Marantz CD6004 review

Best CD player up to £500, Awards 2012. Marantz has made big improvements to its already brilliant CD player with the CD6004 Tested at £310

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best CD player up to £500, Awards 2012. Its predecessor was already brilliant, but the CD6004 is even better


  • +

    Superbly open and spacious delivery

  • +

    fine detail and subtle dynamics

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    iPod connection


  • -

    Nothing of note

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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.

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 improvement
Blimey, 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 detail
Switch 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 amp
While 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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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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