Marantz PM6004 Review

“While we wouldn’t exactly call the PM6004 a budget component, it offers superior sound quality that has a way of beating its competition’s price and performance justifications.”


  • enough power

  • Solid lows, transparent mids, warm yet detailed highs

  • Phono preamp included

  • Two sets of speaker outputs

  • direct source mode


  • The muscle needed for the deepest sub-bass is missing

  • No ⅛-inch input for portable media players

When news broke that Marantz was giving its already-familiar PM6003 integrated amp a design upgrade in the form of the new PM6004, we were scratching our heads a bit. The PM6003 is very well received; So if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Perhaps it’s because integrated amplifiers seem to be on the rise again, and Marantz is looking to gain a leg up on its competition in this recently revived market. Indeed, the appeal of surround sound remains strong, but the enormous popularity of digitally stored and delivered media (i.e. iPods, iPhones, iPads, and NAS players) is forcing music lovers to seek simpler, high-quality sound solutions. We think that’s amazing. Bring on the high-output stereo amps, people!

We recently got excited 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 benchmark system. So it might seem unfair to plan to compare the 45-WPC Marantz PM6004 to the Anthem 225. But we felt that if the PM6004 offered decent performance, its $600 price tag might appeal to those looking for a cheaper solution; Furthermore, we have a soft spot in our hearts for Marantz equipment. Therefore, we request a review of the sample.

Boy, do we ever get a surprise.

video review

Outside the Box

Our PM6004 review sample is simply packaged with an AC cord, remote control, batteries, and 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 near-cobalt blue LED lighting scheme.


Features and design

The biggest change for the PM6004 from its predecessor from last year is that the company designed the unit with neatly separate amp and preamp sections. In the world of audio electronics, this is generally accepted as a very good thing. High-end A/V receivers try to keep these two functions as separate as possible, and we’re now seeing this as a focus point for integrated stereo amplifiers. It’s an attempt to make single box solutions sound more like separate.

Marantz has also included what it calls “current feedback loop technology,” which aims to improve sound clarity and maintain recording dynamics.

Most of the rest stays the same. With the PM6004 we have five line level inputs, two line level outputs (for loops with recording devices), a moving magnet phono input, two pairs (A and B) of speaker outputs, and an amplified headphone output.

marantz-pm6004-rear entries

Marantz provides a clean user interface on its attractive front panel with curved edges. A large input selection wheel is on the left side and an equally large volume wheel is on the right side. Three smaller but robust dials allow you to control bass, treble and balance. There are only four buttons located in this section: one for volume control, one for Source Direct mode (which bypasses the tone control circuitry), and one for speaker outputs A and B.

The PM6004 has a toroidal transformer, which probably gives the amp all the power it needs to do its job and then some. Our experience with amplifiers that use toroidal transformers is that they are quite stable and dynamic. We assume the PM6004’s 45 wpc power output rating indicates a classic Marantz euphemism. We bet this amp will deliver power that can match most amps rated 100 wpc or higher.

The PM6004 exudes build quality. Everything we played had a solid feel. Marantz offers a three-year warranty on this unit, but we have a feeling few, if any, will need to use it.

The only features this integrated amp does not include are the ones that rarely appear in this price segment. Marantz isn’t very fond of balanced XLR jacks, and we don’t find them on the PM6004. The phono preamp isn’t designed to work with a moving coil cartridge, and we didn’t find a ⅛-inch input or USB input for iOS devices (which can be fixed by using a simple adapter cable or choosing to use the Marantz CD6004). These are all features that the Anthem Integrated 225 offers, albeit at a much higher price.


The dyno for our Marantz PM6004 review included an Oppo BDP-95, Aperion Audio Verus Grand tower speakers, Martin Logan LX16 bookshelf speakers, an Anthem Integrated 225, and a Pioneer PL-61 turntable with an Ortofon OM-5E cartridge.

We spent almost two hours driving between the Marantz PM6004 and the Anthem 225. It was simply amazing to hear how well the lower-powered PM6004 held up, test after test. We ended up hearing some of the differences mentioned, but before we get into that, let’s discuss the PM6004’s unique sonic signature.

In our opinion, Telarc have created some of the best natural-sounding SACDs ever produced (and we hope they will again one day), but our favorites came via a partnership with Sound and Vision magazine, which produced a selection of sampler discs that tend to be heavy on jazz recordings.


One of these samples features music from the likes of Oscar Peterson, Michel Camillo and the Jaco Pastorius Big Band, all personal favorites, but the song that keeps us coming back is a joint effort between pianist Monty Alexander and singer Kevin Mahogany. The cut, titled “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” opens with a funky New Orleans-style lead piano riff that repeats multiple times, adding five-string electric bass, percussion and drums in each passage before finally unleashing Mohogany’s vocals.

marantz-pm6004-review-remoteOn this track, we can hear how well either rig handles complex piano overtones, deep sub-bass resonance, dynamic drum patterns, and naturally recorded male vocals. The PM6400 did exceptionally well with all of the above.

The PM6400 treated colorless and open piano, with plenty of percussive attack that comes with the hammering of a string. With the added electric bass, we found that the amp was extremely quick to start and stop deep bass tones, though it failed to plunge into the deepest sub-bass with as much power as we’ve heard with other amps. Drums are reproduced with excellent dynamic contrast and plenty of tone. We also appreciated that the powerful drum beat didn’t lose steam as things got busy. Finally, Mahogany’s voice, which we’ve heard creeping into the mix with less capable amps, comes center stage and right in between the other instruments. If it went too far, we would have reason to worry. The vocal track just wasn’t recorded that way. Once again, the PM6400 stayed true to the recording and didn’t add anything that wasn’t already on the disc.

This amp doesn’t take anything away either. On Rodrigo y Gabriela’s album 11:11 There are plenty of fat, direct percussion sounds, guitar clicks, and luscious harmonies to feast your ears on – pretty impressive stuff for just two people on guitar – but we’ve heard that some of the intentionally loud sounds have been tamed a bit in previous reviews of the amp. The PM6004 maintained powerful, accurate mic sound without showing signs of strain, even at challenging volumes.

The PM6004’s built-in phono preamp also sounded great. Although we felt it was a bit brighter than the Anthem 225, it sounded pretty good with excellent channel separation, plenty of bass, and a warm, rich midrange. It certainly sounded much better than most phono preamps found in the few A/V receiver models that manage to include them.


The Marantz PM6004 is one of those stereos that makes life miserable for manufacturers, audio dealers, and audio critics. While we wouldn’t exactly call the PM6004 a cheap component, it offers excellent sound quality that has a way of beating its competition’s price and performance justifications. When you can get sound this good for under $1,000, it becomes hard to justify spending more.

This $600 integrated amp blew us away with plenty of power, authoritative bass, transparent mids, and clean, slightly warm highs. While it doesn’t deliver the punchy sub-bass we get from more powerful (and much more expensive) integrated amps, it does provide a rich and comfortable listening experience that most will be proud to share with friends.

While the Anthem Integrated 225 remains our top pick for a stereo amp in the $1,000 to $3,000 category, the Marantz PM6004 stands as the sub-$1,000 integrated amp to beat, earning our Editor’s Choice award for its category.

The tallest:

  • enough power
  • Solid lows, transparent mids, warm yet detailed highs
  • Phono preamp included
  • Two sets of speaker outputs
  • direct source mode

Lower values:

  • The muscle needed for the deepest sub-bass is missing
  • No ⅛-inch input for portable media players

Categories: GAMING

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