Don, I must agree. After listening to Neal's demo and trying one for 2
weeks for myself, I bought the Sound Devices 722. It is a marvelous
recorder with a noise floor that is so quiet, it is below sea level. It
has a 40 gb hard disk and can record to a cf card, as well. It is not
inexpensive, but very often, you get what you pay for.
The r4 has a hard disk like the 722, but their mike preamps are not all that quiet.
I have taken a recording from the 722 with the mike gains all the way down, normalized it to 0 db, then boosted it 60 db. I should be hearing noise in the recording at that point, but no noise, dead silence except for the ants marching two by two three blocks away.