Bad review of Marantz PDM660 at DVinfo.net

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Old June 19th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #1
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Bad review of Marantz PDM660

Some PodCasters are not too happy with the Marantz PDM660. Here are the reviews:

http://www.rds.com/blogs/doug/index....660-revisited/

http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6142-0....sageID=1137094

http://4webresults.com/blog/04-05/ma...cording-device
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Old June 19th, 2005, 03:34 PM   #2
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I have read some other articles concerning the same issues and also thought there was recall on certain models with pre amp problems. I will post the link if i come across it again.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 07:29 PM   #3
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i bought the pmd660, even after reading some of the more negative reviews. i just wanted to check it out and, if i had major issues with it, return it. some thoughts:

marantz' choice of preamps in the pdm660 is disappointing. they're a bit noisy. the form factor of the pmd660 may have had something to do with their decision -- it is a very compact unit. the oade brothers (www.oade.com) offer a modification to the pmd660s they sell, installing better quality, larger preamps at the expense of losing the line inputs and internal microphone to make room. i always run my audio through post, and a small amount of hiss doesn't bother me tremendously. to me, the audio is usable.

make sure you're in mono recording mode if your mic is a mono mic. the empty channel will generate an annoying high pitched whine.

i haven't had the horrible experiences with clipping that some reviewers seem to have had. my at4073a and at4053a both sound ok about two feet away from the audio source. my senn e945 dynamic sounded good close up. i haven't tried using a stereo mic yet. i have a sony ecm999pr i'll hook up at some point.

the line inputs sound pretty good.

the internal microphones are unusable. they generate a high pitched whine that exponentially increases as you increase the gain. it sounds a lot like feedback. marantz is aware of this situation. fortunately, i never use the internal mics.

the -20db pad is more like -40db. this is a known problem, and marantz will accept all units under warranty to correct this. this may be the recall you've heard about. mine was sent back only a few days ago to address this. i read somewhere that someone's internal mics sounded better after their correction. we'll see.

battery life is ok... i'm getting around 4 hours on 4 2500mAh AA nimhs.

the big positives? i love the form factor of the unit. i do a lot of my own foley work, and it's size is perfect. bottom line, i'm not going to WANT to lug around a fostex fr-2 or larger unit. i like that it takes xlr mics, and kicks out 48v phantom.

in any case, i'm happy enough with the unit to keep it. i feel that they really missed the ball with their choice of preamps.

when i get the unit back from marantz, i'll post an update and possibly some sound samples.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 04:48 PM   #4
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just to add, this is the best resource for this device on the web:
http://talk.transom.org/WebX?230@141...r89.0@.eeb41d8
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Old June 20th, 2005, 06:50 PM   #5
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Today, I can honestly say I understand the bad reviews of the PMD660. I think I was interested like everybody else in the form factor, but in the end came out utterly disapointed with the (to me) unacceptable sound. I have spent $800 for the PMD660 and a 4GB CF card and I really don't see the bang for the buck. I'm extremelly weary of using this device professionally. I wanted it to record long shows and events where I'll be plugged directly into the PA.

I'll try using it with my Sound Device 302 to hopefully get the best possible quality out of it, but any way you listen to it, the sound is just craptacular to me. Those mic inputs are noisy as hell, and they are extremely easy to overload. Maybe the line-in is better, but 1/8"? Bleh.

Today I did a simple test. I started recording in external mic mode, without any mics connected to it, and the Marrantz picked the sound of my hands when I clapped them near it, like I was banging the damn thing on the wall. The hell is going on here? Only bad surprises after bad surprises.

I think I'll use it for a few times to see how it holds up in real world conditions and if it doesn't cut it, I'll go the whole 9 yards and buy the Edirol R-4. I wouldn't buy anything else from Marrantz after this that's for sure. Poorly engineered is the overall lasting impression for me.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 02:25 AM   #6
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I must be very lucky because I experience none of the problems mentioned.
On my machine there is no trace of the "whine" that some say they can hear when using the internal mics. I just tried to duplicate Henry's problem when using a single mic while recording in stereo and again no whine.
Quality from the inbuilt mics isn't the best but is a useable backup for the odd doorstop interview where content is more important than absolute quality.
Pre-amp noise is quite noticable (in my headphones) when using a dynamic mike but far less so with my AKG C900 condenser. I guess the better the match, impedance wise, the lower the noise. In both cases, though, the noise is prominent only in the monitor headphones and frankly can not be heard when examined in SoundForge.
Whether I'm just lucky or whatever I am very happy with mine.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 04:52 PM   #7
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i think the initial batch of units had a lot of serious flaws that have since been ironed out and corrected in later ones. i'm glad your unit is running well alex. i'm looking forward to getting mine back from marantz soon.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 02:11 PM   #8
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I'm also looking at the PDM660 and Edirol-R1, my main concern with the PDM660 was reported "noise" level when using the internal or an external dynamic microphone.

My use would be the extremes, I need to record the exhaust sounds on a motorcycle at various RPM ranges (talking drag pipes) this is VERY loud. The other use would be standard voice interview in a quiet setting (using a condensor microphone)

Using the PDM660 I'm thinking of using a dynamic microphone for the "loud" recordings and a condensor microphone for everything else. Can I attenuate the dynamic microphone's input? externally? internally?

Would it be a safe statement to say that current produced PDM660's have all the bug fixes implented?

Given the stated situations, would the R1 be the better choice?

Thanks!
George-


Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Cho
i think the initial batch of units had a lot of serious flaws that have since been ironed out and corrected in later ones. i'm glad your unit is running well alex. i'm looking forward to getting mine back from marantz soon.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 02:29 PM   #9
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george,

unfortunately, the "bug fixes" i referred to had nothing to do with the horrible preamps.

check this thread for more and updated info:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=51831
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 02:46 PM   #10
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Thanks Henry,
Looks like a modded PMD660 is the way to go. I'm not sure about the loss of the line in and internal mic's though. I've eliminated the M-Audio's Microtrack based battery type and reviews on the net. The Edirol R1 is looking better for me.

George-
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 03:38 PM   #11
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I looked long and hard at all the available devices and bought the Edirol R4.
Nothing to complain about apart from the battery life but I'll fix that myself by adding a connector to let me use a larger external NiMH battery pack.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #12
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I'm sooooo glad I paid the extra cash for the Fostex FR-2. My friend who presents on my local radio station( Dan Davies,Manx radio) uses Marantz and has never had a good word to say about them.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #13
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The 660 is great for interviews but horrible for things like recording dialog or a live band. The dynamic range is narrow. On an interview however you'll never miss it and I believe it is quite popular for this. If you're recording dialog where an actor goes from a wisper to a scream however, you may end up smashing the darned thing with a hammer!
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Old January 24th, 2006, 12:45 PM   #14
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Tascam has a new one, the HD-P2, in the same general price range that looks very promising.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #15
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Hey guys!

I'm looking into a Marantz PMD 660 for some dialog and sound effect recording.

I will be using nothing but the 48v Phantom hookup. No internal mic - no 1/8" input, etc...

(I say that because a lot of reviews I've seen elsewhere suggest noise problems with the built-in mic and 1/8" input.)

If I were to do as I say above, would I still have the preamp problem or other issues?

Thanks, guys!
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