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Nagra VI being updated soon? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 13th February 2018
  #31
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Plush's Avatar
Please don't take my writing literally. I put tape recorder in quotation marks for a reason. We are misunderstanding each other because of subtleties of the English language.

I use the term "tape recorder" to mean any kind of recorder.

So, never a new tape based recorder.

My expectation is for Nagra to release a new multi-track recorder. Hopefully it will be modular so the customer can add 8 channel increments up to 24 tracks. This box would connect directly to a hard drive.

A Nagra JoeCo type box.

Or another business choice dictated by cheap customers and CHI-COMM products.
Old 13th February 2018
  #32
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Thanks for the clarification. English is only my 3rd language.

When referring to recorders I mostly mean either tape recorders, HDD recorders or solid-state memory recorders (either internal memory, SSD or removable memory cards/modules, excluding CF Microdrive (which are no longer used, I still have some original IBM as well as Hitachi, up to 6 GB and they still work but I no longer use them since ages).

That said, it would be a nice curiosity to see a reissue of a legendary SN but sadly costs would be likely to high to ever try it. Indeed if a new tape recorder would ever be issued, which I don't totally exclude, I'd clearly see it as very expensive audiophile product.


Maybe you could start a topic to discuss the specs of the "ideal" non-tape digital field recorder.

Technically a modular solid-state recorder would be possible, for example with stacked modules made of machined aluminium assembled with tie rods (variable width).
While some mentioned the required expertise, I'd expect that a team made of the best GS forum experts would be able to design a recorder which could compete well with the Nagra VI (if budget, time, lab, computer assisted tools, etc would be available).

One point which increases costs is certainly related to sorting some critical components, for the best performance maybe a relatively high percentage would have to be rejected as statistically there's some variance and only min. and max. specs are guaranteed. There's no warranty when it comes to typical specs, if some spec is only listed with a typical value you may need to test each item individually.


As said, I still expect a Nagra VI successor within maybe the next 6 to12 months or so. Some new handheld recorders are not excluded but to be honest I never checked the specs in detail, such devices are probably not that complex to develop. My main point was that from a strictly personal POV I was very disappointed to see some Nagra products made in China, it's like if Rolex would sell some watches made in China (though, as said, some "sales boxes" (packaging) of very expensive Swiss watches are made in China but I don't mention any brand).
Old 13th February 2018
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
(...) My expectation is for Nagra to release a new multi-track recorder. Hopefully it will be modular so the customer can add 8 channel increments up to 24 tracks. This box would connect directly to a hard drive. (...)
Are you referring to a portable device or for desktop/rack use?

As there haven't been impressive battery performance increases within the last couple of years larger number of channels will require some serious batteries (maybe something like the NP-1 slide-in style). The Nagra VI is already amazingly well power-optimized considering both its very high performance and design age.

Instead of some external HDD, why not using some sort of passive rugged slide-in metal cartridge where you can mount any SSD of your choice (see Video Devices' concept though they don't use the regular 2.5" HDD/SSD form factor)?
In addition there could still be some internal SSD(s).

Overall I'd just be careful with USB as it's not very reliable for tough field use (even if using rugged connector systems, USB as such is not well designed and/or not well handled, at least compared to Ethernet and fieldbuses though the latter are too slow).

I even wonder if magnetically coupled (linear) faders would not be more convenient than rotary buttons, especially with some means to lock controls without disturbing their setting.


I don't expect some desktop or 19" rack module Nagra recorder, there are many products available. Trying to do what others can already do very well is not adviseable for a company which strength is about niche products.
Maybe I'm wrong but if so that would mean that ATS wants to enter new markets.
Old 13th February 2018
  #34
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Just checked the manuals quickly, the Nagra VI draws approximately 10 watts and a fully loaded Merging Hapi, for example, draws 30 watts. That is 6 channels vs 16 channels (and more) and with all the empty space in the battery pack for the VI, as well as the empty space inside the VI, it seems batteries wouldn't be much of a limitation. This is very rough of course and comparing apples to oranges somewhat given the different capabilities of these units but power is, as was stated, pretty well optimized in the VI.
Old 14th February 2018
  #35
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For mains powered audio equipment energetic optimization is not much a priority (Sound Devices 970: 60 W (24 VDC power)).

I quickly checked some downloadable manufacturer documents, maximum power:
Nagra VI: 10 W (as mentioned above by Swing)
Zoom F8: 12 W
TEAC TASCAM HS-P82: 18 W
Sound Devices 702T, 788T: 12 W (?)

Sound Devices 688, etc.: Couldn't find power requirements (max. value).
Sound Devices MixPre-...: didn't check as those are more basic recorders so direct comparisons wouldn't be representative.

Various manufacturers only mention maximal power as requirement when supplying external DC and mention some more or less realistic battery durations but comparisons are impossible as the specified durations correspond to one or more typical settings but do not reflect the worst case power requirement.
Ideally the required power in W should be indicated for various common set ups (number of used channels, sampling rates, phantom power (at max. current), etc.).

Considering the typical number of channels I don't expect singificantly lower power requirements for a modern design, maybe the processing power can be increased (also for example running all channels at 192 kHz 24-bit). Also a very good sunlight readable backlight requires quite some power by design. Of course the user can set the intensity (maybe manually and also with some automatic management according to ambient luminosity) but there are no miracles. A poorly lit display draws less power and power requirement specs will look better on the paper.

See also David Rick's interesting reply here:
Stupid Question
Old 5th August 2018
  #36
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Yes, the multitrack recorder market is very crowded these days. But there is room for a standout product, if Nagra wants to rise to the challenge. What would that be?

-- At least 8 channels of preamps and converters
-- PCM sample rates up to DXD
-- DSD up to 4x
-- Ability to create a scratch mix when recording DSD (i.e., internal real-time conversion to PCM for mixing)
-- IOS/HTML5 applications to control mixing and key functions
-- Powering by standard Sony NP type batteries
-- Optional remote control via Ravenna or Dante

Bonus:
-- Full support for AES42 microphones


This would be a recorder that surpasses anything else on the market. With a product like that, Nagra could legitimately claim to be THE state of the art field recorder. I would be first in line to order one of those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
It would be received with much anticipation and welcome, however the multitrack recorder landscape is heavily populated these days, so rather than 'reclaiming the market' I'd expect them to claw back some % of the available high-end quality market share....and they'd have to content themselves with that state of play.
Old 5th August 2018
  #37
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
I would be first in line to order one of those.
Cost would have SO much to do with whether this would be a viable marketing choice. Nagra's market is small (and elite) but they would need to sell at least enough of these unicorn boxes to pay for R&D, tool-up and manufacturing to make some tiny profit. I think it isn't likely when other good (and even some non-Chinese) solutions already exist at a price well under what I imagine Nagra would need to get.

For what it's worth, my JoeCo64-Dante and my Grace m108 preamps (GB and USA) make a pretty awesome combination. Not inexpensive and certainly not cheap; a very efficient and effective combination for 96k multitrack (up to 32 at 96k) capture. I don't play in the DSD game like Jim does and that would certainly present other hurdles that would need to be addressed somehow. No need for me to enter that arena; my clients, on the whole, don't request that format. If I ever have one that does, I'll send him right over to Jim

D.
Old 5th August 2018
  #38
Yeah. I could imagine the price tag on that thing. Excess of $20,000 I would imagine.
Old 5th August 2018
  #39
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It exists now. Its also Swiss, has a little Nagra heritage and is called a Hapi.

And it is portable.
Attached Thumbnails
Nagra VI being updated soon?-p1010381.jpg   Nagra VI being updated soon?-p1010382.jpg  
Old 5th August 2018
  #40
Gear Nut
 

Hey, great backpack David! Who makes it, and is it still available?

I use a no longer available North Face clam shell opening backpack whose internal dimensions are exactly that of the Hapi's, with enough depth to accommodate a 3.75 inch high computer of half the width/depth of a Hapi, plus a clear cosmetic bag of the same size for accessories, lying on top. Well within the carry on luggage size requirements. It even has a separate against the bottom padded 15 inch laptop compartment large enough for a GeChic HDMI monitor. I'd love to know of a alternative if available.

Rumor has it at this October New York City AES Show, Merging will exhibit the first of additional products in its Horus/Hapi lineup, looking even more like Jim's wish list. At least in terms of recording market breadth and portability.
Old 5th August 2018
  #41
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Hi Tom,

It is one of these.
Everki Titan Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Backpack, fits up to 18.4" | EKP120 | 18.4" Laptop Bags | EVERKI Laptop Bags

Buillt for two 17" laptops, or one 17" laptop and a Hapi in my case.

It's not perfect. It has very little padding at the base of both slots, plenty at the sides, so sliding things in slowly and not dropping it on the floor is to be noted. But it holds an amazing amount of stuff. I carry full suite of 8 channel snakes, mics and network cables with me in this one bag and have done numerous concert recordings carrying this one bag and a couple of stands.
Old 5th August 2018
  #42
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For me to be interested in a new multi Nagra it would have to more or less emulate the JoeCo format--at least 24 channels and only one or 2 RU, with all the ext clock and TC stuff. Nagra being Nagra would probably make the machine more versatile and easier to use than a JoeCo, but as was said it would sell in a whole diff price bracket. The people that would need convincing about it would prob be those who currently do high track count recording via high-end external preamps and ADACs feeding a computer app.
Old 5th August 2018
  #43
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Plush's Avatar
Please address your Nagra wish list to Matthieu Latour, the new head of Nagra audio division. Nagra is now a hif-fi company.
Old 6th August 2018
  #44
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tourtelot's Avatar
Nagra has been a Hi-fi company for many years now.

D.
Attached Thumbnails
Nagra VI being updated soon?-nagra.jpg  
Old 6th August 2018
  #45
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Yeah, I have two of them. Great machines that require an incredibly fragile and complex Windows 10 setup. When I first got mine, it took me 2 days to configure Windows and the Ethernet switches for it. And God forbid you install any kind of update, which could render Pyramix totally inoperable until Merging gets around to fixing it.

Well, that’s if you want DSD. If not, and you’re going to use it with your Mac, then the setup’s vastly simpler. But it’s nothing like plopping down your Nagra VI, a couple of mic stands and making a recording on battery power.

Great machine, even if you have to have a computer, Ethernet cables, and all the other crap that you have to deal with when recording with a computer. I’d love to have a real recorder with the capabilities of a HAPI.

One of my premium D/A cards is failing intermittently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
It exists now. Its also Swiss, has a little Nagra heritage and is called a Hapi.

And it is portable.
Old 6th August 2018
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
Great machines that require an incredibly fragile and complex Windows 10 setup. When I first got mine, it took me 2 days to configure Windows and the Ethernet switches for it. And God forbid you install any kind of update, which could render Pyramix totally inoperable until Merging gets around to fixing it.
I must be lucky, very stable here, never had this problem. The setup requires close following of manual. But the benefits of AoIP are so wonderful.

Quote:
Great machine, even if you have to have a computer, Ethernet cables, and all the other crap that you have to deal with when recording with a computer.
Hardly take the Nagra VI out much any more, much prefer the PC and Hapi. SO much more capable.
Old 6th August 2018
  #47
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Hardly take the Nagra VI out much any more, much prefer the PC and Hapi. SO much more capable.
Interesting in that I almost never take out the Dante rig and the percentage of times, it's the 788T and 2 (or maybe 4) mics.

I'd love to take the big rig out more; it' is certainly where the bulk of my capital expense is. But the calls, for me at least, mostly tend to be for the minimalist package.

D.
Old 6th August 2018
  #48
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Nagra has been a Hi-fi company for many years now.

D.
You're right that Nagra has sold hi-fi products for some years. Mine is a different distinction.

What I wrote is meant to mean that Audio Technology Switzerland is now concentrating on Hi-Fi almost exclusively. Pro Audio (recorder) division gets little attention.

This was explained to me by management in person at the Nagra factory in January 2018.

No audio development is taking place and those who ran the recorder sales department have been re-assigned.

Now THAT is news!
Old 6th August 2018
  #49
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No wonder firmware development for the Seven has been abandoned!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
You're right that Nagra has sold hi-fi products for some years. Mine is a different distinction.

What I wrote is meant to mean that Audio Technology Switzerland is now concentrating on Hi-Fi almost exclusively. Pro Audio (recorder) division gets little attention.

This was explained to me by management in person at the Nagra factory in January 2018.

No audio development is taking place and those who ran the recorder sales department have been re-assigned.

Now THAT is news!
Old 6th August 2018
  #50
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The only issue holding me back from Merging is to use the units without penalty with external preamps I've chosen for good reason. So I look forward to the annoucements in October, and hope this issue will disappear for me. Recently, I tested a Hapi and was very pleased with the unit and the Merging card preamps tested.

But after October I may happily stick with the Nagra VI for classical/chamber music and buy an ADC/Dante unit for use with external pres for other music.
Old 6th August 2018
  #51
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Buying a used VI and installing the hi capacity battery is the best way into simple acoustic/classical record
The build is brilliant and stable ,4 excellent mic amps and 2 lines more that enough for simpletons like me
The used price is excellent and there are plenty on the UK market
Apart from 6 mic/line amps I cant see any need for redesign, however I am hair shirt
Roger
Old 6th August 2018
  #52
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Hmmm. A recorder from Merging? Kind of doubt it...

What is really needed is a Ravenna-based 2 ch monitor controller. As it is, if you place your Merging interfaces in a live room near musicians (and what is the point, otherwise?), you need to bring another one just to act as a monitor controller, and even then, it is awkward, so you end up connecting it to some kind of analog monitor controller. A specialized and compact device for this purpose would be something I’d imagine that every single Hapi and Horus owner would want. Something as simple as this would be welcome in the Ravenna world:
REDNET AM2 | Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd.

And also, the ability to run Masscore on a laptop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tailspn View Post
Rumor has it at this October New York City AES Show, Merging will exhibit the first of additional products in its Horus/Hapi lineup, looking even more like Jim's wish list. At least in terms of recording market breadth and portability.
Old 6th August 2018
  #53
Gear Nut
 

Hi Jim,

That AM2 like device would be a nice addition, especially if it also facilitated talkback. That is an advantage of Merging's two box implementation. But with a switch, it's too much hardware for me to travel alone with just a backpack, mic case, and one piece of checked baggage. I bring everything except mic stands with that arrangement for a 5 channel surround acoustic recording.

Since I bring a 11" X 9" X 3" I7 computer running Masscore, I record DSD256 in a DXD Project, and use the DAC card analog out in the Hapi over a second Cat 5 running alongside the Ravenna Cat 6 for realtime mixed and balanced monitoring. To save weight in the checked bag, especially internationally, I'll occasionally buy the Cat 5 locally, and leave it there.

Hopefully October will bring a Merging configuration that more closely meets you needs. I can tell you that Merging's been listening.

Tom
Old 6th August 2018
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
And also, the ability to run Masscore on a laptop.
Why is this required? You can record 8 channels of DSD with Native, and PC's are so powerful now. I have done a few 32 channel 96kHz recordings with Horus and my same Zbook laptop running Native with no problem. The published Native channel count is now 128 ch of FS1.

Or use Reaper for data aquisition.

But none of this is really a "portable" gig anymore.
Old 6th August 2018
  #55
Gear Nut
 

Because if he is recording DSD, you can't record DSD in a DXD Project in Native ASIO; only in Masscore. Therefore it can't be monitored in realtime mixed and balanced in PCM.
Old 6th August 2018
  #56
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Exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tailspn View Post
Because if he is recording DSD, you can't record DSD in a DXD Project in Native ASIO; only in Masscore. Therefore it can't be monitored in realtime mixed and balanced in PCM.
Old 7th August 2018
  #57
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Oh, it’s stable alright. As long as you don’t install the wrong Windows update.

Remember when the Meltdown/Spectre patch that Microsoft issued broke Pyramix? It was months before Merging could issue a patch.

And look at all the ifs ands and buts in the latest hot fix read me. It’s a minefield.
http://www.merging.com/uploads/asset...ease_Notes.pdf

Sure, the PC and the Hapi offer way more capability, but you’ve really got to be on top of your IT game. Either that or do what I do: Set it up, test it, lock it down, NEVER update Pyramix or Windows or install anything else on the machine. Otherwise, you’ve just got to do the work...again, and again, and again whenever MSFT or Merging issue an update.

By contrast, my Nagra VI has been running for years. When you want to record, you turn the switch and it records. EVERY TIME. It cares nothing about Windows, or DAWs, or the Internet, etc. It just works every time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I must be lucky, very stable here, never had this problem. The setup requires close following of manual. But the benefits of AoIP are so wonderful.


Hardly take the Nagra VI out much any more, much prefer the PC and Hapi. SO much more capable.
Old 7th August 2018
  #58
Gear Nut
 

David's experience is with Pyramix Native, which is very stable compared to Masscore. And if 16 channels is sufficient, and if you're recording in the same type Project as the format you're recording, Native provides all the features of Pyramix for both recording and post processing.

And Masscore itself would be extremely stable, if it were not for the Interval Zero platform it runs on. It allows dedication of one or more cores of a multi core CPU to be shielded from Windows, and dedicated exclusively to Pyramix. That's why Windows changes affects Pyramix to the extent it does. A simple solution to the ever changing Win 10 is to run Pyramix Masscore on Win 7 Pro. That's fully supported, and never changes anymore. It's also very stable.

I run Win 7 Pro on the field computer, and Win 10 in the editing machine. I'm also a Pyramix beta tester, so update both computers an average of once a month. Maybe I've gotten the hang of it, but it rarely takes more than 10 minuets to upgrade each, and rarely have any install or operational problems. I personally would rather be dealing with a company who puts the resources to continually adding features and upgrading its product, than one who's not.

Jim, 11.1 beta Release Candidate N0.1 was released a week ago, and you'll see 11.1 official release either this week or next. Lots of improvements, especially if you use Album Publishing.
Old 7th August 2018
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tailspn View Post
Because if he is recording DSD, you can't record DSD in a DXD Project in Native ASIO; only in Masscore. Therefore it can't be monitored in realtime mixed and balanced in PCM.
A small analog mixer is useful for DSD monitoring.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 7th August 2018 at 12:22 PM..
Old 7th August 2018
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tailspn View Post
Lots of improvements, especially if you use Album Publishing.
Hallelujah!
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