|Marantz PM6004 Integrated Amplifier Review|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Integrated Amplifiers|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Tuesday, 20 December 2011|
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I streamed dozens of FLAC albums from my Squeezebox Touch and found it difficult to end listening sessions due to the sheer pleasure of hearing music through the PM6004 and my Harbeth speakers. Pink Martini and Japanese singer Saori Yuki teamed up for a sublime album called 1969. It marries the retro lounge sound Pink Martini is famous for with the vocals of the Yuki, who is considered to be the Barbra Streisand of Japan. The opening track, “Yuuzuki (evening moon)” sounds like the soundtrack to a long lost James Bond film. Strings, soaring vocals, and dramatic melodies abound. There is even a Japanese version of “Puff, the Magic Dragon"! The PM6004 did a great job with every aspect of this recording, and organizing the lush arrangements and quirky rhythms.
The Four Tops have too many compilations to count, but Anthology: 50th Anniversary is, in my opinion, the most complete. Listening to such remastered classics as “You Keep Running Away”, “If I Were A Carpenter”, and “Walk Away Renee”, was magical, with all the analog glory inherent in the original tapes shining through. The same applies to Mobile Fidelity’s excellent mastering of two great Willie Nelson albums, Shotgun Willie, and Phase And Stages. These are seminal albums from the early 70’s “outlaw country” period and are, along with albums from Waylon Jennings and others, still benchmarks today. Nelson’s vocals and nylon string guitar were beautifully rendered through the PM6004, as were the tasteful arrangements.
To offer some operational notes, the PM6004 was exceptionally quiet, ran cool, and worked flawlessly. I was especially impressed with how smooth the volume control was. There were no large jumps, just smooth, continuous increments. I usually get annoyed when I cannot set the volume precisely for the mood, or type of music. On several occasions I had to remind myself this was a $600 component. Color me impressed.
I mentioned early in the review that Marantz has been in the high end audio game for many decades, producing iconic components that often set new standards in performance and pride of ownership. In all likelihood, they developed the blueprint for most high end companies today. However, Marantz is in the relatively unique position of offering products across all prices and for a variety of applications, including multichannel home theater, two channel audio, and even professional sound. They have the ability to leverage their technology and apply resources to even the most modestly priced components.
What you get with the Marantz PM6004 is a sweet sounding integrated amplifier with a feature list that seems hard to believe at this price point: two sets of metal binding posts for hooking up two sets of speakers, defeatable tone controls, a phono stage, and circuitry trickled down from the Reference series. Plus, a bunch of line level inputs, a headphone jack and a remote unit that controls multiple Marantz products, and other components. Maybe the only thing missing is a subwoofer output, but jeez, that is nitpicking.
The Marantz PM6004, matched with a nice pair of speakers in the same price range allows you, for under $2000 including cables, to assemble a system that would give all but the most unreasonable audiophiles immense musical enjoyment. Some good sources to consider are a music server, like the Marantz NA7004, a Logitech Squeezebox Touch, or the matching Marantz CD5004 CD player. The real clincher is that the PM6004 was not at all out of place driving a speaker like the Harbeth Compact 7ES3, which costs almost six times more. The Marantz PM6004 will receive my vote for budget component of the year, and that may even be selling it short. Highly recommended for those shopping for integrated amplifiers under $1000.
Power Output (8 / 4 Ohm RMS): 45 W / 60 W CD Transport: bel canto CD3t CD Player: Marantz 5003
Power Output (8 / 4 Ohm RMS): 45 W / 60 W
CD Transport: bel canto CD3t
CD Player: Marantz 5003