new FC member seeks audio recorder advice

Hey folks. An unusual request from a new FC member, but one I'm happy to oblige. This from Will Evans:

My wife and I are freelance reporters in the Bay Area, print mostly (I've worked at the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Sacramento Bee) and some radio. We're having trouble with our audio equipment at the moment, and wondered if anyone on your list has a Marantz PMD 620. That's what we have and we're trying to find out if there's anything wrong with it. An editor for a piece we're working on says the sound is bad but we can't figure out what it is – whether it's normal background hiss from a 620 or something else. We would like to get in touch with someone in the bay area that has a PMD620, so we can compare ours and theirs and see if ours has some kind of problem.

Also, if people have advice for what kind of mic to use with that recorder, that would be great too. We're using an RE50b, and we're confused why that combo isn't working out so well since that's what NPR has its reporters use. [NOTE: I suggested that the mic might not put out a strong enough signal to overcome the natural hum of the 620, but if this is what they use at NPR then I'm not sure. I use a 660. I also suggested they take it to Leo's Pro Audio and check out]

So, this kind of thing is exactly what Freelance Cafe was created for. If you think you can help, please contact Will Evans <>. You can also post a comment on or our Facebook page.

Thanks all!

2 thoughts on “new FC member seeks audio recorder advice”

  1. Hi Will,

    I use a PMD620 with an RE50/B. It leaves a lot to be desired in terms of power, but the key is the use a line matching transformer. Hosa makes one called the MIT-156. It’s both an adapter and a device that syncs up the mic and recorder that are mismatched from a power perspective. The result is that you can turn up the gain without getting too much hiss.


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