What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

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prince turbo lung
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What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by prince turbo lung » Sun Jan 23, 2005 6:06 am

Well i sold my 1/2" 8track otari....and i really miss tape :cry: anyway i have been using my daw and have been on the hunt for a 1/4" 2 track for mixdown and for tracking my own stuff ( 2 tracks! acoustic and voice!)...
are the nagra recorders a viable option? most are 7.5ips i know, how is the sound quality? build quality? do techs work on these? i love that they are portable! are there certain models that are better than others? or should i just keep an eye out for the usual suspects...studer, mci ampex etc?
its on like donkey kong!!!!

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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by I'm Painting Again » Sun Jan 23, 2005 7:46 am

Soundguy wrote :
NO machine except one will run at speed without external clock capstan control. If you want the sound of tape, you can free run like you described with a nagra so long as you have the crystal installed (which it more than likely will be). Turn the thing on, wait till it comes up to speed and you are good to go. Only problem is that biasing a nagra for tape popular with music studios will cost a FORTUNE as there are only a small handful of dudes in the US who can bias a nagra. when you buy a used nagra, you can be virtuallly guaranteed that it will be biased for a stock popular with dialogue recording and you wont want to track music on that stuff. 478 is not a cool stock for rock and roll. The upside is this wonderful thing called Nagra master eq, which is at the 15ips setting on the deck. Needs to be heard to be believed. You can probably find a nagra 4-s without timecode, now, sadly, for under $1k. All you'd have to do is slide the tracks back in protools and you'll be in synch, every time. Of couse, once you have a nagra you can find out about all kinds of other stuff, like the world class mic pre's that are an institution in the film biz, but nobody outside the industry knows about them. Or the limiter. hell. Nagras are quirky, but there is NOTHING built like a nagra.

Leave it to the swiss.
You can take a nagra to the bank for dialogue recording but thats not really the machine for recording rock and roll. Id record a classical gig on it in a second though.

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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by I'm Painting Again » Sun Jan 23, 2005 7:54 am

Your in Nashville..I,ve heard of people buying ampex440s there for 75$..though its the exact opposite of a nagra in terms of portability,i.e., its very unportable..the 440 might be the best value in tape decks right now..you will have to put a bunch more money into any deck you get now though..so be warned..

I would say just definitely just look out for the usual suspects and skip the nagra..chances are the nagra with the proper setup will be much more expensive..but there are some bonuses with the nagra as Dave has pointed out in the above quote..

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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by prince turbo lung » Sun Jan 23, 2005 1:28 pm

thanks... i have yet to see an ampexx 440 for that cheap! that would be great.
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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by soundguy » Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:53 pm

in regard to the nagra build quality, I know a mixer who was doing an interview in a helicopter, had a nagra sitting, running, on the bench, it fell out the open door, and landed on a beach. When they retrived it, it was still running. This apparently is a true story although a little hard to believe with the battery bay, Ie knocked the batteries out of my nagra chasing people down the street or down the side of a mountain, thats the one classic quirk with them, the battery bay usually needs a few pieces of sticky tape in there to hold the batteries in place when you are running around. Not the best choice for rock music though, best tape deck ever made though.

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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by psychicoctopus » Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:30 am

Armed with seven rounds of space doo-doo pistols

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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by soundguy » Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:32 am

making a recording or a museum?

everything has its place...


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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by Punkity » Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:00 am

I love my Nagra. I hate my Nagra. Not the thing if you want tape flavor, and they are quirky as hell, but DAMN they are so well made. Beautiful too. Besides, you can do all major repair work underwater with a butter knife.

Some are mono (the 4.2 series and I think the 3.something are too), so look out for that.

There is a Nagra service guy in Nashville. http://www.trewaudio.com/
Signage of the times.

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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by Matti » Tue Jan 25, 2005 6:35 pm

I did my ways in the film bussiness as an sound recordist for many years
and The NAGRA was the only way to go at the time. One of Nagras in my posession was overdriwen by a van full of camera trakcs and almost no harm done exept to the van driver. I know some mixers now still brefer Nagra
over more up to date methods -it?s a question of the whole post production chain to judge. Many times you don?t need timecode while shooting if POST isn?t going to use it. I brefer digital over analog because of the ease of
handling the material etc. and the luxury of editing at your home by nigths to prewent someones comments before the process finishes.
MATTI

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Re: What is the story on Nagra tape recorders?

Post by underthebigtree » Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:34 pm

Nagras are my absolute favorite for high impact field recording - I did an extensive 3 day gunfire recording session last year, using lots of great gear. The mono Nagra recording completely kicked the ass of all the Millenia mic pre-fed Pro Tools 96kHz stuff. The shots were punchy, compressed, and sound like the movies. Digital recordings of gunfire sound very poppy, and kinda poopy.

Same thing several years back in recording a building being blown up. All the digital recorders crapped out and sounded like ass. The Nagra version was beef city.

For music, though, I agree with the notion of an Ampex 440. I love mine to death.

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