Portland, Oregon

Technical Information Sheet #101

Marantz Portable Tape Recorders
Mono Models PMD201, 221, & 222
User Tips


  1. Precautions
  2. Batteries
  3. Power Adapters
  4. Recording
  5. Settings
  6. Service

1) Precautions
The Marantz tape recorders offer a number of useful features for news and field recording.  Unfortunately, they can easily get damaged under rough conditions. These tips will help keep them running longer.

a)     Unplug your microphone as soon as you are done recording for the day or if you are moving to another location. Avoid going on mass transit or walking in crowds with the mic plugged in -- anywhere it could get bumped accidentally -- unless you are in the process of gathering tape.  And don't put the machine in a backpack with anything plugged into it. All the jacks on the Marantz are attached directly to the circuit board, which is rather thin and cracks easily. Therefore, the jacks can not take any stress!

b)    Don't use any adapters or plug a microphone transformer directly into the machine!  The added objects put too much weight and stress on the jack.  If you don't have a mini-plug on the end of your mic cable, then have a qualified repair shop change it for you.

c)     Avoid wiggling the mic plug when it is in the machine.  This only makes things worse.  If the mic cable is intermittent, have the cable repaired ASAP.  If the jack is bad, follow tip "d" below until it is repaired.

d)    Use the TEL jack if the MIC jack is bad.  The TEL jack is really the same thing, except you can't use the attenuator or filter switches (which you don't really need much anyway).

2) Batteries
Leaking batteries can cause serious damage to your machine. So try to follow these tips:

a)    Never mix battery types!  Always change all three batteries at the same time, using new batteries of the same brand, type, and date.  Never install used batteries unless all three were used as a set.  Mixing batteries will cause them to run-down quickly and may cause leakage. Since the Marantz uses three batteries, its best to buy 3 two-packs at a time, so you'll have two complete sets.

b)    Always use alkaline or rechargeable batteries.  Never use "General Purpose" or "Heavy Duty" types.  They can't supply enough power and will run-down and leak.  Rechargeable NiMH or NiCad batteries will save money and the environment.

c)     If the batteries are weak, remove them and throw them out (unless they are rechargeable).  Change batteries as soon as the low battery indicator lights, or if there are signs of weak batteries like distortion, speed variation, or audio muting (you can't hear anything). Exhausted alkaline batteries will leak if they are left stored in the machine.

d)    If you are not using your machine for a few weeks, remove the batteries.

3) Power Adapters:
Only use the Marantz power adapter designed for this machine!  Never use an adapter made for any other machine or brand.  This goes for all other tape recorders as well.  They may look the same, and may plug into the power jack, but don't do it!  At best, performance may suffer, and at worst you may see a puff of smoke come out of the machine and do some expensive damage.  Don't use a universal power adapter either.  Even if you can set it for the correct voltage and polarity, the chance of the settings getting accidentally changed and your machine getting damaged are too great.

4) Recording

a)    Clean your machine! Keep the heads, capstan, pinch roller, and cassette compartment clean.  Use 91-99% isopropyl alcohol & Q-tips.  Also occasionally clean the battery contacts in the battery compartment.  Avoid any kind of special head cleaning fluid -- these chemicals are unnecessary and may damage the machine and you.

b)    It is very important to set the tape type switch on the left side.  If it doesn't match the tape you are using the recording quality will be poor.

c)     Never use LOW speed except for transcription to print media. The quality is poor and not suitable for broadcast. Liberman Sound can modify your machine if desired so that the low speed switch is disconnected to avoid accidental usage.

d)    Never use automatic level control (ALC).  The resulting sound is not broadcast quality.  Use the LIMITER position for voice, and use MANUAL for voice, music, nature sounds, and sound effects.  Set the record level control for a proper reading on the meter.

e)    Always periodically check playback while you are recording.  On the PMD221, switch the monitor switch to TAPE frequently to check that the recording is good quality. Be aware, however, that speed and head alignment problems may not be evident with this check.

5) Settings
Before using the machine, check the switch settings.  If they are wrong, your tape may not record properly.  For basic news and field recording, use the following settings:
Tape type:         CHROME  (with high bias tape)
Input select:       MIC/TEL
A.N.C.:              NORMAL
Mic att:              0dB
Rec spkr:           OFF
Speed:               STANDARD
Rec mode:         MANUAL (or LIMITER for voice)

6) Service
It is a good idea to have your machine serviced periodically to guarantee proper performance. On the Marantz, the jacks will eventually become loose and the belts will stretch. In addition to cleaning, lubricating, and replacing worn parts, an alignment is also advised. During alignment, the speed, azimuth (head angle), meter calibration, frequency response, and recording and playback levels are adjusted to their proper settings. Liberman Sound has extensive experience servicing Marantz recorders and keeps a large inventory of original repair parts in stock.

LIBERMAN SOUND            Portland, Oregon