The Marantz PMD660 is a moderately priced, 2-channel, professional portable digital audio recorder, serving the broadcast and journalism markets, that uses inexpensive, and readily available, Compact Flash memory cards or Microdrives as the storage media of choice. It is powered by 4 "AA" batteries.
There are two major advantages to the PMD660 recording technology. First, it is basically shock resistant - there are no moving parts in the recording medium. Second, the computer integration process of data transfer, editing, and assemblage has been greatly simplified - the card may be removed and inserted directly into a computer with a like card reader, or the onboard USB port may be connected.
The PMD660 will record either uncompressed linear PCM audio at 16-bit, CD-quality, in WAV file format, or MP3 files using MPEG1 Layer3 compression. Typically, data compression is a function of bit rate: lowering the bit rate increases the compression, and therefore available recording time, but diminishes the audio sound quality. For example, a 1 GB card will record over 60 minutes of stereo uncompressed audio, while the same capacity card using compressed MP3 recording will yield over 17 hours of stereo audio.
The PMD660 is a professional unit that happens to fit nicely in the hand, yet offers features like dual XLR microphone inputs, with 48V phantom power, a security door for the switch settings and media, USB connectivity, and cut-and-paste editing with virtual track, EDL-style playlisting. The backlit screen and bright LED metering are additional enhancements, as are the built-in speaker and stereo microphone.
The PMD660 is a worthy investment for the journalist or documentary recordist with high standards, on a low budget.