Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Marantz PMD620 Digital Audio Recorder Update

John Bancroft provided us with a shot of the new PMD620 digital audio recorder on show in the US at the Podcast and New Media expo. It takes SD or SDHC memory cards and uses 2 standard AA batteries (you can use rechargeables if you want).
It seems the Marantz PMD620 Professional Handheld Field Recorder is now retailing in the US at just a few cents under US$400. The photo may lead you to believe otherwise, but this relatively small solid-state device is only slightly larger than a deck of cards. Records either MP3 or WAV files in 16- or 24-bit rez. The display screen uses OLEDs just like many cellphones, and it has two high-quality omnidirectional condenser mics built into the top. If you don't like those, you can plug in your own external mic, albeit with a 3.5 mm jack input, not XLR (Canon). If you want to check out all the specs, there here is the owners manual.

This is obviously going to be a serious competitor to the M-audio recorder which came out last year at around the 300 Euro mark. One immediate advantage is the fact that it uses ordinary AA batteries rather than built-in rechargeable cells. I think the case is a lot more studier on the Marantz than the somewhat flimsy plastic of the M-Audio. I always seem to find that the batteries on my M-audio are empty at the moment I need the thing, especially if it has not been used for a couple of weeks.

So could this also be the end of the Marantz 670? I sincerely hope so. Everyone I meet complains about the size of the thing and that (at least early models) have problems that the software shows a dead battery when there is still life left in them. I have never met anyone who got the claimed "7 hours" out of a single charge. The PMD620 at least shows that Marantz has been thinking about the reporter in the middle of nowhere who can usually find some AA batteries before they can find a reliable electricity supply. It has an advantage over the HHB Flashmic in recording in stereo and having a removable flash card. The built-in microphone of the HHB unit though is even more compact than the PMD620, and would probably win if you're part of a press scrum trying to get a quote out of a politician. Comments?