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TOPIC: Tascam dr-100/MKII vs Marantz PMD660/661

Tascam dr-100/MKII vs Marantz PMD660/661 5 years 2 months ago #739

Not sure how many people check this, but I was wondering if anyone could give some insight into my decision.

Now, I know there are many options out there that are better than the options I am listing but I am really not looking to spend $1000+. While on one hand a great recorder will offer me gloating, OOHs/AHHs and general nods of approval when noted from fellow sound enthusiasts… I'll be honest where many are not. Point blank, I probably wouldn't even know how to use or even be working on any projects that could/would utilize even half of the capabilities of the device. Personally, nothing pisses me off more than an rich kid amateur getting a great piece of equipment (e.g. A 16 year old getting a 5D Mark II so that they can take party pictures to post of Facebook all the while shooting all images with the auto settings).

Anyway, as many of you who are students at CSUN know, we do have the ability to rent some equipment from the school free of charge. While this has many benefits, the downside is that much of the equipment is outdated, unavailable to our level or in short supply which runs the risk of someone else having already checked it out. We compete for the equipment not only with our own classmates but many other classes in the program as well. This becomes especially apparent when deadlines approach. When you do get the equipment it often isn't in the best condition--All the "unskilled" hands it has passed through haven't treated it as well as they should have.

I hate stress--which I am sure many of you can relate to--I like to be familiar with my equipment, know that it's going to work the same as last time, and be in the same condition as when I last used it. All in all, I have decided that a recorder should be my first purchase of location sound gear.

While we are really only going to be evaluating two recorders we'll look at two different models (the old and current version).

Tascam DR-100 (discontinued) (USED: ~250)

Tascam DR-100 MKII (Retail: $599, Online NEW: $319) (release fall 2011)

^with a somewhat similar price point here are the key differences I have found that the MKII offers:
+Locking XLR inputs (thumbs up)

+SPDIF inputs (I saw many complaints about this not being a feature in the regular DR-100, which made the Marantz, for many, more desirable. Allowing you to connect external digital signals… Good for future needs)

+mic preamp upgrade, supposedly giving more gain and lower noise floor (for me onboard mics are really just a backup so this isn't a huge concern for me if this is only applying to the in-device mics. I've heard tests with the DR-100 built ins and they sound pretty decent)

+A switch has been added which allows a quick toggle between mic and line level (pretty sweet)

Marantz PMD-660 (retail: $699 Online ~400)

**Marantz PMD-661 (retail: $799 Online ~600) (release 2008)

661 Improvements:
+Memory card is SD instead of CF
+30% Slimmer (lighter)
+OLED display
+Improved Layout

**There's also a OADE bros SUPER MOD which replaces the XLR inputs for the 661 allowing a larger range. (this is not available for the 660.)

I'm having a lot of trouble finding consumer reviews which compare the PMD661 or the 660 to the DR-100 MKII

I don't know if this is because these recorders are on totally different tiers from one another or what, but I'm really not seeing that much hardware wise that favors the pricier marantz (even at the 660 level) over the tascam. Considering that it's only ~100 different between the 660 and the MKII, I don't know.. I think this extra money would be better put toward a good mic.
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Re: Tascam dr-100/MKII vs Marantz PMD660/661 5 years 2 months ago #753

  • Fred Ginsburg
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The PMD660 is a bit dated; the 661 is the newer model. The Tascam is newer, yet, and offers a lot of good features. The direct digital input means nothing; when and why would you ever use it? In post, you would just bring a file directly into your computer. In the field, where would you have a digital output coming from to begin with on a low budget application?

But the Tascam does offer the ergonomic features that you have listed, and which are shown on the mfr link.

Digital recorders are the flavor of the month, and keep bouncing from whoever brings out the lastest model. Both of them are good, solid choices, but I am leaning to the Tascam right now.

Everyone else, please chime in.
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