Marantz CF Media and Formatting

I have a Marantz PMD670, for which I recently got a bigger (8GB) CF card (the 256MB card can only handle 30 mins in mono…). I had trouble getting it to format in a way that the Marantz recognizes. After asking for help getting that card to work, I finally just bought a few different cards, and tested them all. Having done the slow and tedious, I thought I should share my results, to hopefully spare someone else the trouble (or at least some of it). You understand that your mileage may vary, but this is what I found.

Summary: Transcend and Sandisk Ultra worked; Kingston and Pretec didn’t.

Cards tested (I have no idea what most of these part and serial numbers mean but they’re here, in case they mean something to someone):
Lexar 256MB
Kingston 8GB 9904318-025.AOOLF / 5393610-0488698 X001
Pretec 8GB 233x P/N: CFS208G
Sandisk Ultra 8GB 30MB/s
Transcend 8GB 133x P/N: TS8GCF133 S/N:596260-0952
Transcend 4GB 133x P/N: TS4GCF133 S/N:598666-3236

The Easy Ones
The Lexar, Sandisk, and Transcend cards all worked out of the box. You plug them in, turn on the Marantz, get “BlankCard”, and can start recording immediately.

Pretec and Kingston
For these two cards, things are more difficult:

  1. Turn the Marantz on, and it displays “You need FormatOnPC”
  2. Clicking stop/cancel gets past this error to “BlankCard” (Before I figured this out, I thought these cards were completely useless).
  3. If you try to record at this point, it says “Full Card” (ironically, just under “BlankCard”)
  4. It is possible format at this point, following to the manual instructions (“executing–>Done”)
  5. Once formatted, record and playback work normally, until you shut the machine off (either to conserve power, or to go into I/O mode).

But once you’ve recorded as above,

  • Kingston: you cannot see the recorded files on PC, either through CF card reader, or through the Marantz in I/O mode. The card mounts, but appears blank.
  • Pretec: you can see recordings files on PC or in I/O mode, and manipulate/play them on a PC.
  • both: when the Marantz boots again, it gives “You need FormatOnPC”, and the whole process begins again (i.e., you can’t record/play until after formatting)

So, if you don’t turn off your Marantz much, and if don’t mind formatting your card every time you do, these two cards might do something for you. The Kingston will allow playback of what has been recorded, though only on the Marantz itself. The Pretec, on the other hand, will also allow you to get the the data off the card afterwards, which I assume most of us would want.

Personally, I’d go for one of the cards that really works. So much for standards. Unfortunately, the first larger card that I got was the one that performed the worst, and the later cards all performed at least a bit better. I hope the lesson isn’t that we need to just buy several cards whenever we need at least one to work, but maybe it is.

3 thoughts on “Marantz CF Media and Formatting

    1. I would love to have this (or any other solution) work, but I tried a number of options for FAT16 (shrinking the partition to under 2GB) and FAT32, and nothing worked. Perhaps there is a combination of options that would work; if you find them, please let me know. As for NTFS, while I can read it, I don’t have any interest in writing it, and it doesn’t seem to be used by the Marantz (which seems to be formatting in FAT32). One thing I forgot to mention, is that on my first try (some months ago) I went so far as to dd a partition from the working smaller drive onto the newer, larger drive, and that still wasn’t working. So I don’t think the formatting is the issue; there is some problem with the media….

  1. Good info, which I’ve found helpful, thanks for posting. However please amend, because otherwise it doesn’t quite make sense.

    “The Easy Ones
    The Lexar, Sandisk, and Transcend cards all worked out of the box…

    “Lexar and Kingston
    For these two cards, things are more difficult:”

    I think you mean Pretec and Kingston.


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