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Nagra vs. Marantz vs. DAT


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#1 Andrew Jackson

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 12:24 PM

I'm a senior doing a sync-sound film project on 16mm. For our sound recording, my school offers three options, but I'm having a hard time deciding which one to take. I obviously want great sound quality, which I heard the Nagra provides, but I have some issues with A) getting Nagra tapes and B) transferring the sound from the tape to my computer. I would be willing to send off the Nagra tape to get a high quality transfer if there is anywhere that does this, as I heard transferring from the port on the Nagra directly into a computer will hurt the sound quality.

Any tips and suggestions on what to use? And if the Nagra is my best choice, anyone know where to get good quality Nagra tapes for a fairly cheap...and where I could get it transferred to a digital format that I could use in my computer?

Or if I can't use the Nagra for these reasons, what would be my next best choice...


I'm not sure about different "versions" of each or exactly which ones my school offers, but here are some sample pics...these look almost or exactly like the ones I have access to:

Nagra (reel tape):
http://www.sls.fi/Sp...ilder/Nagra.gif

Marantz (compact flash):
http://images.google...htt...=dQb&sa=N

DAT (digital audio tape):
http://www.gbaudio.c...images/dap1.jpg
(this picture is probably the one farthest from the actual item I can use. It looks something like this, but I don't think it is the exact)


Thanks bunches.
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#2 Nick Mulder

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 03:02 PM

I own a DAP1 and have used a Nagra in the past also - have never used flash drives but if they don't use any compression (data compression that is) then it should be the same as the DAP1 but in a non-linear recording style, which usually is very helpful but usually at the detriment of not being able to record as much in one take and in total as tape based formats - Not knowing the total record time per tape for the Nagra running at its highest speed I'm guessing the DAT would be best for long rec times per tape...

After those considerations its really up to the mic pre-amps on the units (and the mics themselves) - are you going to be mixing beforehand ?

If you are a bit of a Luddite then the Nagra is a sexy thing with its styled curves and lovely tape compression (the good sort, that is), but like you seem to be aware the audio chain will fail at its weakest link, probably the input to the cheap audio card that will do the A/D conversion adding both noise and other craps ...

As I know it well, I'd say use the DAP1 to avoid the hassle - but wait for other user advice on the Marantz.

I haven't done audio for a while, hope I'm not leading you down the garden path ;)
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#3 stephen defilippi

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 07:59 PM

I'm a senior doing a sync-sound film project on 16mm. For our sound recording, my school offers three options, but I'm having a hard time deciding which one to take. I obviously want great sound quality, which I heard the Nagra provides, but I have some issues with A) getting Nagra tapes and B) transferring the sound from the tape to my computer. I would be willing to send off the Nagra tape to get a high quality transfer if there is anywhere that does this, as I heard transferring from the port on the Nagra directly into a computer will hurt the sound quality.

Any tips and suggestions on what to use? And if the Nagra is my best choice, anyone know where to get good quality Nagra tapes for a fairly cheap...and where I could get it transferred to a digital format that I could use in my computer?

Or if I can't use the Nagra for these reasons, what would be my next best choice...
I'm not sure about different "versions" of each or exactly which ones my school offers, but here are some sample pics...these look almost or exactly like the ones I have access to:

Nagra (reel tape):
http://www.sls.fi/Sp...ilder/Nagra.gif

Marantz (compact flash):
http://images.google...htt...=dQb&sa=N

DAT (digital audio tape):
http://www.gbaudio.c...images/dap1.jpg
(this picture is probably the one farthest from the actual item I can use. It looks something like this, but I don't think it is the exact)
Thanks bunches.



I had a nagra 4.2 and i loved it. The sound quality was warm. I sold it recently a bought a marantz pmd666 because i travel and wanted something that was small and had xlr in. The marantz is quite excellent and easy to use. i can download directly to my computer in seconds. i can down load to anyones computer without additional software. the marantz that i have can also act as an intermediate tool to transfer dat, and 1/4" tape to a digital format.

This suits me right now, because its so convenient. I paid about $550 for it which is about what i sold the Nagra for. I do miss the Nagra and I would buy another. Also, I lucked into a deal on 1/4 tape back when I had the nagra and when I sold it, i gave the buyer about 60 new tapes.

cheers
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#4 Nick Mulder

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 08:13 PM

the marantz that i have can also act as an intermediate tool to transfer dat, and 1/4" tape to a digital format.

DAT is a digital format - linear PCM ... use a sound card with an SPDIF input to get it ;)
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:28 PM

DAT machines get fussy when they have a fair amount of hours on them. The internal parts are so tiny that they're difficult to service well. Make certain any DAT you buy (or use) is either new or low hours.
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 08:08 PM

Nagra is so very old, it's what I used when I was doing this, 30+ years ago. DAT is delicate and can be fussy. I don't know about the CF Marantz, so I'd test it well and probably go with it, as it's the newest technology of the three.



-- J.S.
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#7 Aaron Hultin

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 06:28 PM

Interesting this topic happened to be here as I was just about to post about the same issue. I currently own the Tascam DAP1 DAT Recorder, which is quite common, and likely what your school has. I have just started getting more and more interested in production sound, and have used my DAT with a Sennheiser ME66 Shotgun Mic. I run the mic directly into the DAT (Still waiting on my Pre-Amp in the mail!). I have recorder some very nice, exceptionally clean audio with this method. When I have recorded the audio I want, I simply run a cable from the output on the DAT directly into my sound card, into Adobe Audition. I could send you a sample clip if you like. It is very clean, no hiss, no additional noise. I find the DAT very easy to use, very easy to adjust the levels, and it produces very clean sound.

This being said, I have never used any of the other methods mentioned. But, for high quality, clean audio, the DAT has served me well, not to mention being very easy to import and edit.

Good luck in the search.
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#8 Danny Lachman

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 01:25 AM

The Marantz is a great buy - you can record the audio uncompressed on the XD Cards. I've worked with DAT and the DIVA, and the Marantz is great - I personally feel that the microphone is what makes the biggest difference. Just as a disclaimer I've only boomed on 3 movies so yeah.
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Opal

CineTape

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Technodolly