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I Remember the Nagra III

RIP, Mr. Kudelski

Paul Courson I was sorry to hear in a National Public Radio report that Stefan Kudelski has died. Count this ex-radio newsman among fans of his Nagra portable open-reel machines.

Out of college, I started in the field with a German Uher 4000 Report L, but lusted for a Nagra like the ones the European reporters all enjoyed.

Finally got a Nagra III a few years later, in time for parade ROSRs for a Reagan inauguration. Apropos of the country’s latest inauguration, I was just looking at an old snapshot of myself that earlier time, standing on a rooftop near the White House, holding an EV RE-16 and the Nagra draped across my shoulder.

I still have the machine, a 1967 make, and I’ve since picked up the matching BM-II external mixer, which is powered from the machine. They both work well all these years later.

Nagra III I occasionally use the set with a friend’s band doing a Beatles revival with correct-to-the-era amps and instruments. Those who remember the Beatles movie “Help!” may recall the scene in the middle of an open field where the band are laying down new songs, guarded by a ring of tanks and artillery.

A BBC-type recording engineer is seated at a mixing desk in this field. His “mastering” machine is a Nagra III.

RIP, Mr. Kudelski.

Paul Courson
Senior Field Producer