Marantz introduces new portable digital recorder: PMD620

imageOntario, CA – Marantz unveiled its PMD620, a new handheld solid state SD-Flash memory recorder, due to ship in November for a street price of $399. [Click image to enlarge] UPDATE: It’s Shipping!!!

The Marantz PMD620 will record in WAV or MP3 file formats (16 or 24 bit resolution) from its two built-in omnidirectional mics or a plug-in external microphone. It can record in mono or stereo. It stores recordings on SD memory.

It is powered by two AA batteries (recorders that take standard batteries make better field recorders, since you can buy fresh batteries anywhere; custom batteries present more of a problem). The Marantz representative plugged something into its side which I assumed to be AC power, but I didn’t ask.

I did plug in my own headphones and external microphone to try it out. Alas for the noisy trade show room; I couldn’t really hear the sound quality (this was true for other “let me try it out” show floor tests).

One thing the PMD620 offers that none of the competing hand-held recorders do is built-in speakers.

At first glance, the PMD620 sports two important features that make the recorder easy to use. First, the display screen. The status readouts for time, levels, battery level and other status indicators are all generated by an OLED screen (Organic LED). OLED draws less power, allowing for constant display during operation. A fellow visitor to the Marantz booth had a Roland-R-09 portable recorder, and a quick comparison of both displays definitely favored the Marantz.

The second ease-of-use feature is the record button. One touch recording. See image, top row of three buttons. The larger one on the right is the record button. Press it to begin recording, and a red lit ring appears around the button to tell you that you are recording. The other two buttons are record/pause and stop button. However, I saw the recording demonstrated to me; I didn’t get to try it myself.

The lower left multi-function button works for play/pause, skip forward and back and adjust volume higher or lower. If you’re in menu mode to change settings, the outer ring is an up down left right navigation, with the center button as the enter.

The older Marantz 660 (flash memory solid state recorder, with a much larger form factor) has a reputation for a noisy preamp. I inquired about the preamp inside the PMD620. It’s a “standard preamp,” I was told. So I don’t know if that means that it’s the same as PMD 660 and therefore noisy, or if “standard” preamp quality has improved in the time since the PMD660 came to market. That’ll have to wait until the recorder is released in November.

One more word about the storage capacity. Over the last year or two, industry-wide specification for higher-capacity SD flash memory has been agreed on, and now memory cards with 4 and 8 GB capacity are being released. The PMD620 will accept both SD memory cards and the SDHC Secure Digital High Capacity cards. Marantz has planned for future growth—the recorder itself is built to be able to write to memory cards of up to 2 Terabytes—2048 GB. The Marantz PMD620 has a USB port for transfer of audio files from recorder to computer; it does not offer pass-through recording via USB straight to the computer.

The conversations I had with the Marantz representative, and the data sheet I’m referring to as I write this both state that this is preliminary data. When we were doing the headphone test, the Marantz Rep noted the quietness of playback/monitoring and said, “They may increase the output to the headphone”—so I was seeing the demo of a prototype that is still being fine-tuned. Come November, this new compact recorder from Marantz will sit at the upper end of the $200-400 digital recorder range. Marantz is very reputable,a and if the preamp is quieter than the PMD660, this will be a very strong contender.

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 30, 2007 in • AudioAudio: Hardware
6 CommentsPermalink

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Thanks Susan, just the information I was looking for. Good point on the preamps too. I wonder when these puppies show up in the old country.

Peet  on 09/30  at  10:12 PM


Many thanks for your thoughtful comments on the PMD620. As the owner of a PMD660—I’m also curious as to how noisy the “standard” preamps are.


Leigh Hanlon  on 10/01  at  01:41 PM

Looks like a dream machine!

Marantz always had employed cheap mic pre-amps and it will be very hard for it to keep with the fierce competition out there. Sony PCM D50 will be better bet. It’s sound quality is very close to Fostex Fr2 le but with abit more punch and better gain.

Key features:
- Quality MIC (internal - can be set to any position)
- High grade 4 seperate circuits - ultra low noise
- Superb battery life - upto 35 hours with NimH 2700
- Dual Limiter function - no more distortion or clips.
- Built internal 4GB - generous start.
- High qualit mic pre amps/head phone amps.
- can be used with XLR-1 unit - for more wider choice
  of Mic option.
- Casing is metal not Plastic.
- It’s SONY.

check this link

[edited to include correct link - sak]

Graham Riches  on 11/09  at  03:30 PM

Linear PCM recorder with studio-quality sound and versatile stereo recording.

The PCM-D50 is a 96 kHz/24-bit recorder fitted with two-position (X-Y or Wide) stereo microphones, 4 GB of internal flash memory, and a Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo slot for additional storage. The body of the D50 is constructed of lightweight aluminum and it is built rugged to withstand the demands of pro applications, plus it offers long battery life using conventional AA alkaline batteries. The recorder includes a USB high-speed port for simple uploading/downloading its native .WAV format files to and from Windows PC or Macintosh computers. Other unique PCM-D50 features include digital pitch control, dual digital limiter (inherited from the PCM-D1), low-cut filter, Super Bit Mapping, A-B repeat, and MP3 playback capability. To complement the D50 recorder, new optional accessories include a remote commander, tripod stand, and microphone windscreen.

Built-in Electret Condenser Microphones The PCM-D50’s electret condenser microphones have exceptionally high sound quality and offer a selection of 2 operating positions, X-Y and Wide Stereo. X-Y covers a wide sound range with good depth, perspective and a natural sounding stereo image; or alternatively, a wide stereo position offering a wider spread stereo image.

Superior Audio Signal Path The PCM-D50 is designed with four separate circuit boards to separate analog audio, digital audio, digital recording, and power supply circuits. Separate circuit boards for each function helps minimize noise.

Versatile Recording Functions The PCM-D50 offers comprehensive signal processing features for location recording including a unique dual digital limiter function (inherited from the PCM-D1 recorder), a high pass filter with selectable frequencies (150 Hz or 75 Hz) and SBM (Super Bit Mapping) noise shaping. In addition, the PCM-D50 includes a 5 second pre-record buffer with an A-B repeat playback function.

Sony PCM-D50 Portable Linear PCM Digital Recorder Specifications:

  * Built-in Microphones
  * Electret Condenser microphones. High sensitivity -35.0 dB/Pa 1kHz (typical); Maximum input level 120 dB SPL; Self-noise level 20.0 dB SPL (A)

    Recording Media
  * Built-in flash memory 4 GB, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo (Not Supplied), Stereo Recording. The PCM-D50 is compatible with Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo MS-EX4G (4GB), MS-EX2G (2GB), and MS-EX1G (1GB); and Memory Stick Pro Duo (High Speed) MSX-M2GNU (2GB) and MSXM1GNU (1GB)

    Sample Rates
  * 22.05 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz and 96 kHz

  * 16-bit linear, 24-bit linear

    Recording File Format
  * Linear PCM Stereo .WAV

    MP3 Playback
  * Compatible bit rates and sampling frequencies:
  * MPEG Version 1 Layer 3: 32, 44.1, 48kHz with 32 to 320 kbps (VBR)
  * MPEG Version 2 Layer 3: 16, 22.05, 24 kHz with 32 to 160 kbps (VBR)

    Frequency Response (Line Input to Line Output)
  * For Fs = 22.05 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 Hz to 10 kHz
  * For Fs = 44.1 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  * For Fs = 48 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 Hz to 22 kHz
  * For Fs = 96 kHz: Frequency Response = 20 to 40 kHz

    Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Line Input to Line Output)
  * 93 dB or greater (1 kHz IHF-A) when set to 24-bit

    Total Harmonic Distortion (Line Input to Line Output)
  * 0.01% or below (1 kHz, 22 kHz LPF)

    Wow and Flutter
  * Below measureable limit (less than +/-0.001% W. Peak)

    Microphone Input (stereo mini jack)
  * Input impedance: 22k, rated input level: 2.5mV, minimum input level: 0.7mV. Supports external mic plug-in power

    Headphone output (stereo mini jack)
  * Rated output level: 400 mV, maximum output level: 25 mW +25 mW or more, load impedance: 16 ohms

    Line Input (OPT)
  * Analog input - Input impedance: 40k ohms, rated input level: 2.0V
  * Minimum input level: 450 mV
  * Optical Digital Input - Input level: -24.5 dBm to -14.5 dBm, Absorption wavelength: 630 nm to 690 nm

    Line Output (OPT)
  * Analog output - Output impedance: 220 ohms, rated output level: 1.7V, load impedance: 22k ohms
  * Digital optical output - Output level -21 dBm to -15 dBm, Emission wavelength: 630 nm to 690 nm

Sony PCM-D50 Portable Linear PCM Digital Recorder Features:

  * Portable and rugged 96 kHz and 24-bit recorder
  * LCD digital peak bargraph metering-along with dedicated nominal and peak level LEDs
  * Offers solid-state storage, free of drive mechanisms
  * Built-in high-quality electret condenser stereo microphones
  * Dual A/D digital limiter and low cut filter
  * MP3playback and digital pitch control

Maratnz offers limited sample rate very like Edirol R-09 and battery life is poor.  The worse is MIC pre-amp (very noisy).

Graham Riches  on 11/10  at  01:02 AM

Anyone get to hear the speaker on the Marantz 620? I’m a songwriter and would love to retire my handheld Sony cassette recorder (yuk!). Is the speaker quality as good as say my Mac 14” G4 iBook? Don’t want to have to carry headphones all the time to hear what I layed down. None of these small digital recorders seem to have a speaker so this unit interests me as a personal songwriting tool to capture things when I’m away from my studio.

Robert Sands  on 12/03  at  08:25 AM

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