August 15th, 2012

Série Noire

Now, this is pretty cool. When we took part in the Munich HiFi Show earlier this year, the guys from Nagra brought this little old school gadget called Nagra SN ‘Série Noire’ recorder. I had a chat with Matthieu Latour and found out some interesting facts about it.

Nagra started making it back in the early sixties on a request from the CIA. The CIA used it solidly for about a decade and so it didn’t exist to the rest of the world. However, technology eventually caught up and spies started using detection devices that read frequencies that the ‘Série Noire’ recorder used and in the end it was fairly common to use both the recorder as well as the detection device.

There’s a story about an American spy meeting a Russian ditto that started chatting about their Nagra gadgets without any other introduction, they just both knew they both were wired. Probably a similar conversation to what goes on today, comparing iPhones and other gadgets.

When it was released to the general public it became very popular with film making as it’s so small that the actors can fit it in a pocket and then record their lines. It was also used by NASA in space travel.

When it’s closed it looks like it could have been made by Apple, only 50 years earlier. An inspiration for the macbook perhaps?

I really wanted to sneak it into my pocket and ‘borrow’ it but I guess that would’ve been downright stealing, not sneaking. I’m surprised none else did. Maybe the prospect of having the CIA after you scared people off:)


Filed in Technical, Travel
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