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Old August 6th, 2010, 06:51 PM   #1
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Need to find a Nagra SN (the mini Nagra - very rare)

I have to digitize about 10 tapes recorded on the Nagra SN which was a tiny little baby Nagra which was briefly manufactured in the 1970s.

I'd appreciate help in finding one to use for playback. Small rental fee is available.

Harry.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 01:29 AM   #2
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Harry .. try calling the sound dept at Warners etc. ask for the eldest guys there, I'll bet they'll give you some positive directions.

There were 2 of those Nagra models, the half track SNS and the mono SNN with pilot. If the tapes don't indicate what config they are, they're probably the SNN.

And if those tapes are matt back Ampex, check they're not shedding oxide. If they're shiny backed polyester they should be Ok. I think I remember, Nagra supplied that 1/8" tape till Ampex started up.

Make sure the pinch roller hasn't perished and you get a take up spool. Open up the battery compartment to check for leaks .. and degauss and clean the heads with Iso-propyl alcohol. Also rent/borrow/steal its audio output cables and play a sample before you accept it.

The Federal police used to use them here. For some years I used to be one of their 'expert witnesses' in various feds court cases, deciphering what was said in motel rooms from those tapes. You could drive the clerks crazy by saying .. 'umm play that again.' Reminds me, Mr. Big is due for release about now :(
Cheers.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #3
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Hi Harry if you have trouble finding one in the USA there is one for hire in the UK:Nagra SN Miniature Crystal Sync. Recorder - Sound Equipment Hire from Richmond Film Services

Not ideal but you could always post the tapes across and get a kind fellow DVI member in london to transfer the tapes for you.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #4
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Thank you both very much for your kind replies.

This work is being done for the Nicholas Ray Foundation Archive and we are not allowed to let any of this material out of our sight, let alone send it overseas. So thanks for the suggestion, but we can't send it to the UK.

And thank you for the pointers about the oxide shedding. In fact we have found hardly any deterioration of this in either the Archive's Video or Audiotapes. Remarkable, since they were all recorded prior to Mr Ray's death in 1979 and some as early as 1960. They have been properly stored, so it just shows that good cool storage at the correct temperature and humidity really does work over extended periods of time.

Again, I ask the readers of this board, if there is any possibility of getting hold of a Nagra SN in order to digitize these tapes. There are about 10 of them and I can come to you with a laptop and A to D converter if you are in Los Angeles.

I have no idea what kind of output these machines have.

Thank you

Harry.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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Hi Harry, I read up on your project, great stuff. This link could be a lead ..

Nagra Audio Recorders

Cheers.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 11:05 PM   #6
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They seem to turn up as movie props from time-to-time. The last one I saw was in Dreamworks' "Lemony Snickert's A Series of Unfortunate Events". It was the dashboard playback device in the banker's Hudson car.

It may have been cut up but my suspicion is that a nesting place was simply made for it in a prop dash. If it has not been cut up, chances are, being a Nagra it would still work. There are probably others around in props supplier's inventories and other obscure places.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 07:36 AM   #7
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Hi Harry,
I own an SNN but the logistics of getting it to California and back are pretty daunting.
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