When “What Hi-Fi Sound and Vision?” gave our PM6003 the “Best amplifier in its class” award, the performance bar was well and truly raised for its successor: the PM6004. Fortunately, Marantz design engineers enjoy nothing better than a real challenge. And they seized this upgrade opportunity to further improve this already excellent amplifier by refining the sound and optimising the balance from Bass to Mid to Highs for a performance full of harmony. The strategic difference is that now both the pre-amplification and power amplification sections exclusively feature discrete components – not a single IC in sight. Specially selected single components not only outperform ICs in quality, they also make it possible to refine the sound in much more detail, resulting in more clarity and transparency in the sound stage. Of course the lower impedance Toroidal transformer with case-shield has been retained, so too has the customized main capacitors, and the potential power transistor which is mounted on the extruded aluminium heat sink and can easily handle higher currents to keep close control of speakers. All of this proven, superior technology has been retained. And of course all of the original features - such as six-line audio input including phono, two-pairs of gold-plated speaker connections with the convenience of bi-wiring, and a remote handset - are still there. All that’s now required is a lover of music.