Marantz DV6100 Universal Player

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Multi-format disc players
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Marantz DV6100 Universal Player
Marantz DV6100 Universal Player

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.

Key Features

  • HDMI upscaling options: 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p.
  • Video Processing: Faroudja DCDi and NSV (“Noise Shaped Video”)
  • DACs: 192kHz/24-bit audio DAC, 216MHz/12-bit video DAC
  • PAL (European format) < - to- > NTSC conversion

User Interface

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:

  • Dual-function Skip Ahead/ Fas t Forward and Skip Back/ Fas t Reverse buttons on the remote control are confusing and tricky to use.
  • Channel level trim controls provide only +/- 6dB range of adjustment (+/- 10dB would be preferable).
  • No trim or distance controls for the subwoofer (a potentially serious omission in our view).
  • User interface does not allow on-the-fly adjustment of audio or video settings (a feature we wish all universal players provided).

Video Performance

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:

  • Color Bar (resolution) Tests: Minor “blurred” bands visible on the finest resolution test lines.
  • Jaggies Tests: Minor “ripple” visible on worst-case tests.
  • Film Detail Tests (scene of a racecar passing in front of empty grandstands): Momentary moiré pattern is visible in the grandstands before the processor intervenes and the image lock in.
  • Cadence Tests: Performance is fine on the “big two” formats; namely 2-2 30fps Video and 3-2 24fps Film. However, some image “twitch” was observed on less commonly encountered DVCAM, Vari- Speed, and Animation cadences.

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.

Audio Performance/Sonic Character

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.

Musical Examples

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.

When properly reproduced, well-recorded SACDs offer compelling sonic benefits relative to conventional CDs, but the fact is that some players impart a hard, steely quality to SACDs that spoils the whole effect. But happily, the Marantz does no such thing. Instead, it draws out the lushness and rich inner vocal and instrument details found in, say, the track “Speak” from Nickelcreek’s eponymous album [Sugar Hill, SACD]. The DV6001 invites you to drink in the timbres of Chris Thile’s mandolin or Sara Watkins’ voice on that track, and it will flat blow your mind as it reproduces the 3D swirl of whispering voices heard toward the end of the track. The heightened sense of being transported to an entirely different acoustic space is part of what makes listening to this Marantz so worthwhile.

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