This time last year, we lauded Marantz and its SR6004 AV receiver for maintaining the company’s legacy of high standards in audio performance in an up-to-date package that offered all the bells and whistles you could ask for. The SR6004 sat just below the top of Marantz’s AV receiver line, with an MSRP of $1,249. This year, Marantz offers the SR6005 which also sits just below the top of their AVR line, but with a $999.00 price tag. Despite model numbers that suggest the 6005 is a direct replacement for the 6004 (hey, it’s just one digit, right?) a closer inspection reveals some key differences between the two. In fact, the 6005 looks more like last year’s 5004, a step lower in the line-up.
Confused? Don’t be. In this review, we take a look at those key differences and determine if the changes are worth the $250 difference in price points.
Out of the Box
Like the SR6004, the SR6005’s power supply section is ample and weighty. The SR6005 comes in at 26 lbs, which, again, is a positive indicator of overall build quality. However, that number seemed a little lower than we had expected, so we looked back at our notes on the SR6004 and saw that it weighed in at 28 lbs. That’s certainly not a huge number, and may not necessarily point to anything at all, but we just can’t help but wonder: Where did those two lbs go? Meaningful or not, the scales offered the first indication that the SR6005 didn’t appear to be a carbon copy of its numerical predecessor.
As we dug through the provided accessories, we noted everything appeared to be in order. Remote, batteries, Audyssey calibration microphone and user manual were all in place. Ah, but what is this? No Bluetooth adapter. While the SR6004 came with Marantz’s RX101 Bluetooth receiver, the SR6005 does not. Bummer. We really liked that Bluetooth receiver, but since the RX-101 is only $100, you can still purchase one separately without getting all the way back to the SR6004’s $1249 price point.
The SR6005’s appearance is a dead-on match for the SR6004. The verdict: Still sexy. We still dig the radius edges on the left and right side of the 6005’s front face, the two large control knobs, the smoked-glass view panel and its drop down panel that hides various inputs and control buttons. It’s a stealthy, clean look that really sets Marantz apart. Let’s face it, we can’t help but listen with our eyes just a little bit.
The SR6005 adds two HDMI inputs to its rear panel for a total of 6 HDMI 1.4a inputs capable of supporting 3D video, and HDMI audio return. The unit is also equipped with just one HDMI output (the SR6004 had two), three component video inputs, and four composite video inputs. No more S-video this year. Those still clinging to S-Video devices like Laser Disc players, S-VHS players and PlayStation 2’s will have to settle for a composite connection. Under the front panel, we found one set of composite video and analog audio inputs, a digital optical input, a headphone output and a USB input for use with iPods, iPhones and USB memory devices.
If multi-room audio and video are your thing, the SR6005 can pull off some really cool tricks. Not only can it output component video to two other zones, but it will also provide digital audio processing and output for those zones. This means no more connecting extra stereo analog cables from your components just to get some audio to go with the picture you are sending to other rooms.
All the usual audio codecs are supported: DTS-HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby ProLogic IIz and all the legacy surround formats are covered. Marantz also included its M-DAX audio processing mode for improved compressed music fidelity. The SR6005 provides enough speaker outputs to support a 7.2 (yup…two subwoofers) system with either front “height” speakers, bi-amplified front left and right channels, or a remote set of speakers.
The SR6005 will upscale all analog video signals for output via HDMI via an ABT2015 video chip – a departure from last year’s use of an i-chips video processor. Unfortunately, unlike the SR6004, the SR6005 will not decode and play back DSD/SACD audio streams via HDMI. This is a feature most folks don’t really care about, but being the audio geeks we are, we couldn’t help but be a little disappointed and then wonder: Why? So, we looked even deeper and found that not only does the SR6005 use a different video chip, it also uses a different digital audio processor. Whereas the SR6004 used a Texas Instruments chip for the critical digital-to-analog conversion process, the SR6005 uses Analog Devices’ SHARC chip – the same chip that Denon components currently use.
We were also disappointed to see that the SR6005 doesn’t offer an Ethernet port. This requires that any firmware updates that Marantz may offer in the future be uploaded by an authorized service center. It also means that the SR6005 will probably never be able to support Marantz and Denon’s new AirPlay streaming music feature, nor is it likely to support any other Internet-based music application.