The SR6003 backs up its generous feature list with sensational audio performance. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army's DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack on Blu-ray is an absolute blast from start to finish, with the Marantz orchestrating its thrilling sonics with drive, precision and bucketloads of detail. This assured performance makes showpiece action scenes like Hellboy's battles with the Elemental and the Golden Army sound utterly compelling - sudden bangs and crashes are satisfyingly dynamic, explosions are conveyed with gut-wrenching force and dialogue cuts through the melee without sounding harsh or tinny. Meanwhile, effects are expertly steered and thrown around the soundstage to deliver an incredible sense of width and scale.
But what's also impressive is the amount of finesse on display - yes the Marantz will rip your head off when it needs to (although it's nowhere near as ferocious as the Onkyo TX-NR906) but it's never afraid to slip on its kid gloves and tease out subtle details and background noises - a good example being the spellbinding Troll Market scene, where a tapestry of half-heard voices and delicate effects ping from every speaker with effortless clarity.
Despite being right at home with films, the SR6003 is also blessed with an innate musicality that allows John Legend's Evolver CD to slide from the speakers like sonic velvet. In stereo mode, the deep bass notes and beautifully smooth top-end make for a really satisfying and involving listen, plus it injects a sense of rhythm and urgency that'll get your neck nodding without you even wanting it to.
The Marantz SR6003 is a class act all round, boasting stunning supermodel looks, awesome build quality, a comprehensive feature list and superb sound quality with both films and music. It's also one of the most user-friendly AV receivers we've tested, removing most of the hassle normally involved in setting up a surround sound system. Naturally you get more power and more presence from a more expensive model like the Onkyo TX-NR906, but in its class we reckon you'll be hard pressed to find anything better.