Our Verdict 
Best CD player up to £500, Awards 2012. Its predecessor was already brilliant, but the CD6004 is even better
For 
Superbly open and spacious delivery
fine detail and subtle dynamics
iPod connection
Against 
Nothing of note
Reviewed on

It’s a bold move to change a product that most people consider to be at the top of its game, but so competitive is the market these days that resting on one’s laurels leaves one open to surprise challenges from eager rivals.

That’s why Marantz is launching this updated and upgraded 6000-series CD player – and the matching PM6004 stereo amplifier to go with it.

UPDATE: Marantz CD6005 review The CD6004’s predecessor is our reigning CD player champion under £500, though, so unsurprisingly Marantz has made slightly more cautious, less substantial changes.

Mind you, a new CD mechanism, upgraded power supply, brand new DAC, new amplifier module and a new, vibration-eliminating solid metal bottom-plate still sounds like a great deal of work to us.

Oh, and the USB port on the front, which could always digitally access iOS devices, can now charge iPads as well as iPods and iPhones.

More after the break

According to Ken Ishiwata, Marantz’s Brand Ambassador, that’s a particularly tough nut to crack, as the amount of power needed to charge an iPad can all too easily have a detrimental effect on the audio signal.

Upgrades make a big improvementBlimey, those upgrades on the CD6004 really have made big improvements to what was already an extremely accomplished performance.

Play Little Dragon’s recent electro-pop hit Ritual Union and this is immediately apparent:  the delivery is significantly more spacious and open, the vocals are clearer and more focused, and individual instruments have more space around them but are still rhythmically glued together to create a pleasingly complete presentation.

There’s an extra smidge of subtlety to detail and dynamics, too, so you get a little more of the reverb and echo on the voice – in other words, the disc sounds more as it was intended.

The brief harmony towards the end of the track is also better presented, with that extra space between the two vocals making it more dramatic and sonically interesting. Vocals have lovely focus and detailSwitch to Bonnie Prince Billie’s Wolf Among Wolves (a test favourite) and the CD6004 continues to thrill. There’s lovely focus and detail in vocals, but not at the expense of the rest of the sound.

The faint background foot-tap is there, conveying the authenticity of the analogue recording, and each strum has the kind of texture and subtle dynamic variance you’d get from a live show.

Essentially it’s cleaner, clearer and more interesting than its predecessor, and in the best possible way you’re less aware of the player itself, especially when you take advantage of the ‘display off’ and ‘digital off’ options.

Of course, a component that is individually superb can flop when paired, but that’s far from the case here. Connect the CD6004 to the Marantz PM6004 amplifier and it’s immediately clear that they’ve been tuned to complement each other.

Works a treat with its partnering ampWhile the CD6004 is flexible enough to be partnered with other, non-Marantz electronics, as a pair they pull in the same sonic direction, and the resulting presentation is as fast-paced, detailed and dynamic as you could possibly hope for from a hi-fi pairing at this end of the market.

Add a pair of Tannoy Revolution DC6 T floorstanders (£800) and you’ll be especially happy, but B&W’s 685s (£380) or KEF’s Q300s (£450), both standmounted designs, are also highly recommended partners for what is a simply superb, affordable, hi-fi separates system.

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