Nagra newsletter, July 2021

70 years ago Stefan Kudelski created the first portable analog tape recorder, the NAGRA I. In 1972, he filed a patent for an innovative tonearm.

For the 70th anniversary of the Nagra I, we are launching a very ambitious analog playback project. The new NAGRA HD TURNTABLE is designed and precision-built in Switzerland with no compromises. Packed with innovation for smoother movement and isolation that puts you right in the studio with the musicians in a way never experienced before, it is built like a Swiss watch to the most exacting standards. Not only pleasing to the ears, it is also a beautiful object and a testimony to Nagra’s mechanical expertise and dedication to pure sound.

Analog dream !


  • Aerospace Exium / acrylic platter for a very low resonance and high density providing maximum inertia
  • Dual motor belt-drive inspired by the legendary Nagra IV-S for low flutter
  • Suspended chassis with a self-resonance below 3 Hz, way below the cartridge bandwidth
  • Supercapacitor power supply for very low noise and speed stability
  • Automatic speed correction for 33 1/3 rpm long play and 45 rpm
  • Pitch control for correcting LP playback speed
  • Chassis and sub-chassis with layered construction for low resonance and high rigidity, like the HD PREAMP and HD DAC X, to prevent any sound coloration from the mechanical parts
  • Dual geometry adjustment for perfect balance
  • Oversized steel and bronze precision main bearing

The Nagra HD TURNTABLE will be released this fall.

Classic PHONO

A special insight into the Classic PHONO


Following the success of the new Classic Line products, and products such as the Classic PREAMP, Classic AMP and TUBE DAC, it was time to get analog and upgrade the Nagra VPS. The VPS was introduced in 2007 following the success of the Nagra PL-P phono stage, originally introduced in 1998. The mission of the Classic PHONO was to offer the features and style appreciated in the VPS but to take them to a new level, using principles applied in the design of the HD Line of products. The design process is based on extensive computer simulation followed by prototyping. The prototypes are then measured in depth before being listened to. The Nagra team undertakes an iterative process in which a new prototype is made, or changes are made to an existing prototype, followed by measurement, listening and so on.

The listening sessions are either recreational where we want to be more emotionally driven, or formal, where we always use the same tracks at the same levels and a discussion is made by the panel to decide on next steps. The Classic PHONO development took place after the release of the Nagra HD DAC X at the end of 2018 and spanned several months with a product release in September 2020.

Some insights

Nagra Transformers

It is no secret that Nagra has invested a lot in transformer design and production. Our company is fortunate in having its own transformer workshop, nestling in the heart of the factory, in a very protected part of the building. The step-up transformer is the first component that the delicate LP signal reaches and thus it needs to be extremely well designed and built. The signal coming out of the cartridge is very low and fragile. There are different options to amplify it, the best solution by far being to use a transformer. The transformer not only provides passive gain, it also isolates the cartridge from the phono stage and unwanted hum or radio frequencies. This is the optimal way to extract the best from the cartridge. The original Nagra transformers used in the PL-P and VPS were derived from the legendary recorders’ microphone input stage. A commonality with microphonic and LP signals is their very low voltage and fragile nature. However, in the Classic PHONO we wanted to have a fresh approach and we decided to use the same toroidal core as is found in the Nagra HD PREAMP and Nagra HD DAC X. In the end the transformer offers 16 dB of passive gain with a spectacular phase and frequency responses - two equally important parameters in a transparent sound reproduction, among others.


The Classic PHONO comes with an internal power supply derived from the Classic PREAMP but further filtered to operate in a phono environment. The Classic PHONO will deliver fantastic results connected directly to the mains. However, it will express its full potential associated with the Nagra Classic PSU super-cap power supply. The Classic PHONO and the Classic PSU can also be upgraded mechanically using the Classic VFS vibration dampers to offer more soundstage and bass definition.

Review of the Classic PHONO of STEREO MAGAZINE, Germany

More amazing Classic PHONO reviews


(...) this phono preamp is simply the highest note of the magazine in 25 years of existence!"
NAGRA at Montreux Jazz Festival

Workshop at the Montreux Jazz Festival

Immerse yourself in the sound of Montreux as it was originally captured in the early years. Thanks to the Claude Nobs Foundation and Montreux Sounds, a unique selection of tapes will be played back on a Nagra recorder and a special Nagra HD set-up to recreate the atmosphere and essence of the Casino Kursaal and the Casino de Montreux. The tapes cover the period from 1967 through 1981. Later on the Festival was recorded mostly in digital.

Nagra is at the Montreux Jazz Festival along with Stenheim speakers! We are playing analog tapes from the Montreux Jazz Festival and from our own collection.

Reference system: Nagra IV-S through an HD PREAMP and two pairs of HD AMPs on Stenheim’s Reference speakers. The custom made Nagra by Transparent cable is used from the Nagra IV-S to the HD PREAMP.

First track: DAYS AND NIGHTS WAITING, Charles Lloyd Quartet, 18 June 1967, Casino Kursaal. Keith Jarrett (p), Jack DeJohnette (dr), Charles Lloyd (ts, fl), Ron McClure (b)

Check out the complete track list of the event here:


This is a very emotional experience, a time machine that transports you back over the decades to be with Charles Lloyd, Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald once again. The audience was thrilled at the time and so are we as we relive this special moment. What a privilege to be part of the Montreux Jazz Festival’s unique history and legacy.
An emotional experience

Alain Dufaux, EPFL, co-presenting the workshop

Pictures courtesy of Sylvain Blanchoud

NAGRA HD PREAMP, HD AMP and Classic PHONO/PSU match with the Lyra High End speakers from Rockport !

Ne Plus Ultra in Austin, Texas.

Thank you Casey McKee of Ne Plus Ultra


Don’t miss NAGRA and Musical Artisans at the next Axpona show in Chicago, October 29-31, 2021. Room 1645.

NAGRA around the world

NAGRA Analog workshop

Trew Audio is appointed as an authorized repair center for NAGRA Analog in the US

For decades Nagra has been a byword for precision in mechanics, custom-made recording heads, bias and tape alignment. This unique know-how has been cherished and maintained throughout our company history right up to the present day to enable us to offer service and maintenance on legendary units such as the Nagra IV-S. You can have your Nagra sent over for maintenance in the US or in Europe and you may also acquire a second-hand Nagra that has been totally refurbished with genuine Nagra new old stock backed by a manufacturer warranty.

Created By
René Laflamme