While the Marantz PMD660 is probably one of the most widely used portable flash recorders these days, it’s a bit big and clunky when compared with smaller, cheaper offerings from Edirol, Zoom, and M-Audio.
Marantz has issued its answer to those low-cost recorders by announcing the PMD620 at the Podcast Academy. The PMD620 is smaller than its big brothers, and uses SD memory cards instead of larger CompactFlash cards. The smaller device also has 1/8th inch inputs instead of XLR plugs for mic and line-in recording. Like many of the other small form factor devices on the market, the PMD620 has built-in microphones, which I imagine will be good enough to keep most beginning podcasters from buying eternal mics to plug in, especially considering the preamps on every prosumer flash recorder I’ve tested to date have been kind of noisy. In other words, if you’re recording an interview in a quiet setting, expect to hear an unreasonably loud hiss.
The PMD620 can record in mono or stereo, WAV or MP3, and 16 bit or 24 bit resolutions. It gets five hours of battery life out of 2 AA batteries. There’s a built-in speaker for playing back recordings. And the buttons on the front of the device look big and easy to use. There’s no word yet on pricing or availability.