustment sets in the past.  Always wanted to have a set but they were always selling for a lot of money.  
The gold ones I have are just tape, I think, they came from Italy maybe they are unlabeled test/adjustment tapes,  never tried them. That would be something If I had them all along. I know they are full of tape, I didn't think adjustment tapes had that much tape on them? 

Can you just clarify what a.o. means. 

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The "amongst others" was just not to be too categorical about where the gold reels were used; they might be used elsewhere too.. Regarding the test tapes, the reels for them were engraved with the content ("Azimuth", "Speed" etc). I have my eyes set on a SN test tape kit, but unfortunately the seller is reluctant to name a price. But I know where it is, and I don't think that it will disappear anytime soon...

 

I have got quite a few reels of SN tape, but unfortunately some of the tape stock is in really bad condition. Other tapes are fine, and I am amazed about the sound quality. The recordings from app. 1980 sound brand new and in pristine quality, only the content gives away the age.

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1 hour ago, dela said:

The "amongst others" was just not to be too categorical about where the gold reels were used; they might be used elsewhere too.. Regarding the test tapes, the reels for them were engraved with the content ("Azimuth", "Speed" etc). I have my eyes set on a SN test tape kit, but unfortunately the seller is reluctant to name a price. But I know where it is, and I don't think that it will disappear anytime soon...

 

I have got quite a few reels of SN tape, but unfortunately some of the tape stock is in really bad condition. Other tapes are fine, and I am amazed about the sound quality. The recordings from app. 1980 sound brand new and in pristine quality, only the content gives away the age.

Lol, knowing nothing about this I thought A.O was a reference to American Optical as in ToddAO - being 'optical' why would they have done something for magnetic, silly me.

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I thought long and hard to try and figure what "a. o. used" meant, finally I said screw it, I looked stupid before, I’ll ask.  Never would have figured “amongst others”
 
Maybe I should try and add some random letters and periods to see if people are paying attention to what I write.
Cause coming right out with it clearly,  like,  anyone want to see a Gold SN or the SN prototype doesn’t work very well for me.😊

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5 hours ago, JBond said:

I thought long and hard to try and figure what a. o. used meant, finally I said screw it, I looked stupid before, I’ll ask.  Never would have figured “amongst others”
 
Maybe I should try and add some random letters and periods to see if people are paying attention to what I write.
Cause coming right out with it clearly like anyone want to see a Gold SN or the SN prototype doesn’t work very well for me.😊

   

     Dear  Sir, 

 

      I am a  61 years old  man.

         Compared to you (and Vienna)  I am a little Nagra and Stellavox collector. 

      I am fascinated by your collection  and specially by unknown spy recorders. 

      My english is poor and it' s difficult to read and understand all .

      A good french translation should be a pleasure but  I know it's a big job.

       What about  "nagra  fans" in your country ?

       Do they talk  each other and exchange what they know ?

 

        Best regards , 

 

           Michel 

               France

      

      

         

       

       

 

       

 

   

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I have conducted some tests. Here is what I have so far:

I have headphone signal on the top and bottom jacks. I have not yet found what the middle jack is for.

It plays back somewhat OK, but there is some low level modulated rumble in the the signal, like a Diesel engine. Corresponds to motor rotation. There is also some leakage of the oscillator (same frequency anyways) about -50dB. I'll have to check bypass capacitors in the playback amp. (and most everywhere I guess)

There is also some mechanical switching confusion: Tape Transport Control does not seem to switch off motor completely when in neutral position. I sometimes hear some sort of low moaning, and have to switch off the Function Selector. Also, when the Function Selector is on playback, motor will sometime not start when Tape Transport Control is engaged. Rewind is very weak, not surprising with the belts it has.

 

So I have ordered a set of belts on ebay. Since my machine has no historical value, I'll at least try to have it functionnal. I don't know if this is the place to talk shop about these machine's repairs. if not, can anybody point me to the appropriate section/group/forum to do so?

 

 

4 minutes ago, PiO said:

 

 

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Are you kidding no historic value ? Not sure why you say it has no historic value, you have the earliest known Nagra III. yeah, it shows some history its 61 years old. It has some battle scars and some up grades.  So what, it's still what it is the earliest known Nagra III to date. As long as it has that serial number it's worth much more than you think. You can spend the next 10 years or the rest of your life for that matter and never see another 1958 Nagra III that you can own.  

Once you change the belts you may see a big difference.  I saw a third jack somewhere and it was marked ground, not sure why it had two grounds if I find it again I will post a picture.  I think Glen Trew could answer any question you could ever have about a Nagra III mechanical issue. Where did you get it? Try and find out its history. At this point I would say a sound man in France owed the machine. A news reporter did not upgrade to a pilot model. 

 

 

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Well, I'm not a collector; the gear I own must be functionnal and serve me, otherwise I fix them or give them to friends or sell them. In the state it's in, I don't think my Nagra is worth a lot of money, so I might as well honor it and fix it back into service.

I am browsing now on the JWsound site for service clues, but will definitely be more active on this subject and sollicitate Glen Trew and others when I receive the belts. I have found what appears to be a service manual on ElektoTanya, but it is in Polish!!... I guess Mr Kudelski must have written it himself.

Thanks to this thread I have developed an interest in this long-forgotten machine that was sleeping in my basement!...

Since then I have also unearthed a Uher 1000, a Uher 4000, and have decided to get my Sony TC-854-4 up to snuff.

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