Marantz PMD660 vs. Edirol R-4 at
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #1
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Marantz PMD660 vs. Edirol R-4

I'm in search of a pro audio recording device that will record crystal clear audio with low noise.

Now I've been drooling (I mean looking) over the Edirol R-4. It's a 24-bit recording device that will capture 17 hours of uncompressed audio and 58 hours of cd-quality audio. The price is $1,595 so it's pretty steep but it's a 4 track audio recorder with a power supply or batteries. I need something I can patch into a live shows audio equipment like a dj or church audio system where I can set it and forget it while it's recording...

Now the Marantz is a nice small product for $599. I believe it's only a 16-bit recording device and it only comes with a 64mb CF card. With a 1 gig card it will only record 60 minutes of 16-bit audio. The CF cards seem to be about $100 per gig so if I bought a 4 gig card to record 4 hours of 16-bit audio, I'm not paying about $1,000+ for a device where the audio clarity is less and the recording time is waaaaayyyy less...

Am I making any sense? Should I go ahead and just buy the Edirol R-4? Has anyone used the R-4 and thinks it's just awesome?

Please give me your comments... I need to purchase one of these devices ASAP.


Eric Holloway
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Old April 20th, 2005, 05:50 PM   #2
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Eric, I use the Marantz pmd671 for audio capture (2 xlr). It comes with 24bit/96 and is very low noise. It can use microdrive or compact flash. I also use the edirol fa-101 firewire interface for laptop capture (only a good option if you already hae a good laptop). The r-4 seems to be the best of both worlds (especially with 4 xlr mic inputs and balanced inputs/outputs), but for almost twice the price I paid for the 671 I DON'T THINK SO. You can get 4gb or 6gb microdrives for between $200 and $300 which would still make it almost $600 bucks cheaper than the r-4 (assuming you buy online discount). I think they are both great products but, if money is a factor, as it was with me, then the 671 is a good deal (I got one for under $900 on the web). They both come with in unit edit functions and different levels of pre-sets depending on your need. A 4GB flash card or microdrive will give you about 4 hours at 24/96 (mono), which for me is generally more than is necessary, and with one or two extra, that is more than enough for a days shoot or a session.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 06:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for your comments. After further research and "discovering" 6 gig microdrives, I ended up purchasing the PMD670. It seems to have all the features I needed but it would have been nice to have the 4 xlr inputs but I could always buy another PMD670 in the future. The main difference in the PMD670 and PMD671 is probably the 16 to 24 bit recording. I didn't even know about the PMD671 before you chimed in... Unfortunately a little late but I think the PMD671 will be sufficient in recording events and weddings while patched into dj or church sound systems, don't you think?


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Old April 21st, 2005, 04:12 PM   #4
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I'm a newbie to the DV world but a long time computer geek and I don't like the idea of recording on flash and then transferring to the computer whereupon the computer copy becomes the only copy existent. I much prefer the idea of the original recording media being used once only and then retired to archive the original master recording for perpetuity. Computers crash, drives fail, people sleepily click the wrong thing with their mouse and delete files. IF you have erased the CF card after transferring to the computer and the worst case happens, you're permanently dead in the water as far as that project is concerned. If you record to DAT or mini-disc you can always go back to your original master and pickup a fresh pristine copy if the roof falls in on your working copy. On the other hand if you record on high capacity CF cards and archive them after transferring, buying a fresh supply for each project, you're using what amounts to incredibly expensive tape stock, spending hundreds of dollars anew in each and every project for your recording media. I suppose a work around is to transfer to CD at the same time you transfer the original to your hard drive but even that worries me - call me paranoid.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 12:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Steve House
- call me paranoid.


Steve, you gotta remember.....unlike digital video, digital audio is relatively small. Using a single 120gb hard drive will hold roughly 120 hours, or 7200 minutes or basically FIVE STRAIGHT DAYS of continuous uninterupted uncompressed 16bit audio. For what, $90 bucks or so? Get two, and you have a 1:1 backup.

So Steve, I would MUCH rather have 5 straight days of audio on a single portable firewire hard drive , then 120 sticky labeled DAT tapes stacked up in my closet waiting to fall on my head.

This is why the iPod has become so successfull, and the reason people are ripping then dumping their old CD collections. if you need backup...get another drive.

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Old April 24th, 2005, 01:11 PM   #6
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Don't forget that a DVD ROM will hold a shlode of audio and you can make 1 for your house, one for your vault and 1 to bury in the back yard.
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(Thats just, like, my opinion, man)
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Old April 24th, 2005, 01:53 PM   #7
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Well, there's another hardware solution for those who may not need 17-hour recording time or battery-operated portability, but would like to keep it simple. I have an HHB "BurnIt" (model CDR-930) audio CD recorder. This particular version does not have the XLR connectors, but I'll rough it with the supplied RCAs...they do make an XLR version.

The sound is CD quality...well, because it IS a CD. The media is dirt-cheap, using ordinary CD-R blanks that hold 80 minutes each. And of course, because it is a CD, it will play back on anything. That's pretty handy.

And the machine is stone-easy to use, no more complicated than a consumer cassette deck. And although it's designed to be rack-mounted, it weighs little more than a laptop, so it's a no-brainer for me to bust this out and use it whenever I want to lay down some hassle-free audio.

And while it isn't 4-track, it is definitely something you can patch into the PA and set it and forget it (for 80 minutes at a time, anyway).
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Old April 25th, 2005, 11:10 AM   #8
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I am also in the market for a portable recorder, to be used primarily for voice-over and sfx work. What gets my attention is the 48v XLR since I am currently doing audio recording with a Beachtek DXA-6 (on a GL2) and would rather not go from XLR to 1/8" unbalanced.

HOWEVER, I've read about the noise the PMD-660 exhibits. Judging from the reviews, this is in the BUILT-IN mic, which I would not be using at all, so what I would like to know is what about the noise level in general, with an external mic? (I'm using a Peavey Studio Pro M2 )
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Old April 26th, 2005, 03:40 AM   #9
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I've placed a short sample at;
It was recorded with an AKG C900. There's about 6 seconds of silence at the end which you can crank up to check noise.
I might say that my pc is not far away so there might be a slight trace of fan noise in the silent bit
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Old April 26th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #10
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Thanks a lot, Alex!

That sounds NICE to me!

Alex, is there anything else you can tell us about the PMD-660, as far as device operation? I see that you can purchase a separate wrist-control for it at B&H ( Do you recommend this?
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