High End 2016: Nagra blends pro audio with high end and the result is tremendous


Nagra has been around since decades, all the way back to the ‘50s. During the first decades it became famous for battery-operated reel-to-reel recorders which were industry-standard for cinema and TV production. Since then, the company founded by Kudelski moved to the high-end market but kept the same looks, build quality and sound attributes as the original pro models.

In Munich, we were expecting to see (and more importantly, hear) the new HD amp, a rather big piece of kit rated at 250W/8Ohm, but unfortunately the voicing was not done yet, so the heavy lifting (moving the Wilson Alexia speakers) felt on a pair of Classic amps with a mere 100W/8Ohm. The rest of the system included Nagra’s own Classic Pre-amp (a tube design still in prototype stage), DAC and VPS phono stage paired with the beautiful Kronos Sparta turntable, this one fitted with yet another ZYX (there were a dozen ZYX cartridges in the show), an Omega Premium this time. Cables were provided by Transparent.

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This proved to be a great system, at least at the moderate volumes I got to listen to it, independent of the type of music played. Opera sounded engaging and showed a wide soundstage, jazz was spot on with elements of ambience and real life warm-ish tonality especially on voices such as Chie Ayado’s, the system had everything there was to look for. Can’t wait to listen to the new HD amps next year.

In the photos: the HD amp standing vertical and placed on the floor the new Classic pre-amp.

About Panagiotis Karavitis 212 Articles
Doctor and Editor @ Part-Time Audiophile Publisher @ Audiohub.gr