Thread: Sound - Marantz PMD661 Oade FET mod

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  1. #1 Sound - Marantz PMD661 Oade FET mod 
    Senior Member Steve Wake's Avatar
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    So I'm moving ahead to looking at sound options, and decided that given the projects I have in mind, I can make dual system work and 90% of the time I'll either be recording sound and picture one at a time or I'll be locked down on a tripod, so I could do it all myself. The recorder could even be in a belt pack or hanging from a tripod.

    From my old and brief radio journalism days, Marantz still has caché in my mind. The Oade Bros mod for it also has a following and I liked the FET mod because they recommend it for voice, including use with Dynamic mics - sometimes you need a bulletproof mic that can double as a self-defense device And yes, I have other condenser mics, too.

    Any thoughts, experience? It's been decades since I used a Marantz device.
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  2. #2  
    I have the mk1, Oade's Super Mod and it's been great. I used it for doc fieldwork recordings of traditional music (vocal mostly) and interviews. It is really quiet and captures soft tones very well. It eats very battery hungry though, especially with phantom power on (~3 hours 4xAA), but I've got one of the smaller Anker batteries for it which can power it for very very long (~15 hours maybe). I'd say with the Oade's mods you get the best quality for the money, unless you need more channels. Of course it would be great if they had developed a 3 channel version, so I could do stereo and one mono with th shot gun at once, but for that I guess you have to go for Sound Devices if you want good quality. The 661mkII is fast the same, but has a bit better card compatibly. Beyond that it is more like a firmware upgrade only.

    As for mics apart from stereo ones (I have the Rode NT4) I first used the NTG-2 for interviews, which was ok, but last year I bought the Sennheiser MKH 8060, which is really really great mic for film and I still think it is worth every penny! It will suit very well the "one-man" setup, as it has much better off axis tolerance compared to most shot guns. It sounds gorgeously and is very light - about 190g!!!
    Aleksandar Bogdanov
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  3. #3  
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    A friendly advice: pick a Tascam Dr-60 instead of the Marantz, modified or not.

    Only use the Marantz if you already have it. The Tascam has very quiet mic preamps, can record up to 4-tracks and it certainly goes longer on 4-AAs.

    I didn't compare the size, but I think it's smaller. It may probably fit below the Pocket, though not the case if you are using rods. But you can put it in the back.
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  4. #4  
    It really depends what you're looking for. If you want a recorder which does good ambience, nature recordings, soft tones and voices the marantz will be much better (depending on your mic choice) as it's moded preamps will be way quieter than the Tascam.

    If you need a recorder just for general film work like dialogs and interviews, then the DR-60 will be just fine I guess.

    Good mics are better investment than recorders these days, as are good lenses.
    Aleksandar Bogdanov
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  5. #5  
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    No discussion about good mics being a better investment, but the specs for the Marantz are much worst than the Tascam, even in the Oade version.

    It's 92dB s/n ratio for the DR60 vs 65dB on the 661. Distortion is the same. The Tascam preamps are on a different league from most other portable recorders, even the Zoom.

    You can use the Tascam output to inject the signal into the Pocket, working as a mixer. Then use that as reference for assembling the audio track with that from the Tascam.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Steve Wake's Avatar
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    DR60 is a non-starter. The pots are digital so if you ride levels it attenuates in steps! Also, is that 92dB s/n line or mic? The form factor of the Marantz is also much better suited to my purposes, i.e frequent use as a field sound recorder only.

    @Feon: Thanks for the feedback. That 8060 looks nice. I imagine you'd recommend it over the MKH-416? Although at that price I'd probably get a second Pocket first since I have a AT 897 that's served me faithfully for years. Also have a Rode NT3 that's very nice indoors and Sennheiser G2 with lavs. My dynamic mic is a Sennheiser MD 46 cardioid. Somewhere in the pile is buried a Sony ECM77B and some other lavs.

    As far as power, I want everything I carry to have a AA back-up option. I'll make a battery pack for the Pocket to carry just in case. But primary power will come from V-locks with an appropriate power distribution pack. So battery life shouldn't normally be a problem.
    Last edited by Steve Wake; 01-04-2014 at 11:05 PM.
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  7. #7  
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    I use a Tascam HD-P2/SD MixPre combo for years now (documentary work), with awesome results.
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  8. #8  
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    http://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...quality-2.html

    Here's a talk on Gearslutz about it.
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wake View Post
    @Feon: Thanks for the feedback. That 8060 looks nice. I imagine you'd recommend it over the MKH-416? Although at that price I'd probably get a second Pocket first since I have a AT 897 that's served me faithfully for years. Also have a Rode NT3 that's very nice indoors and Sennheiser G2 with lavs. My dynamic mic is a Sennheiser MD 46 cardioid. Somewhere in the pile is buried a Sony ECM77B and some other lavs.
    I think the mkh8060 sounds better than the MKH416, it can be used carefully indoors as well, but for that I've got an AKG300B with CK93 capsule.

    The Marantz is really sturdy, but if you won't make any use of the digital in/out, maybe you can save some money with the Tascam DR100 mkii, which is smaller as well. Note that I dislike the Marantz very much for the lack of adequate battery pack solution and that they didn't bother improve the 661 and add new specs to the MKII. And btw the onboard mics are of no use, it could be great to have to option to use it like the zoom in some situations.

    If I didn't have the Marantz personally I'd rather buy something comparable sound wise and cheaper and wait till a sub 1000$ better spec 3 channel option (not mixed as 2!) comes out. The DR-60 despite it's form factor has good specs, but the digital pots kill it as you said.
    Aleksandar Bogdanov
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  10. #10  
    You can gat an used Fostex FR2 as well for about 450-500$.
    Aleksandar Bogdanov
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