Marantz PM6004 Review

While we wouldn’t exactly call the PM6004 a budget component, it does offer a premium sound quality that has a way of blasting away its competition’s price-performance justifications.
While we wouldn’t exactly call the PM6004 a budget component, it does offer a premium sound quality that has a way of blasting away its competition’s price-performance justifications.
While we wouldn’t exactly call the PM6004 a budget component, it does offer a premium sound quality that has a way of blasting away its competition’s price-performance justifications.

Highs

  • Ample power
  • Tight bass, transparent mids, warm-yet-detailed treble
  • Phono pre-amp included
  • Two sets of speaker outputs
  • Source direct mode

Lows

  • Lacks muscle needed for deepest sub-bass
  • No ⅛-inch input for portable media players

When word came around that Marantz had given its already well-reputed PM6003 integrated amp a design refresh in the form of the new PM6004, we found ourselves scratching our heads a little. The PM6003 was very well received; so, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Perhaps because integrated amps seem to be catching on again, and Marantz is looking to get the jump on its competition in this recently reinvigorated market. Indeed, the woo of surround sound is still strong, but the rampant popularity of digitally stored and delivered media (i.e. iPods, iPhones, iPads and NAS players) has music lovers looking for more streamlined and high-quality sound solutions. We think that is straight up awesome. Bring on the high-performance stereo amps, people!

We recently raved about the Anthem Integrated 225, a $1,500, 225-watt-per-channel (WPC) beast of a stereo amp that has earned its place in our reference system. It might seem unfair, then, that we would plan to compare the 45 WPC Marantz PM6004 directly to the Anthem 225. But we felt that, should the PM6004 offer decent performance, its $600 price might appeal to those looking for a more budget-friendly solution; plus, we have a soft spot in our heart for Marantz gear. So, we requested a review sample.

Boy were we ever in for a surprise.

Video review

Out of the box

Our PM6004 review sample was simply packaged with an AC cord, remote control, batteries and a user manual. The amp weighs a respectable 16.3 pounds and measures 4 ⅛ x 17 ⅜ x 15 ⅜ inches (H x W x D). Marantz continues its curved-edge cabinet design with this model, along with its almost cobalt-blue LED lighting scheme.

marantz-pm6004-review-front-remote

Features and design

The biggest change for the PM6004 over its predecessor from the prior year is that the company designed the unit with carefully separated pre-amp and amplifier sections. In the world of audio electronics, this is generally accepted as a very good thing. High-end A/V receivers attempt to keep these two functions as separate as possible, and now we’re seeing it as a point of focus for integrated stereo amps as well. It’s an effort to get one-box solutions to sound more like separates.

Marantz also incorporated what it calls “current feedback circuit technology,” which is intended to enhance sonic clarity and maintain a recording’s dynamics.

Most everything else stays the same. With the PM6004 we get five line-level inputs, two line-level outputs (for looping with recording devices) a moving magnet phono input, two pair (A and B) of speaker outputs and an amplified headphone output.

marantz-pm6004-rear-inputs
marantz pm6004 review black front   marantz-pm6004-review-black-front-controls-angle   marantz-pm6004-review-side   marantz-pm6004-review-top   marantz-pm6004-review-bottom

Marantz provides a clean user interface on its very attractive, curved-edge front panel. A large input selector dial resides on the left side with an equally large volume dial situated on the right. Three smaller but robust dials allow control of bass, treble and balance. There are only four buttons to be found on this piece: one for loudness control, one for Source Direct mode (which bypasses the tone control circuit) and one each for A and B speaker outputs.

The PM6004 features a toroidal transformer, which likely feeds the amp with all the power it needs to do its job and then some. Our experience with amps that use toroidal transformers is that they are quite stable and dynamic. Our guess is that the PM6004’s rated power output of 45 wpc is indicative of classic Marantz understatement. Our bet is that this amp will deliver power that rivals most amps rated at 100 wpc or better.

The PM6004 oozes of quality build. Everything we touched had a solid feel to it. Marantz offers a three-year warranty on this unit but we have a feeling that few, if any, will ever have to make use of it.

The only features this integrated amp doesn’t include are the sort that rarely appears in this price segment anyway. Marantz isn’t big on balanced XLR connections, and we find none on the PM6004. The phono pre-amp isn’t designed to handle a moving coil cartridge and we find no ⅛-inch input for or USB input for iOS devices (which can be dealt with using a simple adapter cable or by opting to use Marantz’s CD6004). These are all features that the Anthem Integrated 225 does offer, albeit at its much loftier price point.

Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Streaming services blast past networks for the most scripted TV shows in 2018

For the first time in history, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, produced more original scripted series than broadcast or cable channels, setting a new record for the number of TV shows on the air.
Movies & TV

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘The X-Files’ with the show’s 10 best episodes

The X-Files premiered 25 years ago, so here are the 10 best episodes of the award-winning sci-fi series. From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes from all 11 seasons of the hit series.
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find the films online.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Home Theater

What is Terrarium TV? Here’s everything you need to know

Terrarium TV offered a way to watch movies & TV for free, but now after a troubled existence, the app's developer has shut it down, and offered an ominous message to users on his way out.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in every genre for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

Do you have questions about Hulu? We’ve got answers

Not sure which Hulu subscription is right for you? We're here to help. This is your complete guide to Hulu and Hulu with Live TV, including content offerings for each service, pricing, internet requirements, and more.