Nagra devices

i did some experiment this morning :test_tube:

nagra IS + norns


Loopholder (for max 540cm)
The pulleys are with ball bearings, so the tape is not sliding


Ha! That’s really clever. I’d love to own a Nagra one day, but I doubt I’ll come across a decent one at a decent price. Regarding the bearings / rollers, have you seen Hainbach’s Destruction Loops videos? It seems like good quality tape can really take a beating. I’m not saying the rollers are overkill, but it seems like one could probably be fine using a static pulley made from a really smooth material. Either way, this is cool.

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Running the tape over 16 turn’s adds up. My idea was to keep the “friction” on the heads low. They are made out of very soft iron. There more tension there more wear off. As well I wouldn’t use any abrasive material (for disintegration Loops) like sandpaper as particles move with the tape. Maybe I am too careful, but in precision mechanics, you get very aware about what fine dust from grinding can do to metal over time.


Oh yeah! Those are all good points. I didn’t even think about how the additional contact & friction with pulleys would cause extra drag on the motor. I am going to chalk up my outburst to being tired and distracted this morning. Otherwise – I’ll have to give back my Mechanical Engineering degree :frowning:

Would you like to trade it with the nagra ? :slight_smile:
I am probably too careful with this piece of hardware.

Anyone know how to turn off the pilot indicator ?
The flicker noise is sometimes too loud.
Can i just remove the “crystal jumper plug” or temporary desolder it ?

Btw: I got the idea from here (sorry for the off-topic):

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anyone with a Nagra IV-L ?
Hainbach just posted a video on youtube with his new 4-L which has a speed input. He is using directly with his modular, feeding -5 to 7V.
I am a bit to sissi to just plug external -5 to + 7V source to the Nagra without knowing what I am doing… :grimacing:


I’ve got a Nagra 3 so no variable joy for me. But I would take his note seriously about the possibility of messing up the motor. I’d rather keep my Nagra as stable as possible, and mod a cheaper player for CV control.

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yeah…I really like my Nagra… I am not so worried about the motor, it’s more the electronic circuit that scares me.

edit: just got an inside picture of the speed varier QSV made for the Nagra IV-L:

anyone with some electric skills knows what the polystyrene capacitor are good for ?
as well what this round big thing is on the right side ?


Strangest Nagra device: this or the Nagra Fax?

I’d never heard of the Nagra JBR Cassette Recorder

“Not as famous as the SN but just as efficient and popular in special services.”


Hi there! I’ve just received a nagra iii and am having an issue with a line level noise from the line level output of the device. I am using banana patch cables from a company called Pomona Patch from the line out to my RME UC interface. The seller stated that he’d never had a problem with it at his apartment but depending where he was sometimes he couldn’t get a clean signal out of it. Any ideas? Please help!

What is your Playback level set to?
What level does 1kHz tone from the Nagra appear at your interface?
If you record some of the 1kHz tone - is it clean? no hiss?
Without playing tape, these should verify what level signal is coming from your Nagra.

With tape:
Is the Nagra aligned to the tape type you are using?
EQ setting matches the tape type?

Read the manual?

  1. Zero Level Reference Signal Push Button
    This push button, sends a whistle through the line input while the recorder
    is running. It is useful to record this whistle before recording sound at a
    zero level, that is to say, the modulometer needle should point to zero on
    the scale. This signal is highly useful for the regulation of the chain of sound transfer.
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Does anybody know more about this mysterious SPEED input? I searched for quite some time now but couldn’t find any information. Looking at different photos, my impression is that:

  • Nagra IV-L has it: SPEED label and socket
  • Nagra IV-S doesn’t have it: no SPEED label, no socket
  • Nagra 4.2, most confusing: SPEED label, but no socket

Is that right? If so, why is there still a SPEED label, but no socket on 4.2s? Is there a common modification to retrofit a 4.2 with a SPEED input?

Nagra 4.2, no socket as you see in the picture.

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Okay, I’ll keep guessing: This was an exclusive feature of the IV-L, and they just didn’t bother to remove the SPEED label and cutout for its successor, the 4.2?

Another option is the NAGRA SPEED TIME VARIER which does not use that socket, but maxes out at +/- 10% speed variation…


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So many 4.2’s were customized for the recordist that used them. I’ve owned 6 over the years and no two were identical. Some have the speed socket others don’t. Some have phantom power or ruby tape guides. Male XLR or female XLR… headphone jack covers or not… There are so many available configurations it can be challenging to find answers to questions you might have.


Indeed. I’m just surprised that I can’t find any information about it online. Even this in depth 4.2 guide just skips over the (labeled, but missing) SPEED input as if it wouldn’t be there.

If you had 4.2s with speed socket, it must be possible to retrofit it. Do you know anything about that?

I’d like to get my first Nagra, and I’m undecided whether I should look for a IV-L or a 4.2. The IV-L has the Speed input and seems to be cheaper. The 4.2 seems to be more robust and reliable – but also more expensive.

If you need phantom power for your microphones and/or a more reliable machine then you’ll want to go with the 4.2. If you want speed control, mod a cable to make use of pin 4 on the “Power In” 6 pole connector (Item 48 in the official manual which you can obtain from the Nagra site).

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Stellavox recorders are also very nice. A similar footprint to the Nagra and 4 speeds to choose from.

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