Nagra is a brand of portable audio recorders produced from 1951 in Switzerland. Beginning in 1997 a range of high-end equipment aimed at the audiophile community was introduced, and Nagra expanded the company’s product lines into a new marketplace.

Originally a product of the Kudelski Group, Nagra recorders are now developed, produced and sold by independently-owned company Audio Technology Switzerland S.A., based in Romanel-sur-Lausanne.



The machines were initially designed by Polish inventor Stefan Kudelski,[1] and his company won numerous technical awards for their precision and reliability.[2] Nagra means "[it] will record" in Polish, Kudelski's mother language.

Nagra-brand tape recorders were the de facto standard sound recording systems for motion picture and (non-video) single-camera television production from the 1960s[3] until the 1990s.[1][4]


Originally, a physical sync lead tethered the Nagra recorder to the camera (putting a pulse from the camera onto the tape),[5] to ensure any fluctuations in the tape were accounted for. After the introduction of crystal sync, the tape recorder could operate separately from the camera, each having a separate accurate clock guaranteed to stay in sync with the other, allowing the sound recordist significantly more freedom of movement.[6] This was commonly known as double system sound.


Nagra recorders are identified by a number that indicates their technological generation and features:

In addition to these field recorders, Kudelski S.A. produced a studio recorder called the Nagra T-Audio, designed mainly for use in telecines for transferring dailies. All of the above machines use 1/4" tape.

Série Noire

Kudelski SA also produced a series of miniaturised reel-to-reel recorders using a special tape (width 3.81 millimetres (150 thou)), slightly larger than the conventional 1/8" cassette tape. These machines are referred to as SN (for Série Noire) and production was originally ordered by President Kennedy for the United States Secret Service.[9]

The SN range comprises the following models:

A special version of the SN using unique tape cassettes was made in cooperation with JBR Technology and widely used by US domestic intelligence agencies.

Digital recorders

The Nagra IV-STC was the standard for film and classical music recording until the mid-1990s, when DAT recorders became reliable enough to use in the field. In response, Kudelski produced two digital recorders to compete:


In 1997, Nagra launched the PL-P, a vacuum tube phono preamplifier, beginning a range of high-end audio equipment. The range is intended for audiophile consumers as opposed to exclusively the professional equipment manufactured hitherto.[10][11] Since then, the range has grown steadily and have added tubes and mosfet amplifiers, CD players, other pre-amps and DACs. Now divided into 2 Classic and HD lines, Nagra's products are acclaimed by many journalists as being among the world's best sound reproduction electronics.


  1. ^ a b Ric Viers (1 November 2011). Sound Effects Bible . Michael Wiese Productions. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-1-61593-020-3.
  2. ^ Marty McGee (15 March 2001). Encyclopedia of Motion Picture Sound . McFarland. pp. 146–. ISBN 978-0-7864-4916-3.
  3. ^ a b John Purcell (24 July 2013). Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures: A Guide to the Invisible Art . Taylor & Francis. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-1-135-04060-4.
  4. ^ John Ellis (29 July 2011). Documentary: Witness and Self-Revelation . Routledge. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-1-136-66878-4.
  5. ^ Denning, Roland. "One audio recorder to rule them all - A look back at the Nagra" . Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  6. ^ Ellis, John; Hall, Nick (2017): ADAPT. figshare. Collection.
  7. ^ High Fidelity News and Record Review . Link House Publications. 2006.
  8. ^ a b John J. Murphy (17 December 2015). Production Sound Mixing: The Art and Craft of Sound Recording for the Moving Image . Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 381–. ISBN 978-1-5013-0710-2.
  9. ^ "Precision miniature analog stereo tape recorder" . Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2014-08-17.
  10. ^ a b Thom Holmes (2006). The Routledge Guide to Music Technology . Taylor & Francis. pp. 207–. ISBN 978-0-415-97324-3.
  11. ^ McCallum, David. "Nagra VPS Valve Phono Preamplifier" . The Inner Ear Magazine. Retrieved 21 January 2016.

External links

Categories: Manufacturers of professional audio equipment | Audio storage | Digital television | Polish inventions | Swiss brands | Audio equipment manufacturers of Switzerland

Information as of: 08.06.2021 10:40:26 CEST

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