harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,659 24 9
#22
Hello Gene,

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

Thanks.
Perhaps down the road if they submit a sample. The 3490 I reviewed was bought by my friend else I likely wouldn't have reviewed it.
 
D

Dark Regent

Audiophyte
#23
When I was in the market for a audio receiver to do 2.1 for my computer setup I chose the Yamaha RX-797 over the HK. I don't need any of the Dolby Digital profiles, after all this is a good, simple stereo receiver (with a sub-out which was a necessary feature for me). The RX-797 is connected to my HT Omega Claro + sound card so if I need to manipulate the sound I've got it covered. I chose the Yamaha and have been very happy. I'd also be willing to bet that it'll keep up with the HK in terms of sound quality with no problems. Maybe you guys need to do a comparison, the HK isn't as alone in this market as you make it out to be.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,659 24 9
#24
I'd also be willing to bet that it'll keep up with the HK in terms of sound quality with no problems. Maybe you guys need to do a comparison, the HK isn't as alone in this market as you make it out to be.
The Yamaha is a good receiver. But the H/K is alone in this market with respect to Stereo receivers with digital inputs. There are no others on the market that offer this feature.
 
Knucklehead90

Knucklehead90

Audioholic
Ratings
63
#25
Don't forget about the 3390!

I've previously owned the 3480 - which I let a friend talk me out of. I also wanted to try 5.1 in my bedroom setup. After an Onkyo 506 - an HK 247 and a 254 I'm back to 2 channels. All those wires drove me nuts. First I tried an Onkyo 8255 - it sounded flat. So I'm back to an HK - the 3390 - 'little brother' to the 3490. If you don't need digital inputs I doubt you'll miss the few less watts the 3390 sports.

I love the sound the 3390 makes with my Infinity Interlude IL40s. Even though I have a sub in the mix - plugged into the speaker 2 outlet I hardly ever use it - I get plenty of bass with the IL40s. Having them set up 2' from the wall and in a small space really helps the bass response too. I'd guess they play down to 33-35hz with omph.
 
D

Dark Regent

Audiophyte
#26
The Yamaha is a good receiver. But the H/K is alone in this market with respect to Stereo receivers with digital inputs. There are no others on the market that offer this feature.
That is very true and I'm sure it would depend on the the buyer's subjective needs. When it came time for me to pick a stereo receiver to purchase I had narrowed it down to the Yamaha and the HK but there is a minuscule amount of information available referencing these two units on the web. It seemed to me that HK implementing the digital inputs on their stereo receivers was used as more of a gimmick than an actual benefit but I may be wrong. Regardless of the benefits of digital vs analog it appeared that HK was pushing digital for other reasons. Dolby Virtual Speaker and iPod connectivity don't interest me but learning what type of DACs the receiver is using does. Frankly, I didn't see the need for digital to run a simple stereo setup and I thought my source (which had a big impact on my decision) was up to the task of doing the job well with analog. I was simply interested in learning about how competent each receiver was on the power end. How much power can they really produce and how cleanly can they do it? In the end I went for the receiver with the layout I preferred and the "cleaner" performance (as advertised). I still don't know if I made the right choice but I know I'm happy with my purchase. We need more reviews like this one where you guys dissect and analyze the equipment so we can make more informed decisions.

Keep up the good work.
 
J

jsleonardo

Audiophyte
#27
Perhaps down the road if they submit a sample. The 3490 I reviewed was bought by my friend else I likely wouldn't have reviewed it.
Oh I see, I hope H/K submit you some samples for reviews.
Thanks anyway.
 
S

scott911

Full Audioholic
Ratings
31
#28
making sure I understand digital inputs...

Am I on the right track?

I want to set my father up with an easy to use system.

I liked the digital input so he could run a line from the TV's digital output to HK 3490's input. That way, when watching DVD's or regualr TV, he could *opt* to use his stereo speakers with no signal loss because it's all kept as zeros and ones...
 
Sugarbear

Sugarbear

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
10
#29
The Yamaha is a good receiver. But the H/K is alone in this market with respect to Stereo receivers with digital inputs. There are no others on the market that offer this feature.
Why are there no other options in this space?! It's so agitating...

I'm looking for a good stereo receiver for my bedroom that'll take digital input from my soon-coming Sonos setup. The 3490 is my only real option if I want to listen to the radio.

For integrated amps with digital inputs but no radio, there's really only the Nova/Decco products from Peachtree (too expensive) and the Onkyo A-5VL (underpowered).

I'd love a 3490 for the bedroom but it's the size of a 7.1 channel AVR; so not dresser-top WAF friendly. There's nothing else out there, though!
 
markw

markw

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,820 7 162
#30
Am I on the right track?

I want to set my father up with an easy to use system.

I liked the digital input so he could run a line from the TV's digital output to HK 3490's input. That way, when watching DVD's or regualr TV, he could *opt* to use his stereo speakers with no signal loss because it's all kept as zeros and ones...
The digital outputs on TV's are made to pass audio from it's internal ATSC tuner and may not "pass-through" digital fom external sources. IF it does, it may be PCM, or two channel.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,610 11 12
#31
Impressive is all I can say. I like the fact that it comes equipped with a phono stage as well. How does it compare to the Outlaw stereo receiver?
 
Sugarbear

Sugarbear

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
10
#32
I've been seraching for a decent stereo receiver with digital inputs and a good/decent amp stage. Given its price, the 3490 is the absolute best thing on the market for what I want.

Wife is on board. Gonna pull the trigger soon.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Ratings
718 1
#33
The digital outputs on TV's are made to pass audio from it's internal ATSC tuner and may not "pass-through" digital fom external sources. IF it does, it may be PCM, or two channel.
Correct..
But the 3490 includes Dolby Virtual Speaker so one can get a psuedo matrix surround output with a 2-CH PCM stream..

Juts my $0.00.. ;)
 
S

sjcguy

Junior Audioholic
#34
HK3490 Vs Emotiva UPA-2

I just fried my Spectrascan BPA-101B amp. Probably nobody knows what it is and it's too embarrassing to tell how I killed it. I have an old HK PT2500 preamp and Sony DVP-NS900V for playing CD/SACD. My plan is to buy the Nuforce uDAC-2 to feed analog stereo to my preamp and powers my ATH-M50s headphone but I wish to use the digital coax if the PT2500 had the digital input due to long distance between my pc and the audio rack.
I read both reviews for the Emotiva UPA-2 and HK 3490 and don't know what to get. HK3490 has digital inputs and I can get rid the PT2500 and doesn't need amp.
If i get the UPA-2 then i still use the PT2500 and can't use the S/PDIF signal from the uDac-2 which is better for a long distance. Do I give up sound quality by going with the HK3490 to drive my Polk RT16?
thanks
ttran
 
endbegin

endbegin

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
1
#35
I emailed HK yesterday, asking them about the DAC specs. In case it helps, here's the reply I got:

8ch 24bit DAC
- 128x Oversampling
- Sampling Rate up to 192kHz
- 24bit 8 times Digital Filter
- Differential Outputs
- On-chip Switched-Capacitor Filter
- S/(N+D): 94dB
- Dynamic Range, S/N: 114dB
- Individual channel digital volume with 128 levels and 0.5dB step
- Soft mute
- De-emphasis for 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz
- Zero Detect Function

2ch 24bit ADC
- 64x Oversampling
- Sampling Rate up to 96kHz
- Linear Phase Digital Anti-Alias Filter
- Single-Ended Input
- S/(N+D): 92dB
- Dynamic Range, S/N: 102dB
- Digital HPF for offset cancellation
- Overflow flag

I am close to buying this one myself. If I can figure out a good way to wirelessly stream music from my laptop to its optical input, then I'll be all set.
 
#36
Thanks for your very thorough & well written review.

I am a Harman eBay store stalker, I have purchased a boat-load of Harman gear from them over the past few years:

Infinity Alpha 20 (about $80/pr. - SOLD)
Infinity Beta 20 (about $150/pr.)
Infinity Primus P362 (about $300/pr.)
Infinity Primus PS210 (about $100)
Infinity TSS-SAT750 (3 for $45)
H/K HK3485 (about $150 - SOLD)
H/K DVD37 (about $35 - SOLD)
H/K DVD48 (about $50)
H/K HK3490 (about $200)

All for for pennies on the dollar.

I am a man of limited means, but who appricieates the finer things in life; whether it is Scotch whiskey, or Hi-Fi gear, I find it rewarding when I can find something is uncompromisingly good, and an uncompromising value; sonically, I have never had a single complaint with any Harman gear, it never failed to impress me, particularly given the price. Build quality has been very good, and aesthetically, the gear has improved of late, the most recent products look as good as they sound IMO.

One suggestion to HK34xx & HK33xx owners, I strongly suggest swapping-out the stock PreAmp Jumper clips for a quality pair of PreAmp Jumper cords, AudioQuest makes an excellent pair, but at $25/pr., they are pretty pricey in relation to the price most pay for these receivers; a nice, short pair of quality cables, like a pair of 1' cables from Audio Showcase should perform equally well and help keep the cable-clutter to a minimum. There was an immediate & noticeable improvement in SQ, give this budget-tweak a try and let me know what you think.
 
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S

scott911

Full Audioholic
Ratings
31
#37
ac input

I was about to click "buy" but for some reason I looked at the back illustration. And there, I noticed the AC input.

Instead of the cord input I would expect, like the receptical on the back of your computer or monitor, it's got that tiny oval input thingy that llos like it belongs on the back of a $40 boom-box.

It's probably trivial, and wire gauge is more than adequate, but it just struck me as really cheap.
 
P

PearlcorderS701

Banned
Ratings
68
#38
Thanks gene -a digital input is a required for me- I'd overlooked the denon spec. Many, many thanks for clarifying that!
I was always confused by the whole analog/digital input/output thing when it came specifically to stereo units -- I understand the basics that by using your source deck, the source's DACs are engaged and by running a digital out of the source you're using the receiver/processor's DACs, but outside of determining which has the "better" DAC processing, what is the difference between enjoying your music with these two methods?

My Onkyo 8555 has no digital inputs at all, so I am forced to use my Marantz CD changer's analog outs; further, even if the Onkyo did have digital ins, I couldn't use them because I'm using the Marantz's digital output to feed a CD recorder -- so either way, I need to use the changer's analog outs...

Is this in some way "degrading" my CD's sound? Do we HAVE to run digital out just because it's a "digital" source unit like a CD player/CD changer? :confused:
 
N

nedlakire

Audiophyte
#39
1st Time Poster

OK,
so I admittedly know almost nothing about soundsystems.

I got an HK 3490 last weekend, and went to connect my Technics SB-L76 speakers.

None of the low-end sounds make it out, and I assume it's due to the impedance or wattage of the speakers not matching.

Speakers:
8 ohms
150W

Reciever:
8 ohms
120W
or
4 ohms
150W

What's my best option?
Thanks in advance!
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Ratings
718 1
#40
OK,
so I admittedly know almost nothing about soundsystems.

I got an HK 3490 last weekend, and went to connect my Technics SB-L76 speakers.

None of the low-end sounds make it out, and I assume it's due to the impedance or wattage of the speakers not matching.

Speakers:
8 ohms
150W

Reciever:
8 ohms
120W
or
4 ohms
150W

What's my best option?
Thanks in advance!
Was the 3490 New or a Refurb?

Those loudspeakers are 3-way 12", you should have plenty of bass..
They should be connected directly Speaker A outputs, no mismatch will cause this unless the woofers are blown..

Just my $0.02... ;)
 

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