Marantz PM6006 UK Edi­tion £369

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

Hav­ing made some nicely judged im­prove­ments to its CD6006 CD player to tai­lor it more closely to the UK mar­ket (see p45), canny old Marantz has gone and done the same for that player’s nat­u­ral part­ner, the PM6006 am­pli­fier. The re­sult? A What Hi-fi? Award.

So what, you’re surely ask­ing, makes for a UK Edi­tion of an al­ready-beloved in­te­grated am­pli­fier? Is it one whose tim­bre bet­ter matches the com­plex taste of a ba­con butty? Or is it easy-wipe to cope with the damp, driz­zly weather? Or per­haps it is por­ta­ble, de­signed for those clan­des­tine af­ter­school trips to the park with a can of cider?

Se­cret wiz­ardry

In fact, it’s a lot more sen­si­ble than any of the above. Marantz has taken the op­por­tu­nity to fine-tune its am­pli­fi­ca­tion op­er­a­tion with help from some of the finest tech­ni­cians in the in­dus­try. That said, the com­pany has been in­trigu­ingly coy about just what tweaks have been made.

De­spite in­ter­nal changes, out­wardly the UK Edi­tion looks iden­ti­cal to the orig­i­nal (apart from some ad­di­tional brand­ing). The front face is dom­i­nated by a pair of di­als – one for tog­gling in­put and one for man­ag­ing vol­ume – flank­ing a slim-line LED source in­di­ca­tor.

Below the lat­ter is a quar­tet of but­tons for switch­ing be­tween the amp’s in­ter­nal DAC and ana­logue in­puts, be­tween ei­ther or both pairs of wire­able speak­ers, and to op­er­ate the PM6006’S ‘loud­ness’ fea­ture, and below them is an­other trio of di­als for bass, tre­ble and bal­ance, plus a 6.3mm head­phone jack.

Round the back you’ll find five ana­logue line-ins, a coax­ial and two dig­i­tal in­puts, out­puts for two pairs of speak­ers and a tape loop for record­ing but no USB in­put.

There’s a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally full-bodied and fo­cused Marantz pre­sen­ta­tion with plenty of de­tail, along with a smooth, whole­some over­all tone. The most gran­u­lar tex­tures aren’t al­ways read­ily on of­fer but there’s more than enough to dig into with­out the sound be­com­ing overly an­a­lyt­i­cal.

It’s all about the mu­sic

This is a won­der­fully mu­si­cal am­pli­fier. The bal­ance is ton­ally even and over­all it’s pleas­ingly insightful, with a nice wide sound­stage – but even more so it’s rhyth­mi­cally and dy­nam­i­cally con­fi­dent, knit­ting to­gether in­stru­ments in a man­ner that high­lights this as a bud­get-to-midrange gem.

There’s a cer­tain smooth­ness be­tween strands, yet also enough punch and drive to grab your at­ten­tion, Marantz’s keen sense of tim­ing ac­cented by a dy­namic range sym­pa­thetic to lead­ing notes.

It looks as though Marantz has taken James Bond as its ex­em­plar of Bri­tish­ness for the PM6006 UK Edi­tion (full-bodied, well con­nected, smooth, insightful…). What­ever the in­spi­ra­tion, at this price no­body does it bet­ter.

Some clever, care­fully cho­sen im­prove­ments have made a great amp even bet­ter

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