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Hi i want to buy my first portable recorder for making SFX and field recording. I'm thinking to get Marantz PMD-661 with Sound Devices MixPre or go with a Tascam HD-P2 instead (without MixPre)

So has anyone got experience with these recorders and MixPre? To have the least noise possible when recording is the most important thing for me, so i want to choose really good preamp. So that's the issue.

It would be nice if i could hear another options also.

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I use a PMD670 with a MixPre, its a stunning combo, I use for both drama and documentary recording as well as sound effects.

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The OADE upgrade is always an option, but only if you are in the US as the postage and import duty cost to Europe will be pretty high. As for the Shure preamp, i've heard some things about it but never used it myself. If it's a choice between that and the SD MixPre then the MixPre wins hands down, i've been using SD equipment for a long time now and I love how their preamps sound.

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I am very happy with our PMD661, and our old PMD660 (the previous model) have never broken down. I also use SD pre-amps as front ends for an R-44 as well as the PMD661 and find that they make an ideal combination.

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I would go with the Marantz PMD-661 and MixPre over the Tascam. The HD-P2 is nice but the preamps are not that clean and it eats through batteries. The benefit of the 661 and Mix pre is that it's a modular system, so you can use the 661 standalone if you want and the MixPre can be used as the front end of other equipment. You get excellent Sound Devices preamps and if you go for the MixPre-D then (i think) you can go digitally into the 661.

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Marantz all the way. I have both, and even though the TASCAM specs out with better/ more features, it spends time collecting dust in my closet... when it's not in the shop getting repaired.

I got my modded PMD-661 through OADE brothers, and highly -- HIGHLY -- recommend checking them out before buying one off the shelf. It's super quiet and has a nice, clean, detailed sound. Not only that, but you'll save some money from not buying the Mix Pre (I know... I know...) and can spend more on a nice mic.


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What mod do you recommend ? super, fet, concert or warm ? – Simon Lebel Jul 19 '12 at 16:31

Thanks guys, for now, PMD-661 and MixPre-D combination looks better.

@Andy, your advice seems good for saving some money to get mic as you said but i live outside the USA right now, and i had some problems with Fedex, so OADE brothers is not a good alternative in that situation.

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By the way, for saving some money i'm thinking also Shure FP24 for Marantz PMD-661 instead of MixPre-D. What's your opinion about that? Is there a big difference between MixPre and FP24?

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I have no experience with the PMD661, but I do own the Tascam HD-P2. Leaving aside the mic pre-amps (which are OK but nothing special), the HD-P2 is a very good sounding machine. It does go through AA batteries at a good clip, but can also be used with external battery supplies, which can be rechargeable. I usually use the HD-P2 in the field with an external mixer of some sort, which allows for using a second recorder for redundancy.

The HD-P2 is not known for being reliable--I have sent mine back to the factory for repair one time, and I know of other people who have had problems with theirs. This is unfortunate when you consider that this a flash recorder with no moving transport parts. One suspects that the overall build quality is lacking. My solution is to always have a backup recorder of some sort along, and to use other recorders on jobs where I do not need the sound quality and features of the HD-P2.

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