harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Ratings
1,629
#1
Harman/kardon demonstrated a masterful blend of features and performance with the HK 3490. Their "back to the basics" mentality of the HK 3490 redefined the modern two-channel stereo receiver and set the benchmark for others to follow. Instead of loading this receiver with useless features, harman/kardon decisively incorporated the ones that matter most: quality amplification, digital audio inputs, and pristine fidelity. The HK 3490 had ample power to drive even modestly efficient speakers to reference levels in small to medium sized rooms without ever sounding strained or compressed. Stereo lovers rejoice as I don't believe you can find a better sounding stereo receiver, especially at this bargain basement price


Discuss "harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review" here. Read the article.
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
Ratings
200
#2
Nice review. It does not surprise me how well this receiver performed. It is one of the best values in 2 channel audio.
 
Seth=L

Seth=L

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
2,221 6 2
#3
Why did they hide the damn caps? Batman needs to see the caps, feel the caps, get to know the caps, and eventually sleep with the caps.
 
S

scott911

Full Audioholic
Ratings
30
#5
I was wondering if anyone had thoughts on how this unit compares to the denon dra 697. On paper, they look very close, both being stereo recievers that can drive 4 ohm speakers.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,355 22 9
#7
I was wondering if anyone had thoughts on how this unit compares to the denon dra 697. On paper, they look very close, both being stereo recievers that can drive 4 ohm speakers.
I suspect the amp section of the Denon and HK are similarly good with a slight edge towards the latter for a bit more power. However, the Denon lacks digital audio inputs and post processing virtual surround options. The Denon does do multi zone and it has a loudness control.

It all depends what you are looking for in a stereo receiver. Personally I'd pick the one with digital audio inputs if you aren't using a high quality analog source player.
 
S

scott911

Full Audioholic
Ratings
30
#8
Thanks gene -a digital input is a required for me- I'd overlooked the denon spec. Many, many thanks for clarifying that!
 
AJinFLA

AJinFLA

Banned
Ratings
107
#9
Hmmm. I kind of like the ring volume control thingie on my HK's....
...and since their is a remote control (with volume)...sitting on the couch, I never have to touch it ;).
Another solid performer from a company that ought to have the history and resources to do it. Seems like a well thought out product for stereo listening.

cheers,

AJ
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
503 1
#10
Thanks gene -a digital input is a required for me- I'd overlooked the denon spec. Many, many thanks for clarifying that!
A big feature of the 3490 is the digital input for use with CD players and music playing..
The DACs (AKM) are far superior to those used in traditional CD players.

Just my $0.00.. ;)
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,483 22 4
#11
Thanks for the review.

I'm not sure which other receivers offer stereo subwoofer outputs, but that is a great find for anyone wanting to power dual subs.


In the measurements section it lists testing as including:

"Continuous Full Power Bandwidth (CFP-BW) from 20Hz to 20Khz into 8 and 4-ohm loads (up to two-channels)"

Do you have a chart for 20Hz to 20Khz into 4-ohms, or was this a typo?

Thanks,
Kurt
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,355 22 9
#12
Thanks for the review.

I'm not sure which other receivers offer stereo subwoofer outputs, but that is a great find for anyone wanting to power dual subs.


In the measurements section it lists testing as including:

"Continuous Full Power Bandwidth (CFP-BW) from 20Hz to 20Khz into 8 and 4-ohm loads (up to two-channels)"

Do you have a chart for 20Hz to 20Khz into 4-ohms, or was this a typo?

Thanks,
Kurt
I typically don't test receivers into 4 ohm loads continuously with more than one channel. The 1kHz test is close however. I suspect this receiver would do around 160wpc into 4 ohms continuously with both channels driven based on the other measurements.
 
Coult_45

Coult_45

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
3
#13
I have a HK 3480 in the bedroom. I recently had difficulty finding a cheap tv with analog outputs. Digital inputs would have been a huge plus. This should be a feature on all quality stereo receivers.
 
markw

markw

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,626 5 19
#14
It's encouraging to know that the middle ranges of the hobby haven't totally abandoned good ol' two channel stereo. IMNSHO, for a music only system, two channel is the only way to go.

I just set up a small two-channel system yesterday for an older lady that wanted better sound from he rflat panel (who doesn't?) and didn't want to go the HT route nor did she want to spend what a decent sound bar would cost. The fact that she can play DVD's and CD's and get FM radio as part of the deal was just icing on the cake.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
3,808 30 15
#15
Good review, I have had one of these for awhile, and am very pleased with it. I have it running some Behringer 2031p's, which are 4 ohm speakers, and what a superb pairing! The whole system cost less than $400, I'm sure there isn't a better value out there. I have read about people running large Magnapan speakers on this receiver with great success, and as you know maggies are reputed to be fairly difficult to drive.

A couple points, in the review it is mentioned that the two sub outs can run subs in stereo, I'm not sure what the reviewer meant by this, but both sub outs are outputting the same signal, so it is in mono.

Also, I know it isn't a very common feature with stereo receivers, but one thing I would have like to have had is bass management. There is none on this receiver, except for that goofy bass knob on the front. The speakers are going to get the full signal, there is no high pass filter there, so if you don't want them to playback deep bass, you will have to buy a separate filter module. Likewise, I don't know where the crossover is on the sub out, or if it even uses a crossover, but you have to use the sub's crossover, because they are receiving very high frequencies for a sub out.

Another thing is, the headphone jack on this receiver is supposed to be an above average implementation, so if you have high end headphones, you may not need a separate headphone amplifier to drive them well. My Denon AH-D2000's sound great with the 3490, and that dolby virtual headphone thing is pretty nice sounding.

Also, in disagreement with the reviewer, I like the trademark H/K O-ring volume knob, it looks nice!
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,355 22 9
#16
A couple points, in the review it is mentioned that the two sub outs can run subs in stereo, I'm not sure what the reviewer meant by this, but both sub outs are outputting the same signal, so it is in mono.
If you use both L/R outputs they are in Stereo. You can even use them for a second zone if you have a separate power amp. If you use the Right out, its mono for a single sub.

Also, I know it isn't a very common feature with stereo receivers, but one thing I would have like to have had is bass management. There is none on this receiver, except for that goofy bass knob on the front. The speakers are going to get the full signal, there is no high pass filter there, so if you don't want them to playback deep bass, you will have to buy a separate filter module. Likewise, I don't know where the crossover is on the sub out, or if it even uses a crossover, but you have to use the sub's crossover, because they are receiving very high frequencies for a sub out.
There are no stereo receivers on the market to my knowledge that have bass management. The subout is full range as I stated in my review so you need to use the LPF of your powered sub.

Also, in disagreement with the reviewer, I like the trademark H/K O-ring volume knob, it looks nice!
"One mans meat is another mans poison" Bugs Bunny :D
 
J

jsleonardo

Audiophyte
#18
How about H/K AV Receivers?

Hello Gene,

Great reviews. How about H/K AV Receivers? Is Audioholics plan to review the current models from H/K?

Thanks.
 

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