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Hello Harman Kardon?

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There are no review listings in the back of What Hi Fi at the moment on any of Harman/Kardon products (apart from the go+play), is it because they are bad, or the company simply doesn't send any of its products in for testing?

So, has anyone got any info/experience/thoughts on the Harman/Kardon HK3490?

Seems to be a bit of a unique piece of kit, is it an amp? Is it a 2.1 receiver? Is it an old school type of amp which has a radio tuner? It seems to be all of these, which begs the question, where does it sit amongst Hi-Fi kit and AV kit, and ultimately, is it any good!? Initial thoughts is that it would be versatile for someone looking for musical quality, but also has something that has the technology to handle AV sound, without having to have the full surround 5.1/7.1 set up, which is my situation as the rear speakers would be either side of the cooker on the work top in kitchen, (small flat)! Also does anyone now about the Dolby Virtual Surround technology that the unit has?

Also, has anyone got any info/experience/thoughts on the Harman/Kardon DVD39?

Mordant Short Mezzo 2's mounted on Atacama Nexus 7i's will be doing the job of creating the sound, vision will come from Sky+ HD, the TV being a Sony Bravia KDL 26V4000

Any Thoughts would be great,

Cheers,

Jeff 
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The HK3490 is a stereo receiver. Basically an amp with a tuner built in. It's a format that's popular in the US, but less so in the UK. The cool thing about it is that it has a subwoofer output - rare in two channel stuff. So you can go with an active sub easily. A good solution for a 2.1 home theater set up as it has loads on inputs - including, iirc, a phono stage.

The other good thing about the HKs is that they have massive current swing so will drive just about anything.
hth
Gary
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks, Yeah with all the inputs it seems aÿreallyÿversatileÿamp. Any thoughts on the sound quality? i.e. with all the inputs and the fact it has a built in tuner, does it compromise the sound quality at all in the way that AV Amps are not asÿmusicallyÿgoodÿas standard amps.

Sorry: "iirc"?

Also any info on the DVD39?

ÿCheers,

Jeffÿ
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Damn I bought some fake kit along with some Mordount Short speakers and Mike trainers! ÿ:O)

Its was late at night! . . . Amended! :O)ÿ

Jÿ
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Look like its that Tony, thanks, and Gary, yes, you do rc, it does have a phono stage . . .
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
mosjef:
Thanks, Yeah with all the inputs it seems aÿreallyÿversatileÿamp. Any thoughts on the sound quality? i.e. with all the inputs and the fact it has a built in tuner, does it compromise the sound quality at all in the way that AV Amps are not asÿmusicallyÿgoodÿas standard amps.

Sorry: "iirc"?

Also any info on the DVD39?

ÿCheers,

Jeffÿ

Hi Jeff,

The HK3490 is not an AV product as such, simply a stereo amp with a tuner bolted on, so my personal opinion is that I wouldn't expect any significant fall in sound quality over the straight stereo amp. And if it's good enough for a Rolling Stone... :)

Also, this format is something that Harman pioneered, so they've been making that type of product since the early 1950s. That said, you have to decide where you make your compromises. Flexibility to have a sub if you need, loads of inputs, ability to drive even the most difficult of speakers against a subjective sound quality judgment.

I nearly bought one when I left Harman and I'm quite sorry I didn't.

The DVD39 was introduced after I left Harman so I don't have any experience of that model. Sorry.
hth
Gary
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi Gary,

Thanks again. Didn't realise you used to work for Harman, ÿso you'll probably have a pretty good insight into whats what! You must of left fairly recently as the HK3940 & DVD39 were released at similar times right?

I haven't given the system a proper run out to stretch its legs yet, its only fully been set up for the past couple of days, what with having to wait for speaker stands etc etc . . . but so far so good . . . I "ran in" the Mezzo 2s for 30hrs but probably they still need some more general listening before they have settled in. As for the sub, I'm in a flat with quite a low ceiling, and already the bass they are creating is quite something, still trying to find a generalÿpositionÿfor the little bass dial! I can see how a sub might come in handy for movies, I've tried a few snippets action blockbusters through the DVD39 and Sky+ HD using an optical lead, wow, its very promising!

Musically I'll mostly be playing a variety music genres from iTunes using a MacBook Pro, MP3 files will be 320kbps where I've been able to to get them at that level, the reason a HK amp attracted me is it seems to be not fussy about what source the music comes from (correct?), I'm assuming thats something HK haveÿconcentratedÿon developing as they have developed Bridge for the iPod, which I would probably use if I didn't have the laptop which is easier to navigate music that an iPod.

One thing I will say is the kit isÿbeautifullyÿdesigned, a sin in the Hi-fi world to take that into consideration, but a graphic designer by trade, it would be a sin not to use my designÿsensibilities. ÿ:O)

Any word on why HK products are soÿsparselyÿreviewed, not much here on the What Hi-Fi site, and nothing in the mag, and not much on the web in general.

ÿCheers,

Jÿ
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
mosjef:
Hi Gary,

Thanks again. Didn't realise you used to work for Harman, ÿso you'll probably have a pretty good insight into whats what! You must of left fairly recently as the HK3940 & DVD39 were released at similar times right?

I haven't given the system a proper run out to stretch its legs yet, its only fully been set up for the past couple of days, what with having to wait for speaker stands etc etc . . . but so far so good . . . I "ran in" the Mezzo 2s for 30hrs but probably they still need some more general listening before they have settled in. As for the sub, I'm in a flat with quite a low ceiling, and already the bass they are creating is quite something, still trying to find a generalÿpositionÿfor the little bass dial! I can see how a sub might come in handy for movies, I've tried a few snippets action blockbusters through the DVD39 and Sky+ HD using an optical lead, wow, its very promising!

Musically I'll mostly be playing a variety music genres from iTunes using a MacBook Pro, MP3 files will be 320kbps where I've been able to to get them at that level, the reason a HK amp attracted me is it seems to be not fussy about what source the music comes from (correct?), I'm assuming thats something HK haveÿconcentratedÿon developing as they have developed Bridge for the iPod, which I would probably use if I didn't have the laptop which is easier to navigate music that an iPod.

One thing I will say is the kit isÿbeautifullyÿdesigned, a sin in the Hi-fi world to take that into consideration, but a graphic designer by trade, it would be a sin not to use my designÿsensibilities. ÿ:O)

Any word on why HK products are soÿsparselyÿreviewed, not much here on the What Hi-Fi site, and nothing in the mag, and not much on the web in general.

ÿCheers,

Jÿ

Hi Jeff,

I used to work for JBL but was just down the corridor from my HK friends.

The HK3490 was just about to be introduced when I left in late 2005. The DVD39 was a new platform in development at the time and I may have seen a couple of prototypes hanging around, but probably had other things to do. The last HK DVD I have experience of is the DVD22, an example of which I have at home waiting for the day when my old Pioneer gives up the ghost.

I use two HK AVRs (actually one is a JBL variant :) ) at home and like the sound for home theater. I still run a separate two-channel system which doesn't have any HK in. I keep meaning to integrate the two, but never get around to it.

The HK boys do try very hard with the aesthetics and the ID is done by Dan Ashcraft who is based in Los Angeles and was responsible for stuff like JBL's K2, Everest, Control 1 as well as all the HK stuff for many years. My background is in ID so I'm with you on this one. I don't care how good it sounds, there's no excuse for making an ugly box - (sits back and waits....), unless you deliberately choose to...

HK are very much into connectivity. Remember they have access to a huge knowledge-base in their automotive division, Harman/Becker, so getting kit talking to each other and having flexibility of inputs is almost second nature.

As for integrating a sub, I'd get your M-Ss sorted out first. The speaker/room interface is key. Once you're happy with that, then you can consider a sub.

You'd have to ask Harman UK about the lack of product presence. I have no idea.
atb
Gary
 
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Anonymous

Guest
JBL Variant hey! I take it you popped down theÿcorridorÿandÿacquiredÿone and JBLed it!? Better?

Jÿ
 

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