I have a Olympus LS-10 and I'm thinking about making the move to a better field recorder. My budget is around $300-600. I've been looking for a field recorder that has XLR inputs and phantom power capability and have thought about the Marantz PMD 661, Fostex FR2-LE, or the Zoom H4n for recording SFX, Foley, Ambience, etc. Also, between a Rode NTG2 shotgun mic and Audio Technica AT-897, which one do you think produces better audio quality?
Of the things you are considering I've had experience with the PMD 661 and the NTG-2, so of course I may be partial to those for whatever reasons (if you search for NTG-2, you will find a few sounds I recorded with that combo, but it is worth mentioning that my 661 is modified by Oade.com to have less noise than a stock one). And already those two items put you over your possible budget and does not consider things like cable, batteries, etc. But in looking at both of those mics I notice that in most ways they are very similar, the only obvious thing is that the NTG-2 seems more sensitive so perhaps you would have to use a bit less gain on the recorder. Of course you might be able to buy just a mic now and use your LS-10 since both mics can run on a battery.
That all said I own both Rode and Audio Technica mics and really don't see how you can go wrong based on the price.
To clarify the $300-600 budget was only for the field recorder. The shotgun microphone budget would be in the $200-300 range. It looks like I'll probably go with the Rode. Is the mod for the Marantz really worth the extra cash?
As I haven't tried an unmodified one I can't say what the difference is, but from what I can find is that the super mod (there is one for the FR2-LE also) makes the 661 a bit quieter than a Sound Devices 7xx series recorder. Again, I can't say if that is actually true or not, but when I turn up the gain I don't hear any hiss from the recorder, just sound, if that makes sense.
For field-recordings I use a Zoom H1 ($99) very good. A windsheeld you can get on internet. I use a deatcat from my rode SVM mic.
I am very glad with the recorder. It works fine. up to 96kHz/24bit wav. but I use 48/24. It sounds well
for srveral recordings search on zoom h1 user klankbeeld.