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Author Topic: Nagra 4-SJ reel to reel  (Read 3896 times)

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Offline markrsmith

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Nagra 4-SJ reel to reel
« on: March 16, 2015, 09:51:46 PM »
I found a used Nagra 4-SJ for about 800$  Could this be used for live music recording?  I can't seem to figure out if this is strictly for nature recording and/or also for live music applications.  I have been trying read other forums on the internet, but nothing solid.  The SJ model is different than the S.  I can't seem to understand some of the technical data, and just want to know if this could work for loud, live music.  Also, how are the on-board pre-amps?
Thanks for any help.

Sometimes modified Nagra IV-S machines appear on the used market. These are the model IV-J machines, adapted for use as instrumentation recorders and used by institutes to record for subsequent analysis vibration information (and sometimes bird and insect calls). They look attractive: the recording circuits have a frequency response that extends to 50kHz; the recording level potentiometers replaced by precision attenuators, and the microphone input sockets replaced by multi-way Lemo connectors for use with Brüel & Kjær instrumentation microphones – but they are of no real use to audio enthusiasts, because to preserve signal waveform fidelity these machines use no equalisation whatsoever to the detriment of the signal/noise ratio. Avoid!

NAGRA IV-SJ - Portable Self-Contained Instrumentation Tape Recorder for Scientific Analysis !

Specifications :
Detailed specifications, see the photos below

Track system: 2-track, 2-channel, stereo/monaural system
Tape speeds: 1 7⁄8 3 3⁄4 7 1⁄2 15 ips
Wow and flutter: 0.005% (15 ips)
Frequency response: 25Hz to 35kHz (15 ips)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 44dB The signal to noise ratio quoted on the introduction page, is for the FM track of the recorder though it implies it is for the audio tracks. The audio S/N ratio is 57 db at a flux density of 320nWb. Just in case it confuses anyone that this is a poor quality audio machine.
Total harmonic distortion: 1.5%
Output: 1.0V (line)
Dimensions: 333 x 242 x 113mm
Weight with batteries and tape : 7.3kg

Comes with :
1. Tape recorder
2. Leather bag
3. The original power supply - ATE 110 to 220V
4. Dust cover
5,6. Two types of cables: for recording and playback with RCA connectors.

Made in Switzerland (KUDELSKI)

1972 saw the adaptation of the popular IV-S into the IV-SJ.This was an instrumentation recorder for noise and vibration measurement and other scientific audio analysis organisations. Equipped with special microphone pre-amplifiers, modulometer and stepped input attenuators the IV-SJ is used for a multitude of different environmental and industrialization applications.

Customers for the IV-SJ varied from NASA to Rolls Royce and Greenpeace.

Nagra IV-SJ - Stereo Nagra for instrumentation and logging. Pots are replaced with switches to set gain in precise steps, no limiters, and when present, the microphone inputs are for high-voltage unbalanced instrumentation mics rather than low impedance balanced with T-power and phantom.

Interesting and probably rarer version of the famous portable audio recorder, this Nagra is a highly specialized instrumentation recorder ! What sets this machine appart is that it has two 'direct' type wideband recording channels that have a frequency response of 2.5 Hz to 35 kHz, and one frequency modulated channel with a frequency response of 0 Hz (DC) to 4 kHz. It also has precision switched input attenuators with a resolution of 1dB (see the photos), an accurately calibrated 'modulometer' with Peak and RMS scales, and in-built physiological filters type A, B, C and D. In other words it is actually a precision recording sound level meter to the 'CEI 179 norm', and with a separate B&K measuring microphone, made this recording measuring instrument a popular tool for noise and vibration analysis.

The IV-SJ was a stereo machine destined towards the music industry, allowing musical performances to be captured in Stereo in a portable format !

« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 12:08:50 AM by markrsmith »

Offline H₂O

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Re: Nagra 4-SJ
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 10:22:20 PM »

Looks like you need to find out more about the unit in question as there are different flavor a of the SJ

The unit will probably need some modifications as well from the read to get true stereo recording back and ensure phantom, bias, etc are all set for audio use

You would need to use an external preamp and can only listen to one channel at a time via tehe head phone jack
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 10:31:46 PM by H₂O »
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Offline splumer

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Re: Nagra 4-SJ reel to reel
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 08:38:29 AM »
I second the opinion for a preamp. Regardless, you would be THE MAN if you used this to record shows! It looks like it might be a bit bulky to fit between theater seats, but I think it would be worth a try. I had a reel-to-reel in the '70s that my grandfather gave me, and I credit that with getting me where I am today, but in my career and here at TS. I have two R2R's now, but neither work 100 percent.
"Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be here. "
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Offline tubems

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Re: Nagra 4-SJ reel to reel
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2015, 07:52:39 PM »
I have a nagra as well.  Heavy but running at 7.5 get like 45min a tape I think.  But it is full track so you don't flip the reel it uses whole tap width for two tracks.  So have another ready to thread up once one is done

Good find on this enjoy
local idiot

Offline DSatz

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Re: Nagra 4-SJ reel to reel
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 11:24:15 PM »
The models that you want for stereo music recording would be the IV-SL or (preferably, because of the wider-track heads) the IV-SD. I never heard of anyone using the IV-SJ for music recording; it was developed for acoustical measurement primarily. IIRC two of its speeds had a 10:1 ratio instead of the usual 4:2:1, which allowed 1/10-scale acoustical models of concert halls and other spaces to be tested.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I'll dig to see if I have the sales literature from "back then" on this model, but I did record live concerts with both of the other models I mentioned for quite a few years in the 1970s, and the -SJ was never on my radar as being of interest for that kind of work.

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort


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