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  1. #1
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    Is Harman Kardon Reliable?

    I've been looking into the Harman Kardon receivers (247, 240, 335) and I'm noticing a trend. HK has a very good history, but recent reviews of all different models are really poor. Should I stay away from these receivers, or am I missing something here? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Corto Maltese's Avatar
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    I have HK AVR130 for more than 4 years in our family room. Not the best (it was dirt cheap), but no issues.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Not going into it again but a few years ago they went into a deal with NAD and rotel
    to build an industrial park in China.
    The results, to say the least, were disasterous.
    Harmon suffered the worst, go back several years in the reviews section of this site .
    They claim to have "fixed" the problems, but their receivers still have fake "brushed aluminum" faceplates made out of plastic.
    I see this on other receivers but Harmon is the worst.
    A friend has a refurbed harmon, it works fine for him, but sometimes it acts up,
    he doesnt care, paid three hundred for this thousand dollar receiver.
    I wouldnt touch one with a ten foot pole, wouldn't buy one with Rich's money.
    Theres plenty of quality products out there, why risk it?
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  4. #4
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    HK has had some QC issues over the years. But that was mostly with their CD and DVD players. Not sure if they have worked them out or not. But I do know of a couple of people who had trouble with their players. They sent them back for repairs and replacements a few times before HK finally sent them the next model up at no extra charge. Seems like a fair deal. Of coarse, there was the hassle of all the returns.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  5. #5
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Do some research before purchasing and make sure you get a good return policy. I believe the 247 has some major issues with scaling & audio over HDMI.

  6. #6
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    Alright, I think I'm seeing the big picture. Stuff made in China really does not work as good as something made in the USA, Germany, England, or my home Canada. At least that's been my experience. Better luck next time HK. Thanks for the input.

  7. #7
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    It doesn't mean you have to rule them out.
    These days, you'll have finding products that aren't made in China.

  8. #8
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    There is a huge difference between an item designed and built in China vs items designed in the USA, Europe or Japan and then assembled in China.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  9. #9
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanbouma
    Alright, I think I'm seeing the big picture. Stuff made in China really does not work as good as something made in the USA, Germany, England, or my home Canada. At least that's been my experience. Better luck next time HK. Thanks for the input.

    Umm,no. Not exactly, anyway. Mass marketed items of any origin will have issues. That's just a time/attention to detail ratio and it stands true for virtually anything, although the Chinese have had some pretty startling examples of crappy output. Interestingly, one thing never mentioned in these discussions are telecommunications and the internet. If you think the Chinese people don't know their being raped of wages you're crazy...and that generally doesn't lead to a high work ethic.

    On the other hand, there are numerous examples of Chinese products made inhouse from the ground up by caring audiophiles. Most of these get a modicum of good press. Generally the lesser retail lumps them in the "low brow" category. There's generally a latent degree of ethnocentricity in many of the reviews, although 6Moons seems to do a competent job on some of the more esoteric gear. It occurs to me that the Chinese are capable of making world class gear just not often willing.

    On topic, in the rarest of rare occurances, I agree with Pix. I wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole. YMMV.

  10. #10
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    I've owned a HK AVR325 for around 4 years now and it's worked fantastic for me. Of course, I seem to recall in statistics class that you can't make a whole lot of claim when n=1. Every manufacturer has quality control thresholds. You can rest assured that the odds are in your favor when buying most any piece of electronic equipment today. Buy what you like from an authorized retailer and enjoy it.
    Receiver: H/K AVR 325
    Mains: Polk RTi-38
    Center: Polk CSi-30
    Surrounds: Polk FXi-30
    Subwoofer: SVS PB10-isd
    TV: Panasonic TH-C46FD18

  11. #11
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Umm,no. Not exactly, anyway. Mass marketed items of any origin will have issues. That's just a time/attention to detail ratio and it stands true for virtually anything, although the Chinese have had some pretty startling examples of crappy output. Interestingly, one thing never mentioned in these discussions are telecommunications and the internet. If you think the Chinese people don't know their being raped of wages you're crazy...and that generally doesn't lead to a high work ethic.

    On the other hand, there are numerous examples of Chinese products made inhouse from the ground up by caring audiophiles. Most of these get a modicum of good press. Generally the lesser retail lumps them in the "low brow" category. There's generally a latent degree of ethnocentricity in many of the reviews, although 6Moons seems to do a competent job on some of the more esoteric gear. It occurs to me that the Chinese are capable of making world class gear just not often willing.

    On topic, in the rarest of rare occurances, I agree with Pix. I wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole. YMMV.
    THANKS.
    And the Chinese arent as bad as I presented, probably.
    But there is a (IMHO racist) opinion that the Chinese are a lot like the japanese.
    The Japanese live on a rock where nothing hardly grows.
    THEY APPROACH EVERYTHING like its a battle.
    Took them awhile but once they got the lesson of Edward demming learned, they just about never produce crap. Ever.
    Something from Japan isnt a guarentee of perfection but its about as close as you will get.
    Its not that the Chinese arent as good as the japanese, (and they arent).
    Its just that NOBODY is as good as the Japanese, except very expensive stuff from europe
    on occasion.
    And a lot of companies went into China thinking they could recreate JAPAN ON A LARGER scale, which is silly.
    As for HARMON RECEIVERS, JUST GO BACK several years on the review section.
    fried power supplies, blown procs, sloppy wiring, stuff falling off, etc
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  12. #12
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    I've heard nothing but horror stories about HK for years and years now. Everyone always tries to turn it into a China-issue, but there's plenty of products being made in China that are first-rate whether people want to admit it or not. The problem is that HK has crap for quality-control.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Registered Member ttskyline01's Avatar
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    i have to agree with everybody on this post. H/K at one time makes great receivers but went down hill since then.

  14. #14
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I have an old HK stereo receiver, it's been a workhorse I think it's a mid-90's model. I had another HK receiver from 98 or so that melted. Yep...melted.

    I know HK has fixed a lot of their QC problems in recent years. It's a lot harder to find discount refurb HK units now.
    There were more than a few companies that moved production to China and other cheap labor countries - Denon, HK, Marantz, among them. Those 3 had major issues a few years back and all have seemed to overcome.

    There's nothing wrong with mass production per se...some companies put out some high quality stuff year after year with very low QC issues. Yamaha for example is known for its commitment to quality (and even they have their share of issues from time to time). Sony used to be way back, now you have to research every model. Panasonic makes high quality TV's and a lot of junky small electronics. You just have to do your homework.

    Most of the QC issues happen at the lower price points these days, and to be honest, that's no fault of the manufacturer IMO. People are demanding $150-$200 HT receivers with decent power output, 764 digital processing modes, 6 or 7 speaker outputs, a ton of inputs etc. Something's gotta give. You get what you pay for at that point, and if something goes wrong, it's cheap enough to buy a new one.

    Around the $400 price point, quality still generally seems to be decent for the money you pay.

    I wouldn't say HK is unreliable, but they haven't been as reliable as their Japanese competitors lately. I wouldn't recommend one simply because there's too many other competitors with far better track records.

  15. #15
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    I actually started with an HK AVR-45 which died, switched to Onkyo and never looked back......until I saw a DVD unit on their website refurbished. I bought it thinking I couldn't go wrong for the price, bought another for a friend a year later. Mine died, his still works. GO FIGURE!!!

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