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?

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Comments

  1. Looks good. Especially the fact that the major functions have dedicated buttons. There is something that I did not like about the HHB Flashmic: You cant have a look at the meters to level your own voice, as they are on the side of the mic but you have to speak (thus look) into it from the top. So its hard to perform proper leveling which I think is major…Looking froward to get this one in my hands…Daniel < HREF="http://radio.hirschler.net" REL="nofollow">radio.hirschler.net<>

  2. yes, it is comforting to be able to watch levels. To be fair to the HHB though, the automatic gain control is great and doesn’t pump agressively. I recommend that HHB users upgrade to the latest (Version 5) firmware because your recordings will also be safer even if the batteries fail while you’re recording.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It looks great, it works great but, did you hear it coming? there is a minus: You hear your self a bit delayed while recording with the headphone on! Strange but weird!? But the price is oke, the battery is oke, but it needs a software up-grade!!

  4. that looks like a smart bit of kit. what < HREF="http://www.lindy.co.uk/kvm" REL="nofollow">kvm cables and switches<> does it require?

  5. Just got my < HREF="http://www.aandcaudio.co.uk/marantz-pmd620-handheld-digital-audio-recorder-free-1gb-card-p379" REL="nofollow">Marantz PMD620<> from these guys and its a cracking bit of kit. The free 1GB card only made the deal all the sweeter – bringing the offer on a par with the Tascam DR-1 which Tascam supply with a card as standard. Great page by the way!

  6. Jonathan,Thanks for the review. Just found your blog, after Googling for reviews of digital field recorders. I am new to digital audio recorders, having used a cheapo Pearlcorder S912 microcasette recorder for the last 8 years. Not surprisingly, it died on me in Sept. when I was up in the high Andes, interviewing a bunch of farmers about climate change. I very much need something I can rely on in cold climates, where I can use AA batteries. Any idea how the 620 fares in the cold (below freezing)?

  7. The Zoom H2 does just as well for half the price at B and H, except that the buttons on this are far more legible than the menu tree on the Zoom. If you can handle them, then there is no reason at all buy the Marantz, unless you have something against the old time mike looks of the Zoom.

  8. I like the design of this product. With the major functions having dedicated buttons, it seems very interesting for an digital audio recorder.

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