Hands-On Review: Nagra SD


The confluence of SD card audio recorders for use in DSLR video recording and an eminent recorder company results in the Nagra SD, a handheld recorder that fulfills the promise of the Nagra name. As a solution for any situation that requires a discreet, high performance audio recorder, the Nagra SD fits the bill perfectly with its interchangeable microphone capsule functionality.

This eight-minute video covers all the bases, and includes a voice-over and other ambient recordings captured by the unit that all serve to uphold the claim that this professional recorder is worthy of the Nagra name.

Data Storage Extractable SD memory card
Recording Method Digital (PCM) or Digital compression
Compression Type ISO MPEG Layer II / MPEG III
A/D and D/A Conversion 24-bit Sigma-Delta
Sampling Rate 24 to 96 kHz PCM and MPEG
Bit-Rates 32 to 384 kb/s
Mono/Stereo Switchable
File Format WAV or MP2/MP3
Microphone Inputs 1 x 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mini
Dynamic Range Adj. 40 dB for 0 dB recording
Microphone Powering 3 V electret
Sensitivity Minimum 1.5 mV for electret capsules (full scale), minimum 650 µV for dynamic microphones (full scale) 
Line Input 1 x 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mini
Line Input Sensitivity 33 mV to 6.2 V for 0 dBFS recording
Headphone 1 x 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mini
Line Output 0.9 V FS
Total Dynamic Range 80 dB
Built-In Speaker 0.1 W
USB 2.0
THD + N @ 1 kHz 0.025% maximum
Frequency Response 30 Hz to 20 kHz (-3.0 dB in EE mode)
Total Dynamic Range 90 dB
Battery Pack 2 x AA cells
Autonomy >10 hours
Dimensions 4 x 2.4 x 0.9" (107 x 61 x 23mm) - without external microphones
Weight 0.5 lb (250 g) - including batteries, without microphones

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Great presentation: clear and well explained. It's the most useful review I have seen (and heard) of the Nagra SD.

The Nagra seems to be easy to use and well-specified. It must be close to the top of the pile for handheld recorders, but you'd expect that given the price. I'd better start saving.