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Re: [gear] Marantz PMD620 first impressions (long msg)

Subject: Re: [gear] Marantz PMD620 first impressions (long msg)
From: "jmcharcot" jmcharcot
Date: Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:48 am ((PST))
Thanks for this review..

Regarding the preamps, did you or someone else proceed to some other 
Do you think they are better than the ones of a HiMD like the RH1 or 
the RH10? 
I'd consider using it with an AT-822.. 

Kind regards, 


--- In  Rob Danielson <> 
> At 1:34 AM +0000 11/21/07, oryoki2000 wrote:
> >The postman brought a surprise today: The new Marantz PMD620
> >recorder. Here is my review.
> >--oryoki
> >
> >Marantz PMD620 first impressions
> >
> >The PMD620 is a departure from the traditional Marantz designs. 
> >PMD620 has an attractive, almost stylish appearance. The PMD620 is
> >built of black plastic, with grey metal covering the front. The
> >effect is rather elegant and professional. No one will mistake 
> >new machine for a cassette tape recorder!
> >
> >The PMD620 is a small hand-held recorder. Two useful mics are 
> >into the top of the PMD620, and a 1/8-inch jack is available for 
> >external pair of mics. "Plug-in" power is available for external 
> >that use it. This $400 model records 24/48 WAV or MP3 files to 
> >flash cards.
> >
> >Hearing that the PMD620 is small doesn't prepare you for its 
size. It
> >is literally 1/6 the volume and weight of the next largest 
> >the PMD660. The PMD620 is almost identical in size to the current
> >Apple iPod "Classic", except that the PMD620 is one inch (25mm) 
> >to make room for two AA batteries. The PMD620 weighs about 6 oz 
> >g) ready to record. The recorder slides easily into a trouser or
> >jacket pocket, or attaches to your belt like a cell phone using 
> >supplied clip.
> >
> >Like the iPod, the PMD620 is designed for one-hand operation.
> >Recording is started with one push of an oversize button. A large
> >OLED display keeps you informed about the recording. The display 
> >easy to read indoors, difficult outside in shade, and completely
> >illegible in direct sun. Selecting the larger font size makes the
> >display easier to read.
> >
> >Slide the power switch, and the machine is ready to record in less
> >than 3 seconds. Press the large Record button and recording 
> >Press the Record/Pause button instead, and the LED screen shows 
> >metering system in action. The headphone jack lets you monitor the
> >recording in progress. Record Stop and Shut down are almost
> >instantaneous.
> >
> >Marantz claims the 2 AA cells can power the PMD620 for about 5 
> >of recording. The plastic door covering the battery compartment 
> >flimsy for a part that will see regular manipulation. The PMD620 
> >also run on 6V DC power from an external source.
> >
> >The preamp specifications Marantz publishes for the PMD620 are 
> >to the specs of the PMD660 recorder. This is not a good sign, 
> >the PMD660 is (correctly) criticized as having relatively high
> >self-noise and poor performance when recording loud material.
> >
> >However, in my brief tests the PMD620 sounded better than the 
> >might suggest.
> >
> >The built-in mics are adequate. They have a somewhat better sound
> >when you point the top of the mic at the subject, holding the 
> >as if it were a TV remote control. The sound is thinner and 
> >when you point the front or back of the recorder at the subject 
> >points the top of the recorder and the mics at the ceiling). The 
> >clip includes a tripod socket, which enables you to properly 
> >the recorder on a stand of some sort.
> >
> >Handling noise is evident in the recording when the internal mics 
> >used, as one might expect when the mics are less than 2 inches 
(50 mm)
> >away from the controls. Less expected is a pronounced "click" 
> >to the recording when the control button for mic gain is pressed.
> >This is true with internal or external mics. Disappointing!
> >
> >When recording with the built-in mics and volume set to maximum, a
> >broad-spectrum hissy background sound is noticeable. After 
> >in external mics, the preamp becomes much quieter. At a gain 
> >just lower than maximum, the recordings I made with a Sennheiser
> >ME20/K6 mic were very clear and sounded natural.
> >
> >Compared to my Oade-modified PMD660, the PMD620 was a bit 
noisier, but
> >sounded very good as long as the preamp gain was held a little 
> >maximum. Overall, I'd say the PMD620's preamp is better than the
> >stock PMD660, and similar to the well-regarded Sony Hi-MD minidisc
> >recorder.
> >
> >The PMD620 menu system allows you to configure many parameters for
> >your recording session:
> >Input select (auto or manual select of internal or external mic)
> >Record format (low, medium or high bit rate MP3, plus 16 or 24 
bit WAV)
> >Stereo or Mono
> >WAV sample rate (44.1 or 48 thousand samples per second)
> >Ability to manually split tracks
> >Silent Skip
> >Auto level control
> >Mic attenuation (0, -12, -24)
> >Low cut filter
> >dB level of warning LED (-6dB, -12dB, -20dB, -38dB and -54dB)
> >Skip Back duration (1 to 60 seconds)
> >File sort (by date/time file was created, or by name)
> >Date format (M/D/Y or D/M/Y)
> >LED font size (large or small)
> >Auto Power Down (on or off)
> >Battery type (Alkaline or NiMH rechargeable)
> >Key Lock (all keys or partial
> >main LED display on or off
> >LED brightness
> >Machine ID (a 7 character name for the machine)
> >
> >Fortunately, the PMD620 remembers up to three sets of parameters,
> >making it easy to switch between setups without checking all the 
> >choices. You can save a preset to the flash memory card and copy 
> >to a second PMD620, ensuring the two recorders are set up the 
> >
> >The PMD620 package includes a 512MB SD card, which is enough 
space for
> >half an hour or more of recording. The PMD620 can record in 
> >mode as well as stereo. This is useful if you're using a single 
> >and need to save space on the flash memory card.
> >
> >Marantz claims that the PMD620 will continue to record as long as
> >there is file space. There is no 2GB limit to file size. I'll try
> >to verify this is correct.
> >
> >Now that the stylish PMD620 has arrived, is there a reason to 
> >the larger PMD660? I think so. The $475 PMD660 has XLR inputs and
> >phantom power for pro mics, and its design makes it easy to 
> >while it hangs from your shoulder. The PMD660 has large, easy to 
> >controls, individual gain controls for each input channel, and 
> >metering than the PMD620 has.
> >
> >The PMD620's main competition are the Edirol R-09 ($375), the M-
> >Microtrack II ($300), and the Zoom H2 ($200). All three are about 
> >same size as the PMD620.
> >
> >The R-09 is very similar, with two built-in mics and AA power. I
> >don't have an R-09 for side-by-side comparison, but I'd say the R-
> >mic preamps sound very similar to the PMD620's preamps. And 
> >the preamp gain does not add "click" sounds to the recording.
> >
> >However, the R-09 is notorious for failures of its 1/8-inch input
> >jacks. They are poorly soldered and develop problems even with the
> >most careful handling. It's too early to say if the PMD620 will be
> >more reliable, but Marantz has a good reputation for building 
> >equipment.
> >
> >The Microtrack lacks the built-in mics and field-replaceable
> >batteries, but offers 24/96 digitization, and SPDIF digital input.
> >There have been far fewer input jack failures reported by 
> >owners. The Microtrack uses Compactflash cards.
> >
> >The Zoom H2 offers two and four channel recording options using 
> >built-in mic array. Recordings via the external mic jack can have
> >high noise levels. The circuits supporting the built-in mics and 
> >input are quieter. The H2 is a little larger and heavier than the
> >others mentioned here, and the preamp is a little noisier. At half
> >the price of the others mentioned above, many buyers are willing 
> >overlook the H2's shortcomings.
> >
> >The PMD620 joins the R-09 and Zoom H2 as good choices for 
a "point and
> >shoot" recorder that is small enough to be carried discretely
> >anywhere, and able to capture those serendipitous recording 
> >With external mics, the PMD620 is capable of excellent 
> >
> Thanks for the useful run-down, Oryoki. Your analogy of a "point 
> shoot" recorder is a good one.
> For those who appreciate the advantages of low-noise mics, the 
> important development in recorders might be the lowering of the 
> price-point of recorders with phantom powering and low-noise/high 
> gain mic preamps like the Fostex FR-2LE. For only $90USD more than 
> PMD620, one can invest in a recorder that can excel in the most 
> demanding situations. While miniaturization, itself, can be 
> the FR-2LE is still small enough to slip into a large coat pocket, 
> fanny pack or small camera case. Rob D.
> --

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