About portable digital recorders:

There is a new machine out there that I would encourage anyone with the 
budget to check out - the Sound Devices 722 and 744 portable recorders.

These are more serious recording devices, with price tags to match - the 
722 lists for $2650, the 744 for $4250 (street prices slightly lower) - but 
remember, when portable DAT recording first became available, the Sony D10 
cost about $2500 in 1989 dollars...  Sound Devices has been known for years 
for their high-quality portable mic pre's, field mixers, and the like...

Also (FWIW) at a recent AES meeting in NYC, a couple of elder audio gurus 
were discussing the Marantz PMD660 ($450), and seemed to think that the 
built-in mic pre's were noticably substandard.  Not sure if Marantz has 
improved this with the PMD 670 ($700) or 671 ($1000).

dave nolan