Munich HIGH END Show Report 2017
Nagra is a very longstanding company based in Switzerland and is know for both professional and home audio gear. We're talking some of the very best equipment that professional recording engineers rely upon day after day to be bother high quality and rugged. Here's their Nagra IV-S 1971 tape machine, and it is surrounded by, you know, awards from leading experts in the field.
Nagra's new HD Preamp was showcased within a system built around their HD DAC and HD AMP. Marking 20 years after the launch of their award-winning Nagra PL-P preamplifier, the new HD Preamp build on it's success. The PL-P preamplifier was a class A triode-based line and phono preamplifier that immediately set new standards in sound reproduction. It became a reference all over the world and received awards worldwide.
In Munich, they unveiled their HD Preamp project. This unit's design started from a blank page. Every aspect and step in the design process involved research to find the most elegant solution to accurately and faithfully convey the music from the source to the amplifier. As a result, the HD Preamp, which is also based around vacuum tube amplification, includes several patent-pending technologies that take the music listening experience to new heights.
Nagra's very unique approach to designing audio products should come as no surprise and draws on 65 years of experience in the field, a large and skilled R&D group as well as extensive listening sessions. This frequently results in a very organic and natural sound. The unit is tube based, dual-mono, with separate super-cap power supply. It features high end custom made components as well as Nagra in-house audio transformers.
As a tribute to Nagra legendary recorders and PL-P preamplifier, the HD Preamp features the nearlu 'mythical' modulometer. The modulometer is a custom made measuring unit that differs from traditional Vu-meter, as modulometers are faster and more accurate.
As is to be expected with such high-quality electronics, the sophisticated power supply will be located in a separate chassis. Like the audio circuit, it uses ultra-high quality components that are specified for extreme applications. Just as the PL-P made use of batteries to isolate the unit from external interferences, the HD Ppreamp's power supply uses a unique virtual battery technology - built around super-caps, which provide superior results compared to a conventional battery without the inconvenience of dealing with charging time and battery life. Consequently, the noise floor level at the preamplifier reaches uncharted territories; it is the lowest ever measured on a Nagra product.
The HD Preamp's chassis construction and power supply ensures that the unit is free from the influence of external disturbances (vibration and electrical interference) and will drastically reduce mechanical resonances. As a result, the HD Preamp promises to set new standards for preamplification as did the PL-P twenty years ago. Nagra's HD Preamp is due for release in fall 2017.
The new HD Preamp is joined by their HD DAC with state-of-the-art high resolution DSD conversion. Its digital circuits were developed in association with Andreas Koch, the pioneering engineer of the DSD format. It should come as no surprise that Nagra's HD DAC has received numerous awards. Nagra's HD AMP mono power amplifier is the result of a five year R&D project that has allowed Nagra to redefine what ultimate amplification should be. This prestigious piece of electronics brings the transparency, accuracy and musicality associated with the NAGRA brand to more powerful amplifiers for filling large rooms and driving demanding speakers. The HD AMP is designed around a bigger, all-new chassis. It features a massive linear power supply built around a 1600 VA transformer, a dual Pi filter with a 264mF capacitive filtering bank featuring custom-made Mundorf capacitors and the power stage is built on precisely matched clusters of power MOSFETs that deliver 250 Watts rms on 8 Ohms and 1000 Watts rms on 2 Ohms. It is worth noting that few manufacturers provide conservative measurements that are true rms.
For turntable duties, the Kronos turntable was put to good use. It really makes me think, if Nagra uses Kronos, and Enjoy the Music.com's reviewer Rick Becker loved it, then if you're seeking a top-flight analog rig for LP playback then you should check out Kronos too. My lusting notes, er um i mean listening notes, say very fast, and crystal clear, sound. It is as if there is no 'window' between you and the musicians. It was, simply put, pure music. Music sounded effortless, clean, and thoroughly enjoyable. Without a doubt Nagra DAC/amplification, Kronos turntable, Wilson Audio speakers, and Transparent Audio cables produced one of the very best sounding room at HIGH END 2017 in Munich. Enjoy the Music.com reviewed the Kronos Sparta 0.5 Turntable as we upgraded it to full Sparta at this link
Nagra, like many manufacturers, are producing their own videos during shows! Videos are very easy to produce nowadays, and so i expect more manufactures to produce their own professional videos versus an amateur guy with a camcorder doing a walk-around. So make note of this high-end audio, as all you need is your cell phone and a good video editing program, usually free or nearly so, to make close to pro-level videos during events.