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Author Topic: PMD661  (Read 1037 times)

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Offline DanielM

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« on: September 21, 2017, 04:58:40 PM »
I'm using these recorders for a class I teach. They've been great for the past 8-10 years with moderate use for audio documentaries. But I'm starting to run into a problem that I am hoping might be solved with some advice from folks here. Apologies that this is a little long but I figured more information up front could be helpful.

Because I've purchased at three different times, I should be working with a mix of PMD661 originals and PMD661 MKii but I don't know how I would distinguish other than having a situation where the firmware is not upgrading. I assume the non-upgrade means I'm working with MKi. How would I know which recorder MKi or MKii?

I ask this because two of the recorders will no longer record (not with either XLR input, not with the line2 input, and not with the on-board mics). The recorder will play files on an SD card and everything else seems to work, except recording. I have switched out SD cards, I have tried factory re-set, I have tried different cables and mics. I have tested with batteries and with AC power. And the last culprit is the gain lever near the XLR inputs. That sucker has tricked me before. But I have checked that as well.

I was hoping a firmware update might help but, again, the last MKII update won't load on the recorder.

Given what I describe above, does anyone have any advice or am I basically looking at dead recorders? Thanks in advance for any other suggestions to try to get the recorders recording again.

Offline dallman

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Re: PMD661
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2017, 10:26:53 AM »
I am not 100 % sure if you are asking how to tell the PMD 661 original from the MKII or MKIII, but if that is part of the question, it is easy because the MKII is clearly labeled (I was going to say "marked", but that might be confusing  ;D) MarkII, and the MKIII is totally different looking, more like a giant PMD 620.

MKII is labeled just above the LED's:

As for not recording, that is trickier. I think I recall an instance where someone tried the firmware upgrade from a MKII on their MKI, and it ruined the deck, but I may be wrong here. It seems odd that it would not record, but I'd check all of my presets or try creating new presets. Have you tried recording with the 1/8 input to see if that works? Different cables or mics? possibly set as Line in vs  Mic in?  Have you tried line in with a non mic source like a cd or cassette player? Phantom on for sure? Have you tried digital in if you have the capability?

In the presets, it is very possible to have the attenuation set so that the dB level is not hot enough to get a signal registering. I'd play with that and see if anything happens too. I'd be more specific, but part of the problem with set and forget presets is that I set and forget...
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Offline dactylus

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Re: PMD661
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2017, 10:43:34 AM »
I think you should investigate what dallman recommended:

"In the presets, it is very possible to have the attenuation set so that the dB level is not hot enough to get a signal registering. I'd play with that and see if anything happens too."

Since you are using these recorders in a teaching situation I would think that it is possible that one of your students may have changed the attenuation settings so that it appears that your device is not recording when it in fact may be recording at a very low gain setting.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 10:46:11 AM by dactylus »
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Offline DanielM

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Re: PMD661
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 01:38:39 PM »
Thanks for the quick replies. I didn't have the recorders at home with me so couldn't respond until now.

These are PMD661 (mk1, if you will).

The presets are the same as my own recorder and the students didn't make any changes:
pre record on
level cont manual
Auto track, auto mark, and silent skip are all off
Mic Atten is 0db (we use RE50 mics or audio technica short shotguns and made sure batteries were in short shotguns)
Low cut and high cut are on
skip back 3 sec
key lock all
battery alkeline
auto power off is set to off
beep is on
sp mut is off
Plade mode is cont

Does anything in here jump out as a problem. I have played with every mic input, every setting, and still nothing records from the onboard mic (with the preset changed to int mic), with line 2 XLR>mini using short shotgun since line 2 does not handle plugin power for the RE50, and both XLR inputs. I have tested mono options and stereo options. And I made sure the p48 lever was set to on.

Anything on the soundcard will playback but the 2 recorders won't record.

Finally, the firmware is A1.17. I don't know if this is the last firmware for the original PMD661 but a factory reset didn't solve my problem so I doubt a firmware update will make a difference given that my personal recorder has firmware A1.16 and still works (testing the same SD card across the three recorders).

I'm guessing I'm SOL but figured I would post all of this just in case anything helps y'all with some solutions. Thanks again.

Offline spyder9

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Re: PMD661
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2017, 04:12:42 PM »
Note:  Denon/Marantz was sold this year.  I imagine new firmware will only be made for the current lineup.


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Re: PMD661
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 05:32:25 PM »
inMusic acquired Denon Professional and Marantz Professional from D&M Holdings in 2014.

The article you linked is referring to the consumer products brands for Denon and Marantz.

To the OP's issue, one option would be to get a copy of the firmware for the 661 from the 2009-2011 period they issued updates.

You might be able to "go back" to that earlier firmware and return the recorders to that earlier state and restore the ability to write a file.

I really doubt there is any problem with the 661s themselves, sounds like they just got their brains scrambled by incompatable firmware.

I suggest you reach out to Marantz Pro and see if you can ship the units to them so they can reset everything to original factory condition, or send you the original 661 firware and instructions for reverting back to the earlier version

Good Luck!.
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