I’ve owned a Marantz PMD661 for a while now and I was quite bummed to find I could not use any of my SanDisk 8GB SDHC Class 4 cards at the time (about a year ago).
I tried many things at the time, I formatted the SDHC Card in the Marantz PMD661, which worked, but when I went to record audio, I would get a “Err Card 2” message when I tried to record (or it would error on booting the recorder).
The only solution, buy more 2GB SD Cards to use. Lately I have seen less and less of them in the stores, so I also recently did a last time buy of about 5 of them figuring that many would allow me to use my recorder for years to come (yes, these flash storage devices do wear out).
Well, it looks like Marantz/D&M Professional finally fixed the SDHC issue for most of the cards out there. On 6/17/2011 they released a new firmware version (A2.03), the last update I had seen on the website was A1.17. The firmware update was mostly to address the use of larger capacity SDHC cards.
I installed the new firmware per their instructions (used a 2GB card) and now I can successfully record audio using the SanDisk 8GB SDHC Class 4 cards I’ve had for a while now. With the 2GB cards, I could record a little over 3 hours of 2 channel audio (cd quality – PCM-16bit, Stereo, 44.1 khz), with the new 8GB cards I can now record over 12.5 hours of audio as seen on this picture to the right (not sure I’ll ever need that much recording time).
I’ve written about my Eagle Creek Tarmac ES 22 before, talking about the handle screws coming loose. Now I want to talk a little bit about another thing I’ve discovered about the bag I love to travel with.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the wheels don’t quite track in the same direction with the bag. Each of the wheels (if looking from the wheel side) point out which causes some uneven wear on the wheels as you can see in the picture below. Notice the lighter color on the wheel which indicates this is the part that makes contact with the ground.
Because of this, I’ve taken a bit of proactive maintenance on my Tarmac 22 bag. Since I live in dry and dusty part of the United States, every so often, I take the wheels off to clean and lubricate them. I also note which side of the wheel was on the inside so I can flip the wheel to wear on the other side.
Removing the wheel involves using a set of pliers and a 5mm allen wrench to unbolt the wheel (you also have to unzip the bag liner). The wheel is held in place by a bolt and a lock nut (nut with a plastic part to keep it from accidentally coming loose). I use the pliers to grip the nut since it’s a tight fit.
Once the wheels are off and marked, I clean them with a penetrating lubricant like WD-40. This clears out any dirt and dust and helps the ball bearings to move freely again. You will typically find all kinds of dirt and hair on the wheels when you remove them. Pictured below is a dirty wheel and one that has been cleaned. Also don’t forget to clean out the wheel well too (pictured above without a wheel).
When all the cleaning is finished, just reverse the procedure to install the wheels. Remember to flip the wheels so they start wearing on the other half of the wheel.
With a little bit of preventative maintenance you can make the wheels on your Tarmac 22 last as long as possible. If the bearings ever wear out, I’m sure Eagle Creek will gladly replace the wheels since there is a lifetime guarantee on the bag.
Just a quick plug about PodCampAZ 2010 coming up here on November 20 & 21, a event I will be attending.
I attended PodCampAZ 2009 last year, really by chance. I had a weekend free and we were already visiting family in the Phoenix area for the Thanksgiving holidays.
Based on reading the website before the event, I figured I’d get a chance to see what the world of new media and social networking looked like since most of my career was spent in data-center technologies.
The event was free, so there was very little to loose other than time, energy, and being away from my kids for a couple days.
The 2 day un-confernece (this is explained on the website) was really amazing, the power of like-minded people coming together to share information and experiences was eye-opening. I attended presentations on WordPress, Videocasting, Podcasting, and Social Media software. I also met so many people who were experts in their respective areas.
There is value in the overall socialness of this event and its ability to bring people who want to share, PodCampAZ is a great place to experience & learn from the talent in the Phoenix area first hand.
My dad was visiting from Florida for more than a week, so it was a great opportunity to interview him and ask random questions to help me and my kids understand his family history as he knew it. All total I have about 6 hours of recording just talking with dad, I learned many new things that I did not know before.
Since both my dad and I wear baseball caps, it was a excellent chance to use the Hat Mic technique and my Olympus LS-10 as detailed in a previous post here.
There was a fair amount of road noise in the recording from the Toyota Tundra truck. I also noticed that the road noise level changed as the truck went over bridges and rougher patches of road.
Here is a sample of the recording so you can hear what this particular setup sounds like.
Here is a very good microphone placement technique I learned years ago for recording audio interviews and corporate educational materials. Some people have called this the “Hat Mic” or “Hat (Mic) Trick” technique. I’m posting this so more people can learn this great miking technique.
It involves is clipping a lavalier/lapel microphone to the brim of a baseball cap as shown here:
Then putting on the hat mic and running the microphone cable behind a ear and to the recorder or computer mic port.
This miking technique has several advantages. The most important ones are a constant fixed distance between the speaker’s mouth and the microphone (really helps with setting gain levels) and the microphone is out of the breath path of the person speaking (removes breathing on the mic and plosives).
Here is a MP3 audio example of the the hat mic technique in action.