Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver

Price: $1,250 At A Glance: Bluetooth adapter is supplied, not merely optional • Connect compatible iPod models without a dock • Audyssey MultEQ, Dynamic Volume/EQ

Restraint and Simplicity

Marantz was founded in 1952 by Saul B. Marantz, who designed and built his first products at his home in Kew Gardens, New York. By the time I envied a college friend for owning a beautiful 1975-vintage Marantz stereo receiver, the company was owned by Superscope. The brand’s North American operations passed into the hands of Philips before it finally merged with Denon to form D&M Holdings in 2002.

Today, Marantz is in the odd position of competing with a stablemate. The differences between the two are interesting: Denon is a hard-charging pioneer that packs as many features as possible into its A/V receivers. Marantz, on the other hand, adopts licensed features (some of them fads) at a more deliberate pace, and it still stakes much of its identity on high-end two-channel products. I’m not suggesting that Denon lags in performance, or that Marantz fails to be au courant, but their differences in emphasis point to their differences in temperament and values.

That brings us to the Marantz SR6004 A/V receiver. It embraces height-enhanced surround with Dolby Pro Logic IIz but skips the Audyssey DSX height- and width-enhanced listening modes. Wisely, Marantz has licensed Audyssey’s superb MultEQ auto setup and room correction system as well as its Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ modes for low-volume listening flexibility.

The SR6004 doesn’t have an Ethernet connection to support PC file access, Internet radio, or other network-delivered audio features. However, it does connect iPods and other USB devices directly without a dock. In a surprise move, it comes with the RX101 Bluetooth adapter. I regret not having a Bluetooth-compatible mobile device to make use of the capability.

Ending in 004
While the SR6004 isn’t Marantz’s top-of-the-line A/V receiver, it is the most complete of the newer models—the ones with model numbers that end in 004. It replaces the SR6003. At the time of this writing, Marantz’s Website still listed a couple of older models with numbers that end in 003 or 002. The SR6004’s rated power is 110 watts per channel, with two channels driven, which is up 10 percent from the preceding model. Marantz prides itself on providing 70 percent of rated power when five channels are driven. In this respect, the company sets a tougher standard for itself than many of its competitors set for themselves.

The front panel has the familiar curved shape that Marantz uses in its other products, both surround and stereo. A spare front-panel layout includes a volume knob at the right, a source-select knob at the left, a power on/standby button, and no other visible buttons. Beneath a flip-down door are navigation and other controls. It also has a front-panel USB input. One minor surprise is the front S-video input—there are no additional S-video jacks on the back panel.

Speaking of the back panel, I love its neatness. A lot of A/V receivers have the HDMI inputs and outputs—in this case, four in and two out—in a row across the top, and the speaker terminals at the bottom. But Marantz groups the component and composite video inputs in an island at the right. One of the HD-capable component outputs can operate in a second zone. Analog preouts are in a separate island adjacent to the speaker terminals. This leaves the analog multichannel inputs next to the analog stereo jacks. Everything is easy to find at a glance. The SR6004 also supports Sirius and XM satellite radio.

(201) 762-6500