• 01-24-2007, 03:25 PM
    Harman Kardon 7.1 channel AVR series, any owners?
    I posted a bit more specifically in the amp/preamp forum, although I think here it may reach a wider base of H\K owners.

    Can any owners or those familiar with the brand steer me in some direction, or at least provide a bit of info about the 200-600 series Harman Kardon line of 7.1 channel recievers? I've got the opportunity to get one relatively cheap, but I've heard of some quality issues with the brand. I'm looking to power a pair of cambridge m80 mains, m60 rears, a cambridge center and Hsu sub for mainly music and the occasional movie. I'm not too concerned with tons of features or a higher wattage rating, I listen to mainly classical music at reasonable volumes. I'm more concerned with dependability and sound quality. Personal brand preferences aside, would H\K be a decent choice in this segment?

    Thanks in advance
  • 01-24-2007, 05:08 PM

    It sounds like HK is right up your alley. They make very reliable and robust receivers and while I have my gripes about some of their more esoteric features it does not sound like you'll be needing those. For classical music and occasional music, the HK's are excellent. I've owned several and only upgraded to newer surround receivers because I wanted the next wiz-bang feature every year, but my trusty HK 3480 stereo receiver has been rock solid for years.

    That's for the receivers. For the DVD players and other components, I can't recommend them entirely. I know the latest models are decent, but they've also had some bad ones before that. Of course, if you already have the other components from different manufacturers, then they'll integrate very easily with a HK receiver.
  • 01-24-2007, 08:14 PM
    Appreciate the info very much - now I just have to narrow it down to the 245/345 or the 445/645. I've got a friend at an electronics store that can cut me a break on either option, though my untrained eye can hardly justify the price differences between them as the features on paper are nearly identical. I assume its mainly more, clean wattage as you move up the teirs? I really wouldnt mind spending a bit more on a nicer model if it translates to better sound.
  • 01-25-2007, 12:17 PM
    newbie here!

    Anyhoo - i am going through the same process (replacing my Denon AVR 483 that leaked smoke).

    What i found - the H/K AVR645 V7.1 has a self-set up feature complete with microphone to set up each speaker. You can over ride the settings if you want.

    H/K puts out clean honest power and i thought the features were, for the most part, quite useful.

    Harmon Intl reputation help close the deal.
  • 01-25-2007, 06:52 PM
    With Harman amps, the wattage ratings aren't as impressive as the competition's claimed ratings. But that should not deter you. Typically 65W in HK-speak is going to give you about the same performance as 80W with the other guys. This is because HK tends to be more conservative in its published specs, which is highly appreciated by many. HK amplifiers typically have higher amperage ratings as well and are able to drive much more demanding loads than the competition. Also, when they rate their amps at a certain wattage, that usually means for all channels, which is not always the case with other manufacturers.

    Long story short, if you're considering spending more $$$ for more wattage and you don't care so much about the features, then my advice is to just buy the lower rated amp. If, on the other hand the features are more important, then make a spreadsheet listing the features that are important to you and do a comparison. At this juncture, I would at a minimum look for a receiver that has HDMI inputs, video up-conversion, on-screen-display, and manually adjustable crossover settings. Most of the manufacturers in the HK 345 price range should include all these. For my money I would buy the HK, but there are other brands that may include some other features you like.
  • 01-25-2007, 07:51 PM
    Ive done a pretty extensive feature comparison and you're quite right, 345+ has all the features I'd value in an amp. Besides having a higher peak power rating, would there be any audible differences in performance at a more moderate volume level between a cheaper model in the AVR line (or any amp line for that matter) and a more expensive one? I guess what I'm asking in simpler terms is what justifies the extra X amount of dollars between the 345 and 645, other than being able to blow myself out of the water with the latter?
  • 01-25-2007, 08:05 PM
    I don't think you'll ever notice the difference between the two amps, unless you're driving Maggies, in which case either receiver may not be enough.
  • 01-26-2007, 01:08 PM
    How big is your room?

    The dynamics of a movie may require the extra 'oomf to clearly reproduce the bass.

    If you can afford the extra power - you won't regret it (at least i never have)!
  • 01-26-2007, 11:14 PM
    I have a model avr-435 and love every moment of it. It's doing a great job for movies. It will give you uuuhhh and ahhh. It's very dynamic IMO. I have heard good systems from HT Store and else where but I think this 65w x 7-channel unit is doing a great job for its price range. (~$600). It's been a year and I have no problem with it what so ever.
  • 01-27-2007, 12:33 PM
    My room is only moderately large; I'm sure either the 445 or 645 would have no problems filling it up. Since the price increments between the 340 and the two others are only about 100 bucks each though, I figure I couldnt go wrong with a little extra power, especially considering H/K's conservative wattage ratings. And again, thanks for all the valuable input!
  • 01-27-2007, 02:16 PM
    power needed
    if you have sensitive speakers (90db and up) the need for power is lower. i am not familiar with your spks but i will say that hk is the way i would go if i didnt have separates.
  • 01-27-2007, 02:23 PM
    after looking up your spks
    i see they are 86db sensitivity. it seems that you could benefit from a sub like a hsu research at about $300. that might allow you to go with a slightly less powerful receiver.
  • 01-28-2007, 07:07 AM
    salad 419
    I've got the AVR-245. It's 50x7 or 65x2.
    I tested directly with a 100x7 Dennon on 2 channel and the HK seemed a touch louder.

    The auto set up is a joke as far as I'm concerned.

    I'm happy with mine. I've only owned it for about a month. So far no complaints.
  • 01-28-2007, 09:15 PM
    HK's conservative wattage ratings = a good thing

    Originally Posted by Canadia507
    ...especially considering H/K's conservative wattage ratings

    That's just the point though. With HK you don't need to buy 100W per channel. The 65W rating that is written in the manual is exactly what you will actually get, unlike many other manufacturers that inflate the numbers. And for most applications, 65W is more than you will ever need. Even with 86dB speakers, you should be OK. Ask anyone who owns a HK receiver if it ever choked on them - my guess is no one has ever had that happen.

    There are exceptions of course, like if you were driving Maggies or Martin Logans, but I'm going to guess you have standard box speakers. If you expect to upgrade to panel speakers in the future, then by all means, buy more power. But for most applications that 65W HK will be just fine.
  • 01-29-2007, 10:02 PM
    After mulling all this over, and consulting my friend in the business to end up with the best deal, I placed my order for the 645 simply because it was $20 cheaper than the 445. I guess you cant beat that with a stick. Now maybe I've got enough power to put this massive pair of 70's era B&O towers I 'acquired' a while ago to good use :idea:
  • 01-30-2007, 01:24 PM
    Tell us how you like it. It should be quite an amazing receiver.
  • 01-31-2007, 01:15 PM

    Originally Posted by salad 419
    I've got the AVR-245. It's 50x7 or 65x2.
    I tested directly with a 100x7 Dennon on 2 channel and the HK seemed a touch louder.

    The auto set up is a joke as far as I'm concerned.

    I'm happy with mine. I've only owned it for about a month. So far no complaints.

    Please tell me more about the auto-set up issue. I expect to get mine soon and plan to use it as a 'baseline' and then tweak from there...
  • 01-31-2007, 02:48 PM
    Having just recieved the AVR 645 today via UPS I'm surprised with the quickness of delivery. After about 30 minutes of unwrapping and making all the physical connections I was ready to power up. The manual was over 50 pages long, and with me being rather anxious to get this thing working and run a test listen I decided to see how much of the configuration relied more on common sense than reading skills. I had read previous reviews about H/K recievers being fairly intuitive, so how hard could this be?

    Not hard at all, I shortly found. Within 20 minutes I had everything working perfectly, calibrated to my liking. In response to Hydroman's post, I would definately make sure you have OSD (on-screen display) capability via s-video or some other connection so you can interface with the reciever through the TV rather than the smallish face-mounted LCD panel directly on the unit. This made life much easier when manually configuring basic features such as the equalizer and setting speaker paramaters (i.e. crossover and listening position). I was very easily able to navigate the main menu and sub menus, even with my limited knowledge of audio terminology. Everything that I wanted to adjust was easily found, and I hold H/K's interface as being very straightforward and simple to use.

    I doubt I could have unwrapped, assembled and perfectly positioned the supplied 'ez-set' microhpone in the 20 minute time frame it took me to manually make all the necessary adjustments, let alone allow it to run whatever battery of tests it wanted to perform. And when considering it probably would have taken infinately longer had I tried to slog through the painfully oversimplified manual, I would strongly urge anyone with even the most basic knowledge of how to set up a reciever to give it a shot first without using the 'ez-set' feature.

    Use the manual to familarize yourself with the remote and button configurations to take advantage of all the features the reciever offers. Other than that, the manual provides more rope in the form of convoluted instruction than you'd need to hang yourself with.

    Having said all that, I couldnt be more pleased with the performance of the 645. It put out much more power than what was requisite to drive my modest-sized speakers (8 inch woofers on my mains). Sound quality at all volume levels was crystal clear, noticably better than the onkyo it replaced. A/V switching was near flawless, and overall I have very few complaints. Minor annoyances with the remote made it difficult to issue commands when listening to an auxiliary audio source, such as 'the bridge' ipod adapter, although I'm just grateful that I can interface with the ipod at all via the reciever.

    [Edit: Hydroman, I'm interested to know how the H/K compares with the other recievers listen in your sig]
  • 01-31-2007, 06:04 PM
    I have the AVR-335. Very happy with it. I have Klipsch RB-5s for the front and RB-3's for the sides and rears. It's extremely warm and detailed.

    Lots of different surround modes. The DSP 7.1 channel (available from the "stereo" button on the lower right of the remote) works quite well for listening to classical music, or progressive rock (Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, etc.) It tends to separate more music in the surround speakers from regular redbook cds.

    The instructions can be very frustrating, but do take the time to learn everything as someone mentioned above.... it has a ton to offer. Great crossover abilities.
  • 02-01-2007, 01:01 PM

    Originally Posted by Canadia507
    [Edit: Hydroman, I'm interested to know how the H/K compares with the other recievers listen in your sig]

    Me too!
    This H/K will replace a Denon AVR225 that fatally smoked its power section just after two years. The Denon was 'adequate' for the supplied surround sound speakers (puchased as a 'complete HT system'. But by no means impressive ( i bought new off ebay based on the reputation, reviews and specs.). I continued to use the old NAD stereo equipment to power the main speakers because the Denon just didn't crank 'em nearly as well.

    The H/K was recently bought on Ebay and shipped promptly. It was defective from the factory (would not turn on - protection mode? I later found a burnt section on the power input board and bolted it back up for return). The outlet is good (used for the TV and other equipment for over a year) and all the gear (DVD and speakers, etc) still work on the NADs so... i don't think it was 'me'.:rolleyes5:

    I expect a new replacement 'soon'.

    i will of course offer my review when it is set up.
  • 02-01-2007, 10:56 PM
    See my previous post here, not remember what I really wrote but I'm pretty happy with my AVR-435. I love it to death but I couldn't resist the bug, the mod bug. Today is the last day the HK AVR-435 will be with me. I'm packing it up right now ready for the new coming Anthem AVM-30 will arrive tomorrow. To those that already consider the HK brand but unsure what it'd do, you'll love its performance. Its blue glow is also cool.