Marantz PM6006 UK Edition £369
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?
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