Marantz CD6006

FOR Big, cos­set­ing sound; good tim­ing and fo­cus; build AGAINST Favours easy lis­ten­ing over de­tail; price hike

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

At no point has it been bro­ken – a string of What Hi-fi? Awards dat­ing back to the turn of the 21st cen­tury at­tests to that – but nev­er­the­less Marantz has gone ahead and fixed its 6000-se­ries CD player ev­ery year re­gard­less. This lat­est ver­sion, the CD6006, has un­der­gone nu­mer­ous changes from the 2015 Award-win­ning CD6005 – not least a price hike from the out­go­ing ma­chine’s £330. None of them is fun­da­men­tal – it's mainly down to in­ter­nal com­po­nent up­grades – but taken as a whole they con­trib­ute to mak­ing the CD6006 a su­pe­rior disc-player to the CD6005 it re­places.

Looks can be de­ceiv­ing

Look­ing at it, though, you’d be for­given for think­ing Marantz had, for once, left well enough alone. The chas­sis di­men­sions and the fas­cia lay­out will be fa­mil­iar to any­one who’s so much as glanced at a 6000-se­ries CD player in the past. Up front there’s a cen­tral tray-load­ing mech­a­nism with a (bright, leg­i­ble) dis­play be­neath, the usual con­trols, and USB socket and 6.3mm head­phone out­put with gain con­trol. Around the back it’s the bare es­sen­tials: stereo ana­logue out­put along with dig­i­tal op­ti­cal and coax­ial out­puts for by-pass­ing the 6006’s DAC and us­ing it purely as a trans­port. The usual log­i­cal, re­spon­sive and de­cently hefty Marantz re­mote con­trol is present once again.

Rather than by-pass­ing the Marantz’s DAC, we’d rec­om­mend mak­ing the most of it. It’s a high-qual­ity, high-res­o­lu­tion (24-bit/192khz) Cir­rus Logic CS4398 af­fair that’s ca­pa­ble of deal­ing with bet­ter-than-cd-qual­ity dig­i­tal files – it can be ac­cessed via the USB in­put, so if you’ve any hi-res WAV files on a USB stick then the 6006 can be­come a hi-res au­dio player. The USB will also han­dle MP3, AAC and WMA files, as well as act­ing as a di­rect ide­vice in­put.

Else­where, the 6006’s head­phone out­put is re­mark­ably well spec­i­fied for a prod­uct of this type – it’s com­pat­i­ble with a wide range of head­phones and far from the af­ter­thought this sort of fea­ture of­ten is.

Slide a copy of Burial’s Un­true into the (smooth, quiet) disc-tray and the broad strokes of the 6006’s sound are in­stantly fa­mil­iar. It’s a ro­bust, full-fig­ured de­liv­ery, giv­ing the low end’s hec­tic ur­ban ac­tiv­ity real weight and pres­ence. This record­ing also shows up the Marantz’s lack of ab­so­lute author­ity slightly, the re­lent­less bass at­tack threat­en­ing to run away with it­self on oc­ca­sion, but over­all this player is good news for those who savour a ballsy bass line.

Through­out the rest of the fre­quency range, the Marantz proves an equally sturdy lis­ten. There are de­cent de­tail lev­els in the midrange, and rather more bite and shine to the tre­ble fre­quen­cies than we’ve been used to from 6000-se­ries CD play­ers – which is def­i­nitely a good thing. Truly care­less sys­tem-match­ing will pro­voke a lit­tle harsh­ness, but in all rea­son­able cir­cum­stances the 6006 is a nicely bal­anced lis­ten.

Clar­ity in com­plex­ity

Tim­ing is good, even when the go­ing gets com­plex, as Kurt Weill’s The Three­penny

Opera (RIAS Ber­lin Sin­foni­etta, Ute Lem­per) demon­strates. The 6006 es­tab­lishes a broad and be­liev­able sound­stage, po­si­tions and fo­cuses well, and makes the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween whole sec­tions or in­di­vid­ual in­stru­ments ob­vi­ous. There’s a tan­gi­ble sense of per­for­mance that nom­i­nal ri­vals can’t quite match. It’s not about to get car­ried away or overex­cited, but the 6006 is a more en­gaged and en­gag­ing lis­ten than the ma­chine it re­places.

Lower the tem­per­a­ture from ‘boil’ to ‘sim­mer’ with Óla­fur Ar­nalds’ Found Songs and the Marantz is un­flus­tered, able to deal with small-scale and del­i­cate just as con­fi­dently as it does ur­ban bom­bast. The at­tack and de­cay of pi­ano notes, the bite and rasp of vi­o­lin strings, and the light and shade of syn­the­siser washes are all de­liv­ered deftly.

So it’s a case of “meet the new boss – mildly up­graded and con­se­quently ap­pre­cia­bly bet­ter than the old boss”. A price-hike is al­ways a risky gam­bit, but in the case of the CD6006 it’s a punt that has paid off hand­somely.

It looks the same, but there have been tweaks un­der the skin.

Disc-tray op­er­a­tion is smooth and quiet, but the real treats come when the mu­sic plays

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