Thursday, December 18, 2008

Marantz PMD661 digital recorder now shipping

The Marantz PMD661 pro audio recorder I mentioned last month is now shipping in limited quantities. Sweetwater has a small number of units in stock for just under $600. And the folks at Marantz have put together a brief YouTube video explaining the features of the recorder and how it differs from its predecessor, the Marantz PMD660.

I was never a big fan of the PMD660. It was a bit too large to comfortably hold in your hand, and the mic preamps were fairly noisy unless you sprung for a third party modification from Oade Brothers. But the PMD661 looks like a huge improvement. It's slightly smaller than the older model, but it packs more features, including:
  • The XLR jacks now accept now line/mic inputs, not just mic input. They also have "enhanced" preamps.
  • There's a digital S/PDIF input.
  • The outputs have been upgraded from 1/8th inch mini jacks to RCA outputs.
  • There's a new 1/8th inch mini input.
  • The headphone jack is now 1/4th inch instead of 1/8th inch.
  • The recorder has a shiny new OLED display which is easier to read.
  • The VU meter is at an angle, making it easier to monitor from the top or side.
The recorder also takes SD cards instead of CompactFlash cards, and still relies on 4 AA batteries.

I haven't had a chance to test the PMD661 out myself yet, so I can't say if it's worth the price when you can pick up a Sony PCM-D50 for $450 or a Marantz PMD620 or Olympus LS-10 for under $400. But I'll be keeping an eye out for this recorder at CES next month and I'll try to make some test recordings if I get a chance to play with it at the Marantz booth.

thanks Charles!


Anonymous said...

On paper (which is never a good way to evaluate audio gear), the 661's performance specs looks pretty similar (noisy) to the 660 -- I hope the better mic pre's mentioned in the video aren't just lip service! If they've fixed the noise, this will be a great unit. I love the performance of Fostex's FR-2LE but am put off by it's size; if the new Marantz can match it, they'll have a winner.

steve smart said...

I just bought the new Marantz PMD661 at a place called Martel Electronics. They included 2 free mics with the order. check it out They had them in stock. Steve

Marantz PMD661 Newbie said...

Now shipping in the UK too. Just put an order in for mine from here and came with a 2gb card free. Can't complain! Neil S.

Ghendrick said...

I have owned a Sony PCM-D50 for a few years.  I recently had a chance to use & compare it against a Marantz PMD661.  I wanted to like the PMD661...  I really tried to like it... But I just can't recommend it.   While I like the fact that the Marantz has built in XLR connectors & phantom power... The 661 falls short in several key features for me:  My main problem with this 661 is the headphone amp is NOT ADEQUATE to monitor & playback your recordings with enough volume to be useful.  If you can't hear the background noise in the headphones you can't make decent recordings.  My second complaint about the 661 is the fact it has NO limiter feature whatsoever.  Furthermore the mic preamp seems to clip rather nastily.   The 5 hour battery life is not great compared with the outstanding Sony PCM-D50" 25 hour run time.  The microphones in the PMD661 are also inferior to the Sony PCM-50D.

Despite the fact that this PMD661 has XLR inputs...  I much prefer the Sony PCM-D50 with an XLR adapter.  (Such as those made by BeachTek)  The PCM-D50 has a much better headphone amp, better mics built in, a very useful limiter and slightly better mic pre-amps in my opinion.  The Sony is also about $200 LESS expensive and built like a tank. 

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