keskiviikko 28. marraskuuta 2012

NAGRA Best professional audio recorders



Nagra is the trademark referring to any of the series of mostly battery-operated portable professional audio recorders produced by Kudelski SA, based in Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland.The machines were initially designed by Polish inventor Stefan Kudelski, and his company won numerous technical awards for their precision and reliability.Nagra means "will record" in Polish, the mother tongue of Kudelski.



Nagra recorders are identified by their model number, which indicates their technological generation and features:

NAGRA I

    NAGRA I - The very first prototype with clockwork motor and miniature tubes, appearing in 1951. Two were sold to Radio Genève. In 1952 the first customers, Radio Lausanne and Radio Geneva placed official orders for the NAGRA I. In may 1952, following the first international sound recording contest, some well-known reporters become interested in the NAGRA. Stefan Kudelski then obtains a firm order for six NAGRA 1’s from Radio Luxembourg.He leaves the EPUL where he was studying electrical engineering and devotes himself to the manufacture of his machines.
NAGRA II

    NAGRA II - The first production model, miniature tubes equipped, clockwork motor, appearing in 1953. Assembly of such equipment meets many obstacles. Parts ordered elsewhere often arrive late, or do not meet the required specifications and the customers are always in a hurry. As a result, as many parts as possible for the new NAGRA II were to be made by the company. Production of the NAGRA II began in 1953.
NAGRA II CI  1955

 The NAGRA II is quite sophisticated, driven by a Grammophon spring from language laboratory equipment , and with excellent subjective and audio quality. The recorder is extremely sturdy; No advertising is needed, every day new reporters become acquainted with the machine and immediately try to buy one.The manufacturing was done at a house in Prilly (West of Lausanne) where a small staff were employed by the Kudelski company, listed in the trade register of the city of Lausanne in 1953.Improvements are in the making; towards the end of 1954 a printed circuit board is mounted in the NAGRA II and the microphone jacks are standardized. By the end of 1953 eleven employees work full-time. By 1956 this number has risen to 17.Although the NAGRA II has well served its purpose, it must be improved still further. A much better machine, with exceptional specifications in all respects has to be created; in 1957 this is done.

    NAGRA II CI - The second generation fitted with printed circuit boards replacing chassis wiring, appearing in 1955.

Nagra III


    Nagra III NP - The first Nagra usable for film work, appearing in 1961. Monaural, Neopilot sync


The NAGRA III was becoming a standard in many different industries. The system “PILOTTON” for lip synchronization of audio recordings with moving pictures, made good results possible, but a better system was needed. Stefan Kudelski invented the “NEOPILOT” system, and the first NAGRA III machines equipped with the system were sold in 1962.

Success of the NAGRA III was huge, and delivery times were between 6 and 8 months. Production has to be increased continually. In 1964 office space and manufacturing space is rented in Renens, then in 1965 in Malley. At the end of the year a factory in Neuchâtel is purchased. A vast piece of ground is purchased in Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne, for the construction of a dedicated factory. In 1967 the 10’000th NAGRA III is celebrated.


    Nagra IV-L - Monaural, Neopilot sync, featuring two microphone inputs and a built in audio limiter. Introduced in 1968.
Nagra 4.2

    Nagra 4.2 - Same as the IV-L, but added powering for microphones and built-in equalizers. Introduced in 1972. In the '80s one could upgrade a 4.2 to record SMPTE timecode.In 1970 the NAGRA 4.2 was introduced to replace the NAGRA IV. It once again offered improvements on its predecessor with new features and better audio performance.
In 1971 the NAGRA SNN is introduced. Although developed as a prototype some 10 years previously, this miniature masterpiece did not see production until now. Using cassette width ⅛ th inch tape, they were predecessor to the walkman introduced in the late '70s. Designed as a pocket recorder for cinema actors to carry, it was equipped wth a pilot system for studio synchronization.In the same year the IV-S was introduced. A Stereo machine destined towards the music industry, allowing musical performances to be captured in Stereo in a portable format. Using a revolutionary frequency modulated central track for commentary or pilot information. Th IV-S was in principal a stereophonic version of the monophonic 4.2.1972 saw the adaptation of the popular IV-S into the IV-SJ. This was an instrumentation recorder for noise and vibration measurement and other scientific audio analysis organisations. Equipped with special microphone pre-amplifiers, modulometer and stepped input attenuators the IV-SJ is used for a multitude of different environmental and industrialization applications. Customers for the IV-SJ varied from NASA to Rolls Royce and Greenpeace.Tthe NAGRA SNS was also introduced in the same year. This half-track slow speed version of the SNN became a standard tool with law enforcement agencies around the globe. The SN series were so compact, that rewinding the tape had to be done with the aid of a small mechanical crank handle. On the SNS the tape could be "turned over" to give twice the recording time.

Nagra IV-S

Nagra IV-STC

    Nagra IV-S - Stereo Nagra, recording two-track stereo. It had dual level pots, limiters, and equalizer presets. It was introduced in 1971. It originally employed a 14kHz sync signal that is not compatible with the earlier Neopilot sync. This signal is recorded employing FM modulation on a third or center track that could simultaneously be employed as an additional but lower quality "cue" track.
    Nagra IV-STC - In 1984 Nagra introduced timecode support. With timecode support an IV-S became an STC with a pull out tray.

Nagra IV-STC internal

    Nagra IV-SJ - Stereo Nagra for instrumentation and logging. Pots are replaced with switches to set gain in precise steps, no limiters, and when present, the microphone inputs are for high-voltage unbalanced instrumentation mics rather than low impedance balanced with T-power and phantom.
NAGRA E

  NAGRA E - A simple, single-speed (7.5ips), mono recorder aimed at radio reporters was introduced in 1976.

In addition to these field recorders, Kudelski S.A. produced a studio recorder called the Nagra T-Audio, designed mainly for use in telecines for transferring dailies. All of the above machines use 1/4" tape.

The NAGRA E is a portable mono full track 6.35-mm (¼ inch) analogue audio tape recorder designed for radio reporters. This recorder has a single speed of 19 cm/s (7-½ ips), NAB or CCIR standard. One mic. input, switchable to dynamic, T condenser or balanced line. One voltage or current line input convertible to a second mic. input. Floating 4.4 V output.

The NAGRA E contains separate recording and playback heads for confidence playback, built-in monitoring speaker switchable to source or tape, a reference generator, and a modulometer. The NAGRA E is particularly sturdy and simple to operate and service. It is designed to be adjustable and serviceable in the field, thanks to its simple circuit design, component markings and the enclosed circuit diagram indicating test points and voltages. Furthermore, the meter can be used as a voltmeter with the internally provided test probe. A number of electronic components are enclosed for easy servicing.The machine may also be powered from either an external supply (ATN-4) or internal batteries


Nagra SNS

The NAGRA E is a portable mono full track 6.35-mm (¼ inch) analogue audio tape recorder designed for radio reporters. This recorder has a single speed of 19 cm/s (7-½ ips), NAB or CCIR standard. One mic. input, switchable to dynamic, T condenser or balanced line. One voltage or current line input convertible to a second mic. input. Floating 4.4 V output.

The NAGRA E contains separate recording and playback heads for confidence playback, built-in monitoring speaker switchable to source or tape, a reference generator, and a modulometer. The NAGRA E is particularly sturdy and simple to operate and service. It is designed to be adjustable and serviceable in the field, thanks to its simple circuit design, component markings and the enclosed circuit diagram indicating test points and voltages. Furthermore, the meter can be used as a voltmeter with the internally provided test probe. A number of electronic components are enclosed for easy servicing.The machine may also be powered from either an external supply (ATN-4) or internal batteries

he NAGRA SN recorder, in spite of its small size, produces exceptionally high quality recordings. It is much appreciated by reporters, who can record broadcast quality tapes and, at the same time, be more mobile.

The SN solves film-makers' synchronous sound recording problems: it can easily be concealed during filming and strict synchronization is guaranteed. For scientific research, the SN can also record data while on board a propelled craft.Reels of narrow 1/8" (3.81 mm) tape are used, and tape drive is by a slaved capstan motor. Rewind is manual but rapid thanks to an overdrive system, using a small folding crank handle. There are two versions of the recorder:

NAGRA SNN full-track recording,
3 3/4 and 1 7/8 in./sec. (9.5 and 4.75 cm/s)

NAGRA SNS half-track recording,
1 7/8 and 15/16 in./sec. (4.75 and 2.38 cm/s)
 
The tape-deck is milled from a solid piece of metal and the case and lid are of drawn light metal alloy. All electronic circuits are highly sophisticated and include a voltage converter with variable ratio, and an automatic level control. A special miniature omnidirectional capacitor microphone can be used and it is also possible to work with a conventional dynamic microphone. A small meter indicates the compression rate of the automatic level control or the battery voltage. Headphones can also serve as an output monitor (confidence playback).



The SN range comprises the following models:

    Nagra SNN - monaural, full-track, main tape speed of 3-3/4 ips.

In 1971 the NAGRA SNN is introduced. Although developed as a prototype some 10 years previously, this miniature masterpiece did not see production until now. Using cassette width ⅛ th inch tape, they were predecessor to the walkman introduced in the late '70s. Designed as a pocket recorder for cinema actors to carry, it was equipped wth a pilot system for studio synchronization.

Nagra SNS 
 
  Nagra SNS - monaural, half-track, main tape speed of 15/16 ips (multiplying the recording length at the expense of the dynamic range and high-frequency response).

    Nagra SNST - stereo, intended more for security service "two microphones to record two different people talking" usage than hi-fi usage due to technical limitations.
    Nagra SNST-R - full hi-fi stereo.

The Nagra IV-STC was the standard for film and classical music recording until the mid-1990s, when DAT recorders became reliable enough to use in the field. In response, Kudelski produced two digital recorders to compete:

    Nagra D - 4-channel PCM digital audio recorder. Instead of recording to the DAT format, the D used a digital reel-to-reel format using a helical scan head and 1/4" tape on 5" and 7" reels. The tape is identical to that used on Digital Audio Stationary Head machines such as the Sony PCM-3202 and Mitsubishi X-86 series. The unique format, combined with its heavy weight, made it somewhat unpopular with many production sound mixers, but year after year many great-sounding films were completed with Nagra Ds (and the newer 24-bit/96 kHz Nagra DII). Despite some popularity in the late 1990s, the Nagra D and DII are a rarity on U.S. films as of the mid-2000s.

Nagra Vl

Nagra V

    Nagra V - 2-channel PCM digital audio recorder, 24-bit/96 kHz, removable hard drive based recorder with timecode support. Has the additional benefits of being very light, and producing files easily processed by non-linear editing systems. Originally released with the Orb removable hard drive system, which proved to be unreliable. The drive system was replaced by Agate Technology's DN-Boy system in October 2002. Unlike the analog Nagras, the Nagra V digital recorders have not been adopted as readily for the motion picture and TV industries, which mostly use competing digital multi-track machines such as the Aaton Cantar, the Fostex PD-6, the Sound Devices 744T and the Zaxcom Deva (as of the mid-2000s). In 2008, Nagra has introduced a new model, the Nagra VI, a portable 6-track digital recorder touted as "the natural successor to the NAGRA-D / DII multi-track digital recorders."

Nagra III & SELA mixer

(This article originally appeared in the June 1966 issue of American Cinematographer)

Stefan Kudelski was born in Warsaw, Poland, on the 27th of February, 1929. His family had an engineering background, and included, in particular, several technical college professors.

His father studied as an architect, but his principle field of work was in the chemical industry. His mother is an anthropologist.

In 1939, the Kudelski family fled in front of the Germans, and regrouped itself in Hungary. From there, they passed on to France, where Stefan Kudelski continued his education. After the German invasion of France, the Kudelski family lived in the Vichy Zone. Stefan Kudelski's father, being an officer on active service, organized a resistance network, which fell in 1943, but the Kudelski family managed to escape to Switzerland. Both his father and his mother were honored for their activities during this period with the French Croix de Guerre.

Established in Geneva, Young Kudelski continued his studies at the Ecole Florimont. He became interested in electronics before he had finished his secondary schooling there. He built up a small laboratory at home and worked on the problems of generating extra high tensions by means of high frequency oscillators, with a view to electrostatic dust extraction from the air. After that, he made an instrument for measuring the accuracy of watches, based on a counter with a crystal controlled gate. These experiments were in the nature of an apprenticeship and, although he took out several patents, no commercial exploitation was made.

In 1948 he started studying at the Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, in the Physical Engineering faculty. As the electronics section of the faculty was not sufficiently developed at this time, he continued to work in his own laboratory, as well as doing his general studies at college.

About this time, the first magnetic recorders were put on the market. During the war, the Germans made a few tape recorders, but they were generally unknown to all but a few, but the principle was established in the 19th century. Stefan Kudelski immediately realized the potential of using the memory incorporated in a magnetic tape for the automatic control of machine tools, but the science of magnetic recording was still in its infancy and he decided that it would be better to familiarize himself with all the aspects of tape recording before specializing in sophisticated systems.

To this end, he made several tape recorders, and he saw that there would be a ready market amongst radio stations for a small portable tape recorder working off self-contained batteries, and such a recorder was a practical proposition. In this idea, he foresaw that it could not only be an exercise, but a means to earn a little cash to pay for his studies, and to form a foundation for his future work. The Kudelski family, of course, lost their entire fortune during the War.

And so the first commercial tape recorder was made in 1950. Its dimensions were 5"x7"x12" and weighed 11 lbs. It was called the Nagra. The motive power for the tape transport was a spring motor of the type used for portable phonographs of the era. The amplifiers used battery powered tubes fed from A and B dry batteries. By modern standards, the quality of sound obtained from the recorder was poor, but the radio stations of the day found it acceptable. The worst fault was the flutter in tape speed caused by the centrifugal motor governor. In 1953, the model was improved by incorporating mechanical filters to smooth out these variations in tape speed. This was the birth of the Nagra II, which aroused the interest of the movie industry. One of the first full length feature films to use the Nagra during shooting was ”Black Orpheus”.

Stefan Kudelski examined several systems for synchronizing the camera with the tape recorder. One such system worked from a signal generated by the tape recorder which then slaved a rotary converter feeding a synchronous motor on the camera. This method had disadvantages, being wasteful of power. At that time, power transistors were not sufficiently developed to allow the elimination of the rotary converter. The method finally adopted, as have others, is the reverse of this method. The camera generates a signal which is recorded on the same tape as the sound, thereby reducing the power consumption enormously.

From 1956, he researched into the possibility of a self-contained tape recorder without a centrifugal speed governor, this latter causing endless trouble with the clockwork drive. This resulted in the Nagra III, which was launched in 1958. The success of this model was enormous, and enabled the Kudelski organization to develop from a specialized laboratory to a true industrial establishment.

At the present moment, he is developing smaller and lighter versions of the Nagra, and he is trying to achieve the highest possible operational reliability, using techniques previously employed only for military equipment. This accent on reliability is aimed to eliminate as much as possible of the servicing of professional tape recorders.

Stefan Kudelski is married to a Doctor of Medicine, and they have three children, a boy of 6 and two girls of 4 and 1.

He takes a keen interest in jazz and classical music, photography, and does some 16 mm cinematography. He likes to spend odd moments skiing but, above all, he likes water sports, including skin diving.

For transport he uses a twin engine Cessna, being an Instrument Rated Pilot. He bought this aircraft in the U.S. and flew it across the Atlantic with the help of another pilot, via Newfoundland, Azores and Portugal.

Such is the stranger-than-fiction story behind the remarkable Nagra recorder and the remarkable man who conceived it — the same man who walked modestly to the platform on the evening of April 18, 1966 to receive his tangible symbol of the highest recognition the motion picture industry can bestow.

In addition to receiving an Oscar Plaque from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Stefan Kudelski, while in Hollywood, was entertained at a luncheon of sound directors and sound engineers of the motion picture and television industries.

During this luncheon, Kudelski explained, in some detail, the evolution that is now taking place in his manufacture of recording equipment, His long-range objective is to provide a recorder which will run for five years without service or trouble.

This program is underway in the recorders that are now being delivered. It includes an increasing use of silicon transistors, tantalum condensers, and the elimination of all belts. The recorders now being delivered to include a larger percentage of silicon transistors. The current model NTBH and NTPH have the same tape deck and controls as in the past. These instruments will be followed by the Nagra 3D Non-Sync and 3L Sync Recorders. These titles will be used for the recorders which include all of the advanced features.

During his discussion, Mr. Kudelski pointed out that the steps that he is taking do not obsolete the current equipment's and, that from general performance standpoint, the customer will never know the difference.

On a still longer range basis. Mr. Kudelski described the new IS Recorder, which is even now in the start of manufacture. The IS Recorder will incorporate all of the long life and reliability factors which are being incorporated in the Nagra 3D and Nagra 3L, plus a new motor and a simplified control system. The new motor is driven by a closed loop servo system, somewhat similar to the earlier recorders. However, its new mechanical construction, greater power, and lower starting inertia, should provide a better tape transport than any other equipment that has ever been manufactured. The new IS will also have a modernized version of automatic gain control. Instruments of this type will also include all the features that are necessary for complete automation. Models will include 1/4" stereo or multitrack 1/2" tape handling.

During the discussion Mr. Kudelski indicated that there is going to be a continuing evolution and continuing improvements in his recording equipment. This will, in time, include a two pound recorder.

In closing, Mr. Kudelski pointed out that people who have need for new automobiles do not wait for next year's model. As the improvements do not justify the delay, he expects to see a similar trend in recording equipment, which should not block the immediate sales of equipment's now being offered.

(Source: Film Sound) Link :The Academy Award-winning NAGRA RECORDER

1 kommentti:

  1. Side step to 1" video: https://sites.google.com/site/ampexnagra/ This is the finest recorder i ever have seen!

    VastaaPoista

Huomaa: vain tämän blogin jäsen voi lisätä kommentin.