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Audio Engineering Society (AES) 141 AES Convention
Los Angeles, CA      September 29th through October 2, 2008
Report By Ray Chowkwanyun And Bob Duchan


Nagra, Audio Technology, And Remote Audio


   Yes. Nagra. The legend. C'est Suisse et c'est très très précis. A miracle of minituariza-tion. Is it not a thing of beauty? The plot of the movie Diva revolves around a Nagra being used for stealth recording with pivotal scenes of the Nagra in action. Alas, long out of production. Nowadays Nagra makes portable digital recorders.



Pictured is the slightly more expensive Mezzo US $399. Slightly more expensive that is than the entry level Pico (4 GB) US $299. Think of it. You too could own a legend for less than the cost of a meal at the French Laundromat. Then there's the top of the line SD US $995. Mics will run you an extra US $400. Of course, you can use your own mics.

All of 'em can record in either MP3 or PCM. With storage so cheap why would you use MP3? 128 GB is US $40. I'm old enough to remember when a 5 MB hard disk went for $5000. And 5 MB sounded like a lot.



Steve George is all business. He will repair your tape recorder if you need it as well, of course, as all the new gear.

I have to say something. The way these grizzled veterans welcomed us squirelly amateurs was a delight. These are men who don't suffer fools gladly and I was asking some pretty foolish newbie questions but they displayed infinite patience in learning the newbie. So kudos to the pros of the Audio Engineering Society. A nicer bunch of blokes you couldn't hope to meet.

But also guys like Steve enjoyed talking to a coupla guys who enjoyed the music. As opposed to guys looking for the secret formula to making a hit record. There's this disease going around where some engineers (typically but not necessarily younger) think that if they just buy the right piece of gear or apply some particular mixing technique the hits will pour forth. Exhibit A: the dearth of people attending John Storyk's and George Augspurger's talks about acoustics and studio design as opposed to the packed audience for The Special Sauce for Mixing a Hit Record. The sound of your studio is the foundation for everything or should be and here are two of the leading guys in acoustics and studio construction scattering pearls of wisdom hither and yon and barely anyone's listening. Instead they want to take the short cut to riches by learning the Special Sauce. Not that there's anything wrong with Special Sauce.

I morphed into my dad so slowly that I didn't even notice.

Back on topic. As well as the battery powered models covered above, Nagra also make a couple of plug in recorders, the Six and the Seven. The Six sports eight tracks and the Seven two. The Six will set you back nine thousand five hundred United States Dollars while the Seven weighs in at three thousand three hundred.

Gadzooks! I'm gonna get a Pico just so's I can own a living legend.



They make a DAC (digital to analog converter). If you have to ask How much?, you can't afford it. Ol' two first names played us a recording they made at the Montreux Jazz Festival. B.B. King sounding mighty fine through PSI Audio A215-M speakers.



Lookin' mighty fine in white. Rapping the sides, it seemed like some Corian like material. Bein' Swiss, I made sure I was sitting down when I asked the price. Would you believe US $7K? I thought for sure we were going to break the $10K barrier.


God: Hello, Swiss dairy farmer. How are you enjoying my creation on this especially lovely sunny day?

Swiss dairy farmer: Well, sunshine is all well and good, but my pasture needs some rain.

God: No problemo for the Supreme Being, Swiss dairy farmer.

And God proceeds to produce rain.

God: Swiss Dairy Farmer, making rain is thirsty work even for the Supreme Being and I couldn't help noticing you've just finished milking Bessie there and I wonder if I might have a glass of that delicious looking milk?

Swiss dairy farmer: Anything for you, Supreme Being.

So God drinks the milk and heaves a sigh of deep satisfaction. Feeling expansive, he offers: Anything else, Swiss dairy farmer?

Swiss dairy farmer: That'll be be ten francs for the milk.

Remember the legend: C'est Suisse et c'est très très précis!



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