1 Jul 09 print-friendly format | back to article index

Nagra VI recorder builds on Nagra's reputation


The Nagra VI retains some principles derived from its prestigious predecessors. It has the traditional robust and reliable approach expected from NAGRA and runs cool in the harshest of climates. In terms of the recording platform, it benefits from a totally new approach, offering the highest quality inputs available today. The audio signal path is not only transparent, but also accurate adjustments, programmable settings and metering make the NAGRA VI the precision tool Nagra is used to produce. Some elements are inherited from previous models, such as the time code system, the integration of a hard disk and a slot dedicated to an external compact flash memory. For the rest, the design innovates in every aspect.

On the digital side, the signal processing and the command structure are entirely new and the recorder incorporates the most effective techniques available today.

The Nagra VI is based on 16/24 bit files recorded in either monophonic or polyphonic Broadcast Wave file formats at sampling frequencies up to 96 kHz with iXML compatible metadata. The time code system covers all traditional SMPTE/EBU frame rates and will allow 0.1% pull down for NTSC compatibility. The 23.976 time code rate is also supported for the modern 24P high definition digital video format compatibility. The entire heart of the Nagra VI is clocked from a Stratum III quartz guaranteeing a maximum drift of less than three ppm throughout the temperature range from -20°C to + 70°C over a 15-year period.

Features includes notably pre-recording buffer, two M/S decoders, audio limiters, output dithering, chase synchronizing, word clock in /out, analogue and digital outputs, USB 2.0 host and slave ports for communication.

Ergonomy, ease of use

Programmable digital potentiometers on the front panel give level adjustment to the four pre-amplifiers or line inputs. The choice of inputs, along with all other machine parameters, is selected through a clearly laid-out menu system displayed on a 3½” colour TFT screen. This screen has been specially selected as it is "sunlight readable" and has a very large viewing angle. The controlling software for the display has been written in such a manner as to allow the permanent indication of important information (TC, track, etc.) even when browsing the menus.

Principal operation of the Nagra VI is achieved using the traditional Nagra rotary main function selector placed in the standard location on the right side of the front panel. This switch not only follows tradition, but also frees up space on the front panel to allow unimpeded access to other principal controls. The audio tracks can be monitored as required, using a selection of channel switches also located on the front panel, via either of the two ¼” jack headphone connectors.

Powering of the recorder is achieved either using external DC or detachable battery boxes containing a choice of different capacity lithium-ion sealed battery packs. 

New analogue inputs

The Nagra VI has six analogue inputs on XLR connectors, four of which are equipped with extremely high quality microphone pre-amplifiers. The circuitry and the pre-amplifiers, inspired from the Nagra D and Nagra V, are of a totally new design. They not only offer +48V phantom powering, as one expects, but they are also equipped with in-house wound transformers (when set to the dynamic position) offering an improvement of more than 6dB in the noise floor over the equivalent transformerless inputs.

Total compatibility

Two USB ports, one “Host” and one "Device" allow not only the recorder to be connected to a PC/MAC and appear as a generic hard drive for rapid file transfer, but also a multitude of external communication possibilities to be considered. Nagra engineers feel that the ergonomics of the display and general lay-out of the front panel makes the need for a PC software (as developed for the Nagra D and Nagra V) unnecessary. The possibility to connect a USB keyboard for machine control and input of meta data is now possible and the connection of an external DVD-RAM drive or USB mass storage device is also incorporated.

Any software updates are made by simply downloading the file from the web site onto the CF card, and inserting it into the slot. No recorder ever suits every single application perfectly, but the aim of the development of the Nagra VI was to cover as many bases as possible for a price that is not prohibitive, while maintaining the Swiss tradition of precision, reliability and excellent performance specifications.

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