Marantz SR6006 A/V Receiver

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Price: $1,200 At A Glance: AirPlay and Bluetooth connectivity • Porthole design • Marantz audiophile tradition continues

Few brands offer as many entry points into audiophilia as Marantz. The vintage angle alone is priceless. Cruise eBay and Audiogon for everything from pricey restorations of vintage tube components to affordable, classic stereo receivers from the 1970s. The present-day Marantz, an honored member of the D&M Holdings family, is the brand to look to for answers to questions like, “Does anyone still make a decent-sounding, standalone CD player?” In some future lifetime, I may explore the potential of such bleeding-edge Reference Series components as the SC-7S2 stereo preamp ($6,500) or the TT-15S1 turntable ($1,500) with the acrylic chassis and platter. But Marantz’s lines of A/V receivers and surround separates have plenty of meat on the bone for both high-end and real-world home theater buffs. In fact, many of Marantz’s multichannel products are adorned with the same distinctive porthole display as the highest-performing members of the brand’s two-channel lines. Putting a round display on a product doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality, but the migration of this cosmetic signature does suggest that Marantz holds surround audiophiles and stereophiles in equally high regard.

Feature Rich, High Performance
Surround-receiver manufacturers tend to fall into two groups. Most of them are feature-obsessed and turn over their lines relentlessly. Then there are the audiophile manufacturers who devote more of your spending power to sound quality, but sometimes fall behind in the features race. Marantz carefully treads a path between the two, maintaining a small line that turns over only as often as it reasonably needs to. This receiver gives you the best of both worlds. Its feature set is competitive alongside feature-rich, mass-marketed models, yet it performs more like a higher-end (and higher-priced) receiver.

The two newest members of the Marantz AVR line were introduced in mid-2011. These midline models are the SR6006 ($1,200) reviewed here and the step-down SR5006 ($800). At the lower end of the line are the NR1602 ($650) and NR1402 ($400), which made their debuts about the same time. The top-line model is still the SR7005 ($1,699), unveiled in mid-2010.

Marantz receivers have a distinctively sculpted chassis with broad curves at the sides. The porthole display is cute, although it offers limited real estate for status displays. Unlike its older big sister the SR7005, the SR6006 does not have a door below its porthole display that flips down to reveal a larger and more conventional one.

The back panel shows evidence of foresight and good taste. It includes a moving-magnet phono input—we expect no less of a company that offers three turntable models. Wireless connectivity includes both Apple AirPlay—allowing iOS devices to push content to the receiver—and Bluetooth via Marantz’s RX101 Bluetooth adapter ($100), which plugs into an M-XPort jack.

In addition to interfacing with a smartphone, the Bluetooth capability gets in additional use with the company’s IS301 iPhone/iPod dock ($250). The IS301 is actually a three-piece kit. The dock itself communicates wirelessly with a connection block that has hardwired A/V outputs. It also comes with its own remote control. With the wireless dock next to your armchair, you can just pick it up and operate your iDevice with its own touch screen or click wheel. Marantz believes you’ll prefer this to replacing Apple’s beloved interfaces with an onscreen display. As the company’s Website notes pointedly, “That means there’s nothing new for you to learn.”

The only drawback is that if you want to stream photos or videos—which Bluetooth does not support—you’ll have to run Cat5 cable between the Ethernet jacks of the dock and the connection block. The SR6006 also supports another wired Ethernet connection compatible with DLNA 1.5 to pull media out of a router-connected PC. Music-streaming addicts can get their fix via Rhapsody or Napster; Pandora personalized Internet radio and over-the-air HD Radio are supported. Unlike its predecessor, the SR6005, the SR6006 does not support SiriusXM Satellite Radio. For photo sharing, it supports Flickr.

This 7.1-channel receiver has nine sets of binding posts. Why? To facilitate the use of surround modes with height and/or width enhancement. These include Audyssey DSX, which offers both front-channel width and height enhancement; Dolby Pro Logic IIz, another height mode; and the various back-surround-equipped modes we’ve known for years (Dolby EX, DTS-ES, etc.). So you’re at liberty to connect a 5.1-speaker array (the bedrock standard in surround sound), plus one additional option (height, width, or back), although you can never run more than seven amp channels plus the sub channel simultaneously.

The Audyssey suite also includes MultEQ XT for auto setup and room correction. Many rooms suffer from acoustic defects that Audyssey can work around handily. Over many prior reviews, I’ve found it reliable. Also included are Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume, which together improve the quality of low-level listening. They are especially helpful with steroidal movie soundtracks.

Like its stablemate Denon, Marantz offers an attractive (and similar-looking) graphic user interface with a setup wizard that easily takes you through language selection, speaker connection, Audyssey setup and room correction, source-component setup, and network connection. While many users will want to just run the wizard and go, others may want to second-guess certain settings. For instance, MultEQ correctly pegged my speakers as Large (with full-range bass response), but I reset them to Small with a subwoofer crossover of 80 hertz (per THX practice, to let my sub handle more of the bass).

Marantz America
(201) 762-6500

HTM_cushman_23's picture

I do wish that HTM would be a little more current with its reviews. The SR6006 is being replaced next month by the SR6007. BTW, the Denon 3312 they reviewed a week ago is being replaced by the 3313 this month or next.

Last year I was also looking at AVRs and read a HTM review of an Onkyo...looked interesting so I checked it out on-line...I think I had to go to Onkyo's web site archieves to find the manufactures specs on it.

Same issue with TVs...

Come on guys, use your publishing clout to get review subjects as the come out, not when they are end-of-lifed.

63ghia's picture

I will never buy a Marantz ever ever again. Disregard all reviews other than this one. If given one I would not take it. Mine is the SR 6006. It is a massive pile of crap. You have been warned. Oh by the way, this is the second I have owned. The first broke within a week. Then I exchanged it thinking it was just a fluke.. I was wrong. I should have gotten something else.

kent harrison's picture

Im using mines in the bedroom,but i turn on the EQ tho,i like dynamic volume.

schnizzlewizz's picture

I bought an SR8001 paid about $2K from a reputable dealer dealer. I did a lot of research but not enough. I believe in "you get what you pay for" I was proven wrong!!!

I would expect this to last for about 10 years or better. I guess I should have bought a McIntosh.

I bought the unit in 2006 and it worked great until about 2010. I don't abuse my equipment. The idiot light next to the power button started flashing. I did a little homework and checked the forums and found out I was not alone. I brought the unit into the dealer.... and what they did I don't know but it cost me $160. I brought it home and it worked for about a week and the unit started doing the same thing. I have lost all faith in Marantz and don't recommend anyone buy their products. It is like playing Russian Roulette. You don't know what you are going to get.

I have been looking for a new premium receiver and looked at this one and found there are issues with the power supplies.I looked in the forums. I will not roll the dice with Marantz again. I don't know about you but I work hard for my money.

Anyone have any suggestions?