For the past week I’ve been playing with a new Compact Flash recorder, the Marantz PMD660 ($499 street price). Based on the others I’ve bought or tested, I think it’s the best compromise for a portable device for podcasters and those who want to record long-format sessions such as conferences.
Jeff Towne over at transom.org has an excellent review in which he picked up on almost all my concerns. Comparing it to other similar devices of interest to podcasters, Jeff wrote:
The Marantz PMD 670 is larger and more expensive, and while it offers more recording options, such as recording to MP2, and a limiter, the 660 does most of what its big brother does, and provides a simpler, less intimidating interface and more convenient form. The Edirol R1 is a little smaller and less expensive, but does not offer XLR mic inputs or phantom power. The Fostex FR2 is about twice as expensive and much larger and heavier. The Sound Devices 722 is more than 4 times as expensive, but offers a large dedicated hard drive and superior input sonics. Any of those recorders will do the job, and might fit someone’s specific needs better, but the PMD 660 is a well-designed tool, especially for remote interviews and other newsgathering-type activities.
I just ordered a 4GB SanDisk CF ( another ~$300!) that will give me nearly 13 hours of recording capacity at 44.1kHz/16-bit PCM (WAV) in mono. Half that in WAV stereo, and a whopping 71 hours if I was willing to record in 128kbps MP3 stereo, which I’m not if I can avoid it.