It takes a certain lack of modesty to describe your product as a ‘Unique Complete Digital Music Source Player’, but then that’s just what the Marantz ND8006 is. It may be found in the CD Players section of the company’s website, and indeed is little larger than the other CD-only machines there, but it’s designed as all the player you’ll ever need, whether you’re transiting from ‘physical media’ (i.e. CDs) to streaming and network music, or have already made the leap and want to keep playing your existing collection. As well as being a very good disc player – something for which the company has been known since that format was launched – the ND8006 is also a full network/online music solution, complete with multiroom capability and even voice control.
You can take the CD playback ability as read – given the consistent quality of successive generations of Marantz 6000-series machines, making them more than good enough for use even in systems using much more expensive amplification and speakers – and you still have plenty to discover here. Connected to a home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, the ND8006 can access music libraries stored in shared folders on computers on the same network, or dedicated Network Attached Storage units, and play a huge range of file formats, all the way up to and way beyond CD quality.
It then goes further, allowing the user to access a wide range of online streaming services, thus giving access to millions of extra tracks through a single monthly subscription. Online sources include Amazon Music HD, Spotify and Tidal, plus the tens of thousands of stations worldwide available via TuneIn Internet radio. So, if you fancy some Japanese jazz radio or an all-bluegrass soundtrack, you’re sorted.
Those music services are accessed via the ND8006’s built-in HEOS system, which also allows it to become part of a complete wireless multiroom system – you could start with the Marantz and maybe a Denon Home speaker in a second room, and then add to this as you wish. It’s all controlled by the excellent HEOS app, which has been developed over many years and is exemplary in both its flexibility and its ease of use.
Other facilities extend to Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth wireless streaming, several digital inputs including a USB Type B for the connection of a computer, and a front-panel USB Type A for quick playback from storage devices, while outputs are provided both for connection to an amplifier or system, or directly to a power amplifier or powered speakers. Meanwhile, within the ND8006 is tried and tested digital conversion, enabling it to play the highest of hi-resolution music files, unique digital filtering designed in-house, and the company’s fine-tuned Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules for detail and dynamics. All that combines with a clear, logical layout, making the player as simple to use as it is to enjoy.
All this cleverness is backed up by a sound that’s as forceful as it is fine-detailed, and capable of captivating the listener across a wide range of musical styles. It has weight and warmth when required with intimate studio recordings, yet also all the resolution and conviction to reveal the many strands in a large-scale orchestral piece or a pounding live rock set. It’s open and crisp in the high treble, giving cymbals excellent sting and allowing the space in a recording to be appreciated, but without any brashness; lead instruments and vocals have excellent character, and the bass has all the weight to convey the scale of the music, while also being sufficiently controlled to drive rhythms smartly. It all makes for a compelling listen; and a compelling way to handle a wide range of digital media.
Integrating the Marantz into any system is easy; connect it to your amplifier, and to your home network via Wi-Fi or wired networking, and you’re done. It does the job of at least two conventional source components, is slim and easy to fit into an equipment rack (or on a shelf), and fully integrates its functions to ensure it can be operated by anyone who can tap and swipe on a phone or tablet. It really couldn’t be much simpler, whatever you want it to do.
The ND8006 is a clean and simple way for anyone to upgrade their CD player while also delivering all the possibilities of network and online audio, from ease of use to its excellent sound quality. This was one of the first ‘all-in-one’ source components to bridge the gap between physical media and all the additional possibilities hi-fi now offers, and remains a uniquely attractive proposition.
Mrs Tibbetts, Jethro Tull
So many bands come back as a watered-down version of past glories – not so Jethro Tull, whose The Zealot Gene unmistakably has the old outfit’s sound, but opens with this dramatic song, full of anger and emotion. And, as the Marantz shows, it’s beautifully produced
It Hurts Me Too, Keb’ Mo’
This Elmore James cover from the latest Keb’ Mo’ album, The Door, moves on from the blues picking of his earlier offerings, opening with folky blues and then being driven by hefty, beautifully-resolved percussion. Blues purists will hate it, but it sounds fabulous
Interlude III from Peter Grimes, Britten
No, not the big, thundering Storm interlude, but the literally sparkling evocation of sunlight on the sea, from the Bergen Philharmonic/Edward Gardner recording of the opera, and a fine example of the light touch and dynamic speed of which the Marantz is capable
Add superb CD playback to a whole world of network and online music, and wrap it up in superb sound quality and supreme ease of use, and it’s hard to argue against what the ND8006 offers.