The $500 DV6001 is the least expensive of three universal players offered by Marantz, yet nothing about its extensive features set or performance would lead you to think of it as an “entry-level” model. On the contrary, for value-minded music and movie lovers the DV6001 may be one of the most well balanced options on today’s market—a player that, while perhaps not the top performer in any one category, nevertheless manages to do all things well. In particular, we think the DV6001 would be ideal for those seeking a player that combines solid video performance with a sound that is unfailingly smooth, highly three-dimensional, and that provides a comforting touch of natural warmth.
The DV6001 has a reasonably straightforward user interface and remote control and is easy to set up. We liked the fact that the remote offered an Audio EX button (which turns off most video processing functions and the front panel display for superior sound quality during music playback), and a Sound Mode button (which allows users to toggle between multichannel and stereo mixes when listening to SACDs). However, we did have several “nits” to pick, as noted below:
The DV6001, like several other players in this class, provides Faroudja DCDi video processing, which ensures good—though not necessarily best-in-class—image quality.
On benchmark tests, conducted using the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD Ver. 4, the DV6001 turned in solid performance on most tests, though with minor shortcomings in the following areas:
In real world tests, during which the player was set for 1080i upscaling, the DV6001 offered a smooth, slightly soft-looking, but generally film-like presentation with better than average resolution. Facial closeups in films such as Gandhi offered smoothly rendered shadow details and gorgeous textures. Only on real torture tests, such the scene from Seabiscuit where the camera pans over a black & white still photo of a gentleman wearing a finely patterned hound’s-tooth jacket (whose surface textures are notoriously hard to reproduce), were any moiré problems evident.
Sound quality is a major part of the DV6001’s appeal, and one of the things we appreciated most is that the player sounded equally good on CDs, SACDs, and DVD-Audio discs (not all universal players do). This player’s general sonic character is shaded slightly to the warm side of neutral, with refreshing freedom from treble edginess and glare—problems that often crop up with other affordable players. The Marantz is particularly good at reproducing spatial cues in music, so that it offers a strikingly spacious, three-dimensional sound. Though not the last word in detail or resolution, the DV6001 sounds unfailingly engaging and is easy to listen to for hours on end.
Violins are difficult for any digital player to reproduce, because in real life they tend to offer the not necessarily compatible qualities of incisiveness and sweetness. Frankly, many players tend to capture one quality at the expense of the other, but not the Marantz. On virtuoso violinist Hilary Hahn’s performance of Vaughan-Williams’ The Lark Ascending [Deutsche Grammophon] the Marantz deftly negotiated the fast-rising edges of Hahn’s bowing changes, yet without ever losing a grip on the inherent sweetness of her tone. Bravo, Marantz.