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.