CES 2012: Nagra becomes part of new company to keep audio focus, launches special edition SD recorder for hi-fi market

One of the best-known names in high-end audio – Nagra, famous for its Swiss-made components of watch-like precision – has two announcements to make here at CES 2012.

First, it's being transferred from its owner the Kudelski Group to a new family-owned company, Audio Technology Switzerland.

That may seem like no more than the shuffling of paper – after all, the Kudelski family will still be running the company –, but the idea is to avoid Nagra getting drowned by Kudelski's current core business, which is security technologies for digital TV systems.

The new company will be based in Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, and will make Nagra's three core products: professional recorders, recorders for security applications, and hi-fi products.

In charge of research and development will be Marguerite Kudelski (left), the daughter of Nagra founder Stephan Kudelski, and the company will manufacture the entire Nagra range, provide service and develop new products.

A sign of the company's new commitment to the hi-fi market is a special version of its Nagra SD pocket recorder, aimed at the hi-fi enthusiast rather than professional users.

The audiophile Nagra SD kit includes the recorder, able to record onto standard SD memory cards in 16-24-bit 24-96kHz or compressed MP3.

Five hours' running time is possible from two AA/MN1500 batteries.

This is packaged with a Nagra microphone with electret capsules, a table tripod, USB and microphone cables, batteries and a memory card.

The system will be available from Nagra Hi-Fi distributors from this month. Pricing is yet to be announced, but the standard recorder alone sells for around £700.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.