“Is that a Nagra?”

img_0506When I first noticed the Nagra IV-L in the front counter display case, it didn’t really catch my eye.  As a teenager, I had indulged an obession with tape and tubes and all things analog, but these days I’ve grown more and more comfortable with the digital world, and an old tape machine just didn’t spark much interest at first.  I completely overlooked its existence until customer after customer would bring this relic from the 1960s to my attention on a daily basis.

“Is that a Nagra?  Wow, that’s awesome, those things are amazing – can I check it out?”  Hmmm.  Why all the fuss, I wondered.  A quick google returned this statement from Wikipedia:

“Nagra is a generic term referring to any of the series of professional audio recorders produced by Kudelski SA, based in Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland. The machines were initially designed by Polish inventor Stefan Kudelski, and his company won numerous technical awards for their precision and reliability.”

Our drum guru, John Fell, gave me a proper introdruction to the Nagra one day, asking me if I’d care to see “under the hood.”


Opening up most electronic devices is a pretty boring, ugly, and/or frustrating enterprise for the average human being.  And who opens up their electronics just to admire the beauty of the care and skill that went into the soldering and bundling of wires?  John Fell showed me the guts of the Nagra like we were poking around in a vintage muscle car.


I don’t know much about art, or electronics, but I think anyone can appreciate the visual impact of the amazingly neat, compact, and even colorful work inside this Swiss marvel.


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