How 'bout that new Marantz PMD660? at
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Old March 29th, 2005, 10:39 PM   #1
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How 'bout that new Marantz PMD660?

For a lousy $499 I'd call this the drool d'jour... or is it really?

I've used a 670 on several occasions and I'd say it's position in the market is pretty secure. The 670 can do just about any bit rate and quality of recording you want... plus a lot of other stuff. Also the 670 is about 6db quieter and 6db better in several specs across the board. Plus the -.5db frequency is rated to 20kHz in the 670 and only to 16kHz on the 660...

Okay so we've established that the 660 is an inferior machine to the 670... so how does that play in THIS discussion?

About the ONLY gripe I ever had with the 670 was the size. Even though it's not that big... it is substantial... there is NO pocket that you're gonna' drop the 670 along comes the 660 at 4.5" x 7.2" x 1.9" and 1.1 lbs versus the 670 at 10.4" x 7.3" x 2" and 2 lbs 14 oz...

So is the 660 an inferior machine to the 670? Yes. Does the 660 appear to be good for it's size and what you get for $499? Yes.

Here's the kicker. So the 670 is a better machine, a bigger machine, and it's $190 more the the 660 (which is less then HALF the size and weight of the 670)...

I'm wondering what will happen? Will people snatch up the 660's as fast as Marantz can make 'em or will they spend a little more for a better machine that's twice as big and heavy?

I don't even know which one I will go with... what do you think?
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Old March 30th, 2005, 12:46 AM   #2
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Well I dunno, but for me, one who does dialog only and currently uses my XM2 for recording audio, and likes the idea of carrying less weight and size stuff cause I'm usually a one man band...The 16KHz don't bother me and 6db more noisy don't bother me. I haven't seen the 660's specs but from what you say, that'd be my choice.

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Old May 6th, 2005, 12:12 PM   #3
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We ordered the PMD660 from B&H and it got in a couple of days ago. It was extremely disappointing. With an ME66 attached it was clipping and distorting at normal conversational levels. Turning down the input did nothing to fix this. It was clipping while barely registering on the meter. The -20dB pad was too much–Marantz apparently acknowledges that it is actually much more than 20dB–and left us with a terrible hiss. All audio was unusable. We tested the microphone with a DAP-1 and Beachtek DX-4 attached to the camera. The microphone was fine. We tested the PMD660 with other condenser mics–same distortion and clipping. Marantz technical support says that the PMD660 pre-amp is not intended to be used with "pro" microphones and suggested that we need a 670. I sincerely hope that the 670 solves this issue.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 05:20 PM   #4
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Julia, according to the specifications I'm afraid you may get the same results with the 670, although there may be more headroom in it's preamp.

Both units expect a nominal 1.2 mV signal from a microphone. The ME66 can easily put out more than ten times that at the louder peaks of normal conversation. With an external -10dB pad it should work fine with either unit, but a -20dB or greater pad is too much.
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Last edited by David Ennis; May 6th, 2005 at 05:40 PM.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 06:28 PM   #5
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The 671 is prob your best bet. At street priced around $800, it's not a bad buy with 24/96.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 07:06 PM   #6
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I would have to agree with Julia, while the features and operation of the PMD660 are pretty nice, the audio quality is quite disappointing. I tried it with a numnber of different mics and got the same results as Julia reported. No headroom for hot mics and too noisy for not-so-hot mics. I suppose there's a middle ground somewhere, but since the bottom line is to get nice clean audio, I have to wonder what Marantz was thinking.

Using an AT825 stereo mic produced good results when recording relatively high spl sounds, but when I engaged the -20 db pad, I found another strange behaviour. With the pad off, the stereo field was fine, with the -20 db pad on, the stereo field became left and center - yuk! Forget using the AT825 to pickup ambience, the pre-amps sound horrible when the gain is even up to the "ideal" point. I keep thinking that a small CF recorder for $500 should be relatively easy for someone to make. I guess Marantz just isn't that someone.
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