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Nagra SD Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 20th July 2011
  #1
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Talking Nagra SD

Anyone bought one of these yet: Nagra SD | AudioTechnology Magazine

More here: http://www.nagraaudio.com/pro/doc_en/Nagra_SD_eng.pdf

The richer person's H4 ....?

Last edited by studer58; 20th July 2011 at 06:01 AM.. Reason: additional detail
Old 20th July 2011
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Anyone bought one of these yet: Nagra SD | AudioTechnology Magazine

More here: http://www.nagraaudio.com/pro/doc_en/Nagra_SD_eng.pdf

The richer person's H4 ....?
I considered this for the past few weeks too but this one looks like it is made for reporters. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a Nagra here!

I just ordered a Korg MR1000. Contemporary Japanese quality - it has a very excellent build. It can also be run with batteries and sounds very good with PCM. It is too bad that it has been discontinued.
Old 20th July 2011
  #3
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yes, it seems to be more news-broadcast ready rather than music capture friendly..... eg no phantom onboard, no xlr connectors, plug in mic modules. Looks tough though, I'm sure you expect to drive a tank over it in Afghanistan and it would come up smiling !
Old 20th July 2011
  #4
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Anyone bought one of these yet: Nagra SD | AudioTechnology Magazine

More here: http://www.nagraaudio.com/pro/doc_en/Nagra_SD_eng.pdf

The richer person's H4 ....?
Due to get one to try soon.

Info on the Nagra site is HERE.

I'm thinking of getting one to go with my Nagra EMP to record 24/96 in stereo for where the Nagra VI is too big.



Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
yes, it seems to be more news-broadcast ready rather than music capture friendly..... eg no phantom onboard, no xlr connectors, plug in mic modules. Looks tough though, I'm sure you expect to drive a tank over it in Afghanistan and it would come up smiling !
Yes, for news; but it does have XLR input options. You remove the mic. and plug in a short cable with XLR.

There are several options: mono mic., stereo mic, line-in, etc.
Old 21st July 2011
  #5
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Yes, I suppose you could connect XLR tails to mini-phone TRS and plug into the spot where the Nagra modular mics go, but you'd still only have 3 volts of onboard phantom, unless you used something like a Rode NT4 which runs off an internal 9v battery. In that case you'd be better off sticking with Nagra's choice of modular mics, or else bring along your own battery powered phantom PS, which kind of subverts the intended portability aspect of the whole show !
Old 21st July 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Yes, I suppose you could connect XLR tails to mini-phone TRS and plug into the spot where the Nagra modular mics go, but you'd still only have 3 volts of onboard phantom, unless you used something like a Rode NT4 which runs off an internal 9v battery. In that case you'd be better off sticking with Nagra's choice of modular mics, or else bring along your own battery powered phantom PS, which kind of subverts the intended portability aspect of the whole show !
The 3V is *not* phantom power, it's "plug-in power" - phantom has to be 48V and balanced (though 12V and 24V are also allowed).

I am thinking of getting the Nagra EMP and going from there to the SD.


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Old 23rd July 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Looks tough though, I'm sure you expect to drive a tank over it in Afghanistan and it would come up smiling !
Looks on screen... I have seen the Nagra Ares and that was cheap plastic (looks aluminum on screen) with crookedly set screws. Cheap cheap, not much better than Zoom H4 at four time the price... So I would not expect tough aluminum like SD...
Old 23rd July 2011
  #8
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
Looks on screen... I have seen the Nagra Ares and that was cheap plastic (looks aluminum on screen) with crookedly set screws. Cheap cheap, not much better than Zoom H4 at four time the price... So I would not expect tough aluminum like SD...
I have seen and handled the SD - it is a metal case.
Old 6th August 2011
  #9
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Plush's Avatar
Just took a Nagra SD on board here.

I will offer up a report as soon as I get into the machine.

I will use it for back-ups. Also as a high class play-out device for record company mopes and studio freaks when they want to hear my stuff. (will it be hooked up with a 1/8" iPod cable??)

For use as a back-up recorder, I ordered the line in xlr harness for use with the recorder.

Recorder is substantial, of metal construction and feels good. Runs on 2 AA batteries.

Has blinking red lights. . .
Old 6th August 2011
  #10
A Sony PCM-D1 competitor?
Old 6th August 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Has blinking red lights. . .
Well that settles it... I need one now!

--Ben
Old 15th August 2011
  #12
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Plush's Avatar
Gonna use it as a back-up recorder tonite. I will continue to monitor its performance. Unit sounds good.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #13
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Plush's Avatar
Just getting back to my Nagra cadre here with a field report on the Nagra SD.

I have been studying and learning the machine and I feel that I am now up to speed with it. The menus and features are easy to see and learn. The accessory I am using is the line level input cable---xlr to Nagra SD input.

There is also a microphone level input cable with xlr to Nagra SD inputs. This would be for a reporter style dynamic mic.
Nagra also offers various built in mics for the run and gun reporter in the Libyan streets.

The sound of the machine is excellent with very good conversion and good playback too. Output for playback is on 1/8" stereo out or transfer by USB to your computer.
Unit will record at 24 bit up to 96KHz and also at various data reduced formats for long form recording or for reporter use with spoken word.
I used it at 24 / 44.1kHz with very good results.

Unit records on miniature SDHC cards and comes with a 2GB card. I switched this out to a 16 GB card for around $25.

Unit has an extra 12dB of gain on output to drive phones. I plugged in my green AKG Quincy Jones phones and found that the impedence / level was not a match. Then I plugged in my Sennheiser 580 phones and the level was excellent and completely useable.

Here the unit has functioned as a back-up recorder in stellar fashion. It is a real Nagra with very good sound and the metal case seems rugged and substantial. The unit is made of an attractive brown colored aluminum and other metals (hopefully not containing anti-freeze or prohibited industrial chemicals or poisoned milk.)

The unit is suspected of being of "foreign" manufacture. You know me. I will not utter the CHI-COMM word in association with recording gear.

Nevertheless the recorder does have red blinking lites on it and it does say
NAGRA on the machine.

Besides the former body pack spy recorders, this is the first Nagra to fit in your pocket (first available to the civilian, that is).

The USA price is $950 and it is available now from Nagra dealers and NAGRA USA.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #14
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Thanks for the detailed assessment Plush.
Old 24th August 2011
  #15
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Having had a show-and-tell recently from Nagra, I can agree with Plush on his assessment. In my view, it is a significant advance over the ARES-M series.

However, as I expressed to Nagra directly, my only regret is that there was no provision for digital input (preferably SPDIF-coax) to improve its (admittedly secondary) role of backup recorder.

Now to get the CHF back to its former level ...
Old 24th August 2011
  #16
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Plush's Avatar
Panatrope is certainly right. There should have been a digital input.
Old 28th August 2011
  #17
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Its brown with red flashing lights...
Mr Willetts going to use one with an external 2 ch EMP preamp when space is tight...
Doesnt get any better
Wait a minuute, EMP, electro magnetic pulse, isn't that a trifle dodgy ?
Bumpkin
Old 31st August 2011
  #18
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Plush's Avatar
Unit has now qualified here.

The sound is first class. I am recording using the line in cable from a console.

Converters pass with flying colors
Level handling is excellent
Listen back with green headphones (AKG Quincy Jones 701 model) or
JACK IT with 1/8" stereo output to hi-fi or console for playback to record company mopes.

Classy NIGNOG set-up that shames other devices. Bow down Sony and Zoom, for ye are latrine serfs next to the SD.

Thank you, Kudelski


p.s.--plus it is paid for
Old 1st September 2011
  #19
AB3
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Several questions:
1. Does it have phantom power? If not then something is needed for that.
2. Where can it be purchased in the U.S.?
3. How does it deal with files? 4gb limit? 2gb limit? Makes extra files automatically?
THANKS in advance. Looks like a great unit.

Personally, I do not care where it is built. There was a time in the 70s when everyone laughed at Hondas from Japan. No one laughs at them anymore. (In fact, some people only want their Hondas built in Japan!)
In this instance, if it is built in a foreign place, the question is one of quality control, management over design, etc. I have to believe that Nagra would be top notch in all that.

Best,
AB
Old 1st September 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcarlock View Post
I just ordered a Korg MR1000. Contemporary Japanese quality - it has a very excellent build. It can also be run with batteries and sounds very good with PCM. It is too bad that it has been discontinued.
Where did you hear this? News to me ...
Old 1st September 2011
  #22
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Several questions:
1. Does it have phantom power? If not then something is needed for that.
2. Where can it be purchased in the U.S.?
3. How does it deal with files? 4gb limit? 2gb limit? Makes extra files automatically?
AB
(edited by Plush)

I am using this unit in its secondary role as a back-up recorder and playa for record company mopes and clients.
So I am feeding it from a console.

1. No, it does not have phantom power although you can buy a portable stereo mic amp from Nagra and mate it with the SD. Or just use a portable phantom power box.

2. I bought mine from Nagra USA Inc. in Gallatin, TN. (Nashville) It is available from Nagra dealers as well. $950

3. It automatically creates a new file. Records on a miniature SD HC card.
Uses AA batteries.

Unit rocks and kicks azz on all other portables.

Endorsed!
Old 1st September 2011
  #23
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Quote:
Bummer. (So much for "future-proof"...)
Old 1st September 2011
  #24
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Plush's Avatar
DSD--a stoned dream
Old 1st September 2011
  #25
AB3
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You answered everything! Thanks very much. This is all great news. I have an Sound Devices USBpre2 and a Denecke Phantom power unit. I would love to try both and see which sound better (i.e. the pres in the USBpre2 or in the Nagra.) I assume it has a stereo line in.
Best,
AB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
(edited by Plush)

I am using this unit in its secondary role as a back-up recorder and playa for record company mopes and clients.
So I am feeding it from a console.

1. No, it does not have phantom power although you can buy a portable stereo mic amp from Nagra and mate it with the SD. Or just use a portable phantom power box.

2. I bought mine from Nagra USA Inc. in Gallatin, TN. (Nashville) It is available from Nagra dealers as well. $950

3. It automatically creates a new file. Records on a miniature SD HC card.
Uses AA batteries.

Unit rocks and kicks azz on all other portables.

Endorsed!
Old 6th September 2011
  #26
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I assume it has a stereo line in.
Yes - the Nagra SD does have a stereo line-in. You need, ideally, the optional cable which can be supplied with 2 x XLR-3F connectors; or you can have one with a single XLR-5F connector.
Old 10th September 2011
  #27
Gear interested
 

As an old Nagra fan and owner (film recorders) I want to buy a Nagra SD for my handheld needs etc. But when I consider the price as compared to the H4n I need to know why I should pay four times as much for the Nagra SD? Nagra preamps are legendary. But are the preamps what makes the SD so pricey and desireable? Because functionaly, the H4n actually offers more (although I am not buying for musician needs). Also, who makes the capsule mics for the SD? Nagra? Neumann? Schoeps? Senny? (I just discovered that it appears that Nagra makes their own mics for the unit) And has anyone evaluated these microphones which themselves are quite pricey? Specs between the SD and H4n are very comparable. Please convince me to spend the money on the Nagra SD with real-world Nagra advantages. Thanks.

Sandy
Old 10th September 2011
  #28
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sonare's Avatar
If the new Nig-nag is of Chicom heritage then the engineering will certainly be of Swiss origin.

But considering the price difference between it and the rice burner of choice, then a blind comparison between the units to judge A/D and micamp differences would be necessary.

Beauty must be more than blinking lights-- but no phantom is a show-stopper for most. And then there is that little "2tk only" business.

Methinks that Plush has been sipping some koolaid--

Rich
Old 11th September 2011
  #29
Gear interested
 

I appreciate your points, Rich as they are certainly valid. But to be fair to the Nagra, one must consider one's needs in addition to a feature-to-feature only comparison.

For instance, I would not be using it for music related needs. As a field recordist for film and TV, it would be a great small addition to my bag rig for a simple, yet high-quality non-Time Code backup. To that end, the fact that you can remove the Nagra's capsule mic, making the unit even smaller, without the concern for damaging permanently fixed mics as with the H4n, is a very useful configuration.

Although it's true that having 12v/48v phantom would be very convenient, it becomes less important to someone like myself with say a Sound Devices MM-1 portable mic pre. Besides, if we assume that phantom is important because someone intends to use a high-quality condenser mic, then the comparison of quality between the mic pre's looms large, not to mention the quality of the A/D converters. And then, as I eluded to previously, I believe you will begin to separate the SD and H4n into different quality camps. I have no doubt that Nagra's mic pre's and A/D converters will certainly be of a much higher quality not to mention circuitry design, parts quality signal management etc. After all, my MM-1 costs more than the H4n alone. I think that speaks volumes to the underlying differences between the H4n and SD. And finally, to a lesser extent, there is the question of the H4n's phantom circuitry and how quickly it will burn through batteries when applied as compared to using the Sound Devices mic pre which, like all of it's products, is well-known for it's power management.

But again, it all depends on what your needs are and your criteria.

While we're on the subject of mics, the Nagra's selection of four different mono and/stereo capsules offers useful flexibility as well.

My points aren't meant to be a bash on the H4n. I confess I haven't looked at it that closely although I had the chance to use one in the field very briefly and found myself surprised at it's heft and seemingly good build. That said, I think it is very easy to get lost in the high quality of sound recorded by 24/96 PCM devices as well as simple feature comparisons and glaze over other aspects of quality where the influence on sound can be appreciable.

I am a firm believer in the audio gear world that you get what you pay for. And although Nagra's have a reputation for being very expensive, it is equally undeniable that they also have a reputation of superior build quality, ruggedness and reliability.

Sandy
Old 11th September 2011
  #30
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It says Nagra on it.

What more need be said?
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